Erin Petersen

2008 Holiday Fun Guide

By - Dec 1st, 2008 02:52 pm
Get a daily rundown of the top stories on Urban Milwaukee

What can we say about the holidays? For most of us, this time of year can cause serious anxiety as we ultimately find ourselves shuffling from store to store, desperately trying to hold our own among ravenous holiday shoppers. And every year, we end up stuck at yet another awkward family dinner where we try our best not to get too drunk in front of relatives. Or maybe that’s just me. Luckily for us cynics, VITAL’s Holiday Guide has the antidote to all this winter drudgery with helpful hints on where to go to get into the holiday spirit and ensure that the season is entertaining and filled with all of the cheer we hear about in those Christmas songs. After a landmark year in so many emotionally huge ways, we need it more than ever. VS

Milwaukee Coach & Carriage Holiday Rides

Milwaukee Coach & Carriage
414-272-6873 or
There’s no better way to enjoy a brisk winter evening and take in all the glittery holiday festivities than with a horse-drawn carriage ride.

The Friday Night Snow Show: Fall Constellations
UW-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium
Through Dec. 12
414-229-4961 or
For an alternative method of getting into the spirit of the season, come to the planetarium for a weekly viewing of the night sky at 7:00 pm. Find out how to spot some special fall constellations and learn about their significance.

Holiday Lights Festival
Pere Marquette Park, Cathedral Square Park, Ziedler Union Square
Through Jan. 4
Millions of twinkling lights brighten up downtown Milwaukee during this festive annual tradition. Come for dazzling lights, stay for family-friendly entertainment.

Downtown Jingle Bus
The Shops of Grand Avenue
Thursdays – Sundays through Jan. 4
Board the Jingle Bus for a 40-minute narrated tour of Milwaukee’s merriest holiday hot spots while enjoying hot cocoa and cookies.

Holiday Floral Show
Mitchell Park Conservatory
Through Jan.4
414-649-9800 or
Visit The Domes for a breathtaking Christmas show that features thousands of crimson and hybrid poinsettias, plus holiday concerts and performances.

Westown Indoor Market

The Shops of Grand Avenue
Through Feb. 11
414-276-6696 or
The Westown Farmer’s Market has moved indoors for the winter. Come check out your favorite vendors while listening to live musical performances.

Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra
The Shops of Grand Avenue
Through Jan. 3
414-224-0655 or
Join Leonard Bearstein and his 18-piece orchestra of bears as they perform our favorite holiday songs live in the Grande Avenue Mall. Whoa!

East Town Trees

East Town Neighborhood
Through Jan. 5
414-271-1416 or
See more than 30 wooden trees decorated by local businesses and retailers and scattered around in East Town.

Saturdays with Santa
The Shops of Grand Avenue
Through Dec.20
414-224-0655 or
Spend the afternoon making holiday crafts and listening to Radio Disney, but don’t forget to tell Santa what you want for Christmas!

Santa vs. The Snowman

Humphrey IMAX Dome Theater, Milwaukee Public Museum
Through Jan.4
414-319-4629 or
See what happens when you combine Santa, a jealous snowman bent on stealing St. Nick’s fire and squirt guns filled with hot chocolate.

Mystery of the Christmas Star

Humphrey IMAX Dome Theater, Milwaukee Public Museum
Through Jan.4
414-319-4629 or
Travel back in time to the birth of Jesus to investigate the origins of the Star of Bethlehem in this modern adaptation of the Christmas story.

M&I Bank Holiday Display

M&I Bank, 770 N. Water Street
Dec. 1 – Jan. 5
414-765-7700 or
Come and check out M&I’s famous holiday display, featuring more than 50 life-sized costumed Steiff animals.

Winter Constellations
UW-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium
Dec. 3 – 14
414-229-4961 or
The UWM Theatre Department brings the winter skies to life with some stellar storytelling. Come and learn about the myths behind the constellations and get excited about scientific discovery!

Slice of Ice

Red Arrow Park
Opens Dec. 4 (weather permitting)
414-257-PARK or
Bring friends and family down for a skate in the park this winter season. Opening day features free skate rentals!

East Town Holiday Market

Dec. 4
Chase Tower, Water & Wisconsin
414-271-1416 or
Peruse great holiday gifts made by Wisconsin artists and pick up gift certificates to great local restaurants and retailers.

Winter Voices

Milwaukee Public Theatre
Dec. 5
414-347-1685 or
Milwaukee Public Theatre presents this original production to honor the change of seasons and Native American culture with traditional music and dance.

Christmas in The Ward
Historic Third Ward – Catalano Square
Dec. 5 – Dec. 6
414-273-1173 or
Tell Santa what you want for Christmas at Jolly’s outdoor gingerbread house and stick around for carriage rides, a tree lighting and shopping!

Brady Street Festivus

Brady Street
Dec. 5
Whether or not Christmas is your thing, head down to Brady Street for some holiday cheer, shopping and competitions, including the ever-popular Airing of Grievances. It’s for the rest of us!Fantastic

Forest of Holiday Trees
Milwaukee County Zoo
Dec. 5 – Jan. 5
414-771-5500 or
Wander an enchanted forest of child-decorated holiday trees. Just because it’s not warm out doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the zoo; what’s more lovely than light displays and polar bears?

European Holiday Village

Milwaukee Public Museum
Dec. 5 – Dec. 6
414-278-2702 or
Stroll through the Streets of Old Milwaukee to see traditional European holiday décor at the turn of the century.

Swim with Santa at The Hilton
Hilton Milwaukee
Dec. 6, 3-6 pm
Join Santa at the Paradise Landing Indoor Waterpark for the biggest splash of the season!

Holiday Cheese and Cheer
Stanford Art Gallery
N88W16475 Main St Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
262-255-7880 or
Dec. 5- Dec. 24
Join the artists at Stanford Gallery for this Holiday art show and find the perfect gift for your friends and family including painting, wearable art and so much more!

Holiday Gift Boutique
Milwaukee Street Gallery
Dec. 5- Dec. 23
414.732.2008 or
The Milwaukee Street Gallery has been transformed into a one-stop gift boutique. Find everything on your Christmas list and stop in on December 11th and 12th for a take-and-bake cookie exchange.

Artisan & Entrepreneur
Holiday Market
Discovery World
Dec. 6
414-765-9966 or
Peruse one-of-a-kind handmade work by over 20 local vendors and artisans and enjoy live music, DIY workshops, hot chocolate and complimentary gift-wrapping.

Holidays at The Lighthouse

North Point Lighthouse in Lake Park
Dec. 6
414-332-6754 or
Climb the festively decorated lighthouse to visit the keeper’s quarters, where you can make crafts, sit on Santa’s lap and enjoy a few Christmas cookies while listening to live music.

KK Holiday: It’s a Wonderful Life in Bay View
Dec. 6
Head south for a holiday art crawl along the shops of KK between Beecher and Lincoln. Stick around for a silent auction, wine tasting, carolers and cheerily decorated storefronts.

The International Gift Shop
Quaker Meeting House, 3224 N. Gordon Pl.
Dec. 6
414-263-2111 or
Shop for eclectic holiday gifts from around the world and help support non-profit Quaker organizations. Enjoy hot drinks and hearty eats in the café and bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Second Harvest.

Our Milwaukee Buy Local Fair
Urban Ecology Center
Dec. 6
Support the community and strengthen our economic base this holiday season by buying local. Find unique holiday gifts and use your money to support local businesses and non-profit organizations.

Breakfast & Lunch with Santa
Milwaukee County Zoo
Weekends, Dec. 6 – 21
414-771-5500 or
The entire family can enjoy a special breakfast or lunch with Father Christmas this holiday season. Afterward, visit the animals!

Saturdays at Central
Milwaukee Public Library – Central
Dec. 6 & 20
414-286-3091 or
Bring the kids to the library on Dec. 6 to build their own gingerbread houses and stop back on the 20th for seasonal stories and songs!

Breakfast with Santa

The Pfister Hotel
Dec. 6, 13 and 20
800-558-8222 or
Children can enjoy a magical breakfast with Santa and his elves in the Pfister’s lovely Imperial Ballroom and receive a special Christmas gift from the man himself!

Teddy Bear Tea

The Pfister Hotel
Dec. 6, 13 and 20
800-558-8222 or
Bring the tots down for a holiday tea with Mrs. Claus and bring along a new teddy bear to donate to Milwaukee children in need this holiday season.

Walker’s Winter Wonderland

Holiday Bazaar
Walker Elementary School
Dec. 6
Local home-based businesses and crafters will be selling their wares at this kid-friendly gift fair. Kids of all ages can visit Santa’s workshop to buy gifts for friends and family with the help of Santa’s elves.

Jolly Holly Folly

Milwaukee Center Rotunda
Dec. 7
800-359-9272 or
Enjoy delicious edibles from Milwaukee restaurants and catch the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre’s presentation of The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead at this annual benefit for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.

Boerner’s Holiday Celebration

Boerner Botanical Gardens
Dec. 7
414-525-5635 or
Come down to the lovely Boerner Botanical Gardens for a gingerbread brunch with Santa, sponsored by Bartolotta’s Catering. Stick around after the meal for storytelling and crafts with Santa!

Music in the Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum – Windhover Hall
Dec. 9
414-224-3200 or
An annual holiday concert with Dr. Jeffrey Hollander playing selections from Frank Sinatra and the swing era. While you’re there, visit the Museum’s seasonally displayed 18th-century Neopolitan Creche.

Community Holiday Party
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
Dec. 10
262-781-9520 or
Vocal jazz group Five By Design creates a holiday musical retrospective, playing Christmas favorites. Plus, sample delicious cookies from the Wilson Center’s first-ever Holiday Cookie Contest.

Harry Connick, Jr.

Riverside Theater
Dec. 12
414-286-3663 or
Harry Connick, Jr. and his big band bring the yuletide spirit to Milwaukee with The Holiday Celebration tour.

Brunch with Santa

St. Ann Center
Dec. 13
414-977-5000 or
Santa takes time out of his busy schedule for a special brunch at the St. Ann Center. Shop for gifts in Santa’s Workshop and stick around for a magic show and cookie decorating, but don’t forget to have your picture taken on Santa’s lap!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Bradley Center
Dec. 14
414-276-4545 or
Trans-Siberian Orchestra , the NYC rock orchestra best known for their heavy renditions of traditional Christmas songs, bring their exhilarating live show to the Bradley Center this season. Performances at 3 pm and 7:30 pm.

Mannheim Steamroller

The Milwaukee Theatre
Dec. 23
414-908-6001 or
Celebrate the spirit of the season with the popular “18th century rock band” playing your holiday favorites with a synth-y twist.

Winter Break Fun

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
Dec. 29 – Jan. 2
414-390-KIDS or
A winter wonderland of fun for kids during winter break! Participate in educational games, stories and crafts or build your own igloo!

Hand Craft Your Holiday
Katie Gingrass Gallery
241 North Broadway
414-289-0855 or
Handcraft your holiday with wearable art, unique accessories, and fine art jewelry by local and nationally recognized artists.  Enjoy the spirit of the season!  Bring a friend to the special evening of shopping and receive a discount!

Rev Up The Holidays
The Harley Davidson Museum
November 29th
400 W. Canal Street
877-436-8738 or
Kick it into high gear and welcome the holidays at Motor, the Harley museum’s restaurant. Get your photo taken with Santa, enjoy complimentary food and drink tastings and see the lighting of the grounds!

Bad Santa Happy Hour
The Harley Davidson Museum
December 5
400 W. Canal Street
877-436-8738 or
Holiday fun for those on Santa’s naughty list! Enjoy drink specials and complimentary tastings from Lakefront and Rehorst and a live broadcast by 103.7 KISS FM.

New Year’s Eve!

Jim Gaffigan
Pabst Theater
Dec. 30 – 31
414-286-3663 or
Check out hilarious comedian (and the other half of Pale Force!) Jim Gaffigan on New Year’s Eve live at The Pabst and laugh your way into 2009.

New Year’s Eve at Noon
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
414-390-KIDS or
New Year’s can be fun for kids too! They’ll get to make their own party hats and noise makers and ring in the new year a bit early with a juice toast!

Harlem Globetrotters
Bradley Center
414-276-4545 or
Come see the Globetrotters do what they do best –  a Milwaukee family tradition for almost 40 years!

Pfister New Year’s Eve Celebration
The Pfister Hotel
800-558-8222 or
Say hello to 2009 in style with an intimate five-course gourmet dinner and ballroom dancing to the music of The Nick Contorno Orchestra.

Riverside Theater
414-286-3663 or
Cake is back for another New Year’s celebration in Milwaukee, so grab a beer and get ready to go the distance on a night of non-stop action.

New Year’s Eve at Red Arrow Park
Red Arrow Park
414-257-PARK or
Come for outdoor ice-skating against picturesque city views and stay for a dazzling fireworks display when the ball drops.

MSO: Breaking Through to Joy

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
414-273-7206 or
The Symphony and special guests welcome the new year with Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto, K. 191 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “Ode to Joy.”

New Year’s Eve Under Glass

Mitchell Park Conservatory
414-649-9800 or
Welcome 2009 at The Domes! Experience a desert oasis, a tropical jungle and a lush floral garden all in one place, and see them transform after nightfall when you are treated to a fantastic light show.

InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel NYE Package
InterContinental Milwaukee
414-276-8686 or
Ring in the New Year with a romance-filled getaway at the contemporary four-star InterContinental Milwaukee hotel.Awaiting you upon arrival in your deluxe guest room will be a demi bottle of champagne
complemented by fresh, ripe strawberries. Price is $275 per couple.

Hilton Milwaukee NYE Celebration
Hilton Milwaukee City Center
414-271-7250 or
A unique New Year’s package that offers you and your family a tropical getaway includes a beautifully appointed guest room at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, water park passes to Paradise Landing for up to five guests, a special New Year’s Day breakfast buffet and more. $275 per family.

Miller Free Rides
Whatever you do this New Year’s Eve, make sure you do it safely. Hop on for a free bus ride to and from your party destinations anywhere MCTS travels, courtesy of Miller Brewing Company.

Polar Bear Plunge
Bradford Beach
New Year’s Day
Brave the icy depths of Lake Michigan with this annual tradition!

0 thoughts on “2008 Holiday Fun Guide”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Gifts are common traditions during valentines. They are a great way of showing your loved one that you love and appreciate them. Although there is no law that insists that people give gifts during valentine, most couples have come to expect them. Because of this, the weeks leading to valentine is normally a confusing one as men and women try to come to a decision on which of the many available valentine toys or gifts will be the right one for their partner. A few of the common choices which people have to decide on include:

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us