Last night was the kick-off to the annual display of holiday lights in Milwaukee, and it signals a big change in the weather as well. Now we'll have to start bundling up around here. With the early darkness and cold that comes with late fall, it's a great time to get out and see the 500,000+ lights making the city brighter.
For the full calendar of events, which includes Santa's mailbox, the Jingle Bus, Cocoa with the Clauses, and decorations at Grand Avenue Mall, go to the Milwaukee Downtown website.
The lights are featured at three different parks- Cathedral Square, Pere Marquette, and Zeidler Union Square. If you enjoy walking to see the displays, I recommend you sign up with Gothic Milwaukee for their holiday lights tour. $10 per adult guarantees your spot. The tours run through the month of December and they often sell out. Book an available date on their website. The tour is just over one mile. There's a stop at Red Arrow Park for warm drinks and snacks, so bring some money to enjoy that. While you're at their website, check out the SHOP button where you can purchase a set of self guided walking tour maps which would make a great gift for an outdoor lover in your life.
For a unique opportunity to see the lights without people and traffic, get up very early this Sunday morning and do the circle tour with Brew City Safari. The hike is 4-5 miles and cost is $5 per person. It starts at 4:30 AM. If you've never been on one of these hikes, you'll find it interesting and get a lot of exercise. You do need to sign up at the website and can see more details there.
Historic Milwaukee Inc. has two walking tours celebrating the holidays. The winter tour of the Third Ward is December 3. The German Christmas Tour (which includes food) is December 17. Both tours are available on the website so you can sign up. This is a great organization that promotes the heritage of Milwaukee's past. I have been on several tours and learned a great deal as I walked with a local guide.
If you prefer to eat and sing your way through Milwaukee, sign up for the holiday bus tour featuring the holiday lights and desserts at Milwaukee Food & City Tours. Get out your favorite holiday sweater for the 2.5 hour ride.
For more outdoor fun, check the weekly schedule of what's happening at the Milwaukee County Parks page.