Best Places to Find Christmas in Milwaukee this December

Oh, the weather outside is frightful / But our tour bus is delightful / We’ve marvelous places to show / So let’s go, so let’s go, so let’s go!

Here we are, once again, thinking to ourselves how are we possibly going to make it through another cold, dark Wisconsin winter? The answer, of course, is basking in the glow of Christmas lights, keeping warm with hot drinks in cozy places, stuffing ourselves silly with holiday foods both traditional and new, shopping at local establishments and craft fairs, and hopping on a sleigh (well, ok, a cozy mini coach bus, but if you squint your eyes…) to chariot you through all that Milwaukee has to offer at Christmastime. 

How does one find all of these joyful activities, you ask? Well, lucky for you we were hand-delivered this fantastic time of fun things to do in Milwaukee for Christmas parties and celebrations by Santa’s elves just this morning. Read on! 

Lights, Lights, Lights!

Take in the beauty of the season with any number of lights festivals happening in and around Milwaukee. The best way to see them from the comfort of a warm sleigh..ahem, bus, with some musical accompaniment and amazing desserts is by hopping on our Christmas Lights & Desserts Tour, an annual favorite. On this tour you will be shown around Milwaukee’s historical sites lit up for the season, stopping for drinks and desserts along the way. Christmas sweaters and costumes are encouraged, so dust off those elf hats and reindeer antlers! You may even agree that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Santa hats, Elf stockings, ugly Christmas sweaters, pretty Christmas sweaters, all are welcome in December!

If you want to spend more time surrounded by the lights, check out the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival 2019, with their Kickoff Extravaganza starting the season off with a bang. Or hang with some polar bears and take in the displays at Winter Wonderland at the Zoo! If kickoffs are your thing, then head over to The Pfister Hotel for their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 29th at 5pm.

Wishing you a Delicious Christmas

Yes, it is true, this season is about giving and being thankful merry. But it is ALSO very much about food. So let’s settle some Christmas cravings! Climb aboard the Racine Kriss Kringle Bakery Bus for a day of pastries, pizza, and history. A delicious way to spend a day with those you love! If you are looking for a tour to tie in the majesty of the houses of worship tied to the holiday, come with us on one of our Churches & Chocolates Tour, to bask in the glow of stained glass windows while learning about the history of some of Milwaukee’s most treasured buildings.

If you believe that cookies aren’t just for Santa, treat yourself on the Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Tour. You will feel right at home in a whirlwind tour of some of Milwaukee’s best bakeries, sampling treats and pastries galore, and prepping yourself for the sweetness of the season! For something truly special, one must experience the Nutcracker in the Castle daytrip with Milwaukee Food & City Tours on December 14th. This trip is full of Christmas shopping and Christmas treats, and is defined by a visit to the 13th annual season of Nutcracker in the Castle at the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh where scenes from Tchaikovsky’s famous story The Nutcracker are reinterpreted through elaborate decorations. 

Entertainment and Spectacle

Who can resist one of the greatest Christmas traditions: a night at Milwaukee Ballet’s The Nutcracker? From December 7th through December 26, take in this stunning ballet that has been gracing the holiday stage in Milwaukee for more than 40 years. Equally as epitomic is the Milwaukee Rep’s rendition of A Christmas Carol, presented at the Pabst Theatre from November 26th through December 24th for a gloriously cozy day or night at the theatre.

Family Friendly: for the Little Ones and the Young at Heart

To give the little ones a chance to talk to talk up how good they’ve been this year, and to create a memorable photo op, consider attending Cocoa with the Clauses on December 14th. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance, along with some of their most trusty elves. If you’re not able to make it that day, you’re in luck, as the Clauses will also be in attendance at the Milwaukee County Zoo across several weekends, for Breakfast & Lunch with Santa. And if you want to make a full day of it, stay to visit with the polar bears until the sun goes down to enjoy thousands of lights and displays both indoors and outside for Winter Wonderland at the Zoo

To settle those live entertainment cravings, take in a special performance by the Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy on November 24th for ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. See this timeless poem come to life on stage with fairies, elves, and reindeer!

Leave the Kids at Home

If you’re searching for inspiration for cocktails you can make to impress guests at your Christmas party, or simply looking to enjoy some spirits stress-free, the Craft Breweries & Cocktails Tour is an awesome way to get in on the holiday fun! Find some of the more hidden gems in Milwaukee during this narrated, informational, and tasty tour. For some well-established gems in Milwaukee’s Latin Quarter, the Tacos & Tequila Bus is an excellent way to keep warm this holiday season with a festive night out or untraditional lunch outing. Want to impress your friends and employees for a fun and unique Christmas party outing? Check out our other awesome Bar & Brewery tours here, or be in touch to customize one of your own!  

Looking for something less structured than a tour? Take yourself on a personalized tour at your own pace to some of Milwaukee’s best-decorated spots to get you into the holiday…spirit (get it?). Start the season off right at the Tin Widow in Walker’s Point for some incredible Christmas and Holiday party fun. Host for a second year in a row to the Miracle Christmas Cocktail Pop-Up Bar, Tin Widow’s Miracle on 2nd Street will be open at 6pm every day from November 29th through December 29th. While the regular menu will be on hold for the month to make way for the miracles list of holiday cocktails, locals fear not: the bar’s famous Old Fashioned will remain on the menu as a stolid neighborhood favorite. Then keep your coats bundled as you stroll through the Christkindlmarket at the Plaza at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee’s beautiful new Deer District. Free entry allows you to joyfully browse beautiful gift boutiques, purchase some cozy hot food, and drink mulled wine or cocoa in souvenir mugs from November 15th through December 24th!

Arts & Crafts & Shopping Oh My!

Looking for a gift for the person who has everything? You’re in luck. Milwaukee is host to a multitude of art fairs leading up to and during the Christmas season that are chock full of unique and interesting finds, hand-made by talented local artists. No boring Christmas presents here! 

Relax at the end of a long day by showing off your own art skills while decorating cookies for Breaking the Silent Nights, a free event at Velobahn Coffee & Cycle on December 6th. Then start things off with the Christmas Crafting & Old World Market day trip on December 7th where you will be immersed in a holiday wonderland and will make your own Christmas wreath to take home! 

For a huge display of tiny art, be sure to make a stop at Art*Bar’s “Mini: Tiny Art at Tiny Prices” exhibition. Artists from all over Milwaukee have their art hanging for you to look at, take off the walls, and purchase with your hot cocoa or beer. No pieces are priced higher than $100, and many are in the $20-$50 range, making this a unique and accessible option for some fun Christmas shopping. This show runs from November 1st through December 31st.

Another awesome example of incredible handmade finds is Milwaukee’s own Hover Craft MKE. This day of art and craftsmanship takes place at the majestic Prizlaff Building on December 1st, and runs from noon to 6pm. Stock up on stocking stuffers and Christmas presents galore.

Holly-Jolly Christmas Tours

We love Milwaukee, and we love Christmas, so creating an entire category of holly-jolly Christmas tours was meant to be! We truly hope you have a chance to celebrate the season with us on a festive tours in the Milwaukee or Racine area, or even daytrips in Wisconsin. Our tours and trips are guarantee to fill your bellies with treats and your hearts with good cheer whether you are looking for a girls outing, family celebration or date night during the Christmas season.

Theresa Nemetz
C.E.O – that’s short for Chief of Elf Operations – at Milwaukee Food & City Tours