Wisconsin’s Fox Cities area is home to 19 unique communities that offer some of the most memorable holiday experiences in the area. On Nov. 21, downtown Appleton will host the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade, the largest nighttime parade in the Midwest. This year’s theme, “The Music and Magic of Christmas,” will boast over 100 decorated floats, marching bands, vehicles and groups. For history buffs, a classic holiday experience conjures images of old- time Victorian Christmas décor. Luckily, the Fox Cities is home to Hearthstone, a stunningly historic Queen Anne-style Victorian home that inspires and delights at every turn. Each year, Hearthstone is painstakingly decorated in Christmas splendor after about nine months of planning, designing and decorating this majestic home. Public tours are available for those eager to experience Christmas of generations past.
Of course, no holiday visit to the Fox Cities region would be complete without embarking on A Very Neenah Christmas, an annual event held in historic downtown Neenah. Visitors will experience live, holiday-themed shop displays, scavenger hunts, live performances, outdoor movies and a wonderful array of activities celebrating the season.
Get active and don a pair of skates and head over to the Plaza at Gateway Park in Neenah, where visitors will find a beautiful ice- skating rink modeled after the famous Rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Roast your own s’mores or enjoy hot chocolate flights for the whole group.
The Fox Cities region is home to some of the best eateries in the state, and each holiday season, these dining gems get creative and offer visitors memorable experiences. An iconic venue in the Fox Cities, Cleo’s Brown Beam Tavern in downtown Appleton is a year-round Christmas-themed bar. After spending the day shopping and visiting Appleton’s many holiday-themed events, stop by and enjoy Cleo’s most popular drink, The Dirty Snowball.
When the snow starts flying and the temperatures drop, most people head inside to dine. Not so at Fratellos Riverfront Restaurant in Appleton! The eatery has river domes (igloos) on their outdoor, riverside patio for patrons who are eager to enjoy a unique outdoor winter dining and drinking experience.
SHOP ’TIL YOU DROP
With 19 communities from which to choose, the holiday shopping experience throughout the Fox Cities entices visitors from across Wisconsin and beyond. From locally-owned boutiques to small artisan shops to charming antique havens, shoppers who are looking
for unique gift options have a plethora of retailers to explore. Whether you’re looking for vintage home décor, upcycled items or pet picks, find it at the boutiques dotting the Fox Cities. If homemade presents are more your style, venture on over to the Eclectic Candle Company or The Fire in Appleton, where you can make your own candles, pottery, mosaics or fused glass pieces.
Plan your visit at foxcities.org.