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Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

November 16, 2023 January 1, 2024

2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the spectacular Holiday Lights Festival. This year, experience downtown Milwaukee illuminated by more than 500,000 lights and animated displays in three parks, and enjoy fun, family-friendly activities that celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

“The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival presented by Johnson Financial Group is a brilliant holiday tradition,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. 

“We’re thrilled to celebrate 25 years of magical moments with Milwaukee-area families and look forward to kindling new memories with our anniversary-themed decorations, displays and happenings.”

Visit the Ornament Trail, a series of unique, larger-than-life ornaments painted by 15 local artists, located on Wisconsin Ave. from the Court of Honor to the US Bank Building and on Water St. near Red Arrow Park.

Home to the “Slice of Ice” Skating rink, Red Arrow Park will twinkle with new decor.Themed Parks

Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square come alive with magical displays this holiday season.

Themes this year are Community Spirit Park at Cathedral Square, Felices Fiestas at Pere Marquette, and Santa’s Celebration Square powered by We Energies at Zeidler Union Square. 

Purchase a keepsake pewter ornament of a Milwaukee landmark for yourself or a loved one in the Milwaukee Downtown store, shop.milwaukeedowntown.com

This year’s landmark is the iconic Pfister Hotel. The last day of shipping for the ornaments is Dec. 21.


Santa’s Mailbox Cathedral Square Park
Through Dec. 17
Kids can send Kris Kringle their holiday gift wishes by writing a letter and placing it in this special mailbox, sponsored by Educators Credit Union with support from Serving Older Adults and Letter Carriers Union Branch 2. Make sure to include a return address to receive a personalized reply from Santa and his elves.

Santa’s Christmas Cavalcade 
Dec. 2 & 8, 5pm
Featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus riding on a vintage fire truck and Sarah Fierek singing jazzy holiday favorites, Santa’s Christmas Cavalcade will once again travel through the Third Ward to downtown Milwaukee. A Black Santa joins the festivities on Dec. 2. 

Cocoa with the Clauses
Dec. 9, 11am-2pm
Sip complimentary hot cocoa, snack on delicious cookies, and spend time with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and other beloved holiday characters thanks to Madison Medical Affiliates. Parents can make additional holiday memories by taking a keepsake photo.

Jingle Bus Tours
Thurs.- Sun. through Dec. 30
Hop on the Jingle Bus and visit downtown Milwaukee’s most festive and iconic sites. Rides are $5, and Spanish tours are available on select days. Visit milwaukeeholidaylights.com to purchase tickets. 

NYEMKE at Discovery World 
Dec. 31 
In partnership with Events by Design, welcome the New Year and join the fabulous party at Discovery World, which highlights members of Milwaukee’s creative community that donate their time and talent to making Brew City a great place.