Milwaukee is a city full of life and with its fair share of weird and quirky corners that hold all sorts of secrets and adventures. If you’re looking for things to do in Milwaukee, this list is a great place to start.
We hand-picked our favorite top Milwaukee attractions and local gems.
Milwaukee is the place we call home, but we aren’t just some overzealous locals who think everything in their city is amazing – we’ve also traveled the world and know the good attractions from the mediocre.
These are the best things to do in Milwaukee that we send all of our out-of-town friends to do!
Let us be your local guides to our hometown!
This article is updated weekly, and a lot of love is put in by us Milwaukee locals who want you to enjoy our city thoroughly. All right, let us help you plan your trip to Milwaukee!
Things to do THIS Week in Milwaukee (Feb 18th – Feb 25th)
This section of our Milwaukee Guide is for things happening only this week. For more things to do all year long, keep reading to check out our full list of attractions below. We also have an itinerary for the perfect weekend in Milwaukee if you’d rather have us do more of the planning – you can find our Milwaukee Weekend Guide here!
- Candlelight: Coldplay X Imagine Dragons – February 23, 2024 – more info
- Fred Usinger Day 2024! – One free brat 8am-8pm Feb 23rd – The Old German Beer Hall – map
- Milwaukee Auto Show Feb 24-Mar 5th – Wisconsin Center District, 400 W Wisconsin Ave
- World Of Wheels Fri, Feb 23 – Sun, Feb 25 – Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center
- Mama Tried Motorcycle Show Sat, 10 AM – 10 PM The Rave / Eagles Club, 2401 W Wisconsin Ave
Top 25 Must do Milwaukee Attractions
1. Harley Davidson Museum
One of Milwaukee’s biggest claims to fame is Harley Davidson. If you’re an avid road warrior or even an occasional rider, you’ll find the Harley Davidson Museum an absolute blast.
As one of the premier things to do in Milwaukee, make sure to check it out. Everything Harley-Davidson is here!
- Address: 400 W. Canal St, Milwaukee
2. Milwaukee Public Market
The Public Market is a two-story icon full of truly unique and independent vendors of all things delicious. If you are staying in downtown Milwaukee, you can’t miss it. It is in the heart of downtown Milwaukee.
In the middle of sightseeing and adventuring through Milwaukee, make sure to drop by for a cup of spectacular coffee or wander the aisles looking for lunch. There are more than a dozen local vendors preparing snacks to full dinners. With a wide range of food types, you are sure to satisfy everyone in your group.
- Address: 400 N Water St, Milwaukee
3. Tailgate at American Family field
There’s nothing too much more Wisconsin than a tailgate before a game, and in Milwaukee, we do it before every home Milwaukee Brewers game.
Every game day, the smell of charcoal grills and bratwurst sizzling can be smelled from about a mile in any direction of the stadium. Gather your group, a cooler with local beers, and a portable grill, and participate in this uniquely Milwaukee tradition.
The parking lots open 3 hours before the game and fill up quickly with people grilling, playing games, and catching up with friends and tailgating neighbors before the game.
American Family Field is the new name of the Milwaukee Brewers Stadium with a retractable roof. It’s a baseball icon that is a must for any fans passing through the city.
Off-Season Visitors: If you visit Milwaukee outside of baseball season, you can still visit the field and eat inside the park at the restaurant at the Barrell Yard. Here, you can catch a meal on non-game days for lunch or dinner overlooking the third baseline and outfield.
- Address: 1 Brewers Way, Milwaukee
Best Places to Stay in Milwaukee
Iron Horse Hotel Milwaukee (New & Trendy): One hundred years ago, the building was a warehouse. Now, it’s an upscale hotel created for both bikers and business travelers alike.
It has a warm, inviting atmosphere with a spectacular restaurant and modern feel that showcases art events and is dog-friendly. Even if you’re not planning on staying, the Iron Horse is a truly Milwaukee experience that never fails to entertain. Address: 500 W. Florida St, Milwaukee – Check Rates
Aloft Hotel Milwaukee (Great Location): It’s located near the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Fiserv Forum & Deer District, and Old World Third Street. Aloft offers something for everyone, especially the food lover. Restaurants, brewpubs, boutiques, and so much more are steps from the door. Address: 1230 Old World Third Street, Milwaukee – Check Rates
Pfister Hotel Milwaukee (Classic Milwaukee Hotel): Built in 1893, the Pfister has been a staple of Milwaukee Elegance for over 100 years. Everything in this hotel exudes a sense of class and style. Enjoy the night in beautiful rooms with impeccable service. The Pfister is a truly wonderful experience that harkens back to the glory of yesteryear. Address: 424 E. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee – Check Rates
Milwaukee’s annual music festival, Summerfest, is one of the premier things to do in Milwaukee. Summerfest is the world’s largest music festival. It spans 11 days, with 800 acts playing on 11 stages.
In true Wisconsin fashion, there will be plenty of beer & cheese curds available. Lots of the best Milwaukee restaurants also serve up some of their popular dishes. It’s a great place to sample different restaurants. If you love music, you have to check out Summerfest!
- Address: 639 E. Summerfest Place, Milwaukee
5. Milwaukee River Walk
A two-mile wander through downtown Milwaukee with direct access to some of the city’s best shops, bars, and restaurants. It’s a great way to get a feel for the city, as well as get some exploring in!
6. Eat Some Cheese Curds
Deep-Fried fresh cheese curds, yes – they are as good as they sound. Here in Milwaukee, we fully embrace our dairy heritage and celebrate it in every gooey bite of cheese curds. You will find them in the appetizer section of many restaurants in Milwaukee, but some are better than others. Make sure to read our Milwaukee cheese curd guide here.
Our Picks for Best Cheese Curds in Milwaukee:
Lakefront Brewery (See Map) – Come for the cheese curds, they are some of the best in the city – Stay for the Brewery tour here (yeah, sure, you’ve done brewery tours before), but this one is actually fun.
Crafty Cow (See Map) -They also have good burgers and beer selection in the fun and quirky Bay View neighborhood.
*** Public Service Announcement – For first-time visitors, if you don’t have cheese curds and frozen custard, you did not actually visit Milwaukee ***
7. Eat Even More Cheese
We encourage you to delve deeper into Milwaukee’s dairy culture with a few more cheesy stops.
Wisconsin Cheese Mart – For all the cheese lovers out there. It’s been around since 1938, and they have over 150 types of cheese and ship to all 50 states! Any cheese you could think of is here, and there will be a whole bunch more you’ve never heard of! Check it out and enjoy the little restaurant/bar next door. You’ll get to sample some of the excellent Wisconsin cheeses and learn a little bit as well.
West Allis Cheese Mart – This is a great little cheese shop with a few locations around Milwaukee. We love to go to the location inside the Milwaukee Public Market. They have an extensive selection of cheese, mostly from Wisconsin, but a few offerings from abroad as well. If you are in the Public Market, you need to make a stop here.
8. Explore the Historic Third Ward
The Historic Third Ward is Milwaukee’s Art and Fashion district. It’s home to some truly fantastic theaters, breweries, and more than its share of interesting places to eat and neat shops to explore.
The Third Ward is one of the best places to wander, looking for inspiration on things to do in Milwaukee! Take some time and explore. We guarantee you’ll find something great!
If you’re going to one of the many festivals at Henry Maier Festival Park (Summerfest, German Fest, Irish Fest, etc.) You’ll most likely park in this area and can easily take a stroll through some shops.
Related: Best Breakfast in Milwaukee (Many in the Third Ward)
9. Take A Brewery Tour
Yeah, Yeah, I am sure you’ve taken lots of brewery tours before – but our’s are better. Milwaukee is literally called Brew City – We have new breweries, old breweries, and some of the best brewery tours I’ve been on (and I’ve been on too many). Plus, you really have to stay hydrated after all of that cheese.
We’ve narrowed down the list of essential brewery tours in Milwaukee to only the best of the best. There is lots of great beer in the city, but a fun tour is what we are after here.
Lakefront Brewery – Lakefront Brewery is one of the best brewery tours in Milwaukee. They revolutionized the brewery tour in Milwaukee by hiring comics to do their tours as you walk the facilities sipping their beers. Tours sell out on weekends so book in advance. Address: 1872 N Commerce St, Milwaukee
MillerCoors Brewery – It’s Miller Time! Get a personal tour guide through the history of Milwaukee beer and wander through 150+ years of brewing history. Explore this fascinating large-scale brewery and iconic label in beer history. They may be the big guys, but this tour has a lot of interesting things to see, like the historic beer caves and Milwaukeebeer memorabilia. Address: 4251 W. State St, Milwaukee
Pabst Brewery – The home of PBR! One of the definitive Milwaukee attractions – Take a tour through the historic Pabst Brewery and Mansion to check out this iconic chapter in brewing history. Address: 901 W Juneau Ave, Milwaukee
Related Post: Top 10 best brewery tours in Milwaukee
10. Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum opened its first gallery in 1888. Since then, it has been collecting and preserving art and has grown into a truly fantastic experience. From the iconic “wings” on the Calatrava to the rotating galleries and collections. This signature Milwaukee experience has something for everyone.
- Address: 700 N Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee
Related Article: The Perfect Weekend in Milwaukee Guide
11. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes)
Three geodesic domes, each with its own biosphere. Explore the Desert Dome and wander through one of the best collections of succulents, shrubs, and cacti. Then explore the Tropical Dome and see the incredible diversity of the rainforests of five continents.
Finally, make sure to check out the Floral Show Dome. Depending on the time of year, there are five seasonal displays, and each one is fantastic.
- Address: 524 S Layton Blvd, Milwaukee
Related Article: 3 Days in Milwaukee Guide
12. Discovery World
Don’t think this is just for kids! This is a fascinating museum with learning labs, the Reinman Aquarium, and interactive exhibits galore! Take the time to really explore this amazing place and have a ton of fun!
- Address: 500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee
13. Bronze Fonz
Say “Aayyyy!” with the bronze statue of “The Fonz”. In case you aren’t up on your 1970s sitcom trivia, Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli is a beloved character from the series Happy Days.
The show is set in Milwaukee during the 1950-the 60s. To pay homage to the show and its ties to the city, we got a bronze statue to commemorate it.
You can check out the Bronze Fonz on the Milwaukee Riverwalk just south of Wells Street in Downtown Milwaukee. Map to Find “The Bronze Fonz”
14. Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
If you have kids, you need to come here. The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is designed with the goal of educating children in ways that help build critical skills during their younger years.
It’s chock full of awesome, interactive exhibits and programs that help out the kids, as well as a whole slew of options that educate the caregivers. Don’t forget, and it’s also a ton of fun!
- Address: 929 E. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee
15. Have a Milwaukee Style Bloody Mary at Sobleman’s
A relaxed pub and grill with some out-of-this world-burgers! A great atmosphere and truly Midwestern Bloody Marys make this a must-go place anytime you stop in Milwaukee. Don’t forget to get some gooey fried cheese curds too!
- Address: 1900 W. St. Paul Ave, Milwaukee
Related: Best Burgers in Milwaukee
16. Try Frozen Custard
First thing – don’t call it ice cream. It’s Frozen Custard! Frozen Custard is the only dessert that matters in Milwaukee.
Our picks for Best Frozen Custard in Milwaukee
If you ask three locals their favorite place to get frozen custard, you’ll probably get three different answers. However, most locals would agree on a few places.
Kopp’s Frozen Custard
There are lots of places that make frozen custard, but Kopp’s is hands down our favorite. They have two flavors of the day, as well as vanilla and chocolate custard. Get a scoop of the flavor of the day and a second scoop of the vanilla in a dish (or a cone if that’s your thing). The burgers are also some of the best burgers in Milwaukee. It’s a quirky place, not fancy – but this is Milwaukee comfort food at its finest.
- Address: (see map for 3 locations)
Leon’s Frozen Custard
A Milwaukee landmark since 1942. Leon’s is one of the great places to get frozen custard in Milwaukee. They have daily flavors and serve a pretty great sandwich. Open year-round. Make sure to check it out if you get a sudden sweet tooth.
- Address: 3131 S. 27th St, Milwaukee (see map)
17. Old World Third Street
Old World Third Street is home to some of the oldest buildings in Milwaukee. This is a blast from the past and a wonderful way to take a step into the German influences of Milwaukee.
Though the buildings are old, there are some spectacular contemporary restaurants and bars that fill the street. Make sure to check out some of what Old World 3rd Street has to offer!
Usinger’s sausage has been a staple of Milwaukee Cuisine for over 100 years. Started in 1880 by Frederick Usinger, it’s currently in its 3rd generation of family ownership and still producing and distributing some of the most delicious sausages you’ll ever have.
- Address: 1030 N. Old World 3rd Street, Milwaukee
18. Holler House – Bowl the Oldest Lanes in the U.S.
Home of the oldest certified bowling alley in the U.S. This is a treasure. The pins are not set by one of those fancy machine-thingys, at the Holler House, they set every pin by hand. If you want to play, call ahead, as they have to round up some local kids to set pins for you.
But this is a taste of old-world glory with the tin roof and fun feel. Bowling entusistists and those in search of the wonderfully quirky – this is your place. Don’t miss this wonderfully old-timey thing to do in Milwaukee.
- Address: 2042 W. Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee
19. Visit A Milwaukee Beer Garden
Get a feel for Milwaukee’s German Heritage with a trip to one of the many Beer Gardens found all around the city in the County Parks.
If you’re here in the warmer months, make sure to come and have a mug in the peaceful parks. It’s a great place to grab some German food and brews and relax in a communal setting. It’s a favorite thing to do in Milwaukee for both locals and visitors!
Here are a couple of the most popular beer gardens in Milwaukee:
- Estabrook Beer Garden – 4600 Estabrook Pkwy, Milwaukee
- Beer Garden at Hubbard Park – 3565 N Morris Blvd, Shorewood
- South Shore Terrace – 2900 S Shore Dr, Milwaukee
20. Pabst Mansion
The home of Captain Frederick Pabst of Pabst Breweries. It housed parties, weddings, funerals, and even the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee for more than sixty years.
Since then, it has housed artwork and functions of all kinds. It’s one of the iconic Milwaukee sights. Make sure to stop here to see a piece of Milwaukee history.
- Address: 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee
21. Jazz in the Park
If you visit in the summer, make sure to check out Milwaukee’s free summer concert series that takes place every Thursday from June through the first weekend of September!
- Address: 825 N. Jefferson St, Milwaukee
- More info and Schedules for Jazz in the Park
The Safehouse is everything vintage spy, shaken and not stirred. The martinis are even served via an air tube delivery system to run around the restaurant area.
If you don’t know the password, you have to undergo a series of challenges at the door. All of which are televised to the other patrons in the bar. If you do know the password, don’t tell – It’s a city secret.
If you’re seeking something to do in Milwaukee that is a little different, this is your answer. There are hidden doors, spy games, and a noir-tinged martini menu that make this a great place to visit! It’s also one of the best kid friendly restaurants in Milwaukee, and a great place for birthday parties too.
- Address: 779 N Front St, Milwaukee
23. Bradford Beach & Veteran’s Park
Did you know there are some amazing beaches in Milwaukee?!? Our favorite Milwaukee beach is Bradford Beach. On a hot summer day in Milwaukee, there is no better place to be than on Bradford Beach. There are volleyball nets, a tiki bar with cold drinks, sandy beaches, and more!
Veteran’s Park is a bustling site for races, festivals, and music Veteran’s Park always has something going on. And in the rare case, it’s a quiet night. It’s right along the lake and makes for a beautiful walk.
- Address: 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee
- Address: 2650 N Wahl Ave, Milwaukee
25. Great Lake Distillery Tour
While in Milwaukee, we are more known for our beer than booze, a few excellent craft distilleries call the cream city home too.
A small-batch distillery that creates fine liquors using old-world methods. They use local ingredients as much as possible, which makes each product unique and a true piece of Wisconsin!
Tours are available, and they last about an hour with a tasting of a flight of 6 products. The tour is $12, or $6 for non-drinkers. Book a tour online or learn more about Greatlakesdistillery.
- Address: 616 W. Virginia St, Milwaukee
Before you head back to the airport, make sure to read our Milwaukee Airport guide! If you didn’t get a chance to try cheese curds or frozen custard, you can still find some at the airport!
If you are heading to the airport and parking your car. Get one-day free parking at Fast Park by clicking here. This is where we always park. It is the best and fastest shuttle.
Related Milwaukee Articles
Our city might not boast the biggest skyline or blow you away with raw natural beauty, but don’t underestimate Milwaukee – it’s actually a pretty cool city with a lot to offer.
This is only a list of the smallest sliver of what’s available any day in Milwaukee. It’s some of our favorite things and the places we enjoy most. If you have some ideas or thoughts, make sure to tell us. We hope you enjoy your adventures in Milwaukee!