The coastal town of Port Washington, Wisconsin, combines New England charm and Midwestern friendliness.
During warm weather months, it’s a lakeside playground with beaches, parks, a historic maritime village and a pre-Civil War downtown bursting with charming shops and restaurants.
But when the calendar rolls toward the winter holidays, Port Washington morphs into a picture-perfect version of a quaint village with loads of holiday activities.
Shop till you drop
Port Washington is ideal for holiday shopping, especially this year with supply chain interruptions making gift-giving a challenge. Shopping here instead offers many made-in-Wisconsin gift options to delight recipients with unique not-found-elsewhere presents.
With a Port Washington trip, visitors not only can shop hassle-free, they can simultaneously recharge their batteries with a getaway.
Local hotels offer fall and holiday packages for guests, according to Kathy Tank, executive director of the Port Washington Tourism Council.
Check out Port Washington's holiday events.
Nov. 18, 5 to 7 p.m.
The shops in downtown Port Washington “create a festive atmosphere by staying open later and offering specials,” Tank said.
Port Washington Winter Market
Nov. 20, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Visitors can purchase local food and crafts and enjoy live music at the market. “We aim to be a warm, welcoming place where the community can gather to buy amazing local foods and handcrafted products,” Tank said.
Port Shop Hop for Small Biz Saturday
Nov. 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Shoppers can enjoy a day of shopping, giveaways and specials at participating small businesses in Port Washington.
Dec. 4, 9 a.m. to noon
Young visitors can embark on a magical journey to the “North Pole” with the whole family (advance tickets required). Activities: caroling, cookie decorating, trolley rides, train display, letters to Santa, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a special gift from Santa.
Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Artisans and crafters sell their unique works at this holiday market on the lakefront featuring photo opportunities with Santa.
Christmas on the Corner
Dec. 4, 3 to 7 p.m.
It’s a busy day as Port Washington celebrates its traditional community Christmas event. Visitors can take photos with Santa and reindeer from southern Wisconsin. Businesses will offer activities, and characters will stroll the streets. A tree-lighting ceremony is followed by the only nighttime parade in the area and fireworks.
Dec. 16, 5 to 7 p.m.
Calling all last-minute shoppers for Third Thursday!
Port Washington Winter Market
Dec. 18, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Procrastinators have a final chance before Christmas to purchase local crafts and foods.
Get into the holiday spirit for the aforementioned events. And enjoy the town’s remarkable ambiance. “Looking north on Franklin Street, people see 19th century buildings with trees in front of them decked out in twinkle lights and a church lit up atop the hill,” Tank said.
Why not go to Port Washington and make new memories with your family this holiday season?
For more information about holiday events in Port Washington, visit visitportwashington.com.