June 19, 2024

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Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

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Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
December 1, 2023
January 1, 2024
November 17, 2020
Milwaukee Holiday Lights at Zeidler Square

Chandelier lights over Wisconsin Avenue & Water Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Chandelier lights over Wisconsin Avenue & Water Street in downtown Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival.

The annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival celebrates its 25th year and once again Milwaukee will sparkle with lights and decorations in venues across downtown, including up and down Wisconsin Avenue, where every intersection features iconic chandeliers.

The Jingle Bus is taking this year off again, but you can enjoy Milwaukee’s joyous, open-air winter fest on foot or by car (heck, even by bike if you want) by visiting all the decorated parks as well as the dazzling downtown decor on foot or in the car.

A podcast called the MKE Jingle Bus Tour featuring Milwaukee Downtown BID CEO Beth Weirick and State Trunk Tour founder Eric Paulsen (who also served as a DJ on 95.7 BIG FM in Milwaukee during this interview) describing the Holiday Lights at each stop is available in five brief, illustrative podcast episodes:

Episode 1: Community Spirit Park at Cathedral Square Park:

Episode 2: HiBEARnation Station at Pere Marquette Park:

Episode 3: Red Arrow Park:

Episode 4: Home Is Where the Hearth Is powered by We Energies at Zeidler Union Square:

Episode 5: Wisconsin Avenue – Vel R. Phillips Avenue to Prospect Avenue:

Downtown Milwaukee Holiday Lights at Pere Marquette Park
Pere Marquette Park, one of several decorated parks during downtown Milwaukee’s Holiday Lights Festival. Photo credit: Alan Herzberg Jr. via Milwaukee Downtown.
The four decorated parks for the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival include:

“Community Spirit Park presented by Madison Medical Affiliates” at Cathedral Square Park (520 E. Wells Street, U.S. 18 & Highway 32), home to over 100 decorated evergreens along with Santa’s Mailbox presented by Educators Credit Union and Serving Older Adults. Children can drop their letter to Santa in the box through December 13th and receive a personalized response in return.

“Tinsel Town Express” at Pere Marquette Park (900 N. Plankinton Avenue, just south of U.S. 18/State Street) features a lighted scene from the North Pole’s special delivery depot. Plus, visit Ideal Property Management’s festive tree lot to pick up all of your holiday greenery.

“Home Is Where the Hearth Is powered by We Energies” is a favorite destination for photo ops at Zeidler Square (301 W. Michigan Avenue.) Take a snapshot in Santa’s chair and stroll the stunning lighted displays. Plus, in December, Zeidler Union Square will host Jingle Joy Boxes by Milwaukee Food & City Tours!

Red Arrow Park, a block east of the Milwaukee River across the street from the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, features lights, decorations, and a beautiful ice skating rink in the heart of downtown.

It all kicks off Thursday, November 18th at 6:30pm, where Milwaukee’s ABC affiliate, WISN 12, will feature holiday acts on stage in a televised performance.

The lights and decorations downtown continue all the way through New Year’s Day 2024, because we’re all ready for a new year.

Download their full guide (.pdf) or keep up on their website for more as we go through the holiday!

Of course, a TON of road trip routes bring you to downtown Milwaukee: I-94, I-43, I-794, U.S. 18, and Highways 32 and 145 bring you right to it. Highways 38 (Chase Avenue/6th Street), 57 (27th Street/Highland/20th Street), 59 (National Avenue), and 175 (Appleton and Lisbon Avenues, Miller Park Way) all bring you close.

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