Nothing says holidays more than cheer of carefully strung or hastily thrown lights and glitter. And let’s be honest, both have their charm. But when you have finished admiring (or envying) the neighborhood array of lights, where can you head for that awe-inspiring moment of “Wow! The holidays really are here!”
Sorting through social media, word of mouth, and local papers looking for the best holiday lights displays can be daunting so let us do the legwork for you.
Holiday Lights in Milwaukee
Sponsored by MKE Downtown and Holiday Lights Festival
Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival – MKE It Merry & Bright!
- Where: Pere Marquette Park
- When: Thursday, November 21st thru January 1st
- Location: 900 N Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee
- Notes: Nobody does the holidays quite like Milwaukee! In celebration of our 21st season, we’re charging up the town to light millions of faces. From all-day adventures to evening escapes, guests of all ages will delight in our merry measures. So MKE it a merry and bright season!
Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Jingle Bus presented by Meijer
- Where: Downtown Milwaukee
- When: November 22nd thru January 1st, line up at 5:30 and every 20 minutes until 8:20 p.m.
- Location: The Avenue, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave – in the rotunda outside of TJ Maxx
- Notes: With chandeliers lining Wisconsin Avenue and three lighted parks – “Community Spirit Park” at Cathedral Square Park, “Holiday Hearth powered by We Energies” at Zeidler Union Square and “Polar Park” at Pere Marquette Park – downtown Milwaukee is a whimsical winter wonderland. Hop on the Jingle Bus, presented by Meijer and powered by Coach USA, and take in downtown’s decorated scenes. For $2 per person, enjoy a 40-minute tour narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors, complete with stories about landmarks and attractions along the way. Board the tour at the Jingle Bus Warming House at The Avenue, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. Arrive early, as tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis each night beginning at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy free treats while you wait and make sure to ask for the $3 parking voucher for the attached parking structure, sponsored by Interstate Parking.*Please note: Jingle Bus rides will not operate on Thanksgiving. Tours will be free on Thursday, Nov. 21 and depart from Pere Marquette Park following the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Kickoff Extravaganza.
- Where: Boerner Botanical Gardens in Whitnall Park
- When: November 29, 2019 – January 1, 2020; 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
- Location: 6751 S. 92nd Street, Franklin
- Notes: Gather family and friends for a spectacular new drive-through holiday lights display brought to you by the producers of China Lights! Enjoy a variety of light displays throughout Whitnall Park from the comfort of your car as you drive alongside magnificent forest scenes and whimsical holiday fun. Tickets begin at $25 for a carload and can be found on their website.
Santa’s Rock n Lights
- Where: Wisconsin State Fair Park
- When: November 22nd 5-10 p.m. thru the holidays
- Location: 640 S 84th St, West Allis
- Notes: A drive thru Christmas light show experience. Start a totally new tradition. Lights are animated to Christmas music instead of traditional still displays. Load up family and friends to watch the action of lights dancing to music all from the warmth of your car! Advanced tickets start at $24.99 online. Visit the website for advanced tickets and more information.
Holiday Garden (& Lights) Show
- Where: The Mitchell Park Domes
- When: November 23rd thru January 5th
- Location: 524 S. Layton Blvd.
- Notes: Tickets are $8/person, children under 5 are free. The look and feel of all the classic lights, ornaments and decorations of the holiday season. Visit their website for more information on hours during the holidays.
Miller Valley Holiday Lites
- Where: Miller Valley
- When: Fridays and Saturdays, December 6th through December 21st, 4:40 pm to 9 pm. The show runs for 20 minutes.
- Location: Miller Valley Visitor Center is located at 42nd and State.
- Notes: Free. Kid-friendly lights show! Donate new, unwrapped toy for Toys-For-Tots and/or a non-perishable food item for Hunger Task Force. Be sure to check out the giant tree made of 150 beer kegs. Also featuring a free indoor/outdoor mini walking tour consisting of their opening video, famous Miller Caves Must be 21+ to sample beer including the new chocolate lager for the holidays
Children’s Lantern Parade at the Christkindlmarket Milwaukee
- Where: Christkindlmarket Milwaukee at Fiserv Forum, 1111 Vel R. Phillips Ave
- When: Sunday, December 8th, 4-6 p.m.
- Location: Fiserv Forum, 1111 Vel R. Phillips Ave
- Notes: Kids can enjoy a Lantern Parade at the beautiful Christkindlmarket. The Christkind will stroll with the children around the Christkindlmarket while carrying a lantern and singing songs in English and in German. After the Parade each of the children will receive a goody-bag. Tickets are available on Eventbrite and are $10 to include one lantern or $20 with lantern, hot chocolate, and commemorative mug.
Candy Cane Lane in West Allis
- Where: West Allis
- When: November 29th thru December 28th, 6-9 pm Weekdays and 5-10 pm Saturday and Sunday
- Location: 96th St. to 92nd St. and Montana Ave. and Oklahoma Ave.
- Notes: Bundle the kids in their jammies and let them sip cocoa while driving through an amazing spectacle of light. Donations are accepted and benefit the MACC Fund. Visit their website for more info.
Holiday Lights in Neighboring Communities
Lighting of the Corners of Brookfield
- Where: The Corners of Brookfield
- When: Saturday, November 23rd from 4-6 p.m.
- Location: 20111 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield
- Notes: Free. Families participate in joyous activities, including live reindeer, carolers, live music, face painting, and free hot chocolate from Cafe Hollander (parents can make it boozy for $2.).
Jellystone Park’s Christmas Carnival of Lights
- Where: Caledonia
- When: November 30th through December 31, 5-9pm Sunday-Thursday and 5-10pm Friday & Saturday
- Location: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park; 8425 WI-38, Caledonia
- Notes: A Milwaukee holiday light experience at Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Caledonia, just 20 minutes south of Milwaukee, that stretches for more than a mile and features more than one million sparkling holiday lights sure to delight kids and adults of all ages. Santa’s giant sleigh, which seats 43 guests in tiered and comfortable seating, will also travel through the light show and give families the opportunity to experience the show in a whole new way. Reservations to ride on the sleigh may be made at www.wichristmascarnival.com/sleighrides. Visit their website for more information. Additionally, Wisconsin’s Christmas Carnival of Lights will be donating $1 per car, up to 4,000 cars to the Ronald McDonald House to go towards their cause.
Lights on Glen Cove
- Where: Glen Cove Ct, Muskego
- When: The lights will normally be on from 5pm to 9pm Sunday thru Thursday. on Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 10:00. Please check the Lights on Glen Cove Facebook Page for more specific information, as the weather does affect the display conditions. These Milwaukee holiday lights are run in a residential neighborhood in Muskego with over 30,000 LED lights synchronized to music broadcasted on 87.9 FM
- Notes: Food and monetary donations accepted for the Muskego Food Pantry. The bins are located at the front of the property. Mr. Stark, who puts on the show, asked us to remind everyone that since the show is in a residential neighborhood, please be respectful of the neighbors, be patient if there is a line (bring hot chocolate!!), and bring non-perishable food items for the food pantry.
What to expect from the Lights on Glen Cove? Something like this!
Country Christmas Light Show
- Where: Pewaukee
- When: November 29-December 1, (see special event Dec. 3-5th) December 6 – 31, Sun-Thur 5-9pm, Fri, Sat & Holidays 5-10pm.
- Location: Ingleside Hotel, 2810 Golf Rd Pewaukee, WI
- Notes: Ticket Prices: $15-$20 Carload or minivan, $30 Limo, mini-coach or large passenger van. $40 Mini Bus. $25 Senior Home Mini Bus. You can purchase tickets online and the website features company sponsored specials on some days. Debit/Credit cards are not accepted at the door. Visit their website for more info.
An Illuminated Walk Through Country Christmas
- Where: Pewaukee
- When: December 3rd thru 5th, 5-9 p.m. (last ticket sold at 8 p.m.)
- Location: Ingleside Hotel, 2810 Golf Rd Pewaukee, WI
- Notes: Tickets $7/person or $5/person with a new book donation going to the Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County. New for 2019, a three night only opportunity to walk the illuminated trail through Country Christmas at The Ingleside Hotel.
Making Spirits Bright
- Where: Sheboygan
- When: November 29th – December 31st, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. (Closed Dec 24)
- Location: Evergreen Park in Sheboygan, off Hwy 42
- Notes: Admission to the park remains free of charge. However, donations to the Sheboygan County Food Bank are highly encouraged, which will be distributed to local food pantries. Cash donations support future growth of this event and, as possible, are donated to non-profits. Don’t miss the nearby Quarryview Center (open Friday-Sunday) for wreath raffles, entertainment, concessions, and a visit with Santa. Take a trolley ride, starting at Quarryview, through the park Fridays and Saturdays. Visit their website for more information.
Enchantment in the Park
- Where: Regner Park, West Bend
- When: November 29th through December 24th: Walk, drive, carriage ride and visit Santa, 5-9pm
- Location: 800 N. Main Street, West Bend
- Notes: A bag of non-perishable food items (no glass containers please) or suggested $10 cash donation per car. Food donations help fill the food pantries of Washington County and Menomonee Falls. Enchantment in the Park is in West Bend, and is a neat light display through Regner Park. Receive a CD at the entrance that narrates the different sections of the park with Christmas stories and Carols. Afterwards, park your car and walk through parts of the park you enjoyed. Find cocoa, snacks, and a free visit with Santa inside the indoor park pavilion. Visit their website for more info.
Shalom Wildlife Holiday Drive Thru
- Where: Shalom Wildlife West Bend
- When: November 23rd thru December 31st, Mon & Tues: Closed. Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun: 1pm to 8:30pm (last car admitted at 7:30pm) Special Hours: Dec 20 – 31st: 1pm to 8:30pm (last car admitted at 7:30pm) Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
- Location: 1901 Shalom Drive, West Bend
- Notes: $8/person, under 2 yrs. free.
Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train
- Where: Multiple locations in Wisconsin, including Wauwatosa, Caledonia, Hartland & Oconomowoc (12/3)
- When: December 2nd thru 4th
- Notes: Free, but arrive early with games for kids to find best viewing position for lights and performers. See their website for communities, arrival & departure times. Dress warmly.
Where have you made your best holiday lights memories? Share them with us by tagging @milwaukeemoms or in the comments below.