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Event Info

Make Holiday Lights at the Lake your favorite holiday tradition as you drive or walk through West Overlook Campground. This second annual community event boasts just over one mile of large and animated lighting installations including a dazzling animated tunnel and many glittering arches and holiday characters.  Curated by our committee with the help of professional lighting company, Winterland Inc., the picturesque setting of West Overlook Campground is transformed into a winter playland. Watch as rodeo characters lasso polar bears. Delight at our giant poinsettia pot and forest. Be the first to see our new for 2022 displays which include a "sporty" Santa as he partakes in water sports and campground activities while wilderness creatures frolic and play. Enchanting "Memory Lane", boasts a colorful array of uplit trees and serves as a memorial for loved ones lost. Returning for a second year are crowd favorites, "Nighthawks", "Giant Waving Santa" and many, many more!

Operating Hours

Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-8:30pm

Friday and Saturday 5:00pm-9:00pm


The Event Route


West Overlook Campground

West Overlook Rd. NE

Iowa City, Iowa



Helpful Suggestions

We are humbled by all the support from our local and surrounding communities.

We have a few helpful hits and suggestions to consider before heading out to the event:

  • We accept cash only at the door. If you prefer to pay with a credit card please visit our ticketing site.

  • Wait times on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the week before Christmas, may be a bit longer than weekday nights. On some of our busy evenings a line may form in the West Overlook Day use parking lot. Portable restrooms will be available in the upper and lower parking lots if the need arises. We appreciate your understanding and patience with our volunteers!  So far this year we have experienced very little wait times. We anticipate it will take you about 15 minutes to drive through the route. 

  • The lights are not set to a specific radio or music station. We suggest making a playlist of your favorite holiday music, or tune into one of the local stations that plays holiday music around the clock.

  • Upon arriving at the ticket house, we suggest putting your vehicle headlights in the low beam or parking settings. Unfortunately, you can not turn your headlights off completely.

  • On walk-through Wednesdays holiday music plays throughout the campground. We welcome you to bring your favorite warm beverage to sip on as you stroll.  You're welcome to stay as long as you would like during operating hours. We have complimentary parking in the West Overlook Day Use parking lot along with a shuttle to bring you up the hill and drop you at the gate if necessary. Pedal Power is also available to give complimentary rides to guests who would like to enjoy the open air atmosphere of the walk-through event without walking.  Gate closes at 8:30.

  • Santa Claus is a close personal friend of the Holiday Lights at the Lake Committee and stops by our event every Wednesday, and Sunday until Christmas. If you catch him on a Wednesday night, he's usually available for photo opportunities and may even have Mrs. Claus with him!

  • Bring your letters to Santa and drop them in the mailbox at the ticket house at the start of the event route. We will make sure he gets them in time for Christmas!

  • All proceeds benefit The Bird House, Hospice Home of Johnson County.

  • This event is run 100% by community volunteers! We thank you for your patience and always appreciate your feedback. Please send any comments to


We are so thankful for The Army Corps of Engineers and all their help! We couldn't do this without you!

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