More on the Best Holiday River Town

The nomination period runs until October 30

Even with COVID affecting travel and the tourism industry, River Travel Magazine believes that holiday campaigns can still continue to shine a light on the amazing holiday attractions and communities along the Road.

River Travel Magazine is announcing the 2020 Best Holiday River Town Contest at, this survey is focusing on the best Holiday Towns along the Great River Road from northern Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico.

The nomination period runs until October 30, visitors and locals are invited to nominate up to three of their favorite Holiday River Towns.

Final round of voting running is Nov 4 – Dec 2 with winners being announced December 7.

In 2019, Hundreds of survey takers nominated their favorite communities along the road, and thousands more voted on the final results. 70+ River Towns from 10 states were nominated for the final round, Top votes earners included  Kimmswick Missouri, Prairie du Rocher Illinois, Red Bud Illinois, Prairie du Chien Wisconsin, Muscatine Iowa, La Crosse Wisconsin, Davenport Iowa, with Muscatine Iowa taking top honors in its population category and overall.

Best Holiday River Town Contest 

Now – October 30 – Nominate your Best Holiday River Town(s)

Nov 4 – Dec 2  – Top nominees move forward

December 7 – Winners Announced

About River Travel Magazine

River Travel Magazine focuses on communities and attractions on both sides of the Mississippi River, and was formed to showcase the nationally designated and internationally known Great River Road, 3,000 miles bordering the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to New Orleans.

River Travel Media Contact

Brent Hanifl
Media Director
River Travel Media

2019 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)~

1. Kimmswick Missouri

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

3. Clarksville Missouri

4. Marquette Iowa

5. DeSoto Wisconsin

  ~Best Holiday River Town (501-1000 Pop))~

1.Prairie du Rocher Illinois 

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.


2.Elsah Illinois

3. Lansing Iowa

4. Elizabeth Illinois

5. McGregor Iowa

  ~Best Holiday River Town (1001-5,000 Pop)~

1.Red Bud Illinois

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.


2.Le Claire Iowa

3. Galena Illinois

4. Ste. Genevieve Missouri

5. Wabasha Minnesota

  ~Best Holiday River Town (5001-15,000 Pop)~

1.Prairie du Chien Wisconsin

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.


2. Fort Madison Iowa

3. Lake City Minnesota

4. Natchez Mississippi

5. Blytheville Arkansas

  ~Best Holiday River Town (15,001- 30,000 Pop)~

1. Muscatine Iowa

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.


2. Hannibal Missouri

3. Stillwater Minnesota

4. Paducah Kentucky

5. Alton Illinois

  ~Best Holiday River Town (30,001- 60,000 Pop)~

1.La Crosse Wisconsin

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.


2. Cape Girardeau Missouri

3. Dubuque Iowa

4. Quincy Illinois

5. Bettendorf Iowa

  ~Best Holiday River Town (70,000+Pop)~

1.Davenport Iowa

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!


2. St. Charles Missouri

3. Saint Paul Minnesota

4. St Louis Missouri

5. New Orleans Louisiana

  ~Best Holiday River Town (Overall) ~

1.Muscatine Iowa

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.


2.Hannibal Missouri

3.Prairie du Rocher Illinois

4.Red Bud Illinois

5.Stillwater Minnesota