Pfister Hotel

Where to Find Milwaukee’s Biggest, Brightest Christmas Trees This Year

Thanksgiving is still nearly a week away, but it’s starting to look a lot like …

The Pabst Mansion is decking its halls with boughs of holly and lots and lots of Christmas trees again this season, all of them trimmed with ornaments that evoke the eighteenth-century elegance the historical building is famed for. From now through Jan. 7, you can take self-guided tours of the sprawling, three-story manse, peering into its lavishly decorated rooms to ooh and aah at the thousands of twinkling lights and ornaments on display.

Pabst Mansion
A tree decorated for the Pabst Mansion’s Grand Avenue Christmas celebration; photo by Lindsey Anderson

And, if you haven’t gotten your fill of over-sized firs after wandering through the mansion, you’ll still have many more chances to see trees teeming with lights.

The city has already kicked off its annual Holiday Lights Festival with Milwaukee’s 104th-annual tree-lighting ceremony, meaning that the massive evergreen towering over the intersection of Water and Wells will shine brightly through the end of the year – it’s well worth a visit.

And on Nov. 18, The Hilton Milwaukee hosts its own annual tree-lighting event, immediately after the Milwaukee Holiday Parade, complete with holiday movies, hot chocolate and cookies. Olivia Gonzales of Winter Wonderland will be on hand to sing carols too, and everyone’s favorite full-bearded, red-nosed Christmas character will shimmy down a chimney at some point during the evening.

Hilton Milwaukee City Center
The Hilton’s 2016 tree; photo courtesy of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center

On Nov. 24, the Pfister also lights a show-stopping 18-foot holiday tree. Santa has kindly agreed to make another appearance (he’s evidently visiting Milwaukee a lot this season), and complimentary holiday treats and hot cocoa will be available for guests to enjoy while listening to holiday music.

Pfister Hotel
Crowds gathered to watch the Pfister’s annual tree lighting last year; photo courtesy of the Pfister Hotel



Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.