From the Annual East Peoria Festival of Lights to holiday parades and celebrations, central Illinois is open for discovery this holiday season.

Peoria, IL- The Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (Discover Peoria) is excited to promote 10 can’t-miss activities and events happening this holiday season in the Peoria area where you can discover a one-of-a-kind experience for the whole family to enjoy.

“The winter months bring endless beauty and plenty of holiday spirit to central Illinois. As fall comes to an end and the once leafy trees are now covered in snow and ice, holiday festivals and events are a great way to enjoy the winter season and celebrate the holidays while still staying warm,” said MacKenzie Taylor, Strategic Communications Manager for Discover Peoria. “Discover Peoria encourages the community to get out and celebrate the holiday season while exploring the opportunities that the winter season brings to the greater Peoria area.”

The Peoria area is known for the annual East Peoria Festival of Lights and this year marks the 37th year of the festival. The festival is one of the largest, lighted nighttime festivals in the nation and travelers from all around come to celebrate the holidays with a million sparkles of excitement. Last year, the East Peoria Festival of Lights was crowned the 2020 Champion of the Heavyweights Division of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight! Head to  for more up-to-date information on upcoming Festival of Lights events.

There’s no shortage of opportunities for discovery this winter, and Discover Peoria has hand-picked some of the can’t miss holiday festivities in greater Peoria this winter.

Hometown Holidays in Morton is the perfect way to shop local and small businesses while enjoying tree lighting and holiday fun. Christmas on Court in Pekin is a holiday tradition with plenty of holiday activities and performances to keep you and your family occupied. You definitely don’t want to miss the Stevens Square Tree Lighting and Holiday Stroll, where Princeville’s popular Stevens Square will be lit up with beautiful holiday lights.

10 Can’t-Miss Events in the Peoria Area:

  • East Peoria Festival of Lights Winter Wonderland in East Peoria (November 25, 2021 - January 2, 2022) - This drive-thru electric park is the Festival of Lights’ signature event! Enjoy viewing beautiful floats as well as a series of lighted displays. The drive takes around 30 minutes to complete.


  • Chillicothe Holiday Makers Market at Three Sisters Park (November 26, 2021) - Head out to Chillicothe for some holiday shopping with over 50 vendors that have boutique-style booths overflowing with handmade products and vintage treasures. There will also be food and a cash bar!


  • Santa Claus Parade in Peoria (November 26, 2021) - Get ready for the longest-running holiday parade in the country! This years’ theme is “A Candyland Christmas” and the parade will feature costumed characters, floats, bands and Santa Claus!


  • Hometown Holidays Tree Lighting Celebration in Morton (November 27, 2021) - Enjoy a celebration of shopping local this holiday season! Save the date for Small Business Saturday for an annual tree lighting, market and lots of holiday fun.


  • Stevens Square Tree Lighting and Holiday Stroll in Princeville (November 28, 2021) - The Village of Princeville is giving the community an opportunity to sponsor and decorate a Christmas Tree in Stevens Square Park! Sponsor a tree that will bear your name and view all the trees at the Tree Lighting and Holiday Stroll where there will be a ceremony and lighting of the park.


  • Christmas on Court in Pekin (December 3, 2021) - Businesses in downtown Pekin come together for this holiday tradition to host a number of great activities throughout the night. Visit Santa Claus, watch the lighting of the community Christmas tree, view live performances and enjoy some sweet treats!


  • Washington Specialty Shops Candlelight Stroll at the Historic Washington Square (December 3, 2021) - Get in the holiday spirit and join the Washington Square specialty shops for a night of shopping and a number of events including carriage rides and a visit from Santa!


  • The Inaugural Kris Kringle Market in the Heights in Peoria Heights (December 3, 2021) - Shop local this holiday season at the Kris Kringle Market in Peoria Heights where you can enjoy great vendors, get a taste of delicious locally made treats plus Santa will be making an appearance during the annual tree lighting ceremony in Tower Park.


  • Christmas Walk in Elmwood (December 4, 2021) - Take a carriage ride, hear carolers, get your picture with Santa and greet your community for the holidays at Elmwood’s Central Park!


  • The Nutcracker at the Peoria Civic Center (December 11 - 12, 2021) - Peoria Ballet’s The Nutcracker is a family holiday tradition featuring 100 dancers joined by professional guest artists plus live music by Heartland Festival Orchestra. This festive classic is a treat for audiences of all ages!

Learn more about these events and other events happening in central Illinois this holiday season at