Wondering where to see Santa in Wisconsin this Christmas? Well, you could just go stand in line to see a mall Santa like usual, OR you can have a more unique holiday experience by visiting Santa in one of these unusual locations.
Christmas is a magical time in Wisconsin where you can find holiday wonders around just about every corner. Pictures with Santa Claus are practically guaranteed at the mall. You may also find him wandering around the streets of quaint downtown districts across the state for Christmas tree lighting and other holiday festivities. Historical societies hold fascinating Old World Christmas events where Kris Kringle is sure to be jingling his bells for the curious crowds. And of course there’s probably at least one Santa in every Christmas parade.
But if you’re looking for something a little different, Wisconsin offers a few unique, if not downright strange experiences where you can have a close encounter with the jolly old elf himself.
Where to see Santa this Christmas:
1. Santa Delivers Trees at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum
Each year, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (home of the haunted submarine USS Cobia) kicks off the holiday season with a special day dedicated to Lake Michigan’s Christmas tree ship heritage. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their helpers sail into port in Manitowoc on a tugboat with a load of Christmas trees and then hang around for photos and other activities at the museum.
2. Breakfast with Santa at the Haunted Pfister Hotel
You can have breakfast with Santa just about anywhere. But where can you share waffles with Kris Kringle and some world-famous ghosts? The Pfister in Milwaukee, that’s where. The haunted hotel that regularly makes the news for actors, musicians, and professional baseball players having creepy encounters with the spectral guests who never check out is a great place to find some spooky Christmas cheer.
3. Santa’s Hot Air Balloon Flight
See Santa take to the air at the Lake Geneva Balloon Company, where they send him up in a hot air balloon to spread Christmas cheer from 2,000 feet the air!
4. See 6,000+ Santas at House on the Rock Christmas
If you ever been there, you know House on the Rock in Spring Green does nothing in moderation, and that includes Christmas. During the holiday season, the House is transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland with carols, décor…and more than 6,000 collectible Santas lurking around every corner.
5. Santa Cycle Rampage
Hundreds of Santas descend on Madison, Milwaukee and other communities for bike rides to kick off the holiday season and raise money for charity with Wisconsin Bike Fed.
6. Take the East Troy Christmas Train to Santa’s Workshop
All aboard the Christmas Train at the East Troy Railroad Museum! The train departs the East Troy Depot and heads to Santa’s Workshop at the Elegant Farmer where you can get photos with the jolly elf himself.
7. St. Nick and Krampus in Milwaukee
In the old Alpine yule tradition, St. Nicholas partners up with a wicked Christmas devil known as Krampus, and they go door to door rewarding good children and punishing the naughty ones. The annual Milwaukee Krampusnacht celebrates this weirder side of Christmas with a Krampus parade, creepy Christmas vendors, and other activities.
8. Helicopter Santa at the EAA Museum
The EAA in Oshkosh holds its annual Christmas in the Air event with free admission to the aviation museum where exhibits have been decorated for the holidays. There’s also cookies and milk, performances by local choir and dance groups, a holiday-themed scavenger hunt, and pictures with Santa. After he arrives by helicopter, of course.
9. Lake Geneva Santa Cruise
Hop on a boat for a cruise around Geneva Lake to see the Christmas lights. You’ll also go past Santa’s Workshop where Santa himself will read off the names of all the children on the cruise who have been good that year.
Do you know of more strange places to find Santa in Wisconsin? Tells us about it in the comments below!