The 77 Best Things To Do In Milwaukee! | A Local’s Guide to Milwaukee

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. It’s an old city. And, as such, has changed, expanded, and completely reinvented itself over and over since its inception in 1846.

Milwaukee offers each visitor a unique opportunity to jump into a thriving, busy, contemporary city. Milwaukee is also the place we call home, that’s right we’ve spent all 30+ years of our life in Milwaukee. If you’re looking for things to do in Milwaukee, this list is a great place to start, but at 77 attractions and oddities, it’s only the smallest sliver of what’s available on any given day in Milwaukee.

GS Suitcase Divider

Things to do in Milwaukee

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

Milwaukee Art Museum

Girl taking photo of the 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

Milwaukee Public Market

Milwaukee Public Market at night with traffic streaks

A truly Milwaukee experience. The Public Market is two story icon full of truly unique and independent vendors of all things delicious. 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, we guarantee it’ll be a challenge to figure out what you want!

Address: 400 N Water St, Milwaukee

Milwaukee River Walk

Milwaukee riverfront boardwalk downtown Milwaukee

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!

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, it’s also a ton of fun!

Address: 929 E. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee

Miller Park

Miller Park Milwaukee Brewers stadium at night

Home of the Milwaukee Brewers with a retractable roof. It’s a baseball icon that is a must for any fans passing through the city. If you come during the warmer months, you can eat out on the pavilion, and overlook the field in this piece of baseball history.

Address: 1 Brewers Way, Milwaukee

Brady Street

Running nine blocks from Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee River. Brady Street showcases some fascinating stores and quirky corners of Milwaukee. One of the best things to do in Milwaukee, make sure to take a walk down it, no matter the time of year! There are tons of restaurants and bars to keep you busy all day long. Don’t forget to get a hot

Old World 3rd Street

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!

Historic Third Ward

Third Ward Milwaukee bridge opening on the river
Photo courtesy of http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/

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. 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!

Book a culinary tour of the Historic Third Ward click here for details

Usinger’s

Usinger’s sausage has been a staple of Milwaukee Cuisine for over 100 years. Started in 1880 by Frederick Usinger in 1880, 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.

Adress: 1030 N. Old World 3rd Street, Milwaukee

Cheese Mart

For all the cheese lovers out there. It started out as a small-time cheese shop in 1938, it’s expanded into a leading Wisconsin Cheese retailer. 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 wonderful deliciousness!

Address: 215 W. Highland Avenue, Milwaukee

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes)

Mitchell Park Domes Milwaukee
Photo courtesy of http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/

Three geodesic domes each with their 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 amazing 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

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

Bronze Fonz

Girl with the Fonze statue in Downtown Milwaukee

Aayyyy! Check out the Bronze Fonz on Wells Street in Downtown Milwaukee. Posing in front of the river, it’s a great place to get a photo with a piece of sitcom and Milwaukee, history.

Address: N Riverwalk Way, Milwaukee

Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear

A quirky look at the late Avrum Chudnow’s collection of early 20th Century Americana. A fascinating, and educational look at the world of the 1900’s.

Address: 839 N 11th St, Milwaukee

Grohmann Museum

The collection here is dedicated to the evolution of human work. A fascinating idea, and one that is well worth a few hours wandering. Also, this museum is housed in Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Campus, which is worth another wander. Take an afternoon and explore!

Address: 1025 North Broadway, Milwaukee

St. Joan of Arc Chapel

The oldest building in Milwaukee, by far. Built in the 15th century and the current heart of Marquette University.  St. Joan of Arc Chapel was brought onto Marquette Campus in the 1960’s and has resided there ever since. St. Joan of Arc Chapel is a fascinating aspect of Milwaukee, and Marquette University, history.

Address: 1250 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse

girl jumping at Northpoint lighthouse Milwaukee

Head to the photogenic lighthouse still in use located in Downtown Milwaukee, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon!

Pabst Mansion

Pabst Mansion Milwaukee
Photo courtesy of http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/

The home of Captain Frederick Pabst, of Pabst Breweries. It housed parties, weddings, and 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. One of the iconic things to do in Milwaukee, make sure to stop here to see a piece of Milwaukee history.

Address: 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Pabst Theater

The Pabst Theatre, also known as Milwaukee’s Jewel Box, was built in 1895 by Captain Frederick Pabst and designed in the style of great opera houses. This is a centerpiece of Milwaukee’s downtown theater district, as still keeps a busy, busy schedule. Make sure to check it out on your way through Milwaukee and see if you can catch a show or performance.

Address: 144 E Wells St, Milwaukee

Veteran’s Park

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 a beautiful walk.

1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee

Summerfest


One of the premier things to do in Milwaukee. Summerfest if the world’s largest music festival. It spans 11 days with 11 staged. There are over 800 acts and more than a thousand performances. In true Wisconsin fashion, there will be plenty of beer & cheese curds available. If you love music, you have to check out Summerfest!

Address: 639 E. Summerfest Place, Milwaukee

Untapped Tours

Milwaukee’s most complete city tour! They cap the passenger list at 14, to ensure the experience has a personal feel. There are several options from a 3 hour “Milwaukee” tour to several quirkier ones such as brewery tours and some stops at a creamery. Each tour will be a unique experience!

414-698-8058

Adventure Rock

Always wanted to try out some rock climbing? Or are you an avid climber who’s just looking for the next challenge? Adventure Rock has some of the best bouldering and climbing challenges around. Plus, they just opened an enormous new facility. Check it out for a little adventure in your next Milwaukee stop!

Address: 2220 N. Commerce St, Milwaukee

Escape MKE

You’re in a team of 4-10 players and you have a goal, to escape the room! You’ll have to work together to solve puzzles, find keys, and figure out lock combinations in order to get out of the room before time is up! This is a great way to spend an afternoon and a ton of fun. There are a variety of themed rooms and all of them are great. Make sure to check them out!

Address: 3333 N. Mayfair Rd. Suite 314, Milwaukee

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

Things to Eat in Milwaukee

Sobleman’s

Sobelman's Bloody Mary Milwaukee
Photo courtesy of http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/

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

Leon’s Frozen Custard

A Milwaukee landmark since 1942. Leon’s is one of the great places to get 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

Kopp’s Frozen Custard

Kopps frozen custard Glendale Wisconsin
Photo courtesy of http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/

The other fantastic custard place in Milwaukee. They have some truly out of this world flavors and some super great burgers. There have two flavors of the day as well as vanilla and chocolate custard. Plus, there is a sign of 101 reasons to come to Kopps. Which is great. Check it out!

Address: 18880 W. Bluemound Rd, Brookfield

Mader’s Restaurant

A German restaurant that calls back to Milwaukee’s roots. Mader’s is an institution. Kennedy and Reagan ate here as well as a whole slew of politicians and other famous faces. Mader’s is a place to feel the pulse of the city, and check out some great German cuisine!

Address: 1041 N. Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee

Odd Duck

Odd Duck is inspired by local ingredients and has a menu designed to be shared, tapas style! There is some fantastic food here, and the menu is always changing. From the moment you walk it, the Odd Duck is a unique experience that will absolutely blow you away.

Address: 2352 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee


 

Places to Drink in Milwaukee

Koz’s Mini Bowl

It has four mini bowling lanes! It’s the last Duckpin Bowling Lane in the U.S. There are some fantastic prices and a fun atmosphere (check out the lion) that make this a truly Milwaukee experience.

Address: 2078 S. 7th St, Milwaukee

Wolski’s

A low-key bar that serves has some great nightly offers. Happy hour runs from 2-7, Monday through Friday. Also, if you stay late enough. You’ll get an “I closed Wolski’s” Bumper Sticker.

Address: 1836 N Pulaski St, Milwaukee

Holler House

Home of the oldest certified bowling alley in the U.S. This is a treasure. 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. Make sure to check it out.

Address: 2042 W. Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee

Milwaukee Ale House

Milwaukee Ale House Brewery Milwaukee riverfront

Located in the heart of 3rd Ward, Milwaukee Ale House is one of the best stops on the river walk. It has two distinct bars and both are spectacular. The Ale House Bar is one of the best night spots in Milwaukee with live music several nights a week, and some house brews on tap, it’s a truly wonderful place. Downstairs is the Hopside Down. It’s a more intimate Irish style bar with patio access and a laid-back vibe. No matter what you’re looking for, Milwaukee Ale House will be able to accommodate!

Address: 233 North Water Street, Milwaukee

Safehouse

It’s a SPY BAR!! 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 anyone. It’s a city secret. The Safehouse is everything spy and ridiculous slammed together with alcohol. If you’re seeking things 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!

Address: 779 N Front St, Milwaukee

Beer Gardens

If you’re here in the warmer months, make sure to check out some of the beer gardens (“biergartens” in German) in the area. It’s a great place to grab some German food and brews, and relax in a communal setting. It’s everyone’s favorite thing to do in Milwaukee!

Here is a couple of the most popular:

  • Hoyt Park 1800 N Swan Blvd, Wauwatosa
  • Estabrook Beer Garden 4600 Estabrook Pkwy, Milwaukee
  • Beer Garden at Hubbard Park 3565 N Morris Blvd, Shorewood

Café Hollander/Benelux

Based off of European grand café’s the whole idea is a comfortable place to meet with friends over espresso, a meal, or a strong beer. Hosting a truly spectacular beer menu with hundreds of brews and a phenomenal kitchen, this is a place for every taste.

Address: 7677 W. State St, Wauwatosa


Breweries & Distilleries in Milwaukee

Great Lake Distillery

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 product. The total fee is $10.

Address: 616 W. Virginia St, Milwaukee

Sprecher Brewery

We all know Sprecher from their award-winning root beer that can be found everywhere. But, did you know they also make beer? Come on by and check out this Milwaukee treasure, and some of the secrets you may not have realized about it. They have a tour that you have to book ahead of time. Afterward, you can sample any of their 20 beers and 10 sodas!

Address: 701 W Glendale Ave, Milwaukee

Lakefront Brewery

One of the best brewery tours around. Make sure to check out Lakefront and discover who will be crowned the bung queen! Don’t know what that is? That’s ok. It’s a ton of fun and they’ll tell you all about it!  They brew spectacular beer and offer tours most days. Check out their website and get all the info you would need. They range from $8 to a $30 technical tour for homebrewers.

Address: 1872 N Commerce St, Milwaukee

Milwaukee Brewing Company

This is one of Milwaukee’s gems. A craft brewery creating a great beer that, in addition to being delicious, will make you laugh. The tours here are great and are “Beer in Hand” meaning you get to drink beer while you ask questions and learn about the beer!

Address: 613 S 2nd St, Milwaukee

Miller Brewery

It’s Miller Time! Get a personal tour guide through the history of Milwaukee beer and wander through 155 years of brewing history. Explore this fascinating large-scale brewery and iconic label in beer history.

Address: 4251 W. State St, Milwaukee

Pabst Brewery

Pabst sign at night in Milwaukee
Photo courtesy of http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/

The home of PBR! One of the definitive things to do in Milwaukee! 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


Best Places to Stay in Milwaukee

Iron Horse Hotel Milwaukee

One hundred years ago the building was a warehouse. Now it’s an upscale hotel created with both bikers and business travelers alike. It has a warm, inviting atmosphere with a spectacular restaurant and a 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.

500 W. Florida St, Milwaukee

Check Prices | Hotels.com | TripAdvisor

Pfister Hotel Milwaukee

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.

424 E. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Check Prices | Orbitz | TripAdvisor

Ambassador Hotel Milwaukee

The Ambassador is all about 1920’s grandeur. From the first glimpse of its neon sign and Art Deco facade, the Ambassador lives up to its reputation. With a beautiful interior full of timeless elegance, the Ambassador is all about relaxation and comfort in the most respectable of ways.

Address: 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Check Prices | Expedia | TripAdvisor

Aloft Hotel Milwaukee

Located right by Milwaukee Riverwalk and the 3rd Ward. Aloft offers something for everyone, especially the food lover. Eateries, boutiques, brewpubs, and so much more are moments from the door not to mention their own spectacular W XYZ Bar that has an extensive menu with everything from great wine to interesting cocktails!

Address: 1230 Old World Third Street, Milwaukee

Check Prices | Booking.com | TripAdvisor

Knickerbocker Hotel Milwaukee

The Knickerbocker is a restored, classic boutique hotel located lakeside. It retains much of its old world charm while still providing a modern and efficient stay for the more business-minded travelers. Its location puts it in prime walking distance for many of the festivals that Milwaukee hosts throughout the year. Each room and suite is unique with styles varying from French Country to Victorian. Every stay at the Knickerbocker is going to be a unique, and wonderful experience.

Address: 1028 E. Juneau Ave, Milwaukee

GS Suitcase Divider

Don’t forget to PIN ME!

woman jumping in front of red light house - things to do in milwaukee

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 places we enjoy most. If you have some ideas or thoughts, make sure to tell us. We hope you enjoy your adventures in Milwaukee!

Written by Corwin Holzman-Crass. He’s got his own blog here. Check him out for adventures in karate, travel, writing, and everything in between.

This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure

39 thoughts on “The 77 Best Things To Do In Milwaukee! | A Local’s Guide to Milwaukee

  1. Coming to Milwaukee next week for the first time and this is VERY helpful. One thing, though – here in Rhode Island there are a whole bunch of duckpin bowling alleys!

  2. You missed a new part of the Pabst brewing story, which is their new taproom in the old Methodist Church near the original brewery!

  3. Great information. So many things to do. Appreciate that the address to each location is noted. That will help us since we are pretty good at getting lost! Looking forward to going Milwaukee!

  4. Great Article! This helps in my planning for our upcoming trip. My husband, daughter and I will be heading to Milwaukee this April. We will only have one day and maybe another afternoon. We won’t be able to see all 77 things on this trip, so we’ll have to save the rest for another trip:) I really want to squeeze in the Art museum (at the very least seeing Calatrava’s wings close).

    Do you know of any cheese tours? We love checking out “how it’s made” tours and cheese seems fitting for this trip. Any ideas?

    • Glad you’ll be making your way to our hometown! Yes, there are cheese tours, one of the best right now is at Clock Shadow Creamery, look them up for a great tour.

  5. I don;t think I am ever going to have enough time to do all the 77 things listed here (that’s an impressively comprehensive list by the way) but if I were to pick my top favourites, I’d say the Pabst Mansion and the pier lighthouse look pretty cool. And yeah, the cheese mart is definitely getting a visit from me.

  6. I wish I had had more time in Milwaukee when I was there. I did manage to check some of these things off this list. The Fonzie statue totally made me giggle. Haha. I want to go back and see all the different breweries since I hated beer when I was there a few years ago; now it’s totally my jam! I’m picturing a midwest road trip in my near future!

  7. Wow! Milwaukee who knew? You guys do! No more Lavern and Shirley stereotypes – what a beautiful city! I worked it the beer industry for years and got to know some of the Pabst family – and they kept on telling me to come to Milwaukee, ok its now officially on the list… lots to do and to drink a bloody mary for a meal!!

  8. What a complete range of experiences that Milwaukee has on offer. I must say it seems to be a complete indulgence for the senses. Have not been there but looking at the range of sights and activities the place has, I am really impressed and would love to visit. Of course when you are visiting such a place for the first time you tend to be overwhelmed with the sheer range of things to do and local help in prioritizing is always welcome. Some of the top things that I would do is to walk along the river and visit the Art Museum.

  9. I would not have guessed this city was full of foodie finds, breweries and museums!! I don’t think Milwaukee was on my ist before but it certainly is now.

  10. What a comprehensive list this is!! WOW! While Harlet Davidson is not my thing, I’d love to visit the art museum, take a stroll down the river front (look so peaceful!) History lovers would love the old world 3rd street (me too!) and oh my gosh the cheese street looks super duper inviting! SOOO many museums! LOVE LOVE!

    • LOL Cheese Street, so much cheese can be found in Wisconsin and Milwaukee has some really good cheese stores. There are a ton of museums in Milwaukee and some we are yet to go to. We need to go check out more of our hometown.

  11. You are right, there is so much to explore in Milwaukee. It was a couple of years since I was last there and while reading your in-depth review, I’m discovering new spots. Sobleman looks like a great place to eat – that burger especially 🙂 and visiting the Pabst mansion are two new experiences for my next trip. Awesome post!

  12. Although I’ve been to Milwaukee, it still surprises me that there are 77 best(!) things to do! I was there far too short and did visit only the Museum of Natural History which is really nice. I think I have to go back there at least for the Art Museum – and the food at Sobleman’s, that looks really delicious!

  13. Milwaukee is on my list of destinations to do in the US and this post is very informative so I have bookmarked this for future reference. Milwaukee as a lot more things to do and see than I thought.

  14. Thanks for sharing this post! Bunch of things to do in Milwaukee! All of the activities must really be tried, so many places to visit from eats to discoveries.. I really love the photos, they were all captured beautifully. Such a good read!

  15. I appreciate this post so much! My boys and I are currently visiting all 50 states in 365 days (this year). And, since we won’t be able to do our Smoky Mountains trip this weekend because of the snowstorm, we are headed to Milwaukee! And, this list has been amazing for planning! Thanks so much! Brennon

    • Hope you and the boys have an epic trip to Milwaukee. Let us know if you have any other Milwaukee questions. Bummer to hear about the snowstorm messing with your travel plans but I am sure you will get there soon. Safe travels.

  16. 77 things to do in Milwaukee is quite a lot of read. Sharing your experience about Milwaukee will give a lot of insights to readers, travelers, and writers.

      • You’ve got a great list here. You might mention the beautiful smaller museums, Villa Terrace and The Charles Allis. They both are unique as having once been residences of prominent Milwaukee people. I’m thinking the red lighthouse in your photos is not the North Point Lighthouse. The North Point Lighthouse and the museum is in Lake Park and is painted white I believe..

        • There are tons of things to do in Milwaukee! Thanks for the update on the lighthouse, I fixed that. Some day we need to spend the entire day just being a tourist in Milwaukee. See you soon Susan!

  17. I am woefully undertraveled in my own country–I need to explore of the U.S. instead of heading outside of the country all of the time! I flew into Milwaukee several years ago, but immediately left to go visit my then-boyfriend’s family who lived out in Eau Claire. Looking back, I definitely should’ve skipped out on the family time (he and I broke up not long afterwards) to tour Milwaukee instead! 🙂 🙂 Hindsight’s 20/20, right? Adding Milwaukee to our list of places in the States to see!

    • Milwaukee is our hometown and every time we go back there always new things to do in Milwaukee! It’s a great city, but if it’s your first visit I would suggest visiting in the summer! Milwaukee is more fun then!

  18. Not sure if we have time for 77 things,,,but we would really like to go there for a weekend sometime soon! Thanks for the great info:)

Leave a Comment