When you need to experience that holiday spirit firsthand, there is nothing like a holiday festival! The holiday events throughout the Milwaukee area are guaranteed to put you in a festive mood and create lasting memories for you and your family. 

2023 Milwaukee Holiday Events and Festivals

A Cedarburg Christmas – Cedarburg

Mid-November thru Christmas
Downtown Cedarburg

Stroll through beautiful downtown Cedarburg, where centuries-old limestone buildings house enticing shops, shopkeepers adorn their storefronts with twinkling lights and quaint displays. Visit Santa in his workshop, run in Santa’s Dash Away 5K on December 9th, enjoy the numerous craft fairs and art exhibits, or take a free trolley ride!

A Cedarburg Christmas Website

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival – Milwaukee

November 16 – January 1
Downtown Milwaukee

MKE it back to explore the lights and sights around Downtown Milwaukee. Ooh and ahh at the winter wonderland throughout Downtown Milwaukee by jumping on the Jingle Bus. New this year is the Ornament Trail where larger than life ornaments have taken over Wisconsin Avenue. Each ornament has been hand-painted by local artists or national artists with Milwaukee ties. And don’t forget to bring your letter to drop off at Santa’s mailbox!

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Website

Holiday Folk Fair – West Allis

November 17 – November 29
State Fair Exposition Center

Holiday Folk Fair International, America’s premier multicultural festival and a program of the International Institute of Wisconsin, celebrates the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin. You can explore the ways music, food, dance, and art weave together a message of welcome.

Holiday Folk Fair Website

Jellystone Park’s Christmas Carnival of Lights – Caledonia

November 19 – January 1
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

Relax in the comfort of your own vehicle as you wind your way through our campground’s winter wonderland, book your seat on Santa’s GIANT Sleigh or take a ride in our Golf Cart Holiday Train for a unique experience. Enjoy Christmas in the country with lights on all sides that are high above in the trees and one-of-a-kind hand-crafted displays. Reservations required.

Jellystone Park’s Christmas Carnival of Lights Website


German Christmas Market – Oconomowoc

November 22 – November 26

The German Christmas Market has something for everyone regardless of age and tastes. It’s Europe meets Wisconsin mixed with holiday merriment. Come for an hour and stay for the day and night! You’ll love the sights and smells of a warm, inviting German Christmas complete with warm roasted nuts, authentic German beer and incredible gifts you won’t find in any mall or retail store!

German Christmas Market Website

The Pfister Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony – Milwaukee

November 24
Pfister Hotel

Join us at The Pfister Hotel for our signature Holiday tradition as Santa lights the spectacular lobby tree. Sip warm drinks and nibble on a holiday treat while you enjoy the fun. To help those in need within our community, we will be collecting food for Hunger Task Force. To contribute, please bring a non-perishable food item.

Add a little extra cheer to your evening and head up to Blu after the tree lighting for some festive holiday cocktails!

The Pfister Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Website

Country Christmas – Pewaukee

Walking nights – Nov. 17-19
Drive through nights – November 24 – November 29, December 1 – January 1
Ingleside Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Southeastern Wisconsin is a holiday destination steeped in festive tradition. Each year, The Ingleside Hotel is transformed into a winter wonderland called Country Christmas. Admission to Wisconsin’s largest drive through Christmas lights display includes a trip through the Country Christmas Trail and entrance to two buildings located at the end of the trail, Christmas Village and The Streets of Bethlehem.

Country Christmas Website

Milwaukee Makers MarketMilwaukee

November 25, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Discovery World

Explore the market, have fun, meet amazing artists and artisans, shop, and support the independent maker spirit in Milwaukee. They’ll transform the promenade into a stunning and lively indoor market. Meet Milwaukee jewelry makers, artists, designers, and other skilled artisans. Shop one-of-a-kind, locally-made products including ceramics, women’s clothing, leather goods, candles, and more. The Market is free, but General Admission applies if visiting the entire museum.

Milwaukee Makers Market Website

A Christmas Carol – Milwaukee

November 28 – December 24
The Pabst Theater

A Christmas Carol is one of the best-known and loved stories in the English language. During the course of one memorable Christmas Eve, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future help Scrooge discover that it is never too late to change his miserly ways. Enchanting music, dance, costumes, scenery and special effects will once again fill the theater to tell this timeless tale of love, hope and redemption.

A Christmas Carol Website

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical – Elm Grove

November 30 – December 17
Sunset Playhouse

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. When they crash Sunday school and demand parts in the Christmas pageant, the whole town panics. There’s not supposed to be biting or cigar-smoking in Bethlehem, and while these kids have never even heard the Christmas story, they definitely have rewrites! Soon everyone is calling for reluctant director Grace Bradley to cancel the whole thing. It’s up to the Bradleys and the Reverend to help their community see the Christmas story and the Herdman kids through new eyes in this joyous musical adaptation of the funny and touching holiday classic.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Website

Christkindlmarkt – West Allis

December 1 – December 2
West Allis Farmers Market

Stop by the Christkindlmarkt, a traditional European-style Christmas market featuring over 50 vendors. Includes Wisconsin Specialty food retailers and artisan craft vendors. Enjoy live music as well as a variety of local food trucks and beer from local breweries.

Christmas in the Ward – Milwaukee

December 1
Shop the Ward – Dec. 2-22nd
Third Ward

Experience an old-fashioned tree lighting ceremony in Catalano Square (138 N Broadway). Enjoy music, live reindeer, hot cocoa, pictures with Santa, and more.

Christmas in the Ward Website

Midnight Magic – Mukwonago

December 2

Old fashioned Christmas celebration.  A town-wide festival featuring indoor crafter marketplace, shopping, parade, fireworks, pictures with Santa, holiday entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more! Please be prepared to follow social distancing requirements.

Midnight Magic Website

Annual West Allis Christmas Parade – West Allis

December 3

The West Allis Christmas Parade is an annual holiday tradition and the premier night-time Christmas parade in Southeast Wisconsin! Enjoy marching bands and live performers, creative floats and vintage vehicles; meet elves, cartoon characters; and of course, wave to Santa Claus himself at the end of the parade!

Annual West Allis Christmas Parade Website

An Old World Christmas – Eagle

December 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17
Old World Wisconsin

Stroll through the 1880’s Crossroads Village decked in holiday greenery, full of homes and shops bustling with holiday preparations. Treat yourself to a warm cup of wassail, do some holiday shopping, and see the largest Yule Goat in North America. Then, enjoy a horse-drawn ride around the village, but keep a watchful eye out for the Krampus! Meet 19th-century Santa for your one-of-a-kind holiday photo. Storytelling, holiday characters, sleigh rides, and more.

An Old World Christmas Website

Waukesha’s Annual Christmas Parade – Waukesha

December 4
The Corners of Brookfield

The City of Waukesha’s 60th Annual Christmas Parade ​is back this year with a Holiday Gem theme.

Waukesha’s 60th Annual Christmas Parade Website

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train 

December 9

The CP holiday train is back! Holiday Train shows are free to attend. CP asks attendees to bring a cash or non-perishable food donation if they’re able. Local food shelves will set up collection stations at each event, with all donations made staying with the local food bank to help people in need in the community. Stops are in Wauwatosa, Hartland, Oconomowoc, Watertown and Columbus.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Website

Hanukkah Activities in our Community

This is just a sampling of the activities in our community. Check out this post to see them all!

Every Night December 7-15

Menorah Lighting each night at 6:00 pm outside of the store Yellow Wood at 401 E Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay courtesy of the JCC and Merchants of Whitefish Bay.

What else needs to be on this list? We would love to hear about your favorite family holiday events!

Milwaukee Holiday Content


  1. Greetings! I’m writing to let you know about a fun event that could be added to your list! ‘Bing Crosby Christmas on the Air’ is a musical, “live radio” style theatrical production happening this Holiday Season at the Historic Brumder Mansion. It is written and being performed by local Musician/Actor Matt Zembrowski and other local actors from December 8th-23rd and would be a pleasant intergenerational activity for families to attend together!

    More info is at this website:

    Thanks for your consideration and for putting together this wonderful list!


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