By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Nov 07, 2023 at 4:56 PM

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

The sun may be setting a lot sooner these days, but it's still glowingly bright outside thanks to the return of holiday light displays around town – including Winter Wonders, returning to glow up Boerner Botantical Gardens and Whitnall Park this festive season. 

Flipping the switch for the season over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 24-26), the Winter Wonders holiday light drive-thru will feature more than a million LED lights decorating trees, displays and beyond, all spread across almost a mile-and-a-half route. And best of all, it doesn't matter if it's frigid outside because the light show is enjoyed from the warmth and comfort of your vehicle. 

If the light displays weren't enough, Winter Wonders will have special theme weekends throughout much of its 2023 holiday season run – starting with its opening weekend, offering free cocoa bombs and treats for the first 93 cars on Nov. 24-25. Additional theme weekends include:

  • Dec. 1-3 – Laser Weekend, featuring bonus laser effects throughout the drive-thru
  • Dec. 8-10 – Candlelight Weekend, featuring bonus candlelight concerts from "Elvis and Lisa Marie" and more in the Garden House at Boerner Botantical Gardens
  • Dec. 15-17 – Sing-A-Long Weekend, featuring sing-a-long music lyrics and a special gift for each car courtesy of Gruber Law Offices
  • Dec. 22-24 – Santa Weekend, featuring s'mores, popcorn and a photo op visit from Santa
  • Dec. 29-31 – Cliff Bars Final Weekend, featuring free Cliff bars and more for each carload through the light show

In addition to the mesmerizing main attraction, Winter Wonders will also feature a photo op park for folks to snag a photo amongst several glitteringly glowing displays and a video drive-in lot featuring sweet holiday shorts on the screen – as well as Santa Quiz Lane, posing trivia questions about the Big Man from the North Pole himself. For a chance at a bonus gift under the tree this year, those who answer the final Santa Quiz Lane question and submit it will be entered into a drawing to win a special staycation, given away at the end of Winter Wonders' holiday run. 

Winter Wonders will run from Nov. 24 through the end of the year, open from 5-9 p.m.; the line begins around 4:30 p.m., with the last car allowed in at 8:45 p.m.

Tickets for Winter Wonders are available at this link, as well as at Festival Foods locations throughout the area and the Boerner Botanical Gardens atrium. Admission starts at $35 for a standard vehicle (car, van, minivan, SUV or pickup truck). For more information on tickets – including skip-the-line tickets and season passes – entry logistics and other Winter Wonders features, visit the light display's official website

And for more festive fun this holiday season, 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.