12 free events for kids and families in December
1. Candy Cane Lane
West Allis between 92nd-96th St. and between Montana and Oklahoma Ave.
November 24th through December 26th
6-9 p.m. Weekdays
5-10 p.m. Saturday & Sunday
Candy Cane Lane is the perfect holiday tradition for any family who loves Christmas lights. Grab some hot cocoa to go, and drive over to this brightly lit West Allis neighborhood. You’ll enter to find a winter wonderland with trees decorated as candy canes and over 300 houses full of festive holiday lights. You can drive or walk through. Don’t forget to leave a donation for the MACC fund!
2. Milwaukee Holiday Lights (Free!) & $1.00 Jingle Bus Tours
Late November – late December
The annual six-week lights festival throughout downtown Milwaukee features animated holiday light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park and Zeidler Union Square. In Cathedral Square Park this year is “Community Spirit Park”, where area school and nonprofits have embellished over 75 trees. Each tree has a theme and is adorned with handmade ornaments that represents each group’s wish for the season. “Santa’s Polar Palace is at Pere Marquette Park, and “Downtown’s Yule Lounge” is presented in Zeidler Union Square, featuring holiday fixtures such as an oversized red chair, fireplace and other great opportunities for family photos. Plus, all along Wisconsin Avenue from 10th Street to Prospect Avenue and Mason Street, you’ll find twinkling chandelier sculptures above the intersections.
You can get an up-close look at the lights aboard the $1.00 Jingle Bus, a Coach USA bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors. Tours depart from The Shops of Grand Avenue. While you wait, you can enjoy holiday snacks and the Leonard Beastein Symphony inside the mall. Check the website for the most updates dates and times.
3. BMO Harris Holiday Display
BMO Harris Bank’s downtown Milwaukee location at 770 N. Water Street.
Visitors may enter the lobby through the North or South doors on Water Street
Dates and Hours
November 27, 2017 – January 2, 2018
Monday through Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Special dates and hours:
Saturday, December 9, 2017: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 24, 2017: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Monday, December 25, 2017: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Monday, January 1, 2018: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Celebrating its 45th year, this annual holiday tradition transforms BMO’s downtown lobby into A Holiday in King Arthur’s Court. This year’s scene features more than 150 life-sized Steiff animals dressed in their own carefully-crafted, rich, royal-themed costumes. The animals will be displayed in an elaborately designed vignette in BMO’s downtown bank lobby where kings, queens, knights, thrones, medieval towers, and even the famous Round Table will be featured. A dragon or two might even stop by.
BMO Harris Bank will again donate $30,000 to Feeding America Eastern in conjunction with the holiday display.
4. Lights on Glen Cove
Off Janesville and Glen Cove Ct. in Muskego, WI
Marvel at over 35,000 LED lights synchronized to holiday music from 87.9 FM. The lights run every night starting at 5:00 p.m. and running through 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 p.m. on weekends. This is in a residential neighborhood, so please turn your headlights ff and keep your radio at a low level.
5. Miller Coors Holiday Lites
Through December 23rd
Miller Valley is celebrating its 14th year of Holiday Lites. This year the show contains the largest display of lights since its inception. Be sure to check out the giant tree made of 150 beer kegs.
The official Holiday Lites experience is a mini tour consisting of anopening video, famous Miller Caves, and the Holiday Lites show itself. After your touring experience, registered tour guests are welcomed inside for beer sampling. Try the special “Frederick Miller’s Chocolate Lager.” This seasonal treat is available only on Holiday Lites nights for those 21 and older with valid ID.
6. Gingerbread House Display
Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
December 1st – 13th
Stop by the second floor of the Milwaukee Public Market from December 1st to December 13th and marvel at over 40 festive and intricate ginger bread houses created by MATC students. The public is encouraged to view and bid on the lovely houses. You can vote for your favorite, too! Proceeds from silent auctions for each house will be used to offer scholarships to students in baking and pastry arts programs through the MATC Foundation, Inc.
7. Very Merry Milwaukee at the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
Sunday, Dec. 10
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Milwaukee County Historical Society (910 North Old World Third Street, Milwaukee, WI 53203)
Admission: Free to the public. There is a cost for Pictures with Santa ($7 each, 2 or more $5 each) and refreshments.
All are welcome for a chance to see Santa and his friend, Billie the Brownie. Get your picture taken with Santa, see the Historical Center decorated for the season and enjoy our “Milwaukee Holiday Treasures and Traditions” exhibit.
Event Visitors can listen to Mrs. Claus as she reads a holiday favorite, participate in a coloring activity or write a letter to Santa so he doesn’t forget any wishes! Cookies, hot chocolate, and snowman sundaes will be for sale at Mrs. Claus’ kitchen. WHO: Santa and Mrs. Claus are the couple of the day. The public is welcome to participate in the event.
Enjoy the ongoing seasons exhibit, Milwaukee Holiday Treasures and Traditions, on display through December 29th. The exhibit celebrates the many traditions and treasures of Milwaukeeans during this magical time of year, and includes historic images and objects related to Milwaukee such as the Christmas Parade and Santa’s favorite helper, Billie the Brownie. The exhibit runs Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Regular admission is $7 per adult. All proceeds go to the support of the Milwaukee County Historical Society for continuing educational and cultural programs.
8. Southridge Mall Holiday Concert Series
Extended holiday hours, gift wrapping service, and Salvation Army Giving Tree
Southridge Mall is host its annual holiday concert series featuring local schools, choirs, and community groups who perform holiday favorites each day for shoppers in Macy’s Court. Festive sounds of the season can be enjoyed during the following dates and times:
Wednesday, December 6, at 10 a.m.: Golda Meir School Orchestra
Thursday, December 7, at 1 p.m.: St. Mary’s Middle School Band
Thursday, December 7, at 7 p.m.: An Exceptional Chorus
Friday, December 8, at 10:30 a.m.: Lake Country Lutheran High School Choir
Friday, December 8, at 5 p.m.: Mariachi Juvenil
Saturday, December 9, at 11 a.m.: Amazing Grace Choir
Saturday, December 9, at 4:30 p.m.: Next Step
Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m.: Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band
Monday, December 11, at 3 p.m.: Milwaukee Accordion Club
Tuesday, December 12, at 6:30 p.m.: Anita’s Dance Studio
Wednesday, December 13, at 11 a.m.: Adult Day Services of Southeast Wisconsin
Thursday, December 14, at 5 p.m.: Jim Mooney
Friday, December 15, at 11:30 a.m.: Cudahy High School Orchestra
Friday, December 15, at 7 p.m.: Greendale Village Concert Band
Saturday, December 16, at 1 p.m.: B Sharp Corp Chorus
Saturday, December 16, at 6:30 p.m.: Eric Look
Sunday, December 17, at 1 p.m.: Steadfast
Monday, December 18, at 11 a.m.: Holy Apostles School
Monday, December 18, at 1:30 p.m.: Randall Middle School Band & Chorus
Tuesday, December 19, at 6 p.m.: Spectrum Arts
Wednesday, December 20, at 6:30 p.m.: Anita’s Dance Studio
Thursday, December 21, at 10:30 a.m.: Adult Day Services
Friday, December 22, at 6 p.m.: Brian Leffin
Saturday, December 23, at 2 p.m.: Jim Mooney
Sunday, December 24, at 1 p.m.: Charles Love
Southridge Mall will have extended shopping hours throughout the holiday season, offer gift wrapping services each weekend during select hours, and randomly delight shoppers with gift cards, shopping totes, and other surprises throughout the season. Shoppers can also donate to the mall’s Giving Tree, where they can select an Angel Tag, purchase a gift, and place it in the giant gift box by the Giving Tree. The gifts will be distributed by the Salvation Army to children in need throughout the greater Milwaukee area.
9. Free admission to the Milwaukee Public Museum:
Free on Thursday, December 7th for all visitors.
Open 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
(Residents of Milwaukee County receive a $2.00 discount on general admission everyday with proof of residency.)
10. Free admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum:
Free to all visitors on Thursday, December 7th from 10:00-8:00 for all visitors. Check out an art pack and explore the galleries, or visit the Kohl’s Art Generation Open Studio. The museum is always free for kids 12 and under!
11. Free admission to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum:
Free to all visitors on Thursday, December 21st from 5:00-8:00 p.m. for Neighborhood Night. Join in for free admission, enjoy access to all of the Museum’s hands-on exhibits, and stop by the Be A Maker space to find tools, materials and techniques for endless ways to experiment and create. The Museum will celebrate the Muskego Way, Amani and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods in October, November and December with special entertainment and resource booths hosted by community agencies and organizations.
12. Free admission to The Domes:
Escape the cold! Enjoy free admission to the Domes on Monday, December 4th, 11th, and 18th for Milwaukee County Residents with proof of residency. (Free admission does not apply on Monday, December 25th.)