Milwaukee Ballet

20 Milwaukee Events to Put You in the Holiday Spirit This December

Have a holly jolly time at any of these theater, dance, music, family or drinking events this month. 

Theater and Dance

Miracle on South Division Street – Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Featuring the local talents of Josh Krause, Raeleen McMillion and Kat Wodtke, this holiday show tells the story of staunchly religious Clara Nowak and her children – daughter Ruth shakes things up for the family. Running Nov. 22 through Dec. 17 at Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre (158 N. Broadway)

Scrooge in Rouge
Scrooge in Rouge; photo by Mark Frohna
Scrooge in Rouge – In Tandem Theatre

Twenty of twenty-three theater troupe members come down with food poisoning, leaving only three of them to perform their musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The show must go on in this fast-paced musical, running Dec. 1 through Jan. 7 at Tenth Street Theater (628 N. Tenth St.)

A Christmas Carol – Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Over the course of 40-plus years, the Rep has gone through a number of Scrooges in this holiday classic. This year, Jonathan Wainwright becomes the twelfth actor to take on the role for the Rep. Running Nov. 29 through Dec. 24 at the Pabst Theater (144 E. Wells St.).

Hip Hop Nutcracker ft. rapper Kurtis Blow

For one night only, a dozen dancers take the stage alongside a DJ and electric violinist, re-mixing Tchaikovsky’s traditional score and setting the story in contemporary New York City. The show comes to the Riverside Theater (116 W. Wisconsin Ave.) on Dec. 7.

The Nutcracker – Milwaukee Ballet

For a more local Nutcracker experience, see the Milwaukee Ballet perform the holiday classic Dec. 9Dec. 26. The Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky’s score, and more than 200 dancers take the stage to tell the story of Clara, Fritz and Marie.


The Basilica of St. Josaphat
The Basilica of St. Josaphat filled for a Bel Canto concert; photo courtesy of Bel Canto
Christmas in the Basilica – Bel Canto Chorus

Milwaukee’s premier independent choral organization will perform three concerts Dec. 8-10 at the historic St. Josaphat Basilica (2333 S. Sixth St.). Organist Kevin Bailey will accompany the choir, directed by Richard Hynson.

Handel’s Messiah – Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Presenting one of the world’s most cherished musical works, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform at three different venues – St. Mary Catholic Faith Community, the Cathedral of St. John and St. Josaphat Basilica – between Dec. 13-17.

City of Festivals Men’s Chorus Holiday Concert

Milwaukee’s very own LGBT and LGBT-affirming chorus presents their “A Grown Up Christmas Wish List” Christmas concert at Plymouth UCC Church (2717 Hampshire St.) Dec. 9 and 10.

Ghosts of Christmas Eve – Trans Siberian Orchestra

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings holiday hits like “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” and “Christmas Canon” to the BMO Harris Bradley Center (1001 N. Fourth) on Dec. 29.

Family Events

Breakfast with Santa at the Pfister Hotel

As part of a series of holiday events, the Pfister Hotel (424 E. Wisconsin Ave.) gives families the opportunity to enjoy a jolly breakfast with Santa himself Saturdays during the month of December.

Breakfast with Santa
Breakfast with Santa; photo courtesy of the Pfister Hotel
Breakfast with Santa at the Milwaukee County Zoo

The Milwaukee County Zoo (10001 W. Bluemound Rd.) offers opportunities for families to enjoy the company of Santa and Mrs. Claus Saturdays and Sundays throughout December. Tickets include admission to the zoo as well as breakfast, featuring live Christmas carols and Racine Danish Kringles.

Santa’s Mailbox

Make sure to drop a letter for Santa off in Community Spirit Park in Cathedral Square (520 E. Wells St.). Don’t forget to leave a return address, because every child will receive a personalized letter back from the big guy himself.

Naughty or Nice Holiday Floral Show

This winter children get a chance to send off letters to Santa and watch elves at work making toys at the Mitchell Park Domes (524 S. Layton Blvd.). Come see the special holiday flower-filled displays and a 25-foot tall holiday tree. Nov. 18-Jan. 7.

Events for Everyone

A Grand Avenue Christmas
A Grand Avenue Christmas at the Pabst Mansion; photo by Lindsey Anderson
A Grand Avenue Christmas

Every year, the historic Pabst Mansion (2000 W. Wisconsin Ave.) gets a holiday makeover and opens three floors to visitors. Children ages 16 and under can tour free. Nov. 17-Jan. 7.

Ice Skating at Red Arrow Park

Lace up and burn some energy this winter season at Red Arrow Park. Participate in this downtown Milwaukee tradition, named after the 32nd Red Arrow Division of the US Army, at 920 N. Water St. from Nov. 29 until spring arrives.

Deck the Streets of Old Milwaukee

Walk the Streets of Old Milwaukee at the Public Museum (800 W. Wells St.), adorned with holiday touches of garland, wreaths and ribbons. To enjoy a holiday tour of the exhibition led by “Granny Hannah” guests can download a “Deck the Streets” app starting Nov. 17. Runs through Jan. 29.

Afternoon Tea at the Pfister Hotel

Take in the hotel’s 23rd-floor views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan while enjoying a table-side tea blending and silver service by a Pfister Tea Butler. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through April 1 at the Pfister Hotel (424 E. Wisconsin Ave.). More information and reservations available online or at 414-935-5950.

Drinking Events

Christmas Cocktails at the Monarch

With “Christmosas” and Fireball hot toddies, Hilton Milwaukee City Center’s Monarch Lounge (506 W. Wisconsin Ave.) offers a seasonal Christmas drink list this season. Attend ugly sweater parties Fridays from Nov. 24-Dec. 22

Miracle at the Outsider

The Kimpton Journeymans’ rooftop bar (310 E. Chicago St.) transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with lights, decorations and holiday cocktails, like “How the gimlet Stole Christmas.

Brady Street Second Annual Festivus Run

One mile, twelve bars, 5,280 feats of strength. All runners receive a winter scarf, a Festivus pole medal and a free beer at any of twelve participating Brady Street bars – not to mention an additional beer at the half-mile turn-around point. “Feats of Strength” competitions in participating bars begin at 9:30 p.m.