Milwaukee, Wisconsin – home of beer, cheese, and more beer; home of the Bucks, Brewers, and Admirals; home of the World’s largest music festival. No matter what time of year, Milwaukee always has something to offer. Whether you are a tourist or resident, here are some of Milwaukee’s best attractions and hidden gems to check out (in no particular order)!
Home of the Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park turns in thousands of Brewers fans each game, and was voted Major League Baseball’s best stadium in 2012. The best feature of Miller Park is its retractable roof, so whether rain or shine, there will always be a game at Miller Park. The stadium also has various dining options ranging from Friday’s Front Row Bar & Grill to its newest addition, AJ Bombers. I can’t talk about Miller Park without bringing up tailgating. Now, Wisconsin (in general) has always been known for throwing good tailgate parties, but Brewers fans take it up a notch- music blasting, no shortage of beer and brats, and multiple tailgate games everywhere; you just can’t beat it. If you live in Milwaukee, attending a Brewers game is a must. If you’re a tourist, maybe attending an actual game might not appeal to you, but touring Miller Park is just as fun!
Milwaukee Art Museum
One of Milwaukee’s most popular attractions, the Art Museum boasts a collection of almost 30,000 different pieces of art. With four floors with over forty galleries, it’s no wonder the Museum turns in 400,000+ visitors a year! The Museum offers both self-guided and group tours each day, and is a perfect place to spend an afternoon with the family. The Museum provides a wide variety of artists including Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol. Kids 12 & under are free, Students in for $14, and adults for $17. For more information, check out the Art Museum’s website.
Starting June 25, 2014, Henry Maier Park hosts Summerfest. Summerfest attracts nearly 2.5-3 million visitors each year in only an 11-day span, making it the World’s largest music festival! While Summerfest attracts millions of spectators, it also attracts some of the music industry’s hottest stars, as well as local talent. With 11 different stages, various food vendors, and interactive exhibits, Summerfest is the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon/evening with friends and family. This year’s headliners include: Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Luke Bryan, One Republic, and Usher. For more information, check out Summerfest’s website.
Another one of Milwaukee’s most popular attractions, the Harley-Davidson Museum has compelling exhibits, behind-the-scenes tours, and hands-on fun for kids. The Museum offers both self-guided and group tours, and has a variety of different types of tours. The Harley Museum has over 450 motorcycles and artifacts, including the oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle! Admission is $18 for adults, $12 for Seniors, Students, and Military, $10 for children (5-17 years), and free for children 5 & under. At the Harley-Davidson Museum, history roars to life. Don’t miss out on this tremendous attraction! For more information, check out the Museum’s website.
Milwaukee Theater/Performing Arts Center (PAC)
Whether you’re taking in a play, spending an evening at the symphony, or just attending an event, both the Milwaukee Theater and PAC are places to not leave out of your destinations. The Milwaukee Theater features a remarkable rotunda lobby and a phenomenal theater, while the PAC offers a few different theaters for entertainment. Parking is not an issue, unless there is a popular play or event in town. Both the Milwaukee Theater and PAC are situated in the middle of all the action in downtown Milwaukee.
BMO Harris Bradley Center
The Bradley Center has been a Milwaukee staple for a long time, however, its days are limited. A new arena is in the works, and will be home to the Bucks, Admirals, Marquette, and various concerts and other events. Located just off the interstate, the Bradley Center is a great place to catch a concert, or a basketball game. The new stadium promises to be nothing short of spectacular, so make sure to visit at some point down the road!
Jelly Belly Factory
What?! There’s a Jelly Belly factory in Milwaukee? Well, no. But, just a 30-40 minute drive down the road to Pleasant Prairie there is! Located on Jelly Belly Lane, the factory provides visitors with a free express train tour! The tour lasts approximately 25-30 minutes, and makes stops at a variety of different locations throughout the factory where you will learn how a jelly bean is made. At the end of the tour, visitors make their way into the gift shop where you can sample and buy jelly belly’s! This is perfect for a time-filler between activities or if you’re looking to kill some time, and is obviously family-friendly!
Sitting atop Holy Hill is a tower. This tower stretches 192 feet, and has 178 stairs from top to bottom. Located in Hubertus, WI, Holy Hill is a destination not many people know about (probably because it’s about 30-45 minutes from Milwaukee). When you make it to the top of this tower, you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Kettle Moraine area. This is another great time-filler, and is free to the public. Be sure to check Holy Hill out in the summer time!
If you’re looking for a day, or even an afternoon full of walking, shopping, and eating, welcome to Bayshore Town Center! About 10 minutes North of Milwaukee, Bayshore, in Whitefish Bay, offers pretty much all you could ask for! Bookstores, clothing stores, restaurants, live music (on weekends), bowling, and more. Bayshore is open year round, though much livelier in the summer. For more information, check out Bayshore’s website.
Do you have young kids? If so, this is the place for your family! Discovery World connects innovation with technology with hands-on exhibits that children love. Between aquariums, Les Paul’s house of sound, and the Health Satellite exhibit, Discovery World keeps kids entertained for hours on end. Admission for adults is $16.95, $12.95 for kids 3-17 years old, and free for children 3 & under. Discovery World is a hotspot that a lot of touristy families overlook! For more information, check out Discovery World’s website.
Evolution Milwaukee Gastro Pong
Evolution Milwaukee is a bar and restaurant centered around 12 ping pong tables. If you love food and ping pong, this will be your heaven! You can pay by the hour ($16-$24) or half hour ($8-$12). If you’re with a large group of people, this is the perfect place to enjoy an evening of fun and food!
Gathering on the Green
This is an event I know quite well, as it’s located in my hometown, Mequon (20 minutes North of Milwaukee)! Gathering on the Green is the only event in the country featuring orchestra, ballet, opera, and theater performances all in one evening. Located at Rotary Park, this year’s event is on July 11 & 12, and features The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute. This summer will be Gathering on the Green’s 20th anniversary, so it’ll be sure to put on a great show!
Milwaukee Air & Water Show
If you love air shows, this is certainly one you don’t wanna miss. This year’s show is June 21st & 22nd, and is located on the lakefront between the Bradford and McKinley Beaches. Even if you’re not at the lakefront, you won’t miss hearing the jets and planes; you might even catch a glimpse of their practice runs a few days before the show! Parking can be a hassle, so arrive early for the best parking spots. The Air Show is free to the public, unless you choose specific seating. Don’t miss out on this tremendous show!
Mitchell Park Domes
The Domes is a perfect place to take your children to experience the ultimate in nature. The Mitchell Domes are the only structure of its kind, housing a variety of plant collections and exotic displays concurrently changing with the seasons of the year. Prices are cheap, parking isn’t a problem, but getting to the Domes may pose a problem with construction. For more information, check out the Milwaukee County website.
Milwaukee County Zoo
Though not actually in Milwaukee, the Zoo is one of Milwaukee’s best features, yet remains a hidden gem. The Zoo is located in Brookfield, WI, just 15 minutes west of Milwaukee. One of the top zoos in the nation, the Milwaukee County Zoo is home to approximately 350 species of mammals, reptiles, & more! Admission is relatively cheap; $9.50 – $12.50 for Milwaukee County residents; $11.25 – $14.25 for non-county residents. The Zoo is open daily from 9 AM – 5 PM. For more info, check out the Zoo’s website.
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