Brew the hot cocoa and buckle up!
With the days getting shorter, there’s something truly magical about driving around to look at Christmas lights this time of year – for kids and adults alike.
This holiday season, we found 17 dazzling holiday light displays, including some new displays, that your whole family will love. From the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Downtown to Country Christmas in Pewaukee, you’re sure to find something in the Milwaukee area that will get you into the holiday spirit.
Whether you decide to take in the beauty of the season from the warmth of your car or while strolling in the crisp winter air, the kids are sure to delight in these spectacular holiday lights displays:
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1. NEW! Wild Lights, Wild Dreams at Milwaukee County Zoo
Location: 10001 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Dates: Dec. 1-5, 8-12, 15-23, 26-31, 2021
Hours: 5:30-9:30 p.m. (admission gates close at 8:45 p.m.)
Entry fee: Adult $20; Child (3-12) $18; 2 and under FREE (Parking included; purchase tickets online for a $2 per ticket discount; Zoological Society members receive an additional $2 discount with card; group rates available.)
This brand new holiday light show at the Milwaukee County Zoo transforms the zoo into an illuminated world with millions of twinkling and sparkling lights placed throughout the forests and pathways, letting visitors enjoy an enchanted evening under the stars. Bright colors and shining lights will greet guests walking along a 1-mile path filled with animal-themed light displays and decorations. Festive food and drinks will be available for purchase, and there will be a place for dropping off your unwanted holiday lights for recycling. Weather permitting, the Safari Train and carousel will be running too! Masking and physical distancing is still required inside all Zoo buildings.
2. The Corners of Brookfield
Location: 20111 W Bluemound Rd, Brookfield, WI 53045
Dates: Nov. 27 – Dec. 31, 2021
Entry fee: FREE
Visit The Corners of Brookfield to experience the first year of Candy Corners Lane! Walk through dazzling pathways, enjoy over 4,000 feet of lights, a gingerbread house, a candy cane archway, magical selfie stations and more. There will also be a North Pole mailbox located in the Market Square vestibule, where kids can drop their letters to Santa. In the past, they’ve even had live reindeer visit!
Stay tuned to learn how you can take a magical carriage ride through the lights. More details to come soon.
3. The Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights
Location: Jellystone Park Camp-Resort (8425 Hwy 38, Caledonia, WI 53108)
Dates: Nov. 20, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022 (Closed 11/22-11/26 & Christmas Day)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m.
Entry fee: $30 per car (up to 8 people)
Just 20 minutes south of Milwaukee, the Christmas Carnival of Lights bills itself as “Wisconsin’s biggest and brightest drive – thru” with more than 2 million colorful lights covering a 1.6-mile path through the campground.
Enjoy the winter wonderland scenes from the comfort of your vehicle, or get even closer to the lights aboard Santa’s giant sleigh for an open-air experience (starting at $13 per person). Or rent a golf cart limo for up to 8 people (4 adults maximum) (starts at $75).
Don’t forget to visit Santa in his workshop on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Shop for unique gifts at the Firefly Boutique, cozy up next to the outdoor fire pits, or warm up inside with snacks, coffee or hand-crafted hot cocoa. Tickets must be purchased in advance online.
4. Candy Cane Lane
Location: West Allis between 92nd-96th St. and between Montana Avenue and Oklahoma Avenue.
Dates: Nov. 26 – Dec 26, 2021
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 6-9 p.m.; Friday 6-10 p.m.; Saturday 5-10 p.m.; Sunday 5-9 p.m.
Entry fee: At-will donation to the MACC Fund
There’s no better way to celebrate the holiday season in Milwaukee than with a visit to Candy Cane Lane. It is the perfect holiday tradition for any family who loves Christmas lights. Just look for the candy canes!
Grab some hot cocoa to go, and drive over to this brightly lit West Allis neighborhood (bordered by Montana Avenue on the north, Oklahoma Avenue to the south, 96th Street to the west, and 92nd Street on the east.)
You’ll enter to find a winter wonderland with candy cane-wrapped trees and over 300 houses full of festive holiday lights. You can drive (with your lights on) or walk through for a chance to see Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus spreading holiday cheer.
Don’t forget to leave a donation for the MACC fund (which fights childhood cancer) at 95th and Manitoba!
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5. Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Location: Downtown Milwaukee, including Pere Marquette Park, Cathedral Square Park, and Zeidler Union Square, Wisconsin Avenue
Dates: Nov. 18, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022
Entry fee: FREE
For 23 seasons, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival has made spirits bright in the city of Milwaukee with its animated sculptures, interactive displays and twinkling street décor.
Take a stroll or a drive and experience the brilliance of more than 500,000 lights throughout downtown’s parks and streets, including Pere Marquette Park, Cathedral Square Park, Zeidler Union Square, and sparking chandeliers on E. Wisconsin Ave.
Don’t miss the giant chair, picture frame, and fireplace in Zeidler Union Square, and the animated bears in Pere Marquette Park. You’ll also want to check out the giant Christmas Tree and Community Spirit Park in Cathedral Square Park, where dozens of holiday trees are decorated by area schools. You can also drop off your christmas list in Santa’s Mailbox.
Instead of its usual kickoff party in Pere Marquette Park, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival will ring in the 2021 season by partnering with WISN 12 and The Pabst Theater Group to produce an all-new variety show featuring samplings from “A Christmas Carol” (Milwaukee Rep) and “The Nutcracker” (Milwaukee Ballet). The show will air on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. on WISN 12 with support from Stein’s Garden & Home.
This year, in lieu of the Jingle Bus, you can take your own self-guided private tour of the lights along with a Jingle Bus Audio Tour.
6. Lights on Glen Cove (Free)
Location: S71 W16459 Glen Cove Ct. Muskego, WI 53150 (off Janesville Rd.)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
Entry fee: Non-perishable food item or monetary donation for the Muskego Food Pantry
For a unique experience, marvel at over 35,000 LED lights synchronized to holiday music broadcast on 87.9 FM. The lights run every night starting at 5 p.m., running through 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends (weather permitting). Special VIP showings are available too!
7. Country Christmas at the Ingleside Hotel
Location: 2810 Golf Rd., Pewaukee, WI 53072
Dates: Nov. 26 – Dec. 1, 2021; Dec. 3, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday and holidays, 5-10 p.m.
Entry fee: $20 per carload Sunday-Thursday; $25 per carload Friday-Saturday and holidays
In the wake of the Waukesha Christmas Parade incident, The Ingleside Hotel announced that it will donate $5 per every regular-priced carload admission purchased during the opening weekend of Country Christmas (Nov. 26-28) to the United for Waukesha Community Fund.
Admission to Country Christmas includes The Country Christmas Trail, which features over a million holiday lights festively displayed on over a mile-long trail. Drive through the countryside and experience enchanting animated figures and holiday scenes from the comfort of your car. Wagon rides are also available.
The Streets of Bethlehem is a building located at the end of the drive-through trail. Guests can get out of their car and walk through the collection of nearly life-size Fontanini nativity figurines. Country Christmas has the only display of this magnitude in the area, a replica of the Pope’s personal collection.
Christmas Village is another warming house at the end of the trail where guests can get out of their car and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa or an evening treat while surrounded by a cuddly cast of animated holiday characters and a spectacular working model train display.
8. Enchantment in the Park
Location: Regner Park, 800 N. Main Street, West Bend, WI 53090
Dates: Nov. 26 – Dec. 24, 2021
Hours: 5-9 p.m.
Entry fee: Donation of cash, check ($10 is suggested) or non-perishable food items
This huge twinkling lights display in Regner Park is impressive for all ages. It’s made up of more than one million LED lights and staffed by over 775 volunteers who donate more than 4,600 hours to the event, making it one of the largest light shows in the state.
You can choose to walk or drive through the display (except on Christmas Eve, when you can only drive). It gets very busy on the weekends, so visit during the week if you can. This year, don’t miss the all-new 60-foot high RGB-lit Christmas tree, the tallest artificial tree in Wisconsin!
Visitors can hear live music from local artists and kids will have the chance to meet Santa Claus most nights throughout the event. On Friday and Saturday nights, there’s a fire pit with marshmallows and horse and carriage rides available on a first come, first serve basis ($5 per adult; children under 16 ride free).
Bring a bag of non-perishable food items or $10 cash donation. Since its founding in 2009, Enchantment in the Park has collected and donated more than 550,000 non-perishable food items to local food pantries and more than $240,000 to nonprofits around Washington County.
9. Miller Valley Holiday Lites
Location: Miller Valley, 3897 W State St, Milwaukee, WI 53208
Hours: 6-10 p.m.
Entry fee: FREE
Drive through the historic Miller Valley at Christmastime, 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 broadcast over the radio. The theme changes each year, and it’s totally free to drive through.
10. Winter Wonders at Boerner Botanical Gardens
Location: Whitnall Park, 6751 S. 92nd Street, Franklin, WI 53132
Dates: Nov. 19, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022; Preview Weekend: Nov. 12-14 (5-9 p.m.)
Hours: 5-10 p.m. (Line opens at 4:30 p.m., Last entry at 9:30 p.m.)
Entry fee: $25/carload
Gather family and friends for a spectacular drive-through holiday lights with more than one million LED lights! The route is about 1.5 miles long, and you can even drive by Santa!
The 2021-2022 show has been re-designed by theatrical lighting designer “Laser Bob” Mullins and his talented team and improved from last year with additional displays and even more lighting to highlight the natural beauty of Whitnall Park.
Admission includes a holiday gift pack with coupons and gifts from (varies nightly), plus an email letter from Santa through Dec. 21. Skip the line and opt for early entry (4:30-5 p.m.) for $35 (limited dates and availability).
11. Kids2Kids Christmas Wonderland
Location: 1150 Cheyenne Avenue, Grafton, WI (corner of Highway 60 and Cheyenne)
Dates: Nov. 26-Dec. 30, 2021 (closed Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7, Dec. 13-14, and Dec. 24-25)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-9 p.m.
Entry fee: General Admission $20 per vehicle; VIP Front of Line Pass $50 per vehicle
Celebrate the season of joy and giving with Wisconsin’s ultimate drive-thru holiday experience. The event promises to be even bigger in 2021 with millions of lights, three mesmerizing light tunnels, hundreds of inflatables and holiday décor pieces, a rink for ice skating villagers, a Christmas market with food and crafts, a nativity scene, Santa’s Workshop with live reindeer, a bustling Christmas Village and more!
Proceeds are utilized to provide new toys to children in need and facing adversity. All guests are also encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy(s) that will be contributed to a child in need in our community.
12. Winter Wonderland in the Garden District
Location: 6th & Howard in Milwaukee, WI
Dates: Dec. 7, 2021 – Jan. 6, 2022
Hours: Nightly at dusk (5-11 p.m.)
Entry fee: FREE
It’s Winter Wonderland at the Garden District Community Garden at 6th and Howard in Milwaukee. There is no fee, and you can walk through or drive by at any time. It runs through January 6th. A tree lighting will take place on December 7 at 6 p.m.
13. Illuminate Ozaukee
Location: Herman A. Zeunert Park, N25 W5598 Taft St, Cedarburg, WI 53012
Dates: Nov. 26 – Dec. 23, Thursday-Saturday
Hours: 5-8 p.m.
Entry fee: $10 suggested donation to support Ozaukee Nonprofit Center and nonprofit partner agencies.
Located in downtown Cedarburg, Illuminate Ozaukee helps support and illuminate the human service nonprofits of Ozaukee County. Santa will be on hand every night to say hello; bring your letters to drop into his mailbox! This event is drive-thru ONLY with the exception of Walk-Thru VIP Night on Dec. 8 (5-8 p.m.). On that night, guests can enjoy holiday goodies, character experiences, and festive photo opportunities while walking through the display at a slower pace. Plus, don’t forget to vote for your favorite plot in the display competition. Each one is decorated by a local nonprofits and local businesses.
14. Santa’s Workshop
Location: Washington Avenue, downtown Cedarburg, WI 53012
Dates: Nov. 19-Dec. 18, 2021 (Fridays and Saturdays)
Hours: Fridays 4-7 p.m.; Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Entry fee: FREE (donations appreciated)
Thanks to generous grants from the Greater Cedarburg Foundation and Festivals of Cedarburg, Inc., a charming 15×15-foot gingerbread house graces Cedarburg’s Washington Avenue for the entire Christmas season. Santa and Mrs. Claus often stop by in the days leading up to Christmas. When Santa’s not in to greet guests, you can peek in the windows to see his charming fireplace and the toys he and the elves have been working on!
At this time, private visits with Santa are not being scheduled due to COVID-19. Closer to the holidays, if conditions are such that Santa feels it is safe to have families inside the Workshop, he’ll be welcoming walk-up visitors and families scheduled into time slots on the day of each event.
15. Wonderland of Lights at Racine Zoo
Location: Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St., Racine, WI 53402
Dates: Nov. 19, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022 (open every day, including New Year’s Day / holidays)
Hours: 6-9 p.m.
Entry fee: $5 per person (ages 2 and under FREE)
Marvel at the sight of dazzling illuminations from the safety and comfort of your own vehicle! Drive through the enchanting light displays of delightfully decorated trees, charming characters, a 96=foot tunnel with an incredible show of dynamic designs, and more. The display is open on all holidays, and you can meet Santa if you visit on November 27, December 12 or December 23.
16. NEW! Noel Indoor Light Park & Christmas Market
Location: Exposition Center, Wisconsin State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, WI 53214
Dates: Nov. 27, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022
Hours: See website for available dates and schedule your arrival time.
Entry Fee: Weekdays: Adults $25, Senior/Military $20, Students $20, Youth 4-17 $20, Under 3 FREE
Weekends: Adults $30.00, Senior/Military $20, Students $25, Youth 4-17 $25, Under 3 FREE
Skip the cold and start a new family tradition this year at the Noel indoor light park! This family-friendly event will transform 90,000 square feet into a magical winter wonderland, complete with over one million sparkling lights, interactive displays, festive food and drink, daily live entertainment and locally-made gifts and stocking stuffers. Be on the lookout for Disney princesses, light gardens and selfie walls. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there, too! Purchase your tickets online to score big savings.
17. NEW! Magic of Lights at American Family Field
Location: American Family Field, 1 Brewers Way, Milwaukee, WI 53214
Dates: Nov. 24, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022
Hours: 5-10 p.m.
Entry Fee: Starting at $25 per vehicle
Presented by American Family Insurance
For the first time ever, American Family Field will host the Magic of Lights, a drive-through experience that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own vehicle. The themed light displays that include Prehistoric Christmas, Big Foot Monster Trucks, the 12 Days of Christmas, Toyland and the Enchanting Tunnel of Lights.
New in 2021 is the Illuminating Mega Trees: 40 feet of dancing lights synchronized to popular holiday tunes. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. Don’t wait – the more popular dates tend to sell out quickly!
Visit our 2021 Holiday Guide to find more unique holiday and Christmas events.
(Christmas in the Ward in the Historic Third Ward, the Christmas Train, and more!)
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