Best time to go to Milwaukee, WI

Christmas Lights in Milwaukee 2024-2025

From downtown to the suburbs, Milwaukee dazzles with lights during the holidays

Dates: mid-November–early January

Christmas Lights in Milwaukee
Pere Marquette Park in downtown Milwaukee

Milwaukee gets completely transformed with holiday lights during the Christmas season. Downtown, Pere Marquette Park, and West Allis residential area are among the best places to see the beautiful displays. However, many beautiful light installations can also be viewed in the Greater Milwaukee area. Light tunnels and enchanted forests are ideal for an evening drive-through or even a winter walk.

Holiday Lights Festival (November 16, 2023–January 1, 2024)

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival is the most popular holiday event in the city, lasting for about six weeks. Thousands of lights and animated displays decorate Cathedral Square Park, Zeidler Union Square, and Pere Marquette Park. Sparkling rooflines, harp lamp lighting, and suspended garlands transform the city into a winter wonderland. Don't miss the street chandeliers on Wisconsin Avenue and Mason Street. Zeidler Union Square hosts a unique lighted living room set. This location sparkles and shines, inviting visitors for their holiday snapshots. Pere Marquette Park is one more dazzling destination in Milwaukee. A holiday extravaganza starts in mid-November with the majestic tree lighting. There's plenty of decorations for a leisurely wintertime stroll. Take a tour on the Jingle Bus from Thursday through Sunday to see all the beautiful sights. On certain days, Santa and Mrs. Claus take part in "Cocoa with the Clauses".

Winter Wonders at Boerner Botanical Gardens (November 24–December 31, 2023)

Winter Wonders at Boerner Botanical Gardens in Whitnall Park features modern lighting techniques, creating fantastic displays through illuminated forests and fields of the Boerner Arboretum and Whitnall Park. The scenic 1.5-mile (2.4-km) drive-through route features over a million LED lights. 80 two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and animated displays are among the highlights of the show. Holiday gift bag giveaways and Santa visits take place every night. The display is on from 5 to 10 pm. Tickets begin at $25 per car.

Christmas Carnival of Lights (November 18, 2023–January 1, 2024)

Christmas Carnival of Lights in Jellystone Park, Caledonia, is the largest drive-through light display in Southeastern Wisconsin. The amazing show includes a 200-foot (61-m) dazzling tunnel with images and words synchronized to music. Take a ride in Santa's sleigh or Golf Cart Holiday Train to enjoy the winter wonderland around you with elves, reindeer, fairy tale characters, and Santa himself. Kids can bring their letters to Santa and snap a few photos with him as well . The 1.5-mile (2.4-km) trail overall features over two million holiday lights.

Grand Geneva Christmas (November 19–December 30, 2023)

Grand Geneva resort is a perfect winter family retreat destination, transforming into a winter wonderland with over two million sparkling lights. The best way to enjoy the dazzling display is to ride the Grand Geneva Trolley, which tours around the resort at 5, 6, 7, and 8 pm. Reservations are required for the ride. You can also explore the lights from the comfort of your own car. The route starts at Hwy 50. In addition to lights, guests can enjoy holiday tea or breakfasts with Santa, Gingerbread House Walk, Santa's workshops, and the Igloo Experience.

Ingleside Hotel’s Country Christmas (November 17–19, 24–29, 2023; December 1, 2023–January 1, 2024, walking, drive-through, & wagon rides on selected dates)

Ingleside Hotel’s Country Christmas takes place at The Ingleside Hotel, home to The Springs Water Park. Wisconsin’s largest outdoor drive-through Christmas lights display consists of three exhibits: The Trail, Christmas Village, and Streets of Bethlehem. The Country Christmas Trail dazzles with over a million lights scattered on a mile-long trail. The enchanted winter forest is full of animated figures and scenes, like giant teddy bears and more. Another highlight is the 200-foot (30-m) tunnel adorned with 30,000 shimmering lights.

Santa’s Rock n Lights (unconfirmed in 2023)

Santa’s Rock n Lights used to be held at Wisconsin State Fair Park and moved to Brown County Fair Grounds near Green Bay, 120 miles (193 km) north of Milwaukee. The event is a dazzling drive-thru light show featuring a one-mile route with about 1,000 programmable elements and 100,000 animated lights. Illumination is synchronized to music, which you can tune into on your car radio. Light, animated to Christmas music, is a totally new experience, different from traditional still displays. Santa’s Rock n Lights operates on select days between late November and early January. Tickets are sold online only at $19.99–$29.99.

No matter which getaway you choose for your winter-time retreat in Milwaukee, millions of lights will surely get you in a holiday spirit and create lasting memories.

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