Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

draws visitors to downtown

December, 2018

     Downtown Milwaukee beams brightly through Jan. 1 as part of the 20th Annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival.

     In addition to the themed displays in three downtown parks, stunning chandelier-sculptures that glisten both day and night are suspended above 18 downtown intersections.

     Catch the spirit of the holidays with a fabulous festival that features 500,000 lights, and showcases hundreds more special events.

     “The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival packages all of downtown’s activities and events to help make the season a joyful one for all,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21, the organization responsible for coordinating the annual event.

     “Downtown’s light displays and plethora of lively events are sure to get families into the holiday spirit.”

Cocoa With The Clauses

Straight from the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit Cathedral Square Park, 520 E. Wells St., on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 11am to 2pm as part of Cocoa with the Clauses presented by Madison Medical Affiliates.

     The free outdoor event is a chance for kids to share their wish lists with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and for moms and dads to snap a free keepsake photo (provided they bring a camera).

     The fun includes elves and other holiday characters plus DJ Shawna spinning holiday hits. Free treats include hot cocoa, cookies, face painting and popcorn provided by Ideal Property Management.



Three Parks

Three Themes


Each season, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival decorates these parks with larger-than-life animated sculptures.

Community Spirit Park

Cathedral Square Park, 520 E. Wells St.

Area schools and nonprofits have decorated more than 90 trees with different themes. Handmade ornaments represent each group’s wish for the season. The Singing Tree blinks to singing, music and clapping.

Presented by Ideal Property Management and Milwaukee County Parks.

Candy Cane Cove

Pere Marquette Park, 900 N. Plankinton Ave.

Santa’s elves have left out some presents and gifts for a beautiful holiday display. Amid it all stands Santa’s spectacular towering castle. New this year is Ideal Property Management’s magical tree lot, where Christmas trees are available for purchase through Dec. 24.

Presented by Zilber Property Group and Milwaukee County Parks.

Santa’s Lighted Lodge

Zeidler Union Square, 301 W. Michigan St.

At this outdoor living room, visitors can take a selfie in the giant picture frame or have a seat in the oversized chair by the fireplace. (For a chance to win a prize, photos can be posted using #MKEholidaylights.)

Presented by We Energies Foundation and Milwaukee County Parks.