Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival returns for 22nd year

The 22nd annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival turned on Thursday night, Nov. 19 with a virtual kick-off ceremony. 

Milwaukee’s downtown will be illuminated with more than 500,000 lights and dozens of animated displays during the 22nd annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival.

The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival spans three parks --  Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, Zeidler Union Square. Additionally, the display will illuminate three downtown thoroughfares, including an 18-block stretch of lights along Wisconsin Avenue.

"We have half a million lights downtown between three decorated parks and our street décor. The iconic chandeliers are up on Wisconsin Avenue, which is the most stunning photo op. And really all of the parks have a special theme so people can kind of hop around a little bit and get a different experience at each one," said Erica Chang, marketing events and social media director for Milwaukee Downtown BID 21. 

Following the virtual kick-off ceremony, the holiday lights Jingle Bus audio tour will be available. 

"Our holiday lights Jingle Bus tours, these are audio tours recorded podcast style. Folks can walk or drive the parks on their own, flexibility so that however you feel comfortable enjoying the lights, there’s an option for you," said Chang.

The festival is making spirits bright amid the pandemic. 

"I hope they feel inspired. I hope they feel hopeful. And I hope they feel connected to downtown and to Milwaukee, because truthfully Milwaukee still shines on even in 2020. We have so much to be hopeful about," said Change. 

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Must-see destinations are also available for exploration online at, where users can discover lighted scenes from the comfort of home.

Among the new attractions for motorists and pedestrians will be window displays designed by Retailworks Inc. Featuring the likenesses of 15-plus, well-known Milwaukeeans, the four decorated storefronts can be found at 205 E. Wisconsin Avenue, 324 E. Wisconsin Avenue, 400 E. Wisconsin Avenue and 733-737 N. Milwaukee Street.


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