The countdown to the winter holidays is on now and we’ve gathered up some places to go and things to do to keep you in the holiday spirit (or maybe escape from it!).

Through January 1, 2017

Zoo Lights at the Henry Vilas Zoo

Time to ooh and ahh at holiday lights and Zoo Lights at Henry Vilas Zoo is just the place to do it. More than 200,000 lights and 300 displays will delight the kids while parents can visit the craft market place, enjoy live music and food and “see the zoo in a whole new light.” This event happens every week on Sunday and Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays until 10 p.m. Visit the zoo’s website for more information.


Through January 2, 2017

Holiday Fantasy in Lights

Need more sparkle? Head to Olin Park where the lights turn on at dusk and remain lit until dawn. Admission is free. Learn more online at


December 2 – 4

A Madison Symphony Christmas

The Overture Center for the Arts (201 State St.) is the scene of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s kickoff of the holiday season. Over the course of these three days you can enjoy the Madison Youth Choirs, Metropolitan Opera soprano Sylvia McNair, Mount Zion Gospel Choir and the Madison Symphony Chorus as they offer up holiday music.

Purchase your tickets online at, by calling (608) 258-4141, or at the Overture Center Box Office.


December 3 and December 29

Catch a Family Night Hockey Game

Loads of fun for the entire family is what’s on tap at the Coliseum at Aliant Energy Center. On December 29, it’s family night, and not only will you only have to pay $2 for hot dogs and other concessions, you’ll be invited to remain after the game (vs Des Moines Buccaneers) for the Postgame Skate with the Capitols.

The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. and you can get details about this event online here.

If the kids are itching to meet with Santa, catch the Capitols game as they host the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders on December 3. You’ll get the same concession deal and the kids will get to tell the big guy what they’re hoping will be under the tree.  


December 3 and December 10

Winter Festival at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin

The Taliesin Estate swings open its door for holiday revelry for two days this December, 2016. Enjoy a one-hour horse-drawn wagon ride, toasty winter beverages by the fireside and lots of stuff for the little ones to enjoy. You are asked to bring a blanket and to dress for the weather. Get details online at


December 3

Run, Santa, Run 5K

Run in costume (Santa, elf, reindeer or snowperson) and attempt to outrun the Grinch around the Capitol. The after-party alone is worth participating in this crazy race. Get all the information you need, including how to buy some pretty amazing socks for the race, at


December 4

Holiday Art Fair

Set aside the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. today to pay a visit to the Holiday Art Fair at MOM Food Pantry in Middleton (3502 Parmenter St.). You can shop the wares from more than 60 local artists who have pledged 20 percent or more of their proceeds to homelessness prevent and to fighting hunger in our community. Get the details online, here.


December 7 – 11

83rd Tudor Holiday Dinner Concerts

On December 11, the Wisconsin Union Tudor Holiday Dinner Concerts get underway, for the 83rd year. You are invited to an evening filled with fine dining and the choral presentations by the Philharmonic Chorus of Madison. This is guaranteed to be a special evening and you can get more information online here.


December 9

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra presents Messiah

Blackhawk Church in Middleton (9620 Brader Wy.) is the scene for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s presentation of “Messiah.” Learn how to buy tickets online at


December 10 – 26

The Nutcracker

For many families, the holidays aren’t complete without an evening at the Nutcracker ballet. Enjoy Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King and, of course, the Nutcracker portrayed by 150 Madison Ballet dancers, set to the iconic Tchaikovsky score brought to you by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. The curtain at Overture Center for the Arts rises at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. for most performances and you can buy tickets online at



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