Best Christmas Lights Displays in Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Monticello, Gibson City, Rantoul, Tuscola, Tolono, and MORE!
Looking for houses with the best Christmas light displays in the Champaign-Urbana metro area? Check out this list of Amazing Christmas Lights Around Champaign-Urbana and Beyond to help you plan a night with your family that’s fun, festive and (almost) free!
So pack some snacks, fill up a thermos with hot cocoa (or a sippy cup with chocolate milk for the toddler crowd) and head out on a mission to find the best decorated houses in the Champaign-Urbana metro area.
This list is organized by geographic areas. We highlight the top individual displays in each town, as well as pockets of areas that are festive.
We know everyone is excited for lights, and we are posting this article EARLIER THAN EVER! PLEASE NOTE: pay careful attention to days/times that lights go on. We don’t want to have any disappointed kids (or grownups, let’s face it.)
Want more lights? Check out our Central Illinois Christmas Lights Trail (those displays are a bit farther away, including Peoria, Springfield, Sullivan and Mattoon).
Download our FREE Christmas Lights in Champaign-Urbana Scavenger Hunt. Another way for your family to enjoy the lights!
HOW WE MAKE THIS LIST
This list of where to see lights is crowd-sourced from both chambanamoms.com team members (a certain person who might be obsessed with lights) and reader comments.
We start this article in November, so be sure to come back here in the next few weeks as even more displays pop up. Please note that not all lights displays are up at the same time … we do our best to indicate if we know hours and specific dates.
If you want to submit a display for consideration — your own, or someone else’s — please fill out this form. Note: this does NOT guarantee inclusion.
We also ask on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for recommendations: if someone tells us there is a great display at X address, we might include it.
We can’t drive around to every location to verify a light display, and what some people think is worth-the-drive display, others might not want to bother with, so please use our list with that in mind. We try to include details and pictures to help as well!
Addresses without an asterisk and bold are verified listings for displays in 2021.
** Addresses with double asterisks are unverified locations — meaning they have previously had displays but have not been confirmed by us yet in 2021. If you have seen one of these sites, please let us know so we can keep this post updated. Thank you!
We will be updating the list all month long. Happy light hunting!
NEW! WINTER NIGHTS AT PRAIRIE FARM, Champaign
This one requires a little physical activity – be prepared to stretch your legs and get out of the car! Enjoy holiday lights every Thursday through Sunday, starting November 26 – January 2 at Prairie Farm (open 5-9 pm). This will be an accessible experience featuring festive light displays throughout the farm. Bring your cocoa and enjoy a journey through a winter wonderland! This replaces “Winter Nights in Porter Park” which was active in 2020. Good news, since this location is much more central to the community.
There will be plenty of photo opportunities along the lighted path. Prairie Farm is located off of Kirby Avenue, just west of Crescent Avenue. (Sorry to disappoint, but there will NOT be any live farm animals there for Winter Nights at Prairie Farm.)
The Manchester Christmas House, 1411 Manchester Dr., Champaign (Will be live starting Nov. 30 at 5:30 pm)
This show made its Champaign-Urbana debut in 2020 (read OUR FULL STORY HERE). Located in the Glenshire neighborhood, not far from the corner of Kirby and Staley Roads, is a house decked out for the holidays complete with inflatables and lights. One side of house has a mass of inflatables, more than 80! (see Snoopy, Santa, Mickey, Rudolph, Frosty and others). One of the inflatables is an animated dog that pops out of a present. The other side of the house is animated to music with multiple songs (Star Wars and Frozen fans, you will love it). There are between 50,000-60,000 lights that will be lit up. New this year: a custom-made ferris wheel. Tune your radio to 93.9! Animation is on Sun-Thurs 5:30-8:30 pm and Friday/Saturday 5:30-9:30 pm. You can find more on the manchesterchristmas.com website.
Photo courtesy of the Manchester Christmas House
** not yet confirmed in 2021 The Vale House, southwest Champaign
Characters — from the Peanuts gang to R2D2 and Yoda to animals and more — cover the lawn, and it’s worth the trip to Ironwood/Trails of Brittany to see it. In the 1800 block of Vale Street, in far west Champaign. There’s also some other pretty decorated houses if you continue to Savanna to Westborough to Benedot, all in the same southwest corner of the neighborhood. Another house to drive by in this neighborhood: 2009 Wiggins Street. The lights are on from 6:15 until midnight, from Thanksgiving until New Year’s.
Lighting Up the Croft, Champaign
Lighting Up the Croft (22 Greencroft, aka the house at the southwest corner of Prospect and Greencroft, just south of the Champaign Country Club) will once again be part of the the lights circuit in 2021. This synchronized light show typically goes live the Saturday after Thanksgiving and will run through the first week of January (exact dates TBD) – and it is gorgeous. The 20 songs include Nutcracker, Elvis’ Blue Christmas and more. See our video HERE and photo below. (The house is located on Prospect, but to see the lights best, drive through the Greencroft neighborhood; enter off Kirby.)
* unconfirmed yet for 2021 The 1109 Kirby Light Show, Champaign
This lights show at 1109 W. Kirby Avenue, two blocks west of Prospect, debuted in 2018. Since Kirby is a busy street, it can be a challenge to see this display. Our recommendation: Kirby isn’t as busy in the later evening (or on the weekends).
OTHER STOPS IN THIS AREA
Don’t miss the beautifully lit trees at Champaign Country Club on Prospect.
There are a few houses around Clark Park that are pretty too, including the large tree in the Park. Go a little further south on Prospect for a few more fun houses just past Devonshire (turn left on Mendota).
Urbana Christmas Lights, 1909 Brownfield Road
Head over to Urbana to see this show, which joined our community last year. The lights are not be physically on the house, but rather setup in the yard on the property, which is located north of I-74. It is small, but DEFINITELY mighty – 3,000 lights set to music including an amazing Star Wars number complete with light saber battle, Panic at the Disco’s Into the Unknown, and traditional and contemporary holiday medleys. (We might gush about the color palette of the lights because we’re nerdy like that.) This show has something unique about it – viewers can control it! That’s right, grab your smartphone and scan the QR code provided, and it will take you to a website where you can see the different options for shows and pick one. Here’s what Mike Field had to say: “The song selections will all be the same, with a few new additions, including a special surprise show that will be interspersed randomly throughout. My only hint is that owners of certain washing machines may find the tune quite familiar!” Last year this show was located in Champaign at the corner of Crescent & Southwood. Following a move, it will now be in Urbana. The show will be open the first weekend of December through the first weekend of the new year. Hours are 5-10 p.m. on weeknights and 5-11 p.m. on weekends.
Candlestick Lane, Urbana
A holiday tradition for more than 50 years, Urbana’s Candlestick Lane typically lights up on the second Saturday of December. That means it will light up on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. After that, Candlestick Lane (aka Grant Place, located between Cottage Grove and Philo Roads, north of Florida Avenue) has its lights on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly through New Year’s Day. Drive cautiously and turn off headlights to get the most enjoyment from the lights. (If you plan to walk through, please be safe, watch for vehicles, and social distance. There are no sidewalks.) Several streets and neighborhoods around Candlestick Lane have the light bug too. See our video below from 2018.
Not too far from Candlestick Lane is another festive neighborhood full of lights, which typically doesn’t go fully live until December. The easiest way to get there from Grant Place is to go back to Washington Ave, and go east. Then head south on Country Squire Lane, and continue to Greenridge Drive. Go south on Greenridge Drive, and check out lights on East Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Michigan Aves. This group of homes has a lot of different inflatables, characters and visual effects. My kids really liked the Nutcrackers!
The Myers House, 1002 Country Squire Dr is part of this area. Check out Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, one of the best features. The display starts December 1 until January 1; lights come on around sundown till 10pm.
Other stops in Urbana:
The University of Illinois President’s House, 711 W. Florida, Urbana: This is one of the most stately homes in town, and always has a classy lights display. This year, it has upped its game, and worth a drive by.
** (Not yet confirmed for 2021) The Ebert House, 503 G H Baker Dr, Urbana: This home doesn’t have moving lights, but it’s definitely beautifully lit. We also like his sense of humor. “Next year I’m coming for the Croft house lol.” Located in a neighborhood in far Northeast Urbana, behind Cracker Barrel. Lights are on everyday, 5pm-3am.
It’s an annual tradition in the Prairie Fields neighborhood to sponsor a lights contest. Regardless, it is typically one of our favorite neighborhoods to drive through during the holiday season, as it is always very festive.
Prairie Fields, the neighborhood located around Carrie Busey Elementary School, has several fun lights displays and houses with popular characters including a large Olaf and the Peanuts gang. Take Old Church Road to Prairie Rose, and drive up and down the streets there.
Other stops in this area:
*** unconfirmed yet in 2021:2 Della Court, Savoy: Head to the Lake Falls subdivision (south of Prairie Fields) for this beautifully lit home. Lights are on after 5pm until 3am; lights will be on until January 2021.
Just south of Savoy, there are several beautifully lit homes in Tolono this year. Thanks to our tipsters in 2020; we have not yet confirmed these in 2021.
The Tomson House, 311 E. Marshall Street, Tolono. The whole property is dazzling. Check out this WCIA drone video of the display.
Corner of Calhoun and Washington: We’ve heard that Santa is here, reading stories to visitors. Tune in to channel 90.7.
The Clark Griswold House, the Superhero House, and 106 N. Red Bud Court
The Clark Griswold House in Mahomet. Photo by Kelly Youngblood
Clark Griswold House, Mahomet
The popular Clark Griswold holiday display, located at 701 N. Timberview, boasts lights everywhere — all over the house, in the front yard, the back yard and wrapped around two-story Evergreen trees. It includes a Santa village, a toy shop, Alvin and the Chipmunks singing, and much more. The Schoonover family usually lights it up on the first Sunday in December: in 2021 that means the magic will happen starting on Sunday, Dec. 5.
Last year we noticed that most of Timberview Street got into the holiday spirit, making the Griswold house visit even more enjoyable.
You can’t miss the Clark Griswold house on Timberview Drive in Mahomet. Chambanamoms.com photo
The Superhero House, Mahomet
Love superheroes? The Dodge house on 206 N. Spruce Drive (in the Lakeview subdivision off Tin Cup Road) is a MUST SEE. The home boasts 25 wooden, life-size superheroes that Joe Dodge drew, cut and painted himself. If you drive by, you’ll see the Hulk, Iron Man, Spiderman, the Flash and many more superheroes “helping” to decorate the yard and house with strands of Christmas lights. In 2021, the house will add 12 new characters! There is nothing like this house. Its originality and HUMOR make it a must see. (Tip: we like to go on week nights when it is not crowded and get out of the car to look at the detail of the characters.) Lights will be on from Thanksgiving night through January 1.
Hodges Christmas Light Show on Red Bud Court, Mahomet (turning on Friday, Nov. 26 at 5:30 pm)
There’s a bunch of lovely houses not far from the Superhero house, including the Hodges Christmas Light Show at 106 N. Red Bud Court (located in the same Lakeview subdivision). 2020’s show does not disappoint and features some pretty upbeat tunes including a rockin’ Christmas song, all with lights choreographed to the music. It can be viewed from the Superhero house and is just around the corner. No doubt it will catch your eye — you’ll want to sit there for 10-15 minutes to watch all the songs go through. For a second year the Hodges light show will be giving back to the community. “We will have a tub out on both sides of the street for coats, hats, gloves and any canned or boxed food. All these items will be donated to Mom’s Pantry.”
*Not yet confirmed for 2021:
106 Ridge Rd, Mahomet. Display is on from 4:30 pm till 10:00pm nightly with extended viewing hours on Fridays and Saturday.
Other stops in Mahomet:
– 205 E. State Street (Most people will drive past this house on the way to the Griswold’s.)
– 1505 Riverwood Pt (A beautiful home new to our list in 2020, this hasn’t been confirmed yet for 2021.)
Just up the road (I-74) from Mahomet, the town of Mansfield has a lot of Christmas cheer. Take the exit and go south towards Mansfield, you will run right into Newton Street on the edge of town. What will you see? Check out the video on Facebook.
Between the Polar Express and other events, Monticello is the Christmas capital of Central Illinois.
The McIntosh Christmas Lights Show lives on after its founder passed away from cancer. Last year was the first time the City of Monticello, which purchased the synced light show equipment from the McIntosh family, installed it at Rotary Centennial Park downtown. It is scheduled to turn on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 and will be lit from 5 to 10 p.m. every day through the end of December. This is also an interactive display – be sure to get out of the car and walk around the park. A true highlight!
The McIntosh Lights Show in downtown Monticello is magical and interactive. Chambanamoms.com photo
It’s become an annual favorite – the Allerton Park Glow lights display keeps getting better and better. Enjoy an enchanting stroll of lights from the Mansion parking lot through the Avenue of the Formal Gardens and Brick Wall Garden to the Visitor Center. The path goes for about a mile, although there’s no rule how long you have to walk! The Walk-Through Holiday Lights will be open December 3 (sold out, so go on Dec. 4) – January 15. There is no need to make reservations this year.
- Visit nightly from Dec. 3-23, between 5 and 9 p.m.
- Dec. 27-30
- Jan. 7-8
- Jan. 14-15
IT IS FREE, but donations are appreciated.
Kirby Winter Walk. Photo by Della Perrone
The Miller Holiday Light Show, 803 Madison St.:
This show was formerly in Bement, but with the family’s move to Monticello, the show has joined its new community. The show is already live as of Thanksgiving night and will be live through early January. Rumor has it that Santa and Mrs. Claus are frequent visitors to this display, but we haven’t heard of any dates yet.
Other stops in Monticello (***we have not yet confirmed these in 2021):
828 N Charter – The Smith House and neighbors: There are two houses included in the light/music show and then another house that has fun decorations on the corner.
250 W Grant St. – The Haworth House: The color scheme changes each night.
ST. JOSEPH AND OGDEN
Willowdale Winter Wonderland, St. Joseph
Starting Friday, December 3 through Dec. 31, Willowdale Subdivision in St. Joseph will become Willowdale Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive around this three-block neighborhood to enjoy dozens of decorated homes. Rumor has it that Santa will make a visit (date TBD) and there may be candy canes and hot cocoa for visitors some evenings. To get there: Willowdale subdivision is located north of I-74. If coming from Urbana, get off at the St. Joseph exit and go north; can’t miss it.
(Not yet confirmed in 2021) The Gillen Family Light Display: Lit through the evening of January 1, from 5pm til 11pm every night; on Christmas Eve they will be on from 5pm until sun-up on Christmas Day. There are 15,000 lights, and will be expanding more in future years. Located at 1250N US Highway 45, Tuscola.
New to the list in 2020, the Gillen Family Lights display has 15,000 lights and plans to grow. Photo provided
*** not yet confirmed in 2021 Candy Cane Hills
Who said the only reindeer in Rantoul were at Hardy’s? For another neighborhood that really gets into showing its Christmas spirit, check out “Candy Cane Hills” in Rantoul. You’ll see a wide variety of traditional displays as well as inflatables (Santa on a boat? Why not?); some reindeer, including a special display of Santa with Rudolph and friends; and lots and lots of candy canes. Easy to get to and not far from I-57, if you’re coming from Champaign-Urbana. From I-57 take Route 136 (Champaign Avenue) west to East Drive, just past the McDonald’s. Follow East around until Indian Hills Drive. Candy Cane Hills includes Indian Hills Drive, Niepswah Drive, and surrounding streets. For more Christmas beauty in Rantoul, many houses on Champaign Avenue – the main drag into town – are festive as well.
A display at Candy Cane Hills in Rantoul. Photo by Chambanamoms.
Lighting Up Paxton: The Johnson Home
We are sad that the Johnson Home will not be lit up for 2021. You can watch videos of the area’s most dynamic synchronized lights show online. This is a show NOT TO BE MISSED, with 140,000 lights on one home – of course, video only this year.
GIBSON CITY AREA
Once again this year, Gibson City has transformed its lighted parade into a drive thru event which invites guests to stay in their cars and immerse themselves in a wonderland of LED light displays. December 10 only. More on the event here.
Harvest Moon Drive-In
Celebrate the Holiday season with Harvest Moon’s Lighted Lane Christmas light display. Running from dusk to midnight daily from November 21 – December 31, the entrance area of the Harvest Moon is getting a festive makeover. They’re putting up thousands of sparking lights on the trees, poles, screen, marquee and driveway to enjoy when you drive by the theater on Route 47. Some of the light displays will dance to music as well.
Lights on Hunt Street, Melvin
This musical show includes lights synchronized to songs such as Believer by Imagine Dragons, Christmas Everyday, Mary Did You Know by Pentatonix, and more. The show runs 5-9:30pm from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Melvin is located Northeast of Gibson City; this home (116 S. Hunt Street, map) is about 13 minutes away from Harvest Moon Drive In.
Kennekuk County Park, Danville
Located five miles west of Danville, the historic buildings at Kennekuk County Park’s Bunker Hill Historic Area will be decorated for the holidays and thousands of lights illuminated. The holiday lights at the Bunker Hill Historic Area, Kennekuk County Park, will be expanded this upcoming season, thanks to the addition of most of the displays from the Brooks Family Christmas, formerly located just south of Kennekuk on Henning Road. The large display with thousands of lights will start the night of the Bunker Hill Holiday Open House on December 5, 2021, and continue nightly from 5:00-8:00 pm until January 2, 2022. Directions HERE.
3026 Golf Circle, Danville. Tons of inflatables and lights.
Tilton Winter Wonderland, Tilton (limited dates)
This FREE drive-through community display, located in the Tilton Ballpark (which can seen from I-74), will be back in 2021. Part traditional, part humorous. Gingerbread cookies playing volleyball, a helicopter flying, and grandma getting run over by a reindeer. Turn your radio to 101.1 FM to enjoy some Christmas music. DATES: December 10-12; December 17 thru December 31; 5 pm to 10 pm. Map here.
They Love the Lights in Hoopeston
Lights fans, it’s worth your while to make the trek to Hoopeston – yes, Hoopeston. Come drive the mile long loop at McFerren Park and experience an unforgettable light display, named one of the top in Illinois. Tens of thousands of lights and dozens of displays will guarantee a night you won’t soon forget. Every evening, from Thanksgiving through Jan. 2, from sundown until 11 p.m. at McFerren Park. Enter from Elm Street entrance. Admission is free. While you’re in Hoopeston, check out the Thomas’s Light Show at 928 West Penn St. on the corner of 9th Avenue and Penn. More than 100,000 lights on three houses and controlled by Light-O-Rama! Opening night is Friday, Nov 27 at 5 pm.
Want more lights? Check out our Central Illinois Christmas Lights Trail.
We want to see your lights pics! Tag #ChambanaLights on Instagram or Twitter.
What displays or neighborhoods have we missed? Let us know in the comments or email us – [email protected]
Looking for more? Subscribe to our Home for the Holidays Newsletter. Want more ideas for holiday (or everyday) fun? Check out our Event Calendar.
Everything Holiday Season In and Around Champaign-Urbana