Mankato, Discovering, Minnesota

Get in the Holiday Spirit At Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights

You must see the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights at Sibly Park if you live within driving distance of Mankato, MN.  It’s truly a magical holiday adventure for the whole family. Not only are there 1.7 million LED lights, but the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights experience includes ice skating and ice sculpting, horse-drawn carriage rides, visits from Santa and his reindeer, and pure magical joy!

The Kiwanis Holiday Lights began in 2012 and has become one of the most popular holiday light displays in the entire state, drawing in millions since its inception.

Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights at Sibley Park

The Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights at Sibley Park is an excellent example of a community coming together to pull off an event of this magnitude. This is entirely volunteer-run, and the event occurs from November 23 to December 31. It’s organized well, and volunteers are throughout, ensuring a wonderful experience for visitors.

Must See Kiwanis Holiday Lights Mankato MN

The Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights event is FREE to attend.

There is no entry fee to see the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights, but cash and non-perishable food donations are welcome. The good-will food and cash donations help support 17 local area food shelves each year. 

This community event is run by over 12,00 volunteers when it’s all said and done. Amazing!
Must See Kiwanis Holiday Lights Mankato MN

Pro Tip #1  For smaller crowds, pick a weeknight and arrive upon opening

The Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights are very popular, and people from all over the state visit. Our schedule allowed us to attend on a Tuesday night- we arrived shortly after it opened at 5 p.m., and there were hardly any crowds, so we could walk at our own pace.

If you attend on a weekend, you should expect longer lines, but it’s worth it!

Walk or Drive through Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights

Visitors can walk or drive through the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights. The Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights are the most extended drive-thru light display in the state!

If you drive through Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights, signs will direct you to turn your radio to 90.1 and 88.1.

Tune into 88.1 for Christmas music, Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights trivia, and sponsor information.

Tune to 90.1 to hear the same music throughout the light display for the walking traffic. The music is synced with the lights!

Must See Kiwanis Holiday Lights Mankato MN

Pro Tip #2 Dress appropriately if you’re able to walk the event

We had a blast taking a stroll through the lights. There is so much to see and look at. It is truly magical to overhear little kids exclaiming in awe of the lights and wondering where Santa is.

Bundle up so you are ready to spend ample time walking through.

Must See Kiwanis Holiday Lights Mankato MN

Pro Tip #3: Drive through several times to avoid missing anything!

With over 1.7 million lights, there’s a lot to look at. If time allows, drive through several times to take it all in. Drivers are instructed to turn their headlights off so it doesn’t detract from the displays. With radios tuned to 90.1, the holiday music provides a beautiful driving experience to see the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights.

Must See Kiwanis Holiday Lights Mankato MN

Pro Tip #4 Check out the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights Event Schedule

Many things are happening at Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights, so check the schedule.

Fun Things to Do at Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights

  • There is an ice skating rink with a warming house. Bring your skates and skate through some of the light displays!
  • In addition to skating, there is also a lighted merry-go-round (cost is $2 per person).
  • There’s also a refreshments building- stop in for hot cocoa and a small treat.
  • Of course, Santa is there Friday- Sunday throughout the entire event. Kids can drop their letters off in the mailbox, and the letters to Santa will be answered. How adorable is that?
  • There are other events like curling lessons and various contests throughout as well.
  • Imagine a horse-drawn wagon ride on the weekends!
  • See live reindeer in person!
Must See Kiwanis Holiday Lights Mankato MN

We enjoyed our walk-through, and it’s also fun to drive through. We suggest doing both if you can! The Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights are a magical experience that puts you in the holiday spirit.

Know Before You Go To Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights at Sibley Park

  • It’s free to attend, but cash and/or canned food donations are welcome.
  • Plan for about 30 minutes to walk through the light display.
  • Visitors may purchase concessions like hot chocolate, hot apple cider, popcorn, candy canes, and other treats.
  • Inclement weather like extreme cold or snow storm will cancel the lights, so check out the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights Facebook Page for up-to-date information.
  • Santa visits on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Check the event calendar for details.
  • Dogs are not allowed inside the park, but if you’re driving through the Holiday Lights, they can be in your vehicle.
  • A parade and open ceremony kick off the Mankato Kiwanis Holiday Lights- check their Facebook page or event calendar for more information.

Tell us, where is your favorite holiday lights display? We’d love to add it to our list of things to discover.

More things to do in Mankato

Get cozy with some tea at Curiositea

Tour the Historic Hubbard House and check out their holiday decorations.

Grab a bit to eat while you’re in town! Find vegan options at these Mankato restaurants.

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  1. Sara Broers (@TravelWithSara)

    January 7, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    This is going on my to do list for 2019! We don’t have any drive through parks here and this is not too far from where we live. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      December 8, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      Sara, you would LOVE it! (Also, sorry for just seeing this comment almost a year later).

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