Visit The Northwestern Mutual Community Park
The new Northwestern Mutual Community Park, which debuted this Summer at Henry Maier Festival Park, has reopened for the Fall. The park has all new play equipment with new soft surfaces for safety, interactive play elements, plenty of shaded seating, and family restrooms. Free parking is available in a lot near the entrance of the park. The park will be open Monday – Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The closing date for the season will be dependant on the weather so check their website as winter nears.
Why We Recommend Going Here
Kettle Moraine State Forest is perfect if you are looking for cheap activities for the entire family. The forest is either a hikers paradise or a skiers dreamland. The amazing glacier landscapes will make for a wonderful hiking day. You can also bike along some of the trails.
Those interested can spend the night in one of its many campsites and enjoy everything that nature has to offer. What better way to escape from the hustle of the city and recharge your batteries?
Beyond Van Gogh Exhibit At The Wisconsin Center
Check out Vincent Van Goghs art like youve never seen before in this unique immersive experience. The exhibit features more than 300 of Van Goghs artworks presented in a three-dimensional environment that is sure to stimulate the senses. The exhibit is on view at the Wisconsin Center now through January 9th. Tickets are $36.99 for adults and $23.00 for children with one-hour timed entry. Purchase tickets in advance here.
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Milwaukee Public Market’s Harvest Festival
The Milwaukee Public Market’s Harvest Festival, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 23, will have apple cider pressing, pumpkin bowling, a scavenger hunt courtesy Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, live music, food trucks and more. The festival is actually at Riverwalk Commons, across the street at 423 N. Water St. Admission is free. Info: milwaukeepublicmarket.org.
Uncorked: Milwaukee Wine Festival
Uncorked Wine Festivals comes to Milwaukee for the first time, at the Mitchell Park Domes Oct. 22, with tastings of more than 100 different wines and champagnes on the menu. General admission is $55, starting at 8 p.m. VIP tickets, at $70, get you in the door at 7 p.m., with access to special pours. COVID-19 protocols at the Domes include requiring masks and urging social distancing. Info:
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Purple Door Ice Cream
Only in Milwaukee does a beer-flavored ice cream make sense. And at Purple Door Ice Cream, their frozen desserts are adults-only treats and contain 1-3 percent of alcohol.
Purple Door Ice Cream parlor is located in the historic Walker’s Point area of Milwaukee, and it is a popular place where people go for their favorite scoop of ice cream or just to see what new concoction the owners Lauren and Steve Schultz have come up with.
There are 20 flavors of ice cream, shakes, sundaes, pints, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream pops, and ice cream cakes that can be enjoyed in their cool purple store, or you can take them home for later. You can even do both!
205 S. 2nd Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204, Phone: 414-988-2521
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Lakeshore State Park Milwaukee Wisconsin
Lakeshore State Park isnt your average park. This unique urban retreat located in the city has gorgeous views of the skyline, but it certainly isnt lacking in outdoor activities. Theres a plethora of attractions and recreation available right along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Take yourself and your four-legged companion out for a run on any one of the parks many paths, or go biking or skating along the paved trails. When the lake is calling your name, feel free to go kayaking or canoeing on the lagoons. If you have a boat, take it out for a ride on the scenic lake and get a fantastic view of the city and the surrounding areas.
500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-274-4281
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Why We Recommend This Activity
The three domes in this conservatory all house different environments and would make it seem like youre traveling to distant worlds in the space of an afternoon.
You and your little ones will enjoy discovering the different cacti species and succulents over at the Desert Dome. Then, youll experience life in the rainforest at the Tropical Dome.
Seasonal shows are also designed year-round over at the Floral Dome, so youre sure to see really awesome flower exhibits anytime.
American Science And Surplus
American Science & Surplus
You dont have to spend big bucks on your Milwaukee vacation.
There are plenty of cheap things to do in the city, especially if you like quirky, thrifty destinations.
One such place is American Science and Surplus.
American Science and Surplus is a floor-to-ceiling surplus store where the shelves are overflowing with goods.
While theyre loosely grouped by type, the sheer volume of stuff means that youll often find craft glitter right next to telescopes and encyclopedias.
You never know when youll pick up an algae brush and find gemstones beneath it.
Spice racks can be loaded with pipe cleaners and battery chargers.
Dont be fooled by the name, either.
While many of the goodies at American Science and Surplus are related to medical or scientific fields, the store boasts a wide range of treasures that dont require a lab coat.
American Science and Surplus is a great place if youre exploring Milwaukee on a budget.
Its a haven of cheap and free stuff, so you can save your money for the big-name tourist attractions while also stuffing your suitcase full of rare, cool, bizarre and utterly unique souvenirs.
Itll be a blast.
Address: 6901 W Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53219, USA
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Dont Forget To Pin Me For Later
This is only a list of the smallest sliver of whats available any day in Milwaukee. Its 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!
This article is updated weekly and a lot of love put in by Milwaukee locals that want you to thoroughly enjoy their city. Originally written with the help of Corwin Holzman-Crass, a Milwaukee local who blogs on adventures in karate, travel, & writing. This Milwaukee Guide is now updated and adapted by Hannah & Adam who are now back home living in Milwaukee, WI.
Shalom Wildlife: Wisconsin’s Wildest Zoo
Located in West Bend, Shalom Wildlife Zoo is also known as “Wisconsin’s Wildest Zoo” that’s because the animals live in huge natural habitats. Shalom is truly Wisconsin’s first wildlife safari and you’ll experience nature at its finest. Home to 75 species and more the 750 animals! Herds of bison, deer, elk, mountain sheep, wolves, tigers, bears, cougar, zebra, and camel are just a few of the animals you’ll see as you navigate the zoo. It is no surprise to visitors that Shalom Wildlife Zoo has been ranked by TripAdvisior as the #1 tourist attraction in the West Bend area for 6 consecutive years and is the highest ranked zoo in Wisconsin.
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Walk On The Oak Leaf Trail
TripSavvy / Chris Bacarella
Traverse Milwaukee’s Oak Leaf Trail by bike, skates or on foot. This extensive trail winds its way throughout the city and is a great way to experience some greenery without leaving town. The trail, which opened in 1939, connects the park system’s emerald necklace and at first consisted of 64 miles. Today, it spans more than 100 miles, including 55 miles of off-road paths.
Milwaukee might not be top of mind when it comes to spending time at the beach, but Lake Michigan’s Bradford Beach is a favorite spot for swimming, sunbathing, and sand volleyball. The beach is also home to a full calendar of summer events, ranging from a hot dog eating contest to sand sculptors.
TripSavvy / Chris Bacarella
Walk the length of the Milwaukee RiverWalk to enjoy the shops, restaurants, and bars lining downtown’s waterway. If you want to try some of Milwaukee’s famous beers, the three-mile-long RiverWalk is also home to several local breweries. There are also a few different art installations along the way, most notably a bronze sculpture of “The Fonz” from the television series “Happy Days.”
Visit The Milwaukee City Hall
TripSavvy / Chris Bacarella
Enjoy the wonders of the Milwaukee Art Museum, housed in a stunning Santiago Calatrava building that “flaps” its wings once a day. Building aside, the museum itself contains 30,000 works of art. It’s particularly strong in American decorative arts, German Expressionist prints and paintings, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960. Admission is free for all on the first Thursday of each month, while kids 12 and under, members, and Wisconsin K-12 teachers with valid school ID or a pay stub are always free.
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Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory/the Domes
Experience a desert oasis, a tropical jungle and floral gardensall at one destination! The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, better known as The Domes, is one of the most unique destinations in Milwaukee. Discover cacti, succulents, shrubs and desert palms in the Desert Dome. Enjoy five seasonal shows each year in the Floral Dome and walk among 1,200 species of rainforest plants in the Tropical Dome. Explore Milwaukees living museum!
Milwaukee Food And City Tours
A great way to really see what Milwaukee is all about is with the help of an insider. Milwaukee Food & City Tours will take you to the citys nooks and crannies that many locals do not even know about.
The company focuses on food, but it also offers tidbits of information and anecdotes about the city culture, history, and architecture while you sample the citys best pizzas or taste the most popular beers.
You can choose to explore on foot with one of the six tours through different neighborhoods and experience typical neighborhood foods German, Polish, Italian, or Irish. Or you can do it in the comfort of a luxury bus. In both cases, bring your appetite and be prepared for some serious eating. Milwaukee has a lot to offer.
2419 N 62nd St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Phone: 800-979-3370
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Explore The Milwaukee Central Library
TripSavvy / Chris Bacarella
Take in the amazing rotunda at the Milwaukee Central Library. Built from Bedford limestone, the main building combines French and Italian Renaissance architecture. Renovations and addition to the original building, completed in 1898, now take up the whole block. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After studying the impressive architecture, treat the little ones to free story time, or browse the on-site used bookstore.
Visit The Milwaukee County Zoo
TripSavvy / Chris Bacarella
Visit your favorite animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo, free for all visitors on certain Family Free Days each year. Milwaukee County residents with I.D. also receive free admission on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The zoo is home to 3,100 animals, across more than 400 different species.
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The Historic Third Ward
Once the site of a great fire over a century ago, the Historic Third Ward is now a thriving hub for art and commerce, and it shows in the general design of buildings and spaces. There are many art galleries in this area, along with many specialty stores and restaurants to dine and shop in.
Also located here is the Broadway Theatre Center and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. The area just oozes with creativity, which makes it a must-see for anyone visiting Milwaukee.
The Historic Third Ward
Potawatomi Hotel And Casino
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Wisconsin has complicated gambling laws, but the exception to the rule is tribal casinos owned by Native Americans.
The Potawatomi Hotel and Casino isnt the only one in the state, but its one of the best, and its located right in the heart of downtown Milwaukee.
A luxury hotel will provide jacuzzi tubs and salon massages.
Four-star restaurants will serve duck, lamb, sushi and steak.
Multiple bars will let you relax with a cocktail after a long day of travel.
The biggest draw of Potawatomi, however, is its casino.
From slot machines to poker games, there are plenty of ways to enjoy adult fun with high dollars and high stakes.
Do you like bingo? Does Lady Luck guide your hand at roulette?
Theres even off-track betting if you cant make it to the races and see the horses for yourself.
If youre looking for a decadent experience in Milwaukee, it doesnt get any better than the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.
Itll offer relaxing days and exciting nights for couples, groups, bachelors and even families.
The kiddos cant play blackjack, but they can relax in your suite while you indulge!
Address: 1721 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA
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Where To Stay In Milwaukee For Sightseeing
Downtown Milwaukee, with an abundance of beautifully restored buildings, interesting attractions, and a lovely waterfront, is the best place to stay. In the southeast of downtown, close to the lakefront, are the family oriented Discovery World and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. For theatergoers and sports fans, the Pabst Theater, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and the BMO Harris Bradley Center lie to the east. Below are some highly rated hotels in convenient locations:
- Housed in a 100-year-old historic warehouse, a short stroll from the famous Harley-Davidson Museum, the Iron Horse Hotel is one of the city’s most unique boutique hotels.
The Milwaukee Public Museum
Don’t be fooled by the rather simple name. The Milwaukee Public Museum is an excellent place to pass a few hours exploring its many collections and exhibits. Highlights include fascinating natural history displays of life-size dinosaurs and a reconstruction of a tropical rainforest, as well as a presentation of Milwaukee’s past in the “Streets of Old Milwaukee” exhibit.
Other popular permanent exhibits include displays related to the continents of Africa, Asia, and the Arctic a village with reconstructions of homes from Europe and a variety of diorama scenes relating to the region’s native populations. The six-story Dome Theater presents planetarium-type shows and is worth the additional admission cost .
Address: 800 West Wells Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Take A Selfie With The Fonz
If youre of a certain generation youll want to schedule a few minutes out of your time in Milwaukee to pay a visit to one of its most famous residents, the Bronze Fonz.
Arthur Herbert Fonzarellis character from the TV series Happy Days is immortalized in bronze along the banks of the river in downtown Milwaukee. The show was set in Wisconsin hence the connection to the city and state.
Located: On the Riverwalk Way just off of Wells St
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 1960s 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
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Nuit Blanche La White House
FRIDAY FROM 4-10 P.M. | WHITE HOUSE BAY VIEW
Get a taste of Partisan fine dining and cocktails ,and enjoy the night out at The White House Bay Views Nuit Blanche à la White House event, featuring local artisans, fine goods and European-inspired instrumental live music. Some local artisans include Plume, Beth Eaton Pottery and Basha Harris Jewerly. This event is similar to the traditional French celebration White Night in Paris, which focuses on appreciating the changes of season of art. All guests should dress in formal attire, and reservations are highly recommended. Call 414-897-0495 for more information and availability.