Merry and Bright

Where to find some of New Ulm’s best Christmas lighting displays

The home at 4th South and Minnesota Street is one of the brightest spots outside of downtown. It’s also home to rare rhino in a Santa outfit.

NEW ULM — For many, the highlight of the Christmas season is seeing the community transformed into a brightly lit holiday wonderland.

Christmas light can brighten up a cold and dreary winter season, literally and figuratively. It is a common holiday tradition for families to gather in the vehicle to take a tour of the holiday lights displays. The question is where to start?

For the last two years, the Facebook page: New Ulm Tour of Lights has utilized Google Maps to show addresses wanting to show off their lights displayed.

Currently, the page has listed over 70 addresses in New Ulm with light displays. Not every light display is featured on the map, but it is a great starting point for planning a personal tour of lights.

For those who do not have the time to explore all locations, the Journal does have a few recommendations on must-see locations.

In terms of decoration per square foot, few can compete with this North Payne Street resident.

One of the best locations to start Tour of Lights in New Ulm is downtown. Both sides of Minnesota Street from 4th N. Street to 1st South Street are lined with Christmas wreaths and golden holiday lights. Most of the trees in the boulevard have been wrapped in lights as well. This is a striking update from last year’s downtown holiday decorations.

The holiday wreaths were part of the 2021 decorations, but this is the first year to include holiday lights on the wreaths and in the trees. The display, while simple, is worth seeing.

After seeing the lights in downtown Minnesota Street, continue south on Minnesota Street until at least 4th South Street. On the corner of 4th S. Street and Minnesota, visitors can see a light display including a rhino dressed up as Santa.

While on the southeast side of town, a quick tour of Front Street can be illuminating. A house at 8th South and Front Street is a must-stop. The light display includes a holiday locomotive and a family of lit-up snowmen.

In terms of volume, the southwest side of New Ulm has the highest number of holiday lights.

This display at 1299 Southridge Road features a giant Santa Claus.

Start at the 1400 block of South Franklin to see a spectacular light display timed to Christmas music. From there, go to Hauenstein Drive at 16th South Street. The former Hauenstein Brewery has been included in the holiday tradition with lights hanging from the stone gazebo.

Travel north on Hauenstein Drive to see several creative light displays as it leads onto Payne Street. From Payne Street, travel west on 10th South to Summit Avenue. At the summit of 10th Street, hill drivers can see an impressive light display on the corner.

Summit Avenue features some of the most creative light displays in New Ulm, many of the homes using lot depth to their advantage to create unique spacing with lights. Lighted fence posts and archways are common sites.

On the far end of Summit, take the chance to explore a few hidden gems. Southridge Road contains several wonderful residential light displays not typically seen by the public. It is recommended drivers travel the entire length of Southridge and loop back around to Crestview Drive and return to South Payne Street.

Payne Street is worth a second pass-through. North Payne Street offers several fascinating light displays; particularly in the 500 blocks and 1000 blocks. Several homes to the west of Brown County Fairgrounds are worth a visit.

This house on the South 1400 block of Franklin is more than a visual delight, but audio joy. The Christmas lights sync up with different holiday music.

There is no shortage of fascinating light displays in New Ulm, but perhaps the most breath taking and the one recommended for last is the Christmas tree display along North Highland located between Maplewood Drive and Henle Drive.

The backyards of the homes on Maplewood and Henle feature over a dozen evergreen trees wrapped in holiday lights, creating a mini Christmas forest. The display is the combined work of several area residents and it is not to be missed.

The most illuminated home on Front Street is at the corner of 8th South. The light display includes a holiday locomotive and a family of light-up snowmen

A small forest of lighted Christmas trees between Maplewood and Henle Drive can be seen off North Highland

The light display at the top of 10th South Street hill at intersection of Summit is a necessary stop on any holiday light tour of New Ulm.


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