The Getaway
20 Really Awesome Things to do in Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a gorgeous city along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. With its stunning architecture, rich brewing history, and vibrant culture, it offers no shortage of educational and entertainment activities to visitors. Take a walk through its stunning downtown, or bask in the beauty of the expansive lake. From brewery tours to opportunities to see wildlife, there's something for everybody. If you're planning a vacation to this great city, consider stopping at these awesome places.

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01 Listen to live jazz in the park

Milwaukee's most famous summer music festival, Jazz in the Park, has been a staple of Wisconsin summers for nearly 30 years. The festival strives to bring the best of an eclectic bunch of artists together for concerts that take place every Thursday from the end of May to the end of August. Jazz in the Park doesn't just provide excellent jazz, either. You'll find funk performers, R&B, reggae, blues, and more, taking to the stage to ensure a dang good time.

02 Check out a parish festival

Another common festival in Milwaukee is in a different ballpark. Church festivals happen across the city every summer. Parish festivals are, strangely, a part of the fabric of the Milwaukeean summer season. Whether you have faith, are of a different faith, or don't at all, you can visit any one of these fun, community-driven festivals that crop up every weekend. There are so many church festivals in Milwaukee, even, that you'll have your choice of which to attend for fun, games, music, and laughter.

03 Go window shopping in the third ward

Milwaukee's creative hub is the Historic Third Ward, where many theaters, art galleries, and music studios call home. The Third Ward is arguably also one of the best destinations to take the time to go shopping - or even window shopping! Shopping trips shouldn't have to be about buying things; they should be about seeing what's in store. In the Third Ward, you never know what items are there waiting to catch your eye. The area is the beating heart for all artists, fashionistas, and music connoisseurs. And that's with us not even mentioning the Milwaukee Public Market.

04 Take cooking lessons from experts at Milwaukee Public Market

Many markets across the country can state their claim as one of the best, but the Milwaukee Public Market has the receipts. This is the prime place to pick up fresh produce, from meat to fish to vegetables. If you're on the hunt for your 5-a-day, this is definitely the place to go. As well as serving produce, there's space to dine on your wares in the Palm Garden. On top of all of this, you can even take cooking lessons there for a better rate than anywhere else in the country.

05 Visit the stunning floral exhibits at Mitchell Park Domes

Did you know that if you visit Milwaukee, you can see a tropical paradise, desert oasis, or stunning English gardens? Well, now, you do. Mitchell Park Horticultural Society, which most Wisconsinites know better as "The Domes," is a huge conservatory in Milwaukee's biggest park. From the outside, Mitchell Park Domes dominate the skyline, and when you step inside, there's a whole new world awaiting. For several years, the future of the domes has lain in the hands of locals, and it would be a true shame if they were to disappear. After all, where else in Milwaukee will you find palm trees?

06 Cycle and drink at the Pedal Tavern

All things considered, beer and biking shouldn't really go together for safety reasons. However, there's one bar in Milwaukee that's found a way to circumvent this truth. Its name is the Pedal & Paddle Tavern, and it's a lot different from the bar you might be picturing. For one, it's on wheels. The Pedal Tavern is a 16-person bicycle that will take you and your friends on a unique tour of the Third Ward. Locals and tourists alike love it, and now, the tavern is offering the same at sea. We suppose, if you're running a bar in "Brew City," you're gonna have to need to stand (or pedal) out.

07 Marvel at the exhibits at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Visiting a new place is always exciting, but it's in a city's art gallery where the real adventure sometimes lies. Milwaukee Art Museum is a piece of art in itself. It's one of the largest museums in the country and stands out in the Milwaukee skyline thanks to its unique buildings designed by three different architects. Inside the museum lies 25,000 pieces of art, from the oil paintings of Claude Monet to the watercolors of Georgia O'Keeffe. Andy Warhol's infamous Campbell's Soup Cans also reside here, meaning there's art for everyone. That, and you should take a couple of days if you want to see everything.

08 Go ghost hunting at Shaker's Cigar Bar

Shaker's Cigar Bar is Milwaukee's only licensed cigar bar. Not just that, but this retro watering hole was once a speakeasy that was owned and operated by the one and only Al Capone. Although the decor has remained largely unchanged, visitors can now tuck into any one of dozens of pizzas as well as Cajun food to enliven the senses. Fans of the paranormal might also find other things to do here, like taking one of Milwaukee's ghost tours that will inevitably take you to the United States' most haunted bar. Who knows, maybe you'll see Al himself.

09 Knock down some pins at Holler House

Did you know that Milwaukee is home to the oldest tenpin bowling alley in the country? At least, the oldest sanctioned one. Located in the basement of the Holler House tavern are two lanes that look exactly the way they did more than 110 years ago. If you're looking for something unique to do on your trip to Milwaukee and don't mind drinking bottled beer, this tavern is absolutely worth the weight of its name.

10 Cruise around the Harley Davidson Museum

Whether you're a biker, a motorcycle aficionado, or just appreciate interesting days out, the Harley-Davidson Museum has something for you. There's no way to miss Milwaukee's premier tourist destination that was more than 100 years in the making. Harley-Davidson is the true standard of excellence when it comes to motorcycles; it's the name everybody knows and the bike every biker strives for. Inside the museum, you'll get a taster of modern American history, interactive exhibits, and a seemingly neverending display of memorabilia. This is something for every member of the family, mom included.

11 Explore Milwaukee's rich brewery history

If you like to crack open a cold one with your friends, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better place than Milwaukee. The city is iconic for its association with breweries and prominent beer brands like Old Milwaukee and Milwaukee's Best. There are several brewery tours to provide you with an intimate view behind the scenes, as well as highly reputable breweries, such as New Glarus, that only sell their product in Wisconsin.

12 Discover the city's architectural landmarks

Walking through the streets of Milwaukee can feel like a tour of great architecture. You'll see ornate churches such as the Basilica of St. Josaphat, houses designed by legend Frank Lloyd Wright, and classic domed architecture as featured in the Milwaukee Public Library. Home to many beautiful landmarks, Milwaukee is a place to feast your eyes on the delicate craft of building creation. If you're passionate about architecture, you owe it to yourself to see what the city has to offer.

13 Attend a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game

If you're a basketball fan, you probably don't need to be educated on the historical or present importance of the Milwaukee Bucks. Throughout the years, the team's roster has included some of the greatest players of all time, from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the "Greek Freak," Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks have been strong in recent years, with several division titles and the 2021 Championship under their belt. Make sure to catch a Bucks game while you're in town.

14 Experience the food scene at local restaurants and cafes

Milwaukee is a great city for the hungry (and the thirsty!). With a wide array of diverse restaurants, there's something for everybody. Grab some BBQ at Speed Queen Bar-B-Q, or satisfy your vegan cravings at Twisted Plants. If you're in the mood for coffee, the city also has you covered.

15 Visit the Pabst Mansion and learn about Milwaukee's beer barons

The Pabst Mansion comes up in discussions of Milwaukee's architectural landmarks. It's also a great place to learn about the home and life of some of the city's greatest beer barons. The gorgeous Flemish Renaissance Revival-styled house features numerous extensive tours with information about the Pabst family, the architecture of the mansion, and behind-the-scenes action.

16 Take a walk through Lakeshore State Park

With everything else Milwaukee has to offer, it's all too easy to neglect its gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. One of the best ways to catch a glimpse of the lake is to visit Lakeshore State Park. Hike through its paved trails, which wind along the shore, taking in the beautiful city view over one shoulder and the expansive waters over the other.

17 Enjoy a performance at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

If you're into the theater world, you've got to catch a show at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. The theater's mission is oriented around positive change, and it continuously stages bold productions with thought-provoking themes. But its shows are also immensely entertaining. With musicals, dramas, and comedies, there's no shortage of plays resonating with a wide audience.

18 Visit the Milwaukee County Zoo and its diverse wildlife

The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to a vast range of wildlife. Famous for its gorilla Samson, who lived from 1950 to 1981 and whose bones are preserved at a Milwaukee museum, the zoo regularly features live births of polar bears and siamangs. If you are a lover of animals, you've got to take a walk through the Milwaukee County Zoo and see all it has to offer.

19 Explore the Urban Ecology Center and its educational programs

Though trips to the country may be pleasant, Milwaukee is a great place to experience nature alongside its beautiful urban landscapes. The Urban Ecology Center is dedicated to cultivating a passion and knowledge of the outdoors, hosting tours through the woods and expeditions through vibrant parks within the city itself.

20 Attend the annual Milwaukee Film Festival

If you're a cinephile, make sure to visit Milwaukee during the Milwaukee Film Festival. Showcasing a vast range of productions from a diverse set of voices, the festival has more than enough to scratch your moviegoing itch. Productions regularly include thoughtful documentaries, compelling foreign films, and independent features you can't catch elsewhere.

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