Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival to shine Nov. 19 – Jan. 1

Milwaukee’s downtown will shine bright from Nov. 19 – Jan. 1 -- as more than 500,000 lights and dozens of animated displays are set aglow for the 22nd annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival. Organizers are calling it a "snowcially-distanced" celebration.

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

The annual display of lights, coordinated by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, will transform three downtown parks into winter wonderland scenes:

  • “Community Spirit Park” at Cathedral Square Park
  • “Tinsel Town Express” at Pere Marquette Park
  • “Polar Plaza powered by We Energies” at Zeidler Union Square

The display will also illuminate three downtown thoroughfares, including an 18-block stretch of lights along Wisconsin Avenue. 

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

The Kickoff Extravaganza variety show in Pere Marquette Park will be postponed this year.

In another break with tradition, the festival’s Jingle Bus service will also look slightly different. Pivoting from a warming house and motor coach tour, guests can experience this year’s lighting displays through a virtual or self-guided audio tour of downtown’s most brilliant scenes. The interactive map and audio tour can be accessed at milwaukeeholidaylights.com beginning in mid-November.

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Among the new attractions for motorists and pedestrians will be window displays designed by Retailworks Inc. It features the likenesses of 25+ well-known Milwaukeeans. The four decorated storefronts can be found at 324 E. Wisconsin Ave., 205 E. Wisconsin Ave., 400 E. Wisconsin Ave. and 733-737 N. Milwaukee St. beginning in early November.

Another new highlight of the fest will be grab-and-go gift boxes curated by Milwaukee Food & City Tours. In a new partnership with Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, Milwaukee Food & City Tours will make Jingle Joy Boxes available for purchase in a socially-distanced drive-through at Zeidler Union Square from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, Dec. 3 – 19. Jingle Joy Boxes will be $15/each and feature goodies from local businesses.

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