Milwaukee Holiday Events & Festivals 2017


Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival – Milwaukee
November 16th – January 1st
Downtown Milwaukee

There are a lot of events happening under the title “Holiday Lights Festival,” including Jingle Bus, Cocoa with the Clauses, and Santa’s Mailbox. Check out the website to get a full list of events, times, and locations!

Holiday Folk Fair – West Allis
November 17th – November 19th
Wisconsin State Fair Park

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.

90th Annual Milwaukee Holiday Parade – Milwaukee
November 18th
Downtown Milwaukee

From its start in 1927, the Milwaukee Holiday Parade remains a cherished holiday tradition featuring approximately 100 units including marching bands, floats, giant helium balloons, local personalities, costumed characters, live animals, specialty vehicles and, of course, Santa Claus! For more information, including a route map, please visit

Lighting of The Corners – Brookfield
November 18th

You’re in for a tree-mendous celebration Saturday, November 18! It’s our first holiday season at The Corners, and we are going BIG! Join us for our first annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Corners.

Meet Santa’s reindeer, here from the north pole!

Enjoy hot cocoa, a spectacular tree lighting in Market Square of our 26 ft. tall tree, carolers, holiday music, gingerbread houses for a cause, and much more!

Milwaukee Turkey Trot – Milwaukee
November 23rd
Veteran’s Park

Kiss all those Thanksgiving calories good-bye….until the finish line and those famous cinnamon rolls, that is. Run the Tradition!

The Pfister Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony – Milwaukee

November 24th

Open to the public, complimentary parking with purchase.

Join us at The Pfister for our Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Watch the rapt expression on young and old alike as Santa arrives and officially lights The Pfister holiday tree. Savor the festive evening as you sip warm drinks and nibble on a holiday treat.

We will be collecting food for Hunger Task Force. Please consider donating a non-perishable food item to help those in need within our community.

Breakfast with Santa at The Pfister – Milwaukee

December 2, 9, 16 and 23

Enjoy this Pfister tradition and create lifelong memories! Share a jolly breakfast with Santa and his elves in the festively decorated ballroom with a special gift awaiting each child.

Christmas Celebration Brunch at The Pfister – Milwaukee

December 25, 2017

A Pfister Christmas brunch begins with a complimentary toast followed by a spectacular buffet featuring a delicious assortment of appetizers, salads, entrees and decadent desserts in our elegantly appointed ballroom.

A Mason Street Christmas Grill at The Pfister – Milwaukee

December 25, 2017

Experience classic American favorites from a specially prepared Christmas menu at Mason Street Grill. Planning a family event? Private dining rooms are available and can accommodate groups from 6 to 60.

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. Make a visit to Santa in his workshop, run in Santa’s Dash Away 5K on December 16th, enjoy the numerous craft fairs and art exhibits, or take a horse-drawn sleigh ride!

Country Christmas – Pewaukee
November 24-26th and December 1-31st
Country Springs Hotel

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.


Holiday Kitchen – Milwaukee
November 24th
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

Join Betty Brinn the day after Thanksgiving for a special event to celebrate cooking together, healthy eating and the importance of family meal time. Participate in a variety of hands-on workshops and learn the value of making good decisions when it comes to nutrition and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. Lots of crafty projects, fun programs and delicious food samples will give the entire family a kick-start to healthy living this holiday season! Free with museum admission!

Midnight Magic – Mukwonago

December 2nd 

Old fashioned Christmas celebration.  Town-wide festival featuring indoor crafter marketplace, shopping, parade, fireworks, pictures with Santa, holiday entertainment, horse drawn carriage rides, and more!

Christmas in the Ward – Milwaukee
December 1st – December 2nd
Third Ward

Fireworks, reindeer, horse-drawn carriage rides and Santa kick off a fabulous weekend of holiday shopping!

Breakfast and Lunch with Santa – Milwaukee
December 2nd – December 17th
Milwaukee County Zoo

Come to the zoo for holiday cheer and celebration as Santa and Mrs. Claus make their annual trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo to visit children for a special breakfast or lunch, featuring Racine Danish Kringle!  The Claus’ and their merry elves, will visit December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 2017. Lunch is at noon on Saturdays and Sundays.


Celebrate the Holidays at Jelly Belly – Pleasant Prairie

Saturday, November 25-Tree Lighting
5:00pm to 8:00pm
Celebrate the Holiday Season with Jelly Belly, and mark your calendar for this annual event. Santa, puppet shows, and live music are all part of the fun. Watch us light our 20-foot Christmas tree. PLUS, catch our character parade!
Santa photos available after Tree Lighting Ceremony until 8:00pm.

Saturday, December 9- Brunch with Santa
Brunch at 10:00am; seating at 9:45am
Join Mr. Jelly Belly and friends for a delicious brunch and lots of fun with Santa Claus!!
Activities 10:00am to 11:30am
By reservation only. Spaces are limited.
*Ticket sales for this event typically go on sale 4-6 weeks before the event and will be available at 

Santa Hustle 5K – Milwaukee
December 2nd
Veteran’s Park

The ultimate holiday fun run! Thousands of Santas running along the lakefront and local streets. Festive music, candy, cookies and other treats.

Homemade Holidays – Franklin
December 2nd
Wehr Nature Center

The Wehr Nature Center invites you to bring your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, the neighborhood gang, or scout group to Wehr to create homemade treasures from natural, recycled and re-purposed objects. Make and take home 3 different projects for the admission fee.

An Old World Christmas – Eagle
December 2nd-3rd & December 9th-10th 
Old World Wisconsin

This 1880s village will be trimmed for the holidays, and wood-fired stoves and bonfires will beckon with the promise of warmth and good cheer. Meet 19th-century Santa for your one-of-a-kind holiday photo. Storytelling, holiday characters, sleigh rides, and more.

Festivus – Milwaukee
December 2nd
Brady Street

Based on the popular Festivus Seinfeld episode from 1997, Festivus attendees have a chance to air their grievances and participate in feats of strength all in an effort to win the highly coveted Festivus pole. In honor of this wonderful un-holiday, Brady Street merchants will be offering shopping, dining and drink deals throughout the day.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train – Milwaukee & Wauwatosa
December 2nd – W. St Paul Amtrak Depot

December 3rd – Wauwatosa Village

Think of them as brightly-decorated railcars full of Christmas cheer. A fundraiser for food banks in Canada and the U.S., our Holiday Trains — one travels through Canada, the other in the U.S. — have covered over 100,000 miles and raised close to $12 million and 3.9 million pounds of food since the program started in 1999.

The Holiday Train is stopping in Wauwatosa, offering free concerts and seasonal festivities from a boxcar we’ve turned into a traveling stage. The concerts are always free, but you’re encouraged to make a donation to the local food bank—either a non-perishable food item or a cash donation. All contributions will stay within your local community.

Christmas Bird Count – Franklin
December 16th
Wehr Nature Center

Help count birds wintering at Wehr! You’ll meet some of the most talented and persistent birders in the area as we count birds in the most important and longest-running bird count. This count is held throughout the country and provides information on long–term trends. Our results will be submitted to the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology. Bring field guides and binoculars if you’d like. A map of Wehr’s boundaries will be available for each participant. There is no charge to participate in this event, but please pre-register by December 16.

Afternoon High Tea Tradition at The Pfister – Milwaukee

Friday, Saturday & Sundays Weekly: October 20, 2017 – April 1, 2018

We have created an experience that will surely become a treasured memory for you and yours. Guests enjoy a tableside tea blending, presented in all–silver service by a Pfister Tea Butler, while learning about each variety of tea, the origins, unique flavors, effects on mood and health, blending options and perfect pairings. The afternoon tea menu is complete with fresh scones, sandwiches and pastries.

The Afternoon Tea experience at The Pfister hotel is unlike that of any other hotel. On the 23rd floor lounge of the Pfister, you will be surrounded by panoramic views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan. Treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon of grand elegance in our Milwaukee tea room.

Waukesha Janboree – Waukesha
January 26th-28th, 2018
Downtown Waukesha

Live music, sledding, ice sculpting demo, fireworks, pancake breakfast, 5K run/walk, geocaching, trolley rides, kickball, Winter Fun at the YMCA and so much more! 

Milwaukee 11th Annual Chili Bowl – Milwaukee
January 28th, 2018
Potowotomi Casino

At Wisconsin’s largest chili cook-off, Milwaukee’s top chefs and restaurants will compete for Milwaukee’s best, sampling more than 60 varieties of chili, but only one will leave with the Golden Ladle award. Reserve your tasting ticket and you’ll be able to sample traditional and spicy chili, along with specialty chili like chicken, lamb, brisket, sweet potato, bratwurst, and vegetarian chili.

Cedarburg Winter Festival – Cedarburg
February 17th-18th, 2018
Downtown Cedarburg

Ice sculpture contest, chili cook-off, snowball tournament, camel rides and petting zoo, shops at Cedar Creek Settlement, crafts, marketplace, food and so much more!

Jellystone Park’s Christmas Carnival of Lights – Caledonia

November 25th- December 31st, 2017

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

Guests will be dazzled by new moving displays, and “Evy the Talking Christmas Tree,” a popular, animatronic, seven-foot character who made his debut last year and talks and sings to visitors of all ages. Evy will be located inside Santa’s Workshop, where guests can enjoy hot beverages and visit with Santa. 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

What else needs to be on this list? We would love to hear about your favorite family holiday events!

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One Response to Milwaukee Holiday Events & Festivals 2017

  1. Amanda Hull November 21, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    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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