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Top Activities in Milwaukee

See all 23 things to do in Milwaukee

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What to Do in Milwaukee: Must See Attractions

Milwaukee Attractions

Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee has served as the cultural and economic hub of Wisconsin since the mid-1800s. Today, the city is best known for its European-style architecture and legendary beer history—there’s a reason it’s nicknamed “Brew City”!—as well as for being the birthplace of Harley-Davidson. The city’s recent construction boom has given way to incredible additions like the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the glass skywalk system, and expansions to theaters, museums, and arenas. Whether you want to explore the collection at the postmodern art museum, take in a baseball game at Miller Park, or get your drink on with a brewery tour, there are countless things to do in Wisconsin’s largest city.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Milwaukee

Referred to by locals as the “Big City of Little Neighborhoods,” Milwaukee celebrates its many diverse districts. From the Historic Third Ward, a former warehouse area with a vibrant modern arts scene, to Brady Street, an eclectic avenue so popular it’s considered its very own neighborhood, this Wisconsin metropolis is home to plenty of walkable districts bursting with places to eat, drink, shop, and explore.

Bay View

Once a working-class residential neighborhood, Bay View has recently welcomed an influx of hip clothing stores, quaint cafes, and vibrant music venues. It also boasts one of the city’s best bar scenes, with numerous hotspots that have made the list of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars.

Brady Street

A street so dynamic it’s considered it’s own neighborhood, Brady Street gave rise to the hippie scene in the ‘60s and continues to be a colorful area full of unique shopping, ethnic eateries, and spirited nightlife. Oscar Wilde once said that “if what you want isn’t on Brady Street, you probably don’t need it”—a motto that still rings true today.

East Side

Find a melting pot of cultures in the East Side, which boasts a range of attractions including the historic Oriental Theatre, the Black Cat Mural Alley, and the 5 museums that make up Milwaukee’s Museum Mile. There are also plenty of public green spaces for you to enjoy amazing views of glassy Lake Michigan.

East Town

More or less the heart of downtown, East Town is filled with a mix of popular attractions, restaurants, hotels, and shopping, as well as the city’s most iconic structure—the Milwaukee Art Museum. Take in a stage show, snap a photo with the Bronze Fonz statue, or attend a festival at Cathedral Square Park.

Historic Third Ward

Once an old warehouse district, the revitalized Third Ward is Milwaukee’s fashion and arts district, home to the city’s widest array of restaurants, theaters, galleries, boutiques, and brewpubs. Admire the well-preserved 19th-century architecture as you leisurely stroll through the charming streetlamp-lit lanes.

Walker’s Point

If you’re looking to eat, Walker’s Point is the place to do it. This foodie paradise has everything from rustic pubs and farm-to-table bistros to lively Asian and Mexican eateries. It’s here you’ll also find cheerful ice cream shops and the city’s only urban creamery sharing the streets with LGBT-friendly bars and clubs.

What to See in Milwaukee

Even if you don’t go inside, the sculptural, postmodern architecture of the Milwaukee Art Museum is a sight to behold. The museum graces the front of the city’s eastern skyline and also offers spectacular views of sparkling Lake Michigan. For history buffs, a tour through downtown reveals breathtaking architecture such as the Flemish Renaissance Revival-style City Hall, the 19th-century Romanesque Pfister Hotel, and the palatial Milwaukee Public Library. If old-world architecture isn’t your thing, take in a Broadway-caliber stage show at the state-of-the-art Marcus Center. In the warmer months, grab a seat at the outdoor theater for a performance overlooking the Milwaukee River.

Sightseeing in Milwaukee

A visit to Brew City wouldn’t be complete without a stop at a brewery (or 3 or 4). The headquarters of the Miller Brewing Company offers a look at their storied history with a behind-the-scenes tour complete with samples and time to relax in the beer garden. If you’re hoping to learn about lesser-known beer-makers, a guided tour can lead you to small-batch brewers you may not have known about otherwise. And you can always pay a visit to the Pabst Mansion, the late 19th-century home of the namesake brewing family, which now serves as a museum and monument to America’s Gilded Age.

Of course, there are also things to do in Milwaukee that aren’t related to beer. Scope out displays of classic motorcycles at the famous Harley-Davidson Museum, travel back in time at the Milwaukee Public Museum, or make friends with the 2,000 mammals, reptiles, and birds at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the daily life of the city, make like a local and travel between downtown’s shopping centers, eateries, and attractions via the glass Milwaukee Skywalk. Root for the home team at a Brewers baseball game at Miller Park stadium, or head out for a day trip by train to bustling Chicago.

Things to Do in Milwaukee with Kids

Milwaukee has loads of close by fun things to do for you and your kids. Our family friendly experiences will keep the crew happy for hours.

Free Things to Do in Milwaukee

Escaping to Milwaukee on a budget? The following can be seen for nothing.

Haggerty Museum of Art - Bring the whole family and set out on a journey of discovery through history with each other.

Frontier Airlines Center - This is a non-negotiable stop for culture vultures eager to add an artistic touch to their escape.

Lakefront Park - Give the kids a good time or let the big kid in you run free — this attraction just screams fun.

Milwaukee School of Engineering - Architecture enthusiast or not, you're certain to be impressed by this landmark's modern design.

Milwaukee City Hall - If you're intrigued by bygone times, this is one stop you really should visit.

National Soldiers Home Historic District - This happening area is a popular rendezvous point for locals and tourists alike.

US Bank Center - Stop here for a while and learn about the significance of this place to the community.

Old St. Mary's Church - Do some soul searching or just savor the tranquil ambiance at this sacred place.

Bradford Beach - Be on the lookout for pretty shells and other shiny treasures washed up along the coastline here.

Cathedral Square - Grab your blanket, pick up a snack and find a cozy area to relish Mother Nature.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Milwaukee

Historic Third Ward

Experience Milwaukee’s hot spot for art and fashion when you check out the dynamic boutiques, restaurants, theaters and galleries that fill this exciting district.

FestivalsBarsLive Music

East Town

East Town is known for its fantastic nightlife, and you can see some sights in the area like Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World.

CultureMuseumsEntertainment

North Milwaukee

North Milwaukee is well-liked for its restaurants and live music. If you're hoping to see more of the larger area, Fiserv Forum and The Rave-Eagles Club are some interesting sights nearby to check out.

ShoppingDiningLive Music

Westown

While visiting Westown, you might make a stop by sights like Wisconsin Center and Fiserv Forum.

Marquette

The abundant dining options and live music are top of the list for many visitors to Marquette. A stop by Pabst Mansion or St. Joan of Arc Chapel might round out your trip.

Live MusicUniversitiesEntertainment

Riverwest

The restaurants and shopping are a few reasons travelers visit Riverwest. Though there aren't many top sights in the neighborhood, you can visit Martin Luther King Drive and Oriental Theatre, a few notable attractions nearby.

DiningBusinessFamily-Friendly

Learn More About Milwaukee | Blog


Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Milwaukee on a sunny day?

A Vacation Photographer in Milwaukee is a fun way to discover your surrounds and make the most of the weather.

What to do in Milwaukee on a rainy day?

If it's pouring with rain during your visit, shake off your umbrella and have a go at a few of these terrific indoor activities:

What is Milwaukee famous for?

No vacation in Milwaukee is really complete without checking out Milwaukee Art Museum and BMO Harris Bradley Center.

What should I not miss in Milwaukee?

You'll want to put these things high on your must-see list to make the most of your visit:

  • Miller Park
  • Discovery World
  • Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory
  • Charles Allis Art Museum

What can you do in Milwaukee for free?

You could store your money in the hotel safe for the day, because these cool attractions will cost you nothing at all:

  • Charles Allis Art Museum
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Marquette University
  • Mayfair Mall