Welcome to the most wonderful weekend of the year!

Winter Wonder Weekend is three full days bursting with holiday cheer and festive fun centered around the Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023. It's one of the most unique parades in the world, with riders on horseback and old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages parading through downtown. It's one of the community's most treasured winter traditions and something everyone should see at least once.

This year, we invite you to come for the parade and stay for the weekend. Believe me when I say there is a LOT going on. The city is brimming with seasonally-themed events, markets, shopping, food, and entertainment all weekend long.

Below, you'll find my recommendations for events, shopping, photo ops, and more. Get in the holiday spirit with a weekend brimming with winter magic. 


The Main Event

As one of the most unique parades in the nation, the Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade kicks off the holiday season with exclusively authentic horse-drawn carriages parading down Massachusetts Street. 

Not to Miss

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Holiday shopping couple lights

Did you know that for every $100 spent at a local business, approximately $68 is returned to the community? That seems like a pretty big deal to us. Or should I say, a good deal? It's been a challenging time for many of us in the last few years, and 2023 was no exception. For all of our triumphs this year, it's as important as ever to support our community where we can. Check out the shopping category on our site for inspiration about where to go, and be sure to hit up the holiday arts & crafts markets we've highlighted below!

Holiday Markets

South Park Winter Wonder Pass Ornament

Tip: Sign up for our free pass, the Winter Wonder Pass, to explore Lawrence this holiday season! You'll unlock exclusive discounts to a bunch of your favorite holiday shopping destinations, all while earning points that you can exchange for prizes like the one-of-a-kind South Park ornament pictured above.

Festive Family Fun

Watkins Tails & Traditions

Photo from the scavenger hunt at the Tails & Traditions Holiday Festival at Watkins Museum of History

If there's one category of people that's sure to delight in the holiday season, it's children! Good thing there are ample opportunities in Lawrence to see the holiday lights reflected in those little, wide, curious eyes. Embrace the wonder of the season with the following family-friendly events, and be sure not to miss the parade!

Dining & Drinks

Dempsey's Sippin Santa Pop-Up

Photo: the Cinnfully Old Fashioned cocktail from Dempsey's Sippin' Santa Pop-Up Bar

Our local restaurants always serve amazing food, coffee, and seasonal cocktails. Be sure to fuel up while you're in town! Plus, this year, we've got two holiday pop-ups with specialty food and drinks at Downtown Lawrence restaurants this year. Check them out below!

Dining in Lawrence

Music, Art, & Performances

A Christmas Story by Theatre Lawrence

Photo: Scene from A Christmas Story: The Musical via Theatre Lawrence

Ready to get dressed up and go out on the town for a special evening? Or maybe put on your coziest sweater and do some crafting? Check out all these fun holiday-themed concerts, plays, performances, and workshops.

Fun Photo Ops

Wedding in Downtown Lawrence Kansas

Love to take photos? Looking for the perfect backdrop for a new family memory? Here's a little list of some of the best places and events to snap a picture this holiday season! 

Tip: We love to see Lawrence through your eyes. Tag us @explorelawrence on Instagram, and use the hashtag #unmistakablylawrence to be shared on our Instagram story or be featured on our homepage gallery!

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Don't see your event? Go to our Submit Your Event page and make sure to check the "Holiday" category! All holidays are welcome and appreciated!