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Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

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Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Image by Carrie Trousil

Holiday Lights in Downtown Milwaukee

Spectacular lights adorn many a tree and building in downtown Milwaukee during the holidays, but not everyone knows all of the "hot" spots. These are the can't-miss displays, plus a sure-fire way to see them without getting a cold nip on the nose.

Parks that are part of the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival will have decorations on display from Thursday, November 21 through Sunday, December 29, 2013.

  • Cathedral Square Park
    Every year, the theme at Cathedral Square is “Community Spirit Park.” More than 60 metro Milwaukee schools adorn fresh evergreens with handmade ornaments, and energy-efficient LED lights will keep a 50-foot tree glowing red, blue or green.
    Where: North Jefferson and East Wells streets
  • Pere Marquette Park
    Visit "Electric Elves" at this little downtown park, featuring larger-than-life representations -- in lights -- of everyone's favorite toymakers.
    Where: West State and Old World Third Streets
  • Zeidler Union Square
    "Musical Bears" abound in this park, which features these funny critters at play on different instruments to form a rockin' bear band.
    Where: West Michigan between 3rd and 4th streets
  • Wisconsin Avenue
    Milwaukee's grand avenue will be decked with new chandeliers suspended above 17 different intersections.

The Jingle Bus
Don't know your way downtown, or don't want to freeze out in the cold? Why not see the sights from inside the toasty Jingle Bus. Forty-minute narrated rides through the heart of the festival zone are available for just $1 from 6 - 9 p.m. on Thursdays - Sundays, November 22 – December 29. The last bus departs at 8:20 p.m., so don't be late!

The Jingle Bus departs from the Warming House at The Shops of Grand Avenue (275 W. Wisconsin Ave.), and discounted parking is available in The Shops of Grand Avenue parking structure for $3 with a Jingle Bus voucher. Note: The Jingle Bus will not operate Thanksgiving Day.

Candy Cane Lane
Although it's not located downtown, don't forget about Candy Cane Lane if you want to see a great neighborhood light display. Proceeds from visitors to Candy Cane Lane benefit the MACC Fund -- another great reason to check it out.

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