Even when the weather outside is frightful, taking a drive to see Christmas lights in the Iowa City area can be the perfect, cozy activity to do with your family during the dark evenings of the holiday season. Get the whole family snug in their pajamas, fill up some travel mugs and sippy cups with hot chocolate, and bundle up in the car for a twinkling adventure.
If you’re feeling extra festive, make a game of it. Try out a Christmas light scavenger hunt, and count up how many points you can get as you search for each item on the list. In our family, each of us chooses a special sound to make every time we spot a house with Christmas lights on. (Literally any sound goes, from a cow’s moo to a fake sneeze!) A car full of people making ridiculous noises is enough to send everyone into fits of giggles!
Don’t forget to play some holiday tunes to set the mood! Some houses will coordinate with a specific local radio stations, but for the ones that don’t, you can try 104.5 or 96.1 on your radio or your favorite holiday CD or streaming station.
Thank you to our good friends at The Bails Team Urban Acres Real Estate for making this guide to Christmas lights in the Iowa City area possible.
Best Places to See Christmas Lights in the Iowa City Area
Click on each title to view individual map locations!
- This light display features 18 RGB props and over 50,000 lights that make Christmas music come to life!
- Sunday through Thursday 5:30pm-9pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-10pm
Iowa City’s “Christmas Light Street”, aka Sugar Plum Lane, aka Rita Lyn Court!
- This drive-thru holiday light show runs nightly from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve and benefits The Bird House hospice home of Iowa City. $10 per car/van, with higher prices for larger vehicles.
- Sunday-Thursday 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5-9 p.m.
- Wednesdays are walk-through, closed to cars, and $5 per person.
- A family favorite every year! You may recognize it as “The Halloween House” as well, because these folks know how to decorate! Plan to park in the cul-de-sac and take a few minutes to see it all–there are a lot of details to notice!
- Just a few blocks from Troon Court–one ICM family calls this one “The Dragon House”!
- Enjoy this musical Christmas light display! Tune in to the radio station listen and listen along to the light show! This house also has a request feature for music — you can vote for the song you want to hear sooner!
- Near the corner of Colton Drive South and Zeller
- Only runs on non-windy days.
- Tune in to the designated radio frequency and listen as you watch! Runs from 5-9 p.m. daily, and offers a 30 minute show.
- “The House” on 12th Avenue and 10th Street: tons of inflatables and a GIANT tree!
- Beginning in December, visit Coralville’s website for a map of all of the favorite light displays in the city, but 12th Avenue is always a good place to start!
- Right off the Swisher exit (Exit 10) between Interstate 380 and Highway 965
- At 95 years old, you’d think putting up all those Christmas lights would be nearly impossible. But not for Hazel Schropp!
- Take Highway 382 all the way down to the beach. It’s the house right across from the Twin View Heights entrance. Tune into the posted radio station on your car radio and watch the show synchronized with the music!
- Largest display in Tiffin!
- From Highway 151, turn onto Highland Drive (by the carwash), then take a right on Hillview Drive.
Worth the Drive
- Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights is Southeast Iowa’s largest Drive-Thru Holiday Light Park. Visitors to the Festival of Lights will enjoy over 100 Holiday Lighted Displays from a gingerbread man, tractors, candy canes, and the holly old elf Santa Claus that fill a 1.6-mile route in the Midwest Old Threshers Campground.
- December 1-31; 5:30-9 p.m.
- $10 family vehicle, $25 limo, $30 mini coach, $60 motor coach
- Come on out and check out this awesome light show set to Christmas music. Located north of Center Point, it’s free, but they collect donations for charity and give 100% of donations to a different non-profit every year.
- Over 90,000 lights
- Over 3 miles of extension cords
- Tune your car radio to the posted radio station and listen to the music coordinated with the light show!
- A Christmas display featuring a few thousand lights on buildings and trees, and several storybook character figurines. We have figurines ranging from Frozen, The Lion King, Monsters Inc., Snow White, Kung Fu Panda, Paw Patrol, Shrek, and many more. Storybook characters aren’t the only figurines to make the list. There are also several reindeer, Santa’s, penguins, a nativity scene, a small church, and more. Check the Facebook event for updated dates.
- 2 miles east of the Quad Cities Airport, this light display is synchronized to music, transmitted through 89.7 FM radio, so watch from the warmth of your car! Over 30,000 lights, and 12 different songs!
- Santa’s Rock N Lights is an animated drive-thru light show of almost a full mile of nearly 1,000 programmable elements and over 100,000 animated lights dancing to Christmas music. Prices vary by day of the week. Visit their website to purchase tickets.
- Light Up a Child’s Life! One hundred percent of admission fees benefit Make-A-Wish Iowa, which grants the wishes of children battling a critical illness.
- Open 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. from November 26- January 2
- Closed: December 24, 25 and 31
- Purchase tickets in advance and save $5
We hope you save this list of Christmas lights in the Iowa City area and see how many you can visit! We hope you take some time to look around this holiday season, and find little bits of beauty wherever you go.
Have a favorite location we missed? Leave a comment with more places to see Christmas lights in the Iowa City area.
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Hiring The Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate means you’ll have access to the real estate expertise you need anytime, anywhere. This real estate team includes Mike Bails, Phil O’Brien, Marcy Willier, Chelsey Riggan, Matt VandeBerg, and Briley McAtee. Together, they have over 50 years of combined experience and a deep understanding of the entire residential and commercial real estate picture in the Iowa City area – it’s what they like to call a panoramic view of real estate. If you are ready to buy or sell, give them a call today and tell them Iowa City Moms sent you!