Travel the World at Milwaukee's Holiday Folk Fair

Egg rolls and meat balls and puff-crusted strudels, kringle and sushi and hot-buttered noodles; tasty sensations each November brings, the Holiday Folk Fair’s a favorite thing.

Experience a whole world of culture all in one place, all in one weekend in West Allis this November at the Holiday Folk Fair International!

Milwaukee’s Holiday Folk Fair International has garnered a reputation as one of America’s premier multicultural festivals. Held the weekend before Thanksgiving in the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, the festival draws more than 50,000 people each year to sample the culture and cuisine traditions of more than 50 nationalities around the globe. Spectators enjoy music, dance  and theatre performances, an international bazaar, ethnic cuisine and heritage exhibit area.

Held in a city that often celebrates its broad European roots, the Holiday Folk Fair has grown over the years to embrace Asian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Russian, African-American and Native American traditions as well. 

Spanning three days, the festival’s All Nations Theater—an International Stage where youth groups perform—presents a near non-stop lineup of traditional music and dance.

Just in time for holiday gift shopping, find a treasure from across the globe at the fair’s international bazaar. Centuries of skilled artisans from distant lands have created unique crafts to create a distinguished shopping experience.

Take part in workshops and mini language classes, learn heritage and customs through captivating exhibits along Heritage Lane, take a listen at the music pavilion and join in on the Around the World in 5K Run/Walk.

Then, once you've spent a day exploring the world of cultural music, food, dance and arts, check out these recommendations to expand your trip!

Eat

Keep the menu international with a trip to nearby Blue’s Egg, just a mile away from the fair. Old-world traditions and fresh ideas come together for cuisine influenced by France, Italy, England, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Africa, Asia and Scandinavian countries. Or, experience a tasty traditional Wisconsin supper club at Five O’ Clock Steakhouse in Milwaukee, offering live music, classic cocktails and a 1940s-style lounge.

Grab a sinfully delicious European-style hot chocolate when you stop for breakfast at Le Rêve Patisserie and Café.

Stay

Nothing compares to the historic and elegant Pfister Hotel, where you can book at treatment at the on-site WELL Spa + Salon. Nicknamed the "Jewel of Milwaukee," the 1893 hotel offers 360-degree views of downtown and Lake Michigan from is 23rd-floor martini bar, Blu.

Embrace the high-tech amenities at newer boutique hotel Aloft, or savor more of the past in the intimate setting of the turn-of-the-century Brumder Mansion Bed & Breakfast, offering fireplaces, whirlpools and marble showers in all of its suites.

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Add to your weekend with a trip to the stunningly-designed Milwaukee Art Museum, whose "wings" are an iconic part of the downtown skyline. Or, take a ride on the wild side with a trip to the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum.

Kids will love the neighboring Discovery World, with 120,000 square feet of hands-on science and technology displays and a massive walk-under saltwater aquarium. And, because this is "Brew City," don’t head home without taking a tour at Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee Brewing Company or Sprecher.

 

Check out more must-visit Milwaukee highlights, and find festivals near you in our event directory.