Holidays in Milwaukee
The itinerary below can be further customized to fit your group needs. Download Itinerary (PDF)
Start your visit to Milwaukee by strolling a desert oasis, a tropical jungle and a special floral garden. Decked out in all of its holiday splendor, thousands of poinsettias are the focal point of this changing display each year at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes). For dinner, choose among a variety of unique, ethnic and inviting restaurants in downtown Milwaukee. After dinner, take a leisure drive through the downtown and enjoy the city dressed with millions of twinkling lights and animated sculptures, downtown Milwaukee is pulling out all the stops to shine bright during the holiday season. Be sure to visit the M&I Bank (Wisconsin largest financial institution) lobby for a delightful and whimsical holiday display taking a nostalgic look at the holidays featuring Steiff stuffed animals. You’ll be drawn to the costumed, animated animals and colorful scenery and caught up in the magic of the season. Then check out the transformation of three downtown Milwaukee County Parks into fairytale scenes, making this a must–see Festival of Lights.
Today take a city tour and enjoy the architecture and history of this uniquely-diverse city on Lake Michigan. Include a stop at the Basilica of St. Josaphat and step back in time as you marvel at the history and beauty, especially during this holiday season. Among the fantastic collections housed at the Milwaukee Art Museum, be sure to stop and enjoy the unique and modern architecture of the main entrance designed by Santiago Calatrava. Spend a few moments to watch the “wings” open of the Burke Brise Soleil - a moveable, wing-like sunscreen that rests on top of the Museum’s vaulted, glass-enclosed Windhover Hall. Continue on to the Milwaukee Public Museum for a stroll through its darkened, gas-lit lanes of the Streets of Old Milwaukee and peer into the windows of its twenty-five shops, businesses, eating and drinking establishments, and pay your respects to Granny patiently rocking on the front porch of one of two residences to grace the Streets of Old Milwaukee (the other being the Watson Family Home, a tribute to one of Milwaukee’s first prominent African American families). Then enjoy a look at the holiday traditions in the European Village - an imaginative recreation of 33 carefully selected examples of homes and shops as they may have appeared at the turn-of-the-century. Right down the road, visit the Tripoli Shrine Center, completed in 1928 and appearing on the National Register of Historic Places, to view the ornate interior, trappings and fixtures that have made it a national treasure. Tonight take in more holiday lights as your motorcoach drives west for a drive through “Candy Cane Lane” a neighborhood celebration of the season with a variety of displays created to help raise money for a local charity.
Begin your day with a visit to the Grohmann Museum The museum houses the 1,000 European and American paintings and sculptures (1580-present) in the “Man at Work Art Collection,” the world’s most comprehensive collection documenting the evolution of organized work. After lunch it’s on to the House of Harley, the largest Wisconsin Harley-Davidson dealer, to learn more about this beloved motorcycle that proudly calls Milwaukee home. Get decked out in Harley-Davidson gear and have your picture taken on this true American icon of the road. Need that special treat for the holidays? Visit the Milwaukee Public Market in the Historic Third Ward where you can shop for Milwaukee and Wisconsin products such as chocolates, cheese, sodas, fresh bakery, coffee and so much more... Tonight enjoy a performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the historic Pabst Theater.
This morning visit the 20,000 square foot Pabst Mansion decked out in Victorian-era holiday splendor. Enjoy a docent led tour celebrating this Captain Frederick Pabst home and his legacy to the brewing history of Milwaukee. No tour to Milwaukee would be complete without a brewery tour. Visit MillerCoors Brewing or perhaps one of the many micro-breweries in Milwaukee - Lakefront Brewery or Sprecher Brewery. Prost! to the spirit of the holidays and to this jewel of the Great Lakes... Milwaukee
Jill Hauck, Group Tour and Tourism Coordinator