Magical 2023 Holiday Events


Discover Peoria


From time-honored traditions such as Christmas lights, visits with Santa to holiday markets, parades and reindeer games, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Experience the magic as you immerse yourself in the wonder of the season and make memories with loved ones.  Here are a few of the most magical things to do for the Holidays in Greater Peoria, excerpted from the November/December 2023 Calendar of Events.

Carriage Rides at The Shoppes at Grand Prairie  {Peoria}   // November 24, December 3, 8, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 //   Feel the crisp air on your face as you experience the magic of a horse drawn, open-air carriage ride through The Shoppes at Grand Prairie. Rides are free and there is no need to make a reservation.

Christmas in the Park  {Bartonville}   //  November 25, 4-8pm  //  This holiday season, experience a bevy of bright lights as you stroll or drive through this fantastic display, featuring 300 Christmas trees.

Christmas in the Village at Peoria Riverfront Museum  {Peoria}   //  December 1, 4-8pm + December 2, 2-8pm   //   Waltz through the “village” and see Peoria Ballet Nutcracker Ballerinas flit about as you listen to carolers sing, sipping hot chocolate or cocktails, and taking pictures with Santa. More festivities include carriage rides, a holiday laser light show and live animals to add to the magical experience of “Christmas in the Village.”

Christmas on Court {Pekin} // Dec 1, 4-8pm // Explore the charming historic Downtown Court Street, with local retailers and Pop-Up Markets for a unique shopping experience. Indulge in delicious food and drinks and make sure to check out the community Christmas Tree, a tribute to Pekin’s First Responders.

Christmas Walk in Elmwood’s Central Park  {Elmwood}   //  December 2  //   Take a carriage ride, hear carolers, get your picture with Santa, and greet your community for the holidays at Elmwood’s Central Park! An Elmwood tradition that gets the whole family in the Christmas spirit.

Festival of Lights Parade  {East Peoria}   //   November 18, 6pm   //   Experience the magic + anticipation of the lights as they roll down the street for 2 miles! You’ll see the 70-foot long float of the famous Clydsdale horse team, a 95-foot-long smoke-spewing Chinese dragon, and a 160-foot- long steam engine train just to name a few.  Plan to arrive early for the best viewing spots.

FOLEPI’S Winter Wonderland {East Peoria} // November 24 – January 1 // Heavyweight Champion of the 2020 ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. Load the family up and experience this spectacular display of lights while you listen along to Christmas music on the radio.

Hometown Village Skate  {Morton}   //   Nov 24-Dec 3,  4-8pm   //   Embrace the winter tradition of outdoor ice skating as part of Morton’s Holidazzle celebrations.

Hometown Holidays Christmas Parade  {Morton}   //   November 25,  5:30-8pm   //   Make this holiday season merry and bright as you experience hometown charm at its finest. Welcome Santa + Mrs. Claus to town and stay after the parade for the beautiful tree lighting in Memorial Park.

Ice Skating at Better Banks Ice Skating Rink {Bartonville}   //   Dec 8-17, Sun-F 4-8pm + Sat 12-8pm   //   Lace up your skates, or rent a pair, for an enchanting experience this winter at Alpha Park. Christmas isn’t complete without classic outdoor activities and this is one you won’t want to miss!

Kris Kringle Market  {Peoria Heights}   // December 1, 10am-3pm + December 2, Sat 10am-3pm  //   Meet Kris Kringle as Peoria Heights celebrates the annual lighting of their Christmas tree at Tower Park. Visitors to this open air market can expect to check hot chocolate, cocktails, and live entertainment off their Christmas list.

Poinsettia Show at Luthy Botanical Gardens {Peoria} // November 17 – December 30, 10am-5pm // The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without experiencing a wonderland of tropical poinsettias inside the Peoria Park District‘s Luthy Botanical Gardens.

Santa’s Arrival at The Shoppes at Grand Prairie {Peoria} // November 17, 5:30pm – 8pm // Join Santa as he arrives to light the grand tree at The Shoppes at Grand Prairie. Holiday cheer will abound with Nitsch Theatre Arts performing holiday favorites. Stop by Santa’s village and sip hot cocoa while you visit with Santa on his first night.

Santa Claus Parade {Peoria} // November 24, 10:30am-1pm // 2023 marks the 126th year for The Santa Claus Parade in Downtown Peoria, making this timeless tradition the longest-running holiday parade in the nation. This Peoria tradition takes a magical journey through the downtown streets of Peoria with more than 100 decorated floats and characters.

Santa Sightings  {Peoria Area}   //   Are the kids hoping to see Santa this year to give him their Christmas list and share a holiday wish? Don’t miss where jolly ole St. Nick will be in the Greater Peoria Area. Check out the Santa Sightings article for photopps and meet + greets with Father Christmas.

Santa’s Woodland Workshop {Chillicothe} // December 2, 10am-12:30pm + 1:30pm – 4:00pm. December 3, 12:30pm – 3:00pm // Elves of all ages are welcome to come create a hand-crafted project at Camp Wokanda while enjoying hot chocolate, tasty treats, and chatting with Santa. (Reservations required)

Skate with Santa at Owen’s Center  {Peoria}   //   December 17, 2-4pm   //   Don your skates and warm apparel, it’s time to glide across the ice with Santa. A perfect activity for all ages.

Snowman Reindeer Farm {Canton} // November 11 – December 27, times vary. // This experience is unlike any other. Meet Santa’s reindeer up close while you hand feed them, visit Santa in the Holly Jolly Barn, take family photos, play reindeer games and enjoy the enchanting atmosphere. (Reservations required)

Stevens Square Christmas Tree Lighting  {Princeville}   //   November 26 – January 1   //   November 26, at 5:00pm, the quintessential hometown tree lighting ceremony will commence where 130 trees will light the night sky. Enjoy strolling through the wonderland of lighted trees throughout the holiday season.

VIP + Holiday Home Tours {Peoria} // December 2, 5-9pm + December 3, 1-5pm // Peoria is home to some wonderful historic homes that are beautifully decorated for the holidays, along with special displays and activities. This annual tradition offers the chance to stroll through a series of private homes that are rarely open to the public. The historic homes are chosen to reflect a diversity of different architectural and interior design styles, and each is beautifully decorated for the holidays. The Peoria Historical Society has a number of tours throughout the holiday season. The Peoria Historical Society holiday home tours stop at Peoria Women’s club. (Reservations required)

Wreath Making Class at Cinnamon Tree Farm {Brimfield} // November 28 + December 5 // “Memories are lined in the smell of pine” Family owned and operated, this farm makes you feel like you’re part of the family. Make a one-of-a-kind wreath to grace your home or gift, other workshops available. (Reservations required)

Winter Solstice Hike  {Peoria Heights}   //   December 21, 5:00pm – 6:00pm   //   On the longest night of the year, you’ll be guided along a wintery wonderland walk. Start at Forest Park Nature Center and enjoy the brisk night air, the company of others, and delicious hot cocoa afterwards. 

Winter Wonderland at Glen Oak Park  {Peoria}   //   December 2, 9, 16, + 23,  12:00pm – 4:00pm   //   All aboard as you’re whisked away on the Glen Oak Express for a ride through the park. Choo Choo! Take a trip to Santa’s workshop at Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum. Ride on over to Peoria Zoo to take photos with Santa, view the grand lighted tree, decorate christmas cookies and write letters to Rudolph.  End the magical night with a stop at Luthy Botanical Gardens poinsettia show.


A Night in Bethlehem  {Chillicothe}   //   December 9, 2-5pm   //  Step back in time and experience history come alive with the wonder and magic of Bethlehem. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the bustling marketplace, interact with friendly villagers and witness live reenactments of the nativity scene.

Cirque Musica Holiday Wonderland at the Peoria Civic Center {Peoria} // November 24, 7:30 pm // December may be the busiest month for nearly everyone, but this should definitely make your to-see list this holiday season. You’ll be dazzled by the acrobats and spellbound by the grace and daredevil athleticism of the aerialists.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Eastlight Theatre  {East Peoria}   //   December 1, 2, 6-9,  7:30 pm  + December 3 + 10, 2pm  //   This sensational musical tells the story of Joseph, his 11 brothers + his coat of many colors. Featuring iconic pop and musical theater classics known around the world, this is a production for the whole family to enjoy.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas  {Peoria}   //  December 21, 8pm   //  Your senses will delight as they take in the neo-classical versions of your favorite holiday songs which are played along with an extensive light show.  Named for Mannheim, Germany where Mozart lived, it’s known for the 18th century musical technique known as the crescendo.

Million Dollar Quartet Christmas at the Peoria Civic Center  {Peoria}   //   Nov 28-29,  7:30-11pm   //  This holiday season brings together Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley for a musical celebration featuring a nostalgic string of chart-topping favorites. This brand-new musical is inspired by the true story of the momentous homecoming in December 1956 of rock ‘n’ roll newcomers, and soon to be legends, as they reflect on Christmases past and contemplate Christmases present and yet-to-come at a moment when no one knew if rock ‘n’ roll was a fad or a revolution.

Peoria Ballet‘s The Nutcracker {Peoria} // December 9 + 10 // Treat your family to this enchanting story filled with moments of laughter, magic and delight as 100 Peoria Ballet students perform alongside professional guest artists from New York City.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra:  Home for the Holidays  {Peoria}   //   December 17, 3:00pm   //   Create Holiday memories with your loved one’s. Enjoy a melody of Holiday favorites from Charlie Brown, the Nutcracker, and so many more.

Discover Peoria
Discover Peoria