Celebrate the Holiday Season in Downtown Milwaukee | Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, Cocoa with the Clauses and more!


milwaukee holiday lights festival

Downtown Milwaukee Brings Back Holiday Cheer with a Bang!

The city of Milwaukee takes pride in the level to which we deck our halls for the holiday season and after the way the last couple years have been so heavy, we are due for a very holly jolly season indeed! The incredible team at Milwaukee Downtown has worked hard to create a variety of experiences for everyone to get into the festive spirit in numerous ways around the downtown area of the city.

milwaukee holiday lights festivalMilwaukee Holiday Lights Festival – Dashing Through the GLOW!

  • Where: Downtown Milwaukee (see below)

Cathedral Square: Community Spirit Park sponsored by Madison Medical Affiliates
Pere Marquette Park: HiBEARnation Station
Zeidler Union Square: Home Is Where the Hearth Is powered by WE Energies

  • When: Thursday, November 18th thru January 1st
  • Notes: This year, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival will ring in the season by working with WISN 12 and The Pabst Theater Group to produce an all-new variety show. The show will air on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. on WISN 12. Packed with local talent and a spectacular finale, viewers won’t want to miss this sampling of downtown’s holiday shows.

Jingle Bus Self-Guided Tours Available as Podcast

  • Families can learn about Downtown’s lights and sights via a five-episode podcast on the iHeartRadio app by typing “MKE Jingle Bus Tour”. Listeners can follow along the free podcast while in the car or on foot. English and Spanish versions will be available.

Jingle Joy Boxes from Milwaukee Food & City Tours

  • While exploring Downtown’s lights and sights, guests can enjoy treats curated by Milwaukee Food & City Tours on select nights in December. Jingle Joy Bags are $15 and can be pre-ordered at www.milwaukeefoodtours.com or purchased day of, while supplies last. The Jingle Joy drive-thru will operate from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 3 – 18, at Zeidler Union Square. Cash and credit will be accepted.

Santa’s Mailbox at Cathedral Square Returns!

  • Cathedral Square Park will continue to host a direct connection to the North Pole. Santa’s Mailbox presented by Educators Credit Union, Serving Older Adults and National Association of Letter Carriers Pioneer Branch 2, returns Nov. 18 – Dec. 12. As part of the magic of the season, children who drop their letters into Santa’s Mailbox will receive a personalized reply in the mail, provided they include a return address. Best of all, no postage is required.


holidays in downtown milwaukee
Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21/ Andrew Feller.

Cocoa with the Clauses sponsored by Madison Medical Affiliates

  • When: Saturday, December 11th from 11am-2pm
  • Where: Cathedral Square
  • Notes: Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, cocoa and cookies provided by Taste of Home. Straight from the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus return for this annual cocoa klatch. The free outdoor event is a chance for kids to share their wish lists, and for moms and dads to snap a keepsake photo. Just remember to bring your camera! Elves and other holiday characters will also be there.

Santa’s Christmas Cavalcade

  • When: Fri, December 10 & 17, Departs at 5:15pm
  • Where: Downtown Milwaukee

See Santa and Mrs. Claus on this festive route riding atop a vintage fire truck. Sarah Fierek will also be on board singing jazzy holiday tunes. Route departs from the Milwaukee Public Market and travels throughout downtown.

Santa Camp Pop’s Up

  • When: December 17 & 18, 5pm to 10pm
  • Where: Turners’ Alley, 1029 N. Old World 3rd Street

Experience this one-of-a-kind holiday pop-up, featuring a special Holiday Lights Festival ice bar by Art Below Zero, festive drinks from Deer Camp, and gifts from Pop’s MarketPlace.

Ideal Property Management Tree Lot

When: November 23 – December 24, 10am to 8pm

Where: Pere Marquette Park

An old-fashioned tree lot featuring a wide selection of fresh Wisconsin trees, handmade wreaths and Christmas décor. Don’t miss an ice-carving demonstration on Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a live reindeer visit on Dec. 12 from 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Ornament Collection Grows to 21 Editions

Also returning this year is the Festival’s annual ornament, hand-carved by local artist Andrew Schumann. The perfect gift for friends, family or business associates, this year’s edition features the Warner Marquee at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s new home, the Bradley Symphony Center. The 2021 ornament will soon be available for $19.95 plus shipping and handling at shop.milwaukeedowntown.com. A limited number of past editions are available for $24.95 plus shipping and handling


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