Whether you’re planning your own Milwaukee Thanksgiving adventure or expecting to host out of town family and friends for turkey day celebrations, there are so many ways to experience and share our beloved city this holiday season.  That’s why we’ve put together a brief travel itinerary for Thanksgiving week so that you and your loved ones can do more than just sit around and indulge in delicious seasonal favorites. Make the most of this time of year, and explore all of the wonderful things that Milwaukee has to offer!  Here are a few things you can do as well as where you can find some fantastic holiday feasts around town:   

Events

Drumstick Dash

When:  Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 a.m. 

Where:  Miller Park 

Start your day of feasting off with a little exercise and a charitable event.  The 8th annual Drumstick Dash 5K Run/Walk and Half a Drumstick 2.5K Run/Walk is a Milwaukee Thanksgiving family tradition.  It’s a chance for friends, family, neighbors, and strangers to come together at Miller Park for this annual food drive that benefits the local community through Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.   

Milwaukee Turkey Trot

When:  November 28th 

Where:  Start at McKinley Park and End at Veterans Park

Earn those Thanksgiving feast calories, and take part in the Milwaukee Turkey Trot.  This multi-city running festival brings together Thanksgiving runs from around the country for the greater turkey day festival called the American Turkey Tradition.  This event connects 60,000 runners from all across the nation, both in person and virtually, for the ultimate holiday event. And, once you reach the finish line, there will be all kinds of fun activities and treats set up for participants.     

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

When:  November 21st – January 1st 

Where:  Pere Marquette Park

For many, Thanksgiving is the kickoff of a season of holiday lights.  So, gather your loved ones, and experience the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival.  The dazzling display lights up downtown in style with an accompanying holiday variety show.  It’s a great opportunity to explore Pere Marquette Park as well as the rest of the town while getting in the holiday spirit.      

Activities

Milwaukee County Zoo

For those looking for a more low-key holiday experience, the Milwaukee County Zoo offers special Thanksgiving Day admission.  A day at the zoo is fun for everyone and a great opportunity to see some of what the city has to offer before you settle in for the big feast.  Admission is free from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for Milwaukee County ID holders.     

Museums

A visit to Milwaukee is all about experiencing the history and culture of this rich and vibrant city.  So, take a break from all of your Thanksgiving preparations, and explore one of our fantastic museums and historic sites.  From the Milwaukee Public Museum, to the Milwaukee Art Museum, to the Harley Davidson Museum, to the Pabst Mansion, and so much more, you’ll find something that peaks the interests of absolutely everyone in your group!    

Dining 

For those looking to dine out for Thanksgiving this year, there are many delicious options around town that will create a traditional feast for you!  Here are a couple of options to consider:

  • Mason Street Grill – Catch Mason Street Grill’s annual Thanksgiving Day feast at The Pfister Hotel’s ballroom from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.  The all-American grill will serve wood-grilled steaks, seafood, and of course, a traditional Thanksgiving prix fixe menu. 
  • Milwaukee ChopHouse – One of the city’s most popular seafood and steak houses, the ChopHouse will be serving up special seasonal additions to their regular menu.  They create traditional feast items with their own twist, like orange-sage brined turkey breast, spiced plum soup, and pumpkin ginger cheesecake.  

Milwaukee is a great place to spend the holidays!  This list is only a small glimpse of all of the seasonal happenings you can find around town the week of Thanksgiving.  As you do your own exploring and start to plan your holiday week, be sure to check event, activity, and restaurant websites for specific holiday hours and booking information so that you don’t miss out on any of the excitement!