Winter Wonderland

The holiday season is here! Plan a weekend full of festive fun in Brookings using this itinerary filled with the best things to see this time of year.

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Day One

Plan the first day of your trip around a holiday themed concert, play, performance or show. This season brings so many spectacular performances to the Brookings area. In 2023 attend a Madrigal Performances or A Christmas Celebration there are so many ways to get your holiday music fix.

After a night of getting into the Christmas spirit, spend some time taking a drive to see the elaborate light displays Brookings families have created for the community light competition called Let it Glow. Each house in the competition has a yard sign with a number which correlates to a number on the Let it Glow map. Use your cell phone to text in your vote. To spread the holiday cheer, you have the opportunity to offer a free will donation to the Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity. The competition officially runs to January 2nd.

garden glow

Day Two

Start your second day at the Dakota Nature Park. To enhance your visit, you can rent different equipment from the park. Their winter rentals include snowshoes, binoculars and GPS units. When you are looking to warm up, the Larson Nature Center is the perfect place to get cozy before heading back outside.

Your next stop will be to see the beautiful Festival of Trees at the Brookings Arts Council. The main gallery is filled with Christmas trees decorated by local organizations. After you have had a good look at all the trees, make sure to play along and vote for your favorite one. In the smaller gallery is their  artisan gift shop. This is a holiday only exclusive pop-up shop giving a space for smaller artists to sell their work during the holiday season.

garden glow

Once the sun sets, the lights come alive at McCrory Gardens Garden Glow. Stroll through a wonderland of lights, images and scenes of the holidays. Throughout the garden you will see different themes like life-sized Candy Land, Santa’s Workshop, and Reindeer Meadows.  A fan-favorite is the complimentary hot cocoa you can enjoy on your adventure through the gardens. From Holiday Hill, you will hear the most popular and timeless Christmas tunes fill the air. Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance to experience this holiday season must see.

Purchase Tickets Here


Day Three

Before leaving town, check out all the boutiques and gifts shops Downtown. Most of the shops get into the spirit and decorate their windows and extend their shopping hours during the holiday season.  Get something for everyone on your list while browsing the assortment of stores.

For a full listing of where to shop this holiday season visit: Downtown Retail Businesses

Don’t forget to see Christmas’ favorite icon. You guessed it, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Santa actually spends a lot of time in Brookings during the holiday season. Make sure your family doesn’t miss him and use our Santa Sightings calendar to align your plans accordingly.


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