By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Oct 09, 2023 at 4:01 PM Photography: Milwaukee Downtown Facebook

Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.

The OnMilwaukee Ho Ho Holiday Guide is brought to you by Educators Credit Union, Harley-Davidson Museum and MolsonCoors

Everything is lit with jack-o'-lanterns right now - but soon it'll be aglow with holiday lights as Downtown will once again host thousands upon thousands of beaming bulbs for its 25th annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, running Nov. 16 through the first of the new year. 

The holiday light extravaganza will spread more than 500,000 lights and decorations across the Downtown area, highlighted by transforming three Milwaukee parks into glowing seasonal spectacles. Cathedral Square Park will be transformed into "Community Spirit Park," Zeidler Union Square will become "Santa's Celebration Square" and Pere Marquette Park will be themed "Feliz Navidad." In addition to those three incandescent installations, the festival will also decorate three main Downtown streets with lights and holiday chandeliers as is tradition, as well as run family-friendly tours of all the festive fun via the Jingle Bus. 

This year's festival will also feature a brand new Downtown decoration element: the ornament trail. The new holiday art installation will include 15 oversized ornaments scattered down Wisconsin Avenue, each one decorated by a different artist. 

“The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival presented by Johnson Financial Group is a brilliant holiday tradition,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, in a release. “We’re thrilled to celebrate 25 years of magical moments with Milwaukee-area families and look forward to kindling new memories with our anniversary-themed decorations, displays and happenings.”

The fa-la-la-la-la festivities will officially begin with a switch-flipping ceremony hosted at Pere Marquette Park on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. The kickoff will begin an hour before with live music, performances, a special appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus, fireworks, snacks and free Jingle Bus rides after the party. 

For more information, Jingle Bus times, tickets and more, head over to the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival's website. And for more festive fun, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee!

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.