8 ideas for free holiday fun around Milwaukee

Photo from milwaukeedowntown.com

“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane.

He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor he loves you just the same.”

No need to be “rich” to enjoy the holiday season in Milwaukee. These free opportunities will help you create special memories with your family at this special time of year.

1. Ride the HOP to Cathedral Square Park & Mail a letter to Santa

The new streetcar will take you directly to Cathedral Square Park, where you can drop off a letter for Santa, no postage required. Every child will get a letter back, just be sure to include a return address.

While you’re there, you can walk through Community Spirit Park, where area schools and nonprofits have embellished more than 90 trees. Pay close attention to each tree’s theme. The newly standing evergreens are adorned with handmade ornaments, which represent each group’s wish for the season.

2. Check out “A Seussified Season” at BMO Harris Bank

November 26, 2018 – January 2, 2019

Monday – Friday | 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Special dates and hours:

Saturday, December 8, 2018 | 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday, December 24, 2018 | 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Monday, December 25, 2018 | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019 | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Now through Jan. 2, BMO celebrates the world of Dr. Seuss with A Seussified Season, bringing the beloved children’s author’s works to life in its downtown lobby. The display is free and open to the public.

The bank’s lobby, at 770 N. Water Street, has been transformed into a colorful winter wonderland, featuring roughly 30 live flocked trees and more than a dozen vignettes from classic Seuss stories using the bank’s treasured collection of life-sized Steiff animals.

In conjunction with the holiday display, BMO Harris will once again donate $30,000 to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

BMO Harris encourages visitors to sign a guestbook at the exhibit, and to share their photos on social media using the hashtag: #BMOHolidayDisplay.

3. Take a $2.00 Jingle Bus Tour through downtown

Late November – late December


Narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors, this 40-minute tour acquaints riders with downtown landmarks and the most decorated scenes. Even better, rides are just $2 per person (cash only, please)!

4. Marvel at the Miller Valley Holiday Lites

4251 W. State St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

414-931-BEER (2337)


Drive through the historic Miller Valley at Christmas time and you’ll find a new holiday lights display each year. The illuminated valley comes alive with over half a million LED lights synchronized to music.

The Holiday Lites experience is a mini tour consisting of an opening video, the famous Miller Caves, and the Holiday Lites show itself. This is a free indoor/outdoor walking tour. Children are welcome, but strollers are not permitted on the tours. While you’re there, you might even see Bango or Roscoe!

5. Check out the Lights on Glen Cove

December 1 – 31, 2018

Glen Cove Ct, Muskego, WI 53150


This holiday lights show is run in a residential neighbnorhood with over 30,000 LED lights synchronized to music broadcasted on 87.9 FM. The lights will normally be on from 5pm to 9pm Sunday thru Thursday. on Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 10:00. Please check the Lights on Glen Cove Facebook Page for more specific information, as weather does affect the display conditions.

Food and monetary donations accepted for the Muskego Food Pantry. The bins are located at the front of the property. Mr. Stark, who puts on the show, asked us to remind everyone that since the show is in a residential neighborhood, please be respectful of the neighbors, be patient if there is a line (bring hot chocolate!!), and bring non-perishable food items for the food pantry.

6. Vote for your favorite gingerbread house at the Milwaukee Public Market

Milwaukee Public Market (400 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202)

December 1st – 12th


Stop by the second floor of the Milwaukee Public Market from December 1st to December 12th 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. Visit Santa’s Wonderland at Cabelas in Richfield

5:00 – 8:00pm

Daily, until Dec 25, 2018

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event coming to Cabela’s for the first time. Milwaukee-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering FREE 4×6 studio-quality photos with Santa and free family holiday activities including fun crafts and games.

Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa using the free Bass Pass system. Visit the Bass Pass Ticket Depot located at the entrance of Santa’s Wonderland to pick up a time-stamped pass.

In addition, Cabela’s stores are designated toy drop-off stations for Toys for Tots. Families that bring a new toy to donate Saturday and Sunday, November 24-25, will receive a FREE premium photo package valued at $20.

8. Greet Santa Claus as he returns to Blum Coffee Garden in Greenfield

Friday, December 14 from 5:00 – 7:30pm

Blüm Coffee Garden

4930 W Loomis Rd, Greenfield, WI 53220


Mark your calendar because Santa Claus will be returning to his favorite coffee shop Blüm Coffee Garden on Friday, December 14th from 5-7:30pm! Look for Mrs. Claus, Dominick the Donkey, Christmas Carolers, and more at what will surely be a special and memorable event! ONE NIGHT ONLY – This event is FREE and is a perfect photo opportunity

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