Best Holiday River Towns
70+ River Towns from the 10 states bordering the Mississippi River were nominated for the Best Holiday River Town, see the top 5 winners below.
~Best Holiday River Town (Below 500 Pop)~
The shops will be decked out in their Holiday Splendor, carolers will be strolling the streets, and horse drawn carriage rides will carry you back to an old fashioned Christmas. Luminaries will line the streets, historic building tours are offered in candlelight, and over 25 unique shops to make your holiday shopping a breeze.
2. (Tied) Harpers Ferry Iowa & Stockholm Wisconsin
~Best Holiday River Town (501-1000 Pop))~
Featuring the La Fete de Noel, an All Christmas Craft show, and the La Petite Lumiere Toy Parade with lighted ‘toys’ ranging from 4-wheelers, tractors, bicycles, motorcycles, lawn mowers and more. After the parade, visitors will be able to see the grand lighting of the village Christmas tree at the Prairie du Rocher Community Park, where Santa Claus makes his appearance, and children have the opportunity to visit with Santa.
3. Lansing Iowa
~Best Holiday River Town (1001-5,000 Pop)~
Red Bud, Illinois offers a lighted parade and Santa’s Village, which comes alive and coincides with Santa’s Village Tree Lighting and a Christmas Walk Open House. All nestled between opportunities for antique shopping, family owned restaurants, great pubs and a winery.
~Best Holiday River Town (5001-15,000 Pop)~
Holiday Parade featuring floats and Santa, Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s, various Community Christmas dinners, and a walk amongst the many storefronts downtown. Thousands of visitors travel to Prairie du Chien to attend annual events, festivals, riverboat cruises, state and local parks, apple orchards, wineries, casino and the famous Villa Louis historic site.
~Best Holiday River Town (15,001- 30,000 Pop)~
The Holiday Stroll in downtown Muscatine has been celebrated for over 30 years, which visitors can gather to celebrate the holidays. Dozens of downtown stores participate in the stroll and decorate their storefronts, offer refreshments, and spreading holiday cheer with pop-up performances. The night kicks off with the lighting Christmas Tree. The crowd enjoys all the live entertainment and fellowship downtown for the evening, bringing the holiday spirit to life.
~Best Holiday River Town (30,001- 60,000 Pop)~
Three million lights illuminate La Crosse’s Riverside Park. Featuring a 140- foot Christmas tree, animated light displays, an Igloo, Santa and a Live nativity. Admission is free but visitors to the park are encouraged to make voluntary contributions of cash and/or food as they exit the park. Donations assist area non-profits and food pantries.
3. Dubuque Iowa
~Best Holiday River Town (70,000+Pop)~
The riverfront lights up with a Traditional European Christkindlmarkt at the Freight House. Enjoy over 60 merchants in this temporary Christmas village. St. Nicholas Dinner and Sneak Peak Party kicks off this FREE event of live music, a heated beer garden, gluhwein, a kids area, Fresh Christmas Tree farm, and so much more!
~Best Holiday River Town (Overall) ~
The Holiday Stroll in downtown Muscatine is a festival with dozens of downtown decorated storefronts, which offer refreshments like hot chocolate or become performance venues for singers, dancers, musicians and others spreading holiday cheer. The night kicks off with the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree.