Holiday cheer is everywhere, and nothing says Christmas time quite like the beauty of twinkling lights strewn throughout the town.  But, it doesn’t stop there! All of Milwaukee and the surrounding areas are decked out for the holiday season, from small neighborhoods on the outskirts to city-center.  So, grab your loved ones, jump in the care, and drive around, singing your favorite carols while sipping hot cocoa and taking in the impressive displays.

If you’re not sure where to start your holiday light excursion, here are some of our favorite places to check out Milwaukee holiday lights:

Holiday Lights Festival

When: Through January 1st

Where: Downtown Milwaukee

There are so many events that make up the Holiday Lights Festival, you simply won’t want to miss out!  There’s a Jingle Bus, Cocoa with the Clauses, Santa’s Mailbox and more – it’s fun for the whole family!  For a full list of events, times and locations, head to their website.    

BMO Harris Holiday Display

When:  Through January 2nd

Where:  BMO Harris Bank, 770 N. Water St. Milwaukee

The BMO Harris Holiday Display is always a highly-anticipated hit!  It’s full of fun and lots of holiday cheer for the whole family. The display celebrates the world of Dr. Seuss, bringing the beloved author’s wonderfully whimsical world to life through sparkling holiday lights. The festive tradition is free and open to the public. 

Shalom Wildlife Holiday Drive Thru

When: Through December 31st

Where: Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary, 1901 Shalom Drive, West Bend 

From the warmth of your own car, you can enjoy the stunning holiday lights of Milwaukee, see some adorable animals, and awe at the themed decorations at this hour-long drive thru.  Bring the family, and be sure to stop to stretch your legs while you enjoy a holiday walk through the free (with admission) petting zoo. You can even share the festive cheer with the animals by feeding them and getting some love.

Jellystone Park’s Christmas Carnival of Lights 

When:  Through December 31st, 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park; 8425 WI-38, Caledonia 

This Milwaukee holiday light experience is just 20 minutes south of Milwaukee and covers more than a mile with one million twinkling holiday lights.  It’s great fun for the whole family with draws like rides on Santa’s giant sleigh that also travels through the light display for a unique holiday experience.  To ride the sleigh, be sure to make your reservations at:

Enchantment in the Park

When:  Through December 24th from 5-9 p.m.

Where:  Regner Park, West Bend

Enchantment in the Park is a charming light display through Regner Park.  When you arrive, you’re given a CD to listen to that narrates your journey through the different sections and displays in the park, complete with Christmas stories and carols.  Then, after driving through the light display, park your car, and take a walk around your favorite parts. You can also go inside the indoor park pavilion for some hot cocoa, snacks, and a visit with Santa.  Entry into the park is either a bag of non-perishable food items or a suggested $10 cash donation per car.

Country Christmas

When:  Through December 31st, Sunday – Thursday from 5-9 p.m., and Friday, Saturday and Holidays from 5-10 p.m.

Where:  Ingleside Hotel, 2810 Golf Rd. Pewaukee

Milwaukee’s biggest holiday light display, this family favorite features several animated figure displays including a Bear Village.  Once you’ve driven through the mile-long trail of lights, you can park your car, and go inside to enjoy some hot cocoa and holiday cookies, plus a spectacular train display in “Christmas Village.”  Tickets are $15-$20 per carload or minivan.

There’s so much to see and experience in and around Milwaukee during the holidays.  So, get started early, and spread some festive cheer all season long!