Trekaroo Family Travel Blog kids. trips. tips. Fri, 15 Oct 2021 21:48:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Trekaroo Family Travel Blog 32 32 9953755 10 Terrific Pumpkin Patches in Chicago Fri, 15 Oct 2021 21:48:27 +0000 Falll brings cooler weather, turning leaves, and lots of pumpkin patch fun! There are many incredible pumpkin patches in Chicago metro (aka: Chicagoland) that it is easy to spend every …

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Falll brings cooler weather, turning leaves, and lots of pumpkin patch fun! There are many incredible pumpkin patches in Chicago metro (aka: Chicagoland) that it is easy to spend every weekend in October exploring a new one!

Many of the pumpkin patches in the Chacago area have all sort of extras like apple picking, corn mazes, and lots of rides and activities. Here are the best of the best. These are genuine farms dedicated to giving families an incredible experience while in search for the perfect pumpkin.

The Best Pumpkin Patches in Chicago Metro

1. Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm

10 Terrific Pumpkin Patches in Chicago 1
Pumpkins Galore at Bengston’s, Photo via Flickr

13341 W 151st St, Homer Glen

The most popular pumpkin patch in Chicagoland is Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm. Trekaroo families return to this farm year after year because there are so many fun things to do!

There are over a dozen rides that little kids will surely love, from the Barnyard Dance Cow Coaster to the Frog Hopper and the 90′ Mega Fun Slide. There are also pig races, hay rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, and a pumpkin chucker.

There are plenty of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes to pick from, including carving pumpkins and baking pumpkins, as well as gnarled gourds.

Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm also serves up a wide variety of food and treats including apple cider donuts, tasty bbq, and even ice cream.

Admission hours and pirces vary by the day so be sure to check the calendar on their website before you go.

2. Odyssey Fun Farm at Odyssey Fun World

Odyssey Fun Farm near Chicago

18900 Oak Park Ave. Tinley Park

Odyssey Fun World in Tinley Park is an amusement center with mini golf, bumper boats, arcade games, laser tag and a few rides that is open throughout the year, but during the fall harvest season they also play host to Odyssey Fun Farm.

Fun awaits at this pumpkin patch with a petting zoo, hayrides, a cow train, duck races, pony rides, zipline, giant pillow bounce, corn maze, and Zombie Paintball Shooting Gallery.

They open for the season on September 25 and are open daily except September 27-29 and October 4-6.

Admission is $22 during the week and $24 on weekend. Some attractions are included and some require an additional fee. Visit their website for full details.

3. Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm

Siegels is one of the best pumpkin patches in Chicago metro

17250 S. Weber Road, Lockport

Siegel’s is another one of those pumpkin patches in Chicago metro that you won’t want to miss. This farm has been around for over 100 years and has acres of Halloween fun waiting to be enjoyed.

Their 10-acre corn maze draws families from all over the area, brave enough to wander in and then find their way out. This year’s corn maze theme is Super Mario Brothers. It is open on weekends from 10am-6pm .

Be sure to purchase your tickets online to save up to $10 on admission. The great thing about this farm is that admission grants you access to unlimited use of the attractions, so visiting the farm can easily become an all-day adventure!

Military active duty, veterans, police, and firefighters get FREE admission every day, as do grandparents (with purchase of one child per grandparent) during the week.

There are 35 attractions on this farm. Highlights include the Mountain Slide, Nanny Goat’s Road House (filled with adorable goats), lots of games, a train, tractor rides, playgrounds, the corn maze, and so much more!

There are several different places around the farm to buy food and treats. There pumpkin patch is widely regarded as one of the best around with plenty of perfect pumpkins for the picking.

4. The Children’s Farm at The Center

10 Terrific Pumpkin Patches in Chicago 2

12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Park

The Children’s Farm at The Center is a great place for kids to really learn about what farming animals is like and where their food comes from. They host classes, camps, and farm tours all year long.

It is a great place for kids to see horses eating hay right from the field, cows producing milk, chickens laying eggs, and sheep growing wool.

On Thursdays through Sundays during the month of October, the farm is hosting Pumpkin Days. Admission is $10 and includes barn tours, a petting farm, hay climber, maze, hay rack rides, and a spooky shed.

There will be food to purchase and 60 acres of mapped walking trails to explore. And, of course, they have a u-pick pumpkin patch and farm stand which offers a large variety of pumpkins and gourds in all shapes and sizes, as well as corn stalks and straw bales

5. Richardson’s Adventure Farm

Richardson's Adventure Farm is one of the best pumpkin patches in Chicago metro
Photo via Flickr

909 English Prairie Road, Spring Grove

There are farms and then there is the Richardson’s Adventure Farm north of Chicago near the Wisconsin border.

It is widely known for its incredible corn maze which has 9-10 miles of trails winding through 28 acres of corn. In addition to the giant maze, there are also several games you can play inside the maze.

That might sound a bit daunting but the good news is that this maze is actually four different mazes, so you can break it up into much more manageable sections. This year’s maze theme celebrates the farm’s 20th anniversary of creating epic corn mazes.

But wait, there’s more! There is also a train ride, wagon rides, zorb balls, a zip line, bungee jumpers, paint ball, air cannons, playgrounds, and a 150 foot slide.

Animal lovers will be happy to learn there are bunnies, goats, a petting zoo, and wildly popular pig races.

We can’t forget about the pumpkins! Richardson’s Adventure Farm grows thousands of pumpkin and gourds for the picking. You can choose to head out to the patch or purchase something from the pile.

This farms is open September 17 through November 7, 2021, Thursday through Sunday. Weekend admission is $22 for adults and $18 for children online and $18 for adults and $15 for kids during the week.

Fun fact: Richardon’s hosts a Tulip Festival in the spring.

6. Jonamac Orchard

Jonamac Orchard has a fun pumpkin patch near Chicago
Photo via Flickr

19412 Shabbona Rd, Malta

Jonamac Orchard is well-known for being an apple picking destination in the fall. They have dozens of varieties of apples and over 20,000 apple trees. Apple picking takes place mostly during September but come October, they swtich gears and focus on pumpkins.

The pick-your-own pumpkin patch opens mid-to-late September so if you time it right, you can enjoy both!

During both pumpkin and apple season there is a barnyard play area, petting zoo, wagon rides, corn crib play barn, pony rides, a train, an apple launcher, and cider house tasting room. There is also live music and food trucks on the weekends.

Their large corn maze is open weekends from August 28, 2021 through Halloween. During the evenings in October the maze becomes a haunted corn maze which is fun for older kids who love a good fright!

It is highly recommended you purchase your tickets in advance because capacity is limited.

7. Kuipers Family Farm

10 Terrific Pumpkin Patches in Chicago 3
Photo via Flickr

1N318 Watson Rd, Maple Park

West of Chicago you will find 230-acre Kuipers Family Farm which bills itself as an entertainment farm. They have an apple orchard, pumpkin patch, and even Christmas trees in the winter!

The farm opens for apple picking Labor Day weekend and lasts as long as the apples do. As October approaches (the pumpkin farm is open September 18- October 31, 2021) you will want to stop by the Pumpkin Farm.

The Pumpkin Farm has a corn maze, hayrides, a haunted forest, peddle tractor derby for the little ones, jumping pillow, train, tractor tire mountain, a giant slide, games, farm animals, and more!

Their store sells homemade pies, apple cider, caramel apples, apple cider donuts, and fudge. They also have the Corncrib Cafe and The Framhouse Kitchen serving up meals.

Admission is $20 during the week (if you buy online) and $23 on the weekends.

8. TOM’s Farm Market


10214 Algonquin Road, Huntley

TOM’s Farm Market grows all sorts of produce year round in their 80,000 square feet of greenhouses. There is everything from sweet corn, tomatoes, and peppers to asaparagus and strawberries at their stand northwest of Chicago.

From October 1-31 they celebrate Fall on the Farm at their u-pick pumpkin patch. Admission includes activities like the corn maze, straw maze, duck races, barrel rides, jumping pillow, corn crib box, and climbing tire mound, wallball, barnyard ball, peddle tractors, and a petting zoo.

Tickets must be purchased online to guarantee admission. Admission is $8 on weekdays and $11 on weekends. Tickets are not required to visit the store, bakery, or u-pick field.

9. Royal Oak Farm Apple Orchard

Apple tree maze at Royal Oaks Apple Orchard
Photo via Visit McHenry County

15908 Hebron Road, Harvard

The Royal Oak Farm Apple Orchard is another great u-pick apple orchard that also hosts a pumpkin patch, allowing you to combine two favorite fall experiences into one outing. They have 20,000 apples trees growing 30 apple varieties on their 160 acre farm north of Chicago near the Wisconsin border.

In addition to the pumpkins and apples, there is a playground, petting zoo, train, carousel, hay rides, and even an apple tree maze! Their country kitchen sells baked goods like pies and donuts and home-cooked meals like chicken pot pie.

Royal Oak Farm is open daily throughout the fall season. Check the website to see which apple varieties are available for picking.

10. Sonny Acres Farm

10 Terrific Pumpkin Patches in Chicago 4

29W310 North Avenue, West Chicago

Sonny Acres Farm has been a Chiacago mainstay since 1883. They have a bunch of carnival rides, hayrides, a petting zoo, sweet shop, and tons of pumpkins to choose from.

There is an unlimited ride/attractions until 5pm wristband that can be purchased on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for $25.

During the evenings, things get extra spooky with a Haunted Hayride and a Haunted Barn on the weekends. The evening attractions are better suited for those 10 and up who don’t mind a good scare.

The farm is open September 18 through Halloween.

See more of the city. Here are the 10 best things to do in Chicago with kids.

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Best Resorts for Christmas Vacation in Texas Thu, 14 Oct 2021 07:59:00 +0000 Here in Texas, everything’s bigger! If you want a chance to discover a Texas size holiday yourself, be sure to visit at least one these resorts.

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Planning a Christmas vacation in Texas this year? We’ve got the ultimate list of family resorts in Texas that go all out for the holiday season. Resorts like the Gaylord Texan and the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country host some of the most festive light displays, Santa sightings, and holiday entertainment in the state.

Get ready to be surrounded by the Christmas spirit on your next Christmas getaway in Texas because these resorts bring it right to your doorstep! Updated for 2021!

Celebrate Christmas Vacation in Texas

1. Christmas at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine

Christmas Getaways in Texas
Gaylord Texan | Photo by Flickr/Curtis Simmons

In December, the entire Gaylord Texan Resort transforms into a magical land of holiday enchantment! From rotating Christmas trees to two million lights and a life-size gingerbread house, you will be completely immersed in holiday cheer at this resort.

Lonestar Christmas at Gaylord Texan runs in November 12, 2021 through January 2, 2022. It features ice skating, snow tubing, gingerbread house decorating, scavenger hut, Christmas-themed escape room, Christmas carousel, photos with Santa, a light show, build your own snowman (with real snow!) and so much more!

Book your stay at the Gaylord Texan. As an affiliate of, we guarantee the lowest prices!

If you can’t make it this year, definitely put this resort on your bucket list for Christmas getaways in Texas!

See what else is going on in Grapevine, Texas this Christmas season.

2. Christmas at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in AUstin

Christmas Resorts in Texas
Ladybird Lawn at the Omni Barton Creek Resort | Photo Courtesy of Omni Resorts

The Barton Creek Resort & Spa reopened in the spring of 2019 after a multi-million dollar renovation. It debuted a new and improved pool complex, multiple golf courses, and seven on-site restaurants.

For the holiday season, the resort hosts Cowboy Santa Stories as well as Caroling and Cocktails. They also have letters to Santa kids at the concierge desk and a Winter Wonderland themed game room.

Don’t miss the Holiday in the Hills Light Trail which leads guests to Santa’s Magical Toy Shop where you can play glow-in-the-dark mini golf. On select dates, there will even be snow!

an elf-on-the-shelf scavenger hunt for families, complimentary hot chocolate on weekend evenings, and a Snow Globe Winter Wonderland on weekends in December. 

You can check out their full holiday calendar on their website.

3. Spend Christmas Vacation in Texas at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort

Christmas Getaways in Texas
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, Photo by Tarlie Harris

This JW Marriott is decked out for the holiday season in exquisite taste. The coordinating lights and music on the grounds inspire holiday cheer at every turn.

Want to visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves? How about reindeer? At JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, you can join them for breakfast!

Celebrate the holidays in style this year, without foregoing the fun. Enjoy a full day packed with holiday activities from making keepsake ornaments to taking a hayride or working on a gingerbread craft with your little ones.

Spend Saturday morning seeing if you can win the sandy snowman contest, or send the teens off for a virtual reality holiday experience. Of course, adults can tee-up at the golf course, indulge in a sugar cookie body scrub, and top the day off with a Rudolphtini

4. Christmas at Moody Gardens Hotel in Galveston

Christmas Getaways in Texas include Moody Gardens
Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens, Photo Courtesy of Galveston CVB

Moody Gardens hosts one the biggest Christmas experiences in the state from November 20, 2021 through January 2, 2022. 

There is a Rudolph 4D experience, an Arctic slide, train rides, S’mores, a four-story-tall dancing tree of light, Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show, evening boat cruises, and the Festival of Lights. The Festival of Lights is a walking trail filled with treats, activities, and carolers.

Stay at the Moody Gardens Hotel for a front seat pass to ALL of the action. Plan on spending a week here, you’re going to need it!

5. Christmas at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio

La Cantera Resort during Christmas
Photo via La Cantera Resort

The La Cantera Resort‘s Hill Country Holiday kicks off with a family friendly tree lighting event in on December 2, 2021.

The fun continues with the How the Grinch Stole Brunch on December 4, 2021 at the SweetFire Kitchen. Proceeds for the Grinch Brunch will go to the Children’s Bearevement Center of San Antonio so you can have a fun meal while donating to a great cause.

The resort will also host holiday markets and a special Teddy Bear Tea.

6. Christmas Vacation in Texas at the Great Wold Lodge in Grapevine

Christmas Resorts in Texas include the Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge, Photo by Flickr/Massachusetts OTT

It’s snowing…indoors at Snowland from November 29, 2021 through January 2, 2022! At Great Wolf Lodge, you can play in the indoor water park AND the snow in the lobby!

Great Wolf Lodge will impress you the moment you see the enormous wolf statues at the front door, but its grandeur doesn’t end there. The lobby is a giant forest complete with a tree house and picture windows looking onto the water park.

In addition to the normal activities like a wolf walk and pajama story time, kids can race a polar bear down a water slide, meet Santa, play reindeer games, and dance the night away at the Snowland Snowball Family Dance Party. Your children will be talking about this trip for years to come!

Be sure to read our full article on Great Wolf Lodge’s Christmas offerings and check out our Great Wolf Lodge tips before you go!

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

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The Best Christmas Events in Austin, Texas for Families in 2021 Thu, 14 Oct 2021 07:41:00 +0000 Christmas events in Austin are overflowing with live music, iconic Austin food, and funky-meets-traditional holiday entertainment for the whole family. Stroll through the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park or …

The post The Best Christmas Events in Austin, Texas for Families in 2021 appeared first on Trekaroo Family Travel Blog.

Christmas events in Austin are overflowing with live music, iconic Austin food, and funky-meets-traditional holiday entertainment for the whole family. Stroll through the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park or sing carols on the steps of the Texas state capitol.

Ice skating, photos with Santa, and hot chocolate are the sounds, sights, and taste of Christmas. Go out and capture memories your family will hold on to forever at the best Christmas events in Austin this year! Updated for 2021!

Christmas in Austin- The Best Christmas Events in Austin 2021

Get Into the Spirit of Giving

Austin Christmas Events include Chuy's Christmas Parade
Chuy’s Christmas Parade, Photo by Kim Maguire Photography

The Austin Police Operation Blue Santa facilitates toy drives for needy families all over central Texas. Consequently, over 6,000 families will receive Christmas gifts directly from these events this holiday season.

Operation Blue Santa also organizes a quieter, more intimate holiday experience for the whole family.

On select dates, bing new, unwrapped gifts downtown and receive a horse drawn carriage ride from Austin Carriage in exchange. It’s a peaceful ride, set to the gentle clip-clop of horse’s hooves and the slowly passing street scenes of downtown Austin.

Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade takes place in downtown Austin. Marvel at the festive floats, classic cars, and beloved children’s characters.

If you bring a new, unwrapped toy to the parade, you can watch your child delight in the true joy of giving. They will have the opportunity to hand over their toy to one of Santa’s elves during the procession. Cancelled for 2021 due to Covid-19.

Looking for fun in Austin any time of year? Check out our picks for the Top 10 Things to do in Austin with Kids!

Christmas Light Displays in Austin

The Christmas Light Show at Mozart'
The Christmas Light Show at Mozart’s, Photo by Tarlie Harris

The annual Holiday Sing-Along takes place at the state capitol building in early December. Join hundreds of other families to belt out your favorite Christmas carols!

The sing-along precedes the capitol’s tree lighting ceremony, complete with a light show set to holiday music. This year’s event takes place December 4, 2021.

After the tree lighting, the Downtown Stroll is open along Congress Avenue. Local businesses and museums spread holiday cheer with special sales, treats, and live entertainment.

Grab a photo with Santa and some hot chocolate along the way! This trifecta of Christmas events in Austin is a cherished holiday tradition for many families.

The Trail of Lights at Zilker Park is one of the most beloved Austin Christmas events. It is open from November 27, 2021 through December 31, 2021. It will be a drive-thru event due to Covid-19. Tickets are available online for purchase.

Many displays have just enough of a Texas twist to make this trail of lights unlike any other. Austin’s famed food trucks and musicians create a lively atmosphere that families look forward to every year.

The Trail of Lights Fun Run takes place on the trail as well. It’s a perfect distance for the whole family, at only 2.1 miles, and it’s stroller/walker friendly. Check the schedule for details. 

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters is what every coffee shop wishes it could be. It oozes charm, comfort, and authenticity. It offers unparalleled views and seating on the banks of Lake Austin.

Mozart’s endeared itself to the community even further when it started putting on a one-of-a-kind Christmas Light Show. The show is free and open to the public, with no reservations necessary. Just drop by, grab a treat, and enjoy the tunes and decorations. 

Christmas in Austin- Christmas Theater

Christmas Events Austin include the Nutcracker at the Long Center
The Nutcracker at the Long Center, Photo by Tony Spielberg, Courtesy of Visit Austin

Nothing says “December is here” quite like the Nutcracker! Ballet Austin presents the Nutcracker at the Long Center. The music of this world-famous ballet burrows deep, and will have your little ones dancing the waltz of the snowflakes all season long. This year’s shows will be performed on select dates December 4- 23, 2021.

From November 17, 2021 – Janaury 2, 2022 the Zach Theatre’s a captivating, energetic musical that seamlessly integrates modern music with the classic A Christmas Carol story.

Pioneer Farms does a more traditional rendition of A Christmas Carol. There’s a catch though. The audience stays in very small groups and moves about the historic farm – building to building – to see all the scenes of the play.

It’s a completely immersive experience and kids love that they get to be on the move. Note: Pioneer Farms has not yet updated its holiday 2021 offerings.

Step back into cinema’s golden age at the Paramount Theater. This 100-year-old theater in downtown Austin runs holiday programming for the whole month of December including Charlie Brown Christmas and Cowboy Christmas.

Family Friendly Christmas Shopping Events

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Photo by Jennifer M. Ramos

Austin hosts two very well-loved holiday markets annually. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar runs daily from December 15- 24, 2021 at the Palmer Events Center near downtown Austin.

It is THE shopping experience of the year for art and live music lovers. Listen to local musicians while you peruse the seemingly endless stalls of fine art. Pick up jewelry, clothes, hats, handbags, and more as one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.

The Bazaar is an exceptionally no-fuss way to enjoy live music as a family. Musicians perform all day long, seating is available, and you can hear the music throughout the entire venue. 

The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is another local favorite shopping event. This year it is open daily from from November 19 – December 24, 2021. The art here can be appreciated by all ages.

You will find photographs and prints you can frame yourself, novelty candles, yard art, wooden toys, and more. Everything is hand made by local artists.

Ice Skating in Austin

Winter Wonderland at The Circuit
Winter Wonderland at The Circuit, Photo by Tarlie Harris

Winter Wonderland at The Circuit of the Americas sets up the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Texas from the end of November through December.

Get ready for a full night of holiday fun because this event has it all! Christmas light displays, Chinese Lantern displays, camel rides, amusement park rides, a visit with Santa, and more. 

Note: For 2021 Circuit of the Americas will instead host Peppermint Parkway, a drive-thru holiday experience due to Covi-19 concerns. Check website for details. 

If you don’t want to leave downtown, the flagship Whole Foods Market is a convenient place to have a quick skate. Whole Foods turns its roof into an skating rink for the month of December and is open daily for skating.

Find more fun things to do in Texas

The Four Seasons Gingerbread Village

Gingerbread Village at The Four Seasons
Gingerbread Village at The Four Seasons, Photo Courtesy of The Four Seasons

Every year, The Four Seasons Hotel Austin downtown erects a massive gingerbread village in its main lobby. This year, the village is inpired by the magic of the North Pole and will feature 11 houses including Santa’s Workshop, the Elf Dormitory, and a festive Town Square.

This special gingerbread village is open to the public so that locals and visitors can all join in on the fun! This year’s gingerbread village will debut Novermber 29, 2021.

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

Lead image courtesy of Trail of Lights Foundation. 

The post The Best Christmas Events in Austin, Texas for Families in 2021 appeared first on Trekaroo Family Travel Blog.

Christmas in Milwaukee- Milwaukee Christmas Events 2021 Thu, 14 Oct 2021 07:01:00 +0000 From lights and lights festivals to holiday performances to unique quaint towns, Milwaukee has it all! Check out these fun, family activities perfect for the entire family and make lasting memories for years to come. Happy holidays!

The post Christmas in Milwaukee- Milwaukee Christmas Events 2021 appeared first on Trekaroo Family Travel Blog.

Milwaukee is no stranger to celebrating the best time of the year. From lights and light festivals to holiday performances and unique, quaint towns, Christmas in Milwaukee has it all!

Check out these fun activities perfect for the entire family and make lasting memories for years to come. You are bound to have happy holidays while attending these Milwaukee Christmas events. Updated for 2021!

Milwaukee Christmas Events 2021

Holiday Lights Festival

Popular Milwaukee Christmas events include Holiday Lights in Catherdral Square Park
Photo via Flickr

The Milwaukee area’s most popular holiday event, the Holiday Lights Festival, lights up the sky for six weeks November 18, 2021 through January 1, 2022.

With holiday light displays, hundreds of wreaths, a variety of animated sculptures, and tons of activities, there is something enchanting for everyone.

A family favorite is the Jingle Bus, a 40-minute tour that highlights the city’s brightly festive spots and provides cookies and hot cocoa. And, at only $2 a ride, it’s easy on the pockets too!

Don’t forget to stop by “Community Spirit Park” in Cathedral Square Park and drop off your wish lists at Santa’s Mailbox. The best thing? Santa actually writes back to you!

How about experiencing the Holiday Lights aboard a mini coach while sipping on hot chocolate and munching on desserts?

On the Milwaukee Food Tours Christmas Lights and Desserts Tour, riders will be able to do just that, along with two walking stops at Zeidler Union Square and Cathedral Square. They also have a Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Tour for all you sweet tooths.

If you can’t make it into town, Milwaukee Food Tours also sells popular Christmas boxes such as their Wisconsin advent calendar.

To really celebrate the holidays like a local one must stop by annual Christmas lights at Candy Cane Lane. In this residential neighborhood almost everyone decorates their home for the holidays!

The best thing is that they do so to support the Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer. There is no entrance fee, but they do have a central corner where donations for the cause are collected.

Ice Skating in Milwaukee During the Christmas Season

Ice Skating in Milwaukee at Red Arrow Park
Photo via Flickr

Ice skating anyone? Well, how about skating in a rink bigger than Rockefeller Center? Located in downtown Milwaukee, Red Arrow Park’s Slice of Ice can accommodate 100 skaters at once.

Skating is free if you have your own skates. No skates? No worries! They rent them out as well. When the Midwest chill starts to set in, get toasty inside the warming house where you’ll be sure to have a great view of all the action from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Santa Claus Sightings in Milwaukee

Photo by Visit Milwaukee

Santa Claus is coming to town! Come visit Santa at the Milwaukee County Zoo where you and the family can have either breakfast or lunch with the jolly old man himself, Mrs. Claus, and his elves. This event will take place on select December weekends. Breakfast is served at 9 am and lunch is at noon. Note: As of 10/14/21 the zoo has not updated its website for 2021.

Santa can also be spotted in his outdoor gingerbread house at the Historic Third Ward’s Christmas in the Ward. Afterward, experience an old-fashioned Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Catalano Square, see live reindeer, go on horse-drawn carriage rides, and enjoy live music and holiday shopping! This year’s event will take place December 3, 2021.

For more of a traditional setting, share a jolly breakfast in a festively decorated ballroom at Breakfast with Santa at the Pfister Hotel. Children will receive a special gift, make crafts, and write letters to Santa. This experience is only available on select dates so book early!

Catch a Holiday Performance

A Christmas Carol - Milwaukee-Holidays
Photo by Visit Milwaukee

Need to get into the festive spirit this holiday season? Milwaukee hosts a few shows that will no doubt warm your hearts.

One of Milwaukee’s most well-known holiday shows and simply a holiday classic is the Milwaukee Ballet’s annual Christmas season performance of The Nutcracker December 10-26, 2021. With unforgettable music, impressive set designs, and toys coming to life, what more could you want?

For a fun family favorite, the First Stage Theater presents A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Todd Wehr Theatre November 20-December 26, 2021.

Check for amazing deals on family-friendly hotels in Milwaukee.

Celebrate an Old-Fashioned Christmas

Photos by Visit Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a winter wonderland filled with old-fashioned elegance during the Christmas season. Step back in time and imagine Christmas as it was during the 19th century by touring the home of the famous beer baron Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion for Twilight Tour on select dates in November and December.

With its ornate holiday decorations and historic setting, it’s no wonder why more than 100,000 people visit this restored Victorian mansion.

For a unique Christmas experience, families need to visit the quaint, cozy, and historic town of Cedarburg. Visit Santa’s Workshop, a candy-covered house where Santa stays on weekends to visit families and where elves work hard on building toys for good boys and girls.

A Polar Express ride takes children on a journey to the North Pole where there’s a toy store, arts and crafts, caroling, snacks, music, and gifts from Santa.

How about celebrating the holidays as it was in the 19th-century? At Old World Wisconsin, on weekends during December, families will find Christmas tales, free horse-drawn bobsled rides (or wagon rides if there’s no snow on the ground), caroling and hymn singing, food sampling from cherished recipes, wood-fired stoves and bonfires.

Plus, take photos with a 19th-century Santa! Don’t miss Vanocka, North America’s largest Yule Goat!

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

Updated for 2019 -2021 by Sharlene Earnshaw. A special thanks to Tina Jalowiec for contributing to the original version of this article.

Lead image by Bigstock

The post Christmas in Milwaukee- Milwaukee Christmas Events 2021 appeared first on Trekaroo Family Travel Blog.

The Best Salt Lake City Christmas Events for Families in 2021 Wed, 13 Oct 2021 08:02:00 +0000 Salt Lake City becomes a magical winter scene surrounded by the stunning snow-capped Wasatch Mountains each holiday season. The scene is idyllic, with a pile of holiday cheer on top!

The post The Best Salt Lake City Christmas Events for Families in 2021 appeared first on Trekaroo Family Travel Blog.

A Salt Lake City Christmas is a magical winter scene surrounded by the stunning snow-capped mountains each holiday season. It is truly idyllic, with a pile of holiday cheer on top!

This is a place where family holiday traditions are made, from admiring holiday-themed displays to attending Christmas events in Salt Lake City. Check out the best Salt Lake City Christmas events for families this year. Updated for 2021!

Salt Lake City Christmas Events

The Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees, Photo by Flickr/tsayrate

Charity and holiday tradition unite at the Festival of Trees December 1 – 4, 2021. This annual holiday event treats families to themed Christmas tree displays, boutiques, and entertainment, all while benefiting children fighting severe illnesses.

Businesses, families, and individuals get into the holiday giving spirit by decorating and then donating Christmas trees for this annual fund-raiser.

The trees are displayed and then auctioned off to the highest bidder. 100% of the proceeds go to the beloved Primary Children’s Medical Center. This event caters to families offering plenty of kid-friendly fun including Santa visits.

Word of warning: Do not attempt to peruse the Angel Tree displays without tissues in hand.  These trees share the stories of kids who have fought, often won, though sometimes lost their fight against terminal illness. This is truly one of the most magical Salt Lake City Christmas events.

Sounds of the Holidays

Salt Lake City Christmas Events choir at temple square
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Photo by Flickr/MinnieMouseAunt 

Venues throughout Salt Lake City offer many free and low-cost holiday concerts during the holiday season. The Cathedral of the Madeline offers an annual Christmas Carol Service with the talented Madeline Choir School child performers.

Temple Square features musical performers around the grounds throughout the holiday season. Check their website for a schedule of events.

If your family prefers to sing-a-long rather than listen in, then warm up your vocal chords and join in the fun at the annual Messiah Sing-In with the Utah Symphony – Hallelujah!

Or participate in the annual Christmas Carole Sing Along hosted by the West Valley Symphony.

See the Nutcracker

salt-lake-city-christmas nutcracker-by-flickr-larry-lasma
The Nutcracker Ballet, Photo by Flickr/Larry Lamsa 

The holidays are the perfect time to expose kids to the performing arts in Salt Lake City as the world-renowned Ballet West features its annual performance of The Nutcracker at the Capitol Theatre December 4-26, 2021.

The story is easy to follow, the music is familiar, and Ballet West intermingles talented child performers with its professional dancers for this performance. Sword fighting mice and dancing toys may be just enough to instill art appreciation and spark a new cultural interest into a future performer’s heart.

Breakfast with Santa

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Photo Op at Breakfast with Santa, Photo by Flickr/Jason Melcher 

The luxurious Grand America Hotel is wonderful any time of the year, but it becomes exceptionally magical during the holiday season. Families will love strolling through the hotel’s corridors where whimsical window displays and gingerbread creations abound.

This festive atmosphere is sure to make little ones hungry. So what goes better together than Santa and pancakes? Santa and Mrs. Claus invite families to join them at the breakfast table for delicious food, holiday songs, and family photos.

If you prefer to sleep in, families can indulge in an afternoon tea with Santa and Mrs. Claus, complete with holiday stories, hot chocolate, and cookies.

Book your stay at the Grand America Hotel.

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Outdoor Ice Skating

ice skates
Photo by Bigstock/Sarah5 

The Gallivan Center is just the place to test your skating skills during the holidays. Located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, the Gallivan Center ice rink is surrounded by Christmas lights, music, and some excellent retail shopping opportunities. The location is central to many holiday events in Salt Lake City.

Christmas at City Creek Center

city creek center slc by wikimediacommons
Fountains at City Creek Center, Photo by wikimediacommons/Shawnnielson

No place combines holiday shopping and entertainment like City Creek Center. In addition the the picturesque window displays, the mall is filled with glorious decorations and lights.

The hourly fountain show dances to Christmas music during this season. And kids can visit Santa for photos Monday through Saturday all the way until Christmas Day. 

Experience Zoolights at Hogle Zoo

Salt-Lake-City-Christmas Hogle Zoo Zoolights
ZooLights at Hogle Zoo, Photo by Hogle Zoo

Wildlife meets wild lights at Hogle Zoo’s annual ZooLights event. Walking the lit pathways and the 135-foot lighted tunnel is Salt Lake City’s brightest family tradition.

ZooLights features special family activities each night including ice carving displays, holiday crafts, and small animal encounters. Kids will find this a favorite among Salt Lake City Christmas events.

Bah Humbug?

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A Christmas Carol, Photo by flickr/UFV

If the holidays often leave you feeling like a Scrooge, you may want to check out the Hale Center Theater’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. There is no bad seat in this venue as the rotating stage sits center with audience seating encircled around.

Audience members often feel like part of the performance; so much so that Jacob Morley’s ghost and clanging chains may frighten some of the smallest spectating kids. 

This year’s production runs November 29- December 27, 2021.

Experience an Old Fashioned Salt Lake City Christmas

Candlelight Christmas at This is The Place Heritage Park, Photo by Wikimedia Commons/An Errant Knight

Step back in time and experience an old-fashioned Christmas. Find homemade gifts, Father Christmas, and pioneer carolers at the annual Candlelight Christmas event hosted by This is the Place Heritage Park December 7-23, 2021.

Families will experience a simpler time and a simpler holiday while meandering through this picturesque winter village.

Make a homemade gift, or purchase a handcrafted item at one of the many old-fashioned shops aligning the village. Visit with Father Christmas, see the reindeer, and admire the live Nativity scene at this enchanted event.

Candlelight Christmas is a simple family tradition, a chance to slow down and get away from the holiday hustle and bustle.

Stay at these Family Friendly Hotels in Salt Lake City.

Hit the Slopes

Skiing and family holiday traditions go together like hot cocoa and marshmallows. Salt Lake City area ski resorts offer some pretty great kid-friendly skiing, plus some pretty special holiday events. 

Snowbird Ski Resort celebrates the holidays with a traditional Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony and a stunning Christmas Eve torchlight parade where Santa Claus will rappel out of the tram to say hello to the kids!

Solitude Ski Resort celebrates its annual Winterfest offering plenty of kid-friendly fun such as s’more parties, ice skating, ice carvers, storytellers, carolers, avalanche dog demonstrations, and the Children’s Glow Parade.

Be sure to look for Santa while on the slopes – he can often be found handing out candy canes to all good boys and girls. 

See the Lights of Temple Square

temple-lightsduring Chrstmas in Salt Lake CIty
The Lights at Temple Square, Photo by Flickr/denebola2025

Witnessing holiday lights at Temple Square is one of the most popular family traditions in Utah. Hundreds of thousands of visitors make the annual pilgrimage to Temple Square during the holiday season to see the spectacle of light – it’s that amazing!

You see, groundskeepers begin putting up the lights in August in order to flip on the switch the day after Thanksgiving. Each tree is wrapped with thousands of lights, from trunk to each individual branch.

Handmade luminaries align walkways, celebrating enlightened scenes from Christmas. Kids will especially love seeing the beautiful nativity scenes from around the world, each demonstrating a differing cultural perspective.

Enjoy the lights throughout December because, on January 1, the lights go dim, leaving groundskeepers hard at work until Spring taking down each little light.

Related: Even MORE kid-friendly holiday activities in Salt Lake City Cut your own Christmas Tree Farms in Utah’s Wasatch Front Toddler Activities in SLC  | Free (or close to it!) Activities in SLC

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

Pin this to bookmark all the holiday events in Salt Lake City. We update it yearly:

Christmas and Holiday fun in Salt Lake City

 Special thanks to Ann Anderson who created the first version of this article.  Lead image by:

The post The Best Salt Lake City Christmas Events for Families in 2021 appeared first on Trekaroo Family Travel Blog.