From vibrant marigolds and intricate sugar skulls to the aromatic pan de muerto, the Day of the Dead is a captivating celebration that honors the memories of loved ones passed.
If you’re in Milwaukee and looking to immerse your family in this rich tradition, we’ve curated a list of events that not only offer a glimpse into the holiday’s significance but also provide engaging activities suitable for all ages.
Dive into the festivities and discover the essence of this age-old celebration at these family-friendly locales around Milwaukee.
1. Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays: Día de los Muertos
Sunday, October 15th, 2023
700 N. Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Gather together with family and friends to celebrate the beauty and tradition of Day of the Dead. Explore the meaning behind symbols of the holiday through hands-on art activities and add the name of a loved one who has passed to the community ofrenda. Meet guest artists and learn how their heritage influences their work, enjoy performances, take a tour, and more!
The cost to attend Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays: Día de los Muertos is included in Museum admission. Thanks to Kohl’s, Museum, attendance is always free for kids ages 12 and under.
2. Walker’s Point Center For The Arts Annual Día de los Muertos Exhibition
839 South 5th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204
The longest-standing Día de Los Muertos celebration in Milwaukee, this exhibition celebrates life and death while exploring ancestral connections, living expressions of culture and traditions through community altares and artwork by local and regional artists.
3. UCC/Latino Arts Día de los Muertos Ofrendas Exhibit
On View: October 18 – November 17, 2023
1028 S. 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a vibrant Mexican tradition where departed loved ones are honored with special foods, decorations like papel picado and candy calaveras, and lively parades. Central to the celebration are the altars adorned with offerings—ranging from the symbolic pan de muertos and yellow marigolds, known as cemazuchitl, to cherished photos of the departed.
Experience this rich culture at the kid-friendly ‘Día de Los Muertos Ofrendas’ exhibit at the Latino Arts Center, showcasing installations from The Mexican Consulate, University School of Milwaukee, and various local talents.
4. Day of the Dead celebration at the Domes
Friday, October 27, 2023
524 S. Layton Boulevard, Milwaukee, WI 53215
Anyone seeking a vibrant Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) experience in Milwaukee should consider visiting the Mitchell Park Domes.
The Domes offer a family-friendly event filled with traditional food, music, and dancing. Attendees can gain insights into the rich tradition of ofrendas (altars adorned with offerings) and explore the mesmerizing candle-lit Desert Dome.
Local artisans will showcase their unique crafts, complemented by captivating music and dance performances. It’s a rare opportunity to immerse oneself in a vibrant community celebration at one of Milwaukee’s most iconic event spaces.
5. Día de los Muertos Festival and 5K
Forest Home Cemetery and Arboretum
Saturday, October 28th, 2023
5k Run/Walk through cemetery grounds begins at 9am
The Forest Home Cemetery & Arboretum is hosting a Dia de los Muertos Festival, open to the public and free of charge.
This family-friendly event provides attendees with an insight into the traditions of Dia de los Muertos in a picturesque setting.
The festivities begin with a 5k Run/Walk through the cemetery grounds in the early morning.
Starting at 10am, visitors can explore various offerings, from local vendor stalls and children’s arts and crafts areas to food trucks. Traditional music and dance performances are scheduled throughout the day.
Additionally, there will be altars dedicated to the departed in the chapel, face painting stations, and community resource booths, among other attractions.
6. Community Ofrenda
Local resident Jason Gonzalez began a community ofrenda outside of his home. People can add photos and items to remember their loved one. It’s located at 1st and Plainfield in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.
In 2013, Calie Herbst, a former teacher with three little ones, saw a need for a “One Stop Shop” for family fun in Milwaukee. So she founded Milwaukee With Kids. Her goal was to find the best this city has to offer families and share it with other parents. In one place.
In 2019, she published “Exploring Milwaukee WIth Kids”, a comprehensive Milwaukee travel guide for families and kids.
She appears regularly on WISN News, Fox 6’s ‘Real Milwaukee’, B93.3, and Wisconsin Morning News. She has been featured in Medium, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NPR, the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, and on CBS 58 News.
Calie is available for hosting, moderating and media appearances.