The Best Social-Distanced 2020 Holiday Events in Southeastern Wisconsin
Get out of the house & celebrate the holidays!
Amid the current global health crisis, the list of activities to spend time with friends and family right now is a little more limited than usual. But while the covid pandemic may have stopped a lot of things, it can’t stop the holidays – there are still plenty of holiday events to safely enjoy outdoors in Milwaukee and the rest of southeastern Wisconsin.
From Christmas light drive-throughs to candlelit nature walks, don’t forget to make time to treat yourself and your loved ones to some holiday joy this season.
Being outdoors is good for your health!
Even though social distancing continues to be at the front of our minds, especially with cases in our state surging at a higher rate than ever before, mental health experts are stressing that we all still need to spend some time outside regularly.
We know time outside is good for us: Studies have shown that being outdoors can help reduce anxiety, promote creativity and improve heart health.
Plus, research shows that time outside doesn’t have to mean white-knuckling your way down a ski hill or trekking through northwoods Wisconsin on snowshoes. In fact, anything that gets you out of the house makes a difference right now – and the rewards begin accruing at just 120 minutes a week, according to a study published in Nature. That’s just two hours every week.
Better still, the researchers found it didn’t matter how people spent the 120 minutes – the quota could be met in a single session outdoors or during several shorter ones. Both green spaces in cities and green spaces in less urban places had a positive impact on the 19,000 healthy British adults who participated in the study.
Participants were much more likely to report reduced stress and anxiety, better health and an improved sense of well-being once they surpassed the 120-minute weekly mark. Benefits seemed to peak at between three to five hours per week, with no additional gain from more hours outside. This was true for people of all ages, including older adults and people with long-term health issues.
The Best 2020 Social-Distanced Holiday Events
These events around the Milwaukee area are guaranteed to fight cabin fever, put you in a festive mood and create lasting memories for you and your family.
Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Build
When: Saturday December 12th, 11am-4pm
Where: Corners of Brookfield, 20111 W Bluemound Road in Brookfield
What: Join Habitat for Humanity at The Corners for their smallest, and most unique build of the year. The 6th annual Gingerbread Build will take place on Saturday, December 12th and feature up to 30 artfully decorated gingerbread houses placed outside throughout The Corners! Stop by from 11a-4p to see the houses and vote for your favorite! After dark, Market Square will be lit up with a magnificent Christmas tree, giant walk-through present and 40-foot light tunnel! All proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County.
How Much: Free
Learn More: Corners of Brookfield
West Bend Enchantment in the Park
When: Now through December 24th, 5pm-9pm
Where: Regner Park, 800 N Main Street in West Bend
What: Every holiday season, West Bend’s Regner Park hosts Enchantment in the Park, an event that fills the park with impressive light displays and benefits local charities. View this interactive holiday light show by foot or motor vehicle. Senior citizen treats and hot cocoa available every night. Take a horse and carriage ride on Friday and Saturday nights. Santa is available the first three Thursdays in December, 6pm-8pm.
How Much: Suggested admission is a $10 cash donation or a bag of non-perishable food items per car.
Learn More: Enchantment in the Park
Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk at Urban Ecology Center
When: Friday December 18, 4pm-8:30pm
Where: Urban Ecology Center Riverside, 1500 E Park Place in Milwaukee
What: Experience the serenity of the nighttime forest in the heart of the city & spend some time in the outdoors. Take a guided stroll down the luminary-lit paths of the Milwaukee Centennial Rotary Arboretum. The event is entirely outside this year, and walks are scheduled for every 30 minutes.
How Much: Admission is $14 per person
Learn More: Urban Ecology Center
Miller Valley Holiday Lights Show
When: Now through December 27th, 6pm-10pm
Where: Miller Brewery, 4251 W State Street in Milwaukee
What: Miller’s time-honored tradition of lighting up the valley began in the 1950’s and was re-launched in 2004. This year Miller is offering a drive-up version of the Lites to share them with you and yours in the safest way possible. Please remain in your cars and park between the A-frame signs on either side of State Street. Shows last approximately 5 min each with a minute and a half intermission to allow for traffic flow.
How Much: Free
Learn More: Miller Brewery Tour Events
The Ingleside Hotel Country Christmas
When: Now through January 2nd, 5pm-9pm Su-Th, 5pm-10pm F-Sa
Where: Ingleside Hotel, 2810 Golf Road in Pewaukee
What: Celebrating their 25th year as Wisconsin’s largest and most spectacular drive-through holiday lights event! Country Christmas features over a million holiday lights festively displayed on 40 wooded acres of Waukesha’s countryside. Experience enchanting animated figures and holiday scenes all from the comfort of your car. After the drive-through experience, visit Christmas Village where you can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while looking at animated scenes and a cuddly cast of characters and an amazing working model train display. Stroll the Streets of Bethlehem, where you will be amazed by the life size Fontanini nativity display.
How Much: Admission is $20 per vehicle
Learn More: The Country Christmas
Kapco’s Kids2Kids Christmas Wonderland
When: Now through December 31, 5:30pm-8pm Su-Th, 5:30pm-9pm F-Sa
Where: On the corner of Cheyenne Avenue and Hwy 60 in Grafton
What: Experience holiday joy and excitement from the comfort of your car at Kapco’s Kids2Kids Christmas Wonderland, Wisconsin’s new, ultimate, drive-thru holiday destination in Grafton. This family-friendly event is more than a light show, it is bringing communities together to collect toys for children in need and spread holiday cheer with one-of-a-kind attractions. The experience will feature millions of lights, three mesmerizing light tunnels, hundreds of inflatables and holiday décor pieces, lighted water features, a live nativity scene, Santa’s Workshop with live reindeer and a bustling Christmas Village. Professional set designers from both Milwaukee and Hollywood are creating dozens of streetscapes for a charming village featuring quaint storefronts and a rink for ice skating villagers.
How Much: Admission is $20 per vehicle
Learn More: Kids2Kids Christmas Wonderland
Boerner Botanical Gardens’ Winter Wonders
When: Now through January 3, 5pm-10pm
What: Gather your family and friends to celebrate the wonders of the season with light! This spectacular drive-through holiday lights display is back for its second year! The show has been re-imagined by theatrical lighting designer “Laser Bob” Mullins and his talented team. Enjoy a variety of dramatic lighting techniques and new displays throughout the forests and fields of the Boerner Arboretum and Whitnall Park. Enjoy it all from the comfort and safety of your own car!
How Much: Admission is $25 per vehicle
Learn More: Winter Wonders