Milwaukee Holiday Events & Festivals

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. 

2022 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. While you can’t Santa in his workshop this year, you CAN run in Santa’s Dash Away 5K on December 10th, enjoy the numerous craft fairs and art exhibits, or take a horse-drawn sleigh ride!

A Cedarburg Christmas Website

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival – Milwaukee

November 17 – January 1
Downtown Milwaukee

MKE it back to explore the lights and sights around Downtown Milwaukee. With sparkling interactive displays at Pere Marquette Park, Zeidler Union Square and Cathedral Square, it’s the perfect chance to capture a memory that ignites joy for everyone, no matter their age.

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Website

Bayshare’s Kooky Cooky House – Glendale

November 18 – December 23
The Yard @ Bayshore 

Bayshore is thrilled to host the Kooky Cooky House presented by Crumbl Cookies and Kilwins as part of its’ Season to Sparkle holiday celebrations! The Kooky Cooky House is a nostalgic Milwaukee icon, originally designed in 1960 by Walter E. Kroening for the former Capitol Court shopping mall, then recreated by Discovery World in the 1990s. It is an ‘automated’ gingerbread cookie factory and a Christmas time capsule full of vintage and nostalgic memories and decorations from the 1960s and 1970s. Kids of all ages will delight in the cookie making assembly line with a robot conducts the entire operation from mixing to batter, flattening the cookies, decorating, and baking to perfection. Guests who visit the Kooky Cooky House will receive vouchers for a free Crumbl Cookie and a free treat at Kilwins at Bayshore.

Bayshare’s Kooky Cooky House Website

Holiday Folk Fair – West Allis

November 18 – November 20
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. New this year: take a ride on Santa’s GIANT Sleigh with the big man himself! Reservations required.

Jellystone Park’s Christmas Carnival of Lights Website

Reindeer at the Corners – Brookfield 

November 19
The Corners of Brookfield

While Santa is busy prepping for the holidays at the North Pole, he sent some of his furry friends to say hello and spread some holiday cheer!

Live reindeer will be onsite Saturday, November 19th in Market Square from Noon-3P for a visit and photo opportunity on Santa’s sleigh! Each family ticket will come with a meet & greet, a printed & digital photo with Santa’s reindeer & a beautiful back-drop, a holiday goodie bag, sweets & hot cocoa.

Reindeer at the Corners Website

German Christmas Market – Oconomowoc

November 23 – November 27

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 25
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

November 25 – November 30, December 2 – 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 26, 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 29 – 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

Elf the Musical – Elm Grove

December 1 – December 18
Sunset Playhouse

Buddy journeys to New York City in search of his birth father and true identity.  Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and remind New York of the true meaning of Christmas.

Elf the Musical Website

Christkindlmarkt – West Allis

December 1 – December 2
West Allis Farmers Market

Stop by the 5th annual 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 2, Shopping All December long
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 3

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 3 – December 4, December 10 – December 11
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 59th Annual Christmas Parade – Waukesha

December 4
The Corners of Brookfield

The City of Waukesha’s 59th Annual Christmas Parade ​is back this year with a Peace on Earth theme. 

Waukesha’s 59th 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 19-26

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.

Community-wide Virtual Hanukkah celebration that will take place the entire 8 days of Hanukkah. It will be “located” on a central FB group where people can opt-in. Details to come.

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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