2018 Milwaukee holiday events guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Dec. 13, 2018 at 6:01 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
Christmas is fast-approaching, and many holiday-related activities have already come and gone. However, the festive fun hasn't stopped just yet, and your break from shopping and chaotic preparations is well-deserved.
This holiday season – whether you want to find something to do with the whole family, if you want to indulge in a delicious treat and a drink, or if you're looking for a local show to catch – there's something for you to do in Milwaukee, a city in which has its fair share of traditions worth keeping.
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Season's Greetings. However you say 'Happy Holidays', please say it with a smile, and here's to good Milwaukee cheer at these and other holiday events.
A Grand Avenue Christmas (open Nov. 16 through Jan. 6)
The Pabst Mansion, 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 931-0808
A Grand Avenue Christmas is The Pabst Mansion's nationally recognized display. Each year, the Mansion has been the setting for many holiday parties and entertaining festivities that the whole family can enjoy. Tours during the holiday season are self-guided with the last entry at 3:15 p.m. daily. Reservations are required.
Candy Cane Lane (open Nov. 23 through Dec. 27)
92nd-96th Streets, Montana to Oklahoma, West Allis
Ooo and ahh at over 300 homes who go all out on decorating the exterior of their homes for the holidays. A few blocks in West Allis wrap their tree trunks in candy cane paper and participate in this holiday tradition which has raised over 1.6 million for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund due to donations. You are urged to drive carefully since this spectacle can be distracting. The blocks range from Montana Avenue on the north to Oklahoma Avenue on the south, and from 96th Street on the west, to 92nd Street on the east.
Fiserv Forum, 1111 Vel R. Phillips Ave.
The Christkindlmarket has been a staple in Chicago for over two decades, and soon Milwaukee will be able to join in on the festive fun. On Nov. 17, Fiserv Forum's entertainment plaza will transform into Nuremberg, Germany's classic holiday market, for the Christkindlmarket's first out-of-state location at one of America's most German cities. Read all about the event here!
Country Christmas (open Nov. 23-25 and Nov. 30-Dec. 31)
Ingleside Hotel, formerly Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Rd., Pewaukee, (262) 547-0201
For nearly two decades, Country Christmas at Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee has been deemed as Wisconsin's largest drive-through holiday lights event. The event features over a million holiday lights displayed along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods. When you've made your way through, make sure to visit the Christmas Village where you can see the model train display while you enjoy refreshments from the concession area.
Gaze at the MillerCoors Holiday Lites (Fridays & Saturdays, Nov. 30 - Dec. 22)
Miller Brewery, 4000 W. State St., (414) 931-2337
The tradition of lighting up Miller Valley at the MillerCoors Milwaukee Brewery began in the 1950s and was revitalized about a decade ago. The display of more than 30,000 LED lights synchronized to holiday music, has once again transformed Miller Valley. The Holiday Lites experience is a mini tour consisting of our opening video, famous Miller Caves and the Holiday Lites show itself. This is a FREE indoor/outdoor walking tour so please come dressed for the weather! After your touring experience, registered tour guests are welcomed inside for beer sampling. Holiday Lites wouldn't be the same without a batch of private stock 'Frederick Miller's Chocolate Lager." This seasonal treat is available during Holiday Lites for those 21 and older with valid ID. Fred's tried and true favorite, along with many more great brews on tap this year, will be sure to top off your night just right.
Go Ice Skating At Red Arrow Park (open Dec. through end of season)
Red Arrow Park, 920 N. Water St., (414) 289-8791
Sharpen those ice skates and hit the ice at Red Arrow Park downtown. Whether you want to spend a fun afternoon with the family or if you want an idea for a chilly but romantic date, ice skating is the perfect winter activity. The rink is open from December through February, or depending on the weather, March. To stay warm, Starbucks is mere feet away. Grab your close ones, a warm drink and skate – or in my case, fall.
Ideal Property Management Christmas Tree Lot (through Dec. 24)
Corner of Kilbourn and Van Buren, (262) 246-8512
Skip using a fake plastic tree this year for Christmas and buy a real one at the Ideal Property Management Christmas Tree Lot. Not only do they have trees but wreaths, garland and various other decorations. Buy a tree and have an old fashioned Christmas that is truly unforgettable.
Kooky Cooky House at Mitchell Park Domes (through mid-January)
524 S Layton Blvd, (414) 257-5611
The Kooky Cooky House was long considered a holiday staple of Milwaukee in the 1960s through the 1980s. If you're unfamiliar with the Kooky Cooky House, it's an electronic cookie factory that was once part of Milwaukee's Capitol Court Mall that created gingerbread cookies. The House was brought back to life by media personality Gino Salomone of Fox 6 and Discovery World. The cookies will be donated by Bartolotta Restaurants and given away only on weekends. As a heads up this year it's in a new location in the Mitchell Park Domes.
Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Jingle Bus Tour (open Nov. 16 through Dec. 27)
Hop aboard a Jingle Bus and enjoy a 40-minute tour visiting downtown landmarks and the most festive holiday decorations. Riders who wait for the next bus have the opportunity to enjoy an 18-piece animatronic symphony orchestra of bears, shops and free cookies and cocoa provided by Wild Flour Bakery. Kids will also receive a holiday coloring book.
This is a sweet deal, considering rides are just $1 per person with discounted parking offered for only $3 inside of the Shops of Grand Avenue west parking garage until 10 p.m. All tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis each night beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from now through Dec. 27 from 6 pm to 9 pm. The last bus departs at 8:20 pm , so make sure to arrive early to reserve your seat.
BMO Harris Bank, 770 N. Water St.
BMO Harris Bank unveiled its much-anticipated annual holiday exhibit, and this year's display promises to be a fun-filled — and whimsical — family experience. Now through Jan. 2, BMO celebrates the world of Dr. Seuss with A Seussified Season, bringing the beloved children's author's works to life in its downtown lobby. The display is free and open to the public.
The bank's lobby, at 770 N. Water Street, has been transformed into a colorful winter wonderland, featuring roughly 30 live flocked trees and more than a dozen vignettes from classic Seuss stories using the bank's treasured collection of life-sized Steiff animals. The animals embody a wide array of iconic Seuss characters, including Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant and The Lorax. There may even be an appearance by Seuss' infamous green villain.
Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights (open Nov. 24 through Dec. 31)
8425 State Road 38, Caledonia, (262) 835-2565
The Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights, which is deemed as Southeastern Wisconsin's largest and brightest holiday lights display, is located 20 minutes south of Milwaukee at Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Caledonia. The display stretches for more than a mile and more than a million sparkling lights aim to dazzle people of all ages.
You'll be able to relax in the comfort of your own car as you wind through, gazing at the hand-crafted displays. At the end, enjoy a warm beverage and get a picture taken with Santa or write him a letter to be sent to the North Pole. The Carnival will be donating $1 per car, up to 4,000 cars, to the Ronald McDonald House. Page 1 of 3 (view all on one page)
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