The Top 10 Things to Do in Milwaukee This December

Embrace the season with these holiday classics and other live events.

1. Police Deranged for Orchestra

Dec. 2 | THE BRADLEY SYMPHONY CENTER

Legendary drummer Stewart Copeland will be rocking with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and a guest singer and guitarist. And yes, they’ll play hits like “Roxanne,” “Every Breath You Take” and more by The Police. The unexpected pairing makes more sense when you consider Copeland’s career as a composer.

2. “An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain”

DEC. 3-MARCH 27 | MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

Photographer An-My Lê was 15 when the U.S. military evacuated her and her family from Saigon in 1975. Her wide, sweeping shots explore the “peripheries of battle,” like military training and re-enactments. MAM’s exhibit is the first comprehensive survey of her work.


 

 

 

GET YOUR COPY OF “BEST OF MKE”

In our annual love fest for the city we call home, readers and editors alike give mad props to the people, places and things that rev us up right now. From restaurants to remodelers, we’ve curated more than 100 reasons for you to get out and explore Milwaukee. 


3. The Laramie Project

DEC. 3-12 | MILWAUKEE YOUTH ARTS CENTER

Based on a true story, this play recounts the life and tragic death of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay college student who was beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming. Unlike most First Stage productions, this one contains strong language and mature content. It is recommended for viewers over the age of 13.

4. Santa Hustle

DEC. 5 | VETERANS PARK

This 5K and “Kids Dash” is a beloved Milwaukee tradition. Hustlers get a sweatshirt and a finishers medal, plus a white beard and hat for participating. Onlookers get the joy of seeing hundreds of Santas race around Veterans Park.

5. The Nutcracker

DEC. 10-26 | UIHLEIN HALL MARCUS CENTER

Clara, the sugar plum fairy and more than 200 lavishly costumed dancers take the stage for this holiday classic that’s been running since 2003. Plus, the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra is there to bring Tchaikovsky’s score to life as a snow machine turns the stage into a picturesque winter wonderland.

6. The Price Is Right Live

DEC. 11 | RIVERSIDE THEATER

Come on down! You could be the next contestant on “The Price Is Right Live.” Drew Carey won’t be in the house, but you could win prizes including appliances, vacations and even a new car if you get picked to play. Expect classic games like Plinko, Cliffhangers and The Big Wheel.

7. The Ultimate Rooftop Day Party MKE

DEC. 11 | NŌ STUDIOS SKYLINE BAR + LOUNGE

Nō Studios – the local arts center founded by Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley – opened a rooftop bar with a 360-degree view of Milwaukee in May. This party is an opportunity to gather, network and relax at the space’s two outdoor patios while enjoying the full bar.

8. Rachel Kapelke-Dale, author of The Ballerinas, in Conversation with Christina Clancy

DEC. 15 | BOSWELL BOOKS

Rachel Kapelke-Dale, a Milwaukee native now living in Paris, publishes this debut novel about a trio of dancers at a French ballet school this month. She’ll talk about the tense thriller with Christina Clancy, the Madison-based author of Shoulder Season.

9. A Christmas Carol

THROUGH DEC. 24  | PABST THEATER

The Milwaukee Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol has been an annual tradition since 1976 (with a virtual interlude in 2020). Charles Dickens’ world comes to life with elaborate set design and period costumes at the historic Pabst Theater.

10. New Year’s Eve with Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

DEC. 31 | PABST THEATER

Wisconsin’s own Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is celebrating a whole decade of making music together and the release of their new album, Miles in Blue. The crew of five “Americana mavericks” blends bluegrass with folk, using the sweet sounds of string instruments to set the tone. They’ve scheduled their anniversary party for NYE in MKE.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s December issue.

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Allison Garcia is the Digital Editor for Milwaukee Magazine.