Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer! Now, Blitzen!
On to Milwaukee with haste and precession!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!
Head to Milwaukee for holiday traditions!
Happy holidays! ‘Tis the season to celebrate all your favorite festivities! Whether you’re hanging the Yuletide with care or roasting chestnuts, decking the halls, or simply having a cup of good cheer, we've put together a list with everything you need to make your spirits bright as you’re Mil-walking in a winter wonderland.
Grab a cup of cocoa and get in the holiday spirit! Many of our city’s attractions have turned themselves into fantastic festive destinations for the holidays. The Mitchell Park Domes have transformed themselves into a Poinsettia sanctuary this year, with close to a thousand of the seasonal flower appearing throughout the show dome alongside a display of festive lights and so much more at the Calm & Bright Exhibition.
The historic Pabst Mansion, the homestead of the beer baron Pabst family, has once again been decorated for the occasion of Christmas at the Pabst Mansion. Everywhere you look around the intricately constructed and faithfully maintained mansion will fill you with holiday cheer. Visit for a 60-minute self-guided tour around the 130-year-old home or explore at your own pace with a self-guided tour.
For the third year in a row, Milwaukee’s downtown streetcar, The Hop, is bringing good tidings and cheer to all this holiday season with Holidays on The Hop. This year, the streetcar features a live-music series on Saturdays in December, holiday cookie giveaways, beautifully decorated streetcar stations, and more.
This year, the North Pole is coming to you with The Enchanted North Pole at Ballpark Commons in Franklin. Venture into the magical wonderland with a holiday banquet, meet Santa and his Elves, experience a live caroling snow falling show, and even earn an honorary elf diploma at Elf University. With Instagramable photo opportunities everywhere you look, The Enchanted North Pole is fun for the whole family.
A nostalgic icon comes back to life, the Kooky Cooky House has returned to Milwaukee at Bayshore as part of its Season to Sparkle celebration. The ‘automated’ cookie factory will stir nostalgia and creativity alike in visitors of all ages as a cookie-making assembly line with a robot mixes, flattens, decorates, and bakes cookies.
Looking for a unique sports experience this season? Head over to Fiserv Forum for the Holiday Face-Off for a chance to see the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers take on the #10 University of Massachusetts Minutemen, #17 Clarkson Golden Knights, and Lake Superior State Lakers in just the second iteration of an instant holiday classic.
Jingle Bus, Jingle Bus, Jingle all the way! Hop on the Jingle Bus every Thursday through Sunday to take a 40-minute tour of three lighted parks throughout the downtown area. Beginning at The Avenue (275 W. Wisconsin Ave.) and visiting the majestic winter light displays at Cathedral Square Park, Zeidler Union Square, and Pere Marquette Park. Pre-book your Jingle Bus Tour today!
Jingle Bell Rock - Holiday Shows and Performances
This year, go nuts for the Nutcracker! With several incredible productions of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece throughout the city. Experience the “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Grandfather’s Dance,” and, of course, “The Nutcracker Suite,” like never before at any of these performances! Take in the breathtaking, “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy,” and the impressive choreography of a holiday classic with the whole family at the Milwaukee Ballet performance at the Marcus Performing Arts Center, the Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet at the Miller High Life Theatre, or a new, fully-encompassing take on the classic ballet with an Immersive Nutcracker exhibition at the Wisconsin Center.
From one iconic holiday tradition to another, venture into the seasonal staple, “A Christmas Carol,” put on by the Milwaukee Rep at the Pabst Theater. Relive the time-honored Charles Dickens play as the cantankerous Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits to show him the error of his ways.
Then, the Harlem Globetrotters will bring their high-flying acrobatics, amazing ball-handling abilities, and sidesplitting antics to Fiserv Forum as the world’s winningest team takes on the Newport Generals on New Year’s Eve.
Looking for a little break from all the festive happenings? Look no further than the immersive Beyond Monet exhibit at the Wisconsin Center. Watch as the works of one of the world’s greatest painters springs to life in front of your eyes, immersing you in a stunning exhibition of texture, light, and shadow that made Claude Monet one of the preeminent artists of his time. Experience works like, “The Water Lily Pond,” and, “Woman with a Parasol,” come alive in a show that displays what makes the French Impressionist’s art revolutionary.
The weather outside [may be] frightful, but these holiday dining spots are sure delightful. Find festive dining with a bird’s eye view of the winter landscape in the Lux Domes above the Third Ward at Café Benelux or reserve a heated hut at Zócalo Food Truck Park.
For dinner with more of a festive flare, head over to MOTOR Bar & Restaurant on the Harley-Davidson Museum’s campus for their 12 Days of Holiday Fun celebration with Hawaiian Holiday-themed dinner, live music, and events from December 7-18.
From stocking stuffers to the perfect local gift for that special someone, we have put together some ideas designed to stoke your gifting inspiration for everyone on your list. Check out our holiday shopping guide to find great local businesses here.
Make Spirits Bright Under Holiday Lights
There’s nothing quite like the beautiful arrangements of holiday light displays to get you in the spirit of the season. Walk on the wild side with Wild Lights at the Milwaukee County Zoo from 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. Stroll through millions of lights and take in glimmering sculptures of gorillas, gazelles, rhinos, and more!
Returning in 2022, the Holiday Lites return to the Miller Valley. Drive through the Miller campus for a more than 70-year-old holiday tradition. Then, after you’ve taken in the displays throughout the campus in all their glittering majesty, drop by the gift shop for a crowler of Frederick Miller’s Classic Chocolate Lager.
Country Christmas at the Ingleside in Pewaukee, features a mile-long trail of dazzling light displays from a pirate scene, reindeer barn, and more culminating in Bearville, a 200-foot tunnel with 30,000 lights. Offering both drive-through and walk-through evenings all month long.
Finally, Downtown Milwaukee is brimming with seasonal spirit from our intersections to our parks. Drive down Wisconsin Avenue under the blue and white hue of the cityscape before visiting Pere Marquette Park, Zeidler Union Square, and Cathedral Square shining bright with interactive holiday displays sure to put you in the spirit at the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival.
That’s Snow Fun – Outdoor Winter Fun
As Milwaukee turns into a majestic winter wonderland, bundle up and enjoy the fresh white snow with winter sports across the area from cross-country skiing to tubing, and embrace the cold this winter!
Happy holidays from your friends at VISIT Milwaukee!
Article originally published on 12/15/2022