1. Visit Hardy's Reindeer Ranch
Make all of your childhood dreams come true! Hardy's Reindeer Ranch is located in Rantoul, which is about a 20-minute drive from the UIUC campus. Throughout the month of December, they offer fresh-cut Christmas trees and a reindeer tour. During the tour, you'll have the chance to get up close and personal with the Alaskan reindeer and can even give them a "reindeer kiss" (great photo op).
2. Holiday GLOW at Allerton Park & Retreat Center
Kick off the holiday season with a beautiful light display! Holiday GLOW is an illuminated one-mile walk through Allerton Park from 5-9 PM, starting December 2nd. This event is free to the public, but a $10 donation per car is suggested. Grab some friends and make the 34-minute drive to Monticello for a bright night of fun!
3. Go Ice Skating at the UI Ice Arena
A fun and free thing to do on campus is to go ice skating at the UI Ice Arena! Admission is free to all UIUC students with valid ID and $6 for the general public ages 4 and above. There are specific public skating dates and times, so make sure to check the calendar before you plan to go. If you're interested, they also offer skating lessons and hockey programs!
4. Shop at Prairie Gardens
If you still need to pick up some last-minute holiday gifts, shop local and check out Prairie Gardens! Only a ten-minute drive from campus, they have everything from a large plant selection to home and seasonal decor. They go all out for the holidays, so it's fun to walk around and look at their lights and decorations even if you don't buy anything.
5. Watch a Local Holiday Performance
There are a ton of holiday shows in December, ranging from single performances to those that run the whole season. The price varies depending on the show you choose. There's everything from plays to concerts to musicals. If you're looking for a unique thing to do with your friends, check out the 2022 holiday performance schedule below!