25 Best Things To Do In Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2022
Stroll along the river past great shops, cafes and restaurants, tour the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory and visit the trendy Third Third Ward on your weekend trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Top things to do in Milwaukee with kids include the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Manfred Olson Planetarium, the Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World, and the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.
1. Milwaukee River Hike
Taking the two-mile RiverWalk along the Milwaukee River is a great and unique way to see Milwaukee. You can stop at one of the many excellent restaurants or breweries along the way. Numerous public art exhibitions turn the RiverWalk into a kind of open-air gallery where you can see the current trends in art in the city.
Many colourful signs placed along the Riverwalk explain the history of the city. The Riverwalk area is also home to many annual city events such as River Rhythms and the Milwaukee River Challenge. The Riverwalk area unites three of Milwaukee’s most exciting districts: Downtown, Historic Third Ward, and Beerline B.
2. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes)
You may think you somehow left Milwaukee when you enter Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes). Once inside, you can choose from several domes, each offering a unique experience. The desert dome features one of the largest collections of shrubs, cacti, and other plant species found in the desert.
The Tropical Dome, on the other hand, has lush vegetation, flowers, and fruit and nut trees. You can hear the rushing waterfall in the distance and keep an eye out for the exotic birds that call this area home. The Floral Show Dome bursts with colour and its beautiful flower gardens are always a delight.
Address: 524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53215
3. Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Historic Third Ward is located south of downtown Milwaukee and is one of Milwaukee’s top attractions. Originally a rough and busy warehouse district known as the location of frequent fights, it used to be called “Bloody Ward”.
Today it is Milwaukee’s trendy arts and fashion district, with a number of popular restaurants, theatres, spas, galleries and eateries.
It is home to the Third Ward Riverwalk, the Milwaukee Public Market, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), and the Broadway Theater Center.
The revival of Third Ward has attracted many locals who enjoy the unique atmosphere so much that they decided to purchase one of the renovated warehouses converted into condominiums. The Third Ward is a fun and lively neighbourhood to visit, shop, see a show or just walk around.
Address: 219 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-273-1173
4. Milwaukee County Zoo
The Milwaukee County Zoo is a fun wooded park spread across 200 acres that provides a home and natural habitat for 3,122 animals belonging to 377 different species. It is amazing how far the zoo has come from its modest beginnings in the 1890s.
It began as a small mammal and bird zoo in a barn in what is now Washington Park. You can visit mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles at this exciting zoo.
Most of the animals are alive and thriving, and some, like the dinosaurs, are just part of the special outdoor exhibit, which includes moving, spitting, and roaring life-size dinosaur models.
If you’re wondering what to do in Milwaukee on a sunny day, the Milwaukee County Zoo is a great place to visit with the whole family. The Zoological Society Education Department organizes tours for school and youth groups, day camps, family programs and workshops.
Address: 10001 West Blue Mound Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, Phone: 414-256-5412
5. Milwaukee Public Museum
The Milwaukee Public Museum is a human and natural history museum in downtown Milwaukee that first opened to the public in 1884. It has 150,000 square feet of exhibit space on three floors and is one of the best things to do in Milwaukee.
It showcases permanent and temporary travelling exhibits and is home to the first IMAX theatre in Wisconsin. The museum moved to its current location, formerly the Milwaukee Central Library, in 1962.
It has earned a worldwide reputation for its collections, exhibits, scientific research, and educational programs. Everything, starting with the Hebior Mammoth at the museum’s entrance and going on to the shell room in the Living Ocean exhibit, is designed to capture the attention and spark the imagination of both adults and children.
Address: 800 West Wells Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233, Phone: 888-700-9069
6. Best Place in Historic Pabst Brewery
The best place in the historic Pabst Brewery is a tavern, event centre and gift shop located in the old historic Pabst Brewery. Owner Jim Haertel has lovingly restored The Best Place, as well as parts of the old brewery.
For a small fee, you can take a guided tour that starts at The Best pub and takes you through the history of the Pabst Brewery from 1844 when Best & Company began life to today. That small fee includes a 16 oz. Pabst or Schlitz on tap.
The tour takes you to the historic Blue Ribbon Hall, where you’ll hear the fascinating history of the Pabst Brewery. You can wander through the preserved areas of the old brewery and try to imagine the days when the brewery was bustling with activity.
In a city where the history of beer mirrors the history of the city’s ups and downs, visiting The Best will help you understand what makes Milwaukee tick. You can also taste an absolutely exceptional beer.
Address: 901 W Juneau Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, Phone: 414-630-1609
7. Milwaukee Public Market
The Milwaukee Public Market, located in the Historic Third Ward neighbourhood, is one of the area’s top attractions, serving as the place where locals, farmers, artisans, and tourists gather to get delicious, fresh local food, load up on supplies, people watch or just wander around.
The selection of treats is huge: baked goods, meats, soups, produce, seafood, cheese, wine, spices, coffee, and candy. If you are interested in non-food items, you can find flowers, clothing, and other trinkets.
Palm Garden, located on the second floor, is the place to sit back, relax and savour some of the delicious treats you just bought. The market also offers popular cooking classes and cooking demonstrations. The market is open every day.
Address: 400 N. Water Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-336-1111
8. Lakeshore State Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Lakeshore State Park is not your average park. This unique urban retreat located in the city has great views of the skyline, but it’s certainly not short of outdoor activities. There is a plethora of attractions and recreation available along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Take you and your four-legged companion for a run on any of the park’s many trails, or bike or skate along the paved trails. When the lake calls, feel free to kayak or canoe in the lagoons. If you have a boat, take it for a ride on the picturesque lake and get a fantastic view of the city and its surroundings.
Address: 500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-274-4281
9. World of Discovery
Discovery World in Milwaukee offers visitors a wide variety of exciting and entertaining adventures. The centre focuses on science and technology, making these normally challenging and intimidating fields fun and accessible.
Learn weird facts about the human body, find out what makes robots and other complex machines tick, and discover Morse code and the wireless telegraph – these are just a few examples of the exhibits you can find here.
The entire family can delve into a truly stimulating educational experience at this facility. Stop by any day of the week and explore the many attractions that make learning more enjoyable at Discovery World.
Address: 500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-765-9966
10. Grohmann Museum
The Grohmann Museum presents a unique collection of paintings and sculptures dating from 1580 to the present day. Eckhart Grohmann initially collected all of these masterpieces before donating the priceless set to MSOE in 2001.
The collection is titled Man at Work, as the paintings reflect the evolution that work has undergone over time. The paintings depict the humble farmer on his pasture, for example, along with miners, glassblowers, and blacksmiths.
As labour progresses in time and technology, paintings begin to show men working with machines during the industrial period, or show factory workers and men performing daily tasks near bulky trains.
Strolling through this fascinating museum will take you back to a much simpler time before showing you the transformations the world of work has undergone. It is a fascinating journey that any visitor would be delighted to take.
Address: 1000 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-277-2300
11. Manfred Olson Planetarium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A University of Wisconsin Milwaukee physics professor opened the Manfred Olson Planetarium in 1965. Today, this planetarium will pique the interest of any visitor, particularly those with an interest in science.
The facility is equipped with digital projectors and visual effects, all of which provide an exhilarating viewing experience. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Milwaukee with kids, head to the Manfred Olson Planetarium.
Astronomical objects of interest are on display throughout the planetarium, and on the outer deck, you’ll find an observatory.
Stargazing sessions are also held here, and you can use the telescopes to spot planets, stars, and other astronomical wonders.
Address: 1900 E Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53211, Phone: 414-229-4961
12. Blu Bar & Lounge
Blu Bar & Lounge, located on the 23rd floor of Wisconsin’s revered Pfister Hotel with its spectacular view of Lake Michigan, is a true gem.
The bar, which is incredibly stylish with its muted blue colours, offers excellent local beers on tap, a good selection of wines, 19 types of whisky, 26 whiskeys and bourbons, and a selection of very interesting homemade cocktails.
Try Heat, a blend of Don Julio Reposado tequila, Spanish Liquor 43, fresh lime, agave nectar and a slice of jalapeño. Beer nuts are on the house and there is live jazz most nights.
On the first Thursday of every month, pianist Dr. Jeffrey Hollander will treat you to a performance of his Rhapsodies in Blu series. If you’re looking for romantic date ideas in Milwaukee WI, Blu Bar & Lounge is a great place to try.
Address: 424 East Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-298-3196
13. 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 nooks and crannies of the city that many locals don’t even know about.
The company focuses on food, but also offers tidbits of information and anecdotes about the city’s culture, history, and architecture while you savour the best pizzas in town or sample the hottest beers.
You can choose to explore on foot with one of six different neighbourhood tours and experience typical neighbourhood foods: German, Polish, Italian or Irish. Or you can do it in the comfort of a luxury coach. Either way, bring your appetite and get ready to eat some serious food. Milwaukee has a lot to offer.
Address: 2419 N 62nd St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Phone: 800-979-3370
14. Uber Tap Room, Milwaukee, WI
When Ken McNulty added the Uber Tap Room to his revered Wisconsin Cheese Mart, the addition seemed like a marriage of convenience: McNulty wanted people to sit down and grab a drink while sampling the fabulous Wisconsin cheeses.
However, the taproom became a local favourite, and the combination of craft beers and cheese became a Milwaukee staple. Uber Tap Room is a modern tavern with a friendly, upbeat atmosphere, great music, a well-stocked bar, and no-frills furnishings. It’s all about beer and cheese. They have 36 local beers on tap, six of which are Nitro Taps.
Servers are always more than happy to help guests pair their beers with the right cheeses, all 175 of them.
Address: 1048 N. Old World Third St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203, Phone: 414-755-2424
15. Purple Door Ice Cream
Only in Milwaukee does beer-flavoured ice cream make sense. And at Purple Door Ice Cream, their frozen desserts are adult-only treats and contain 1-3 per cent alcohol.
The Purple Door Ice Cream Parlor is located in the historic Walker’s Point area of Milwaukee and is a popular spot for people to grab their favourite scoop of ice cream or just to see what new mix owners Lauren and Steve Schultz have come up with.
There are 20 flavours of sundaes, shakes, sundaes, pints, ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, and ice cream cakes that can be enjoyed in your cool purple shop, or you can take them home for later. You can even do both!
205 S. 2nd Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204, Phone: 414-988-2521
16. Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum first opened its doors in 1995. Since then, it has provided the community with invaluable educational resources specifically geared toward youth. The main objective of the museum is to promote the healthy development of children.
It is an interactive museum and features a variety of activities and exhibits that help develop foundational skills, build children’s self-esteem, and help youth recognize the importance of teamwork.
The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum also has special programs for low-income and special needs families. Activities and exhibits are always changing, so be sure to check out what’s on this week.
929 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-390-5437
17. Brady Street
Take a leisurely stroll through the Brady Street area and admire the beautifully designed buildings dating from the 1860s to the 1930s.
Early immigrants from Germany, Poland, Ireland, and Italy settled here, making this one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Milwaukee. The street is lined with the best lounges, cafes, shops, restaurants and taverns in the city, so you’re guaranteed to find something of interest here.
The fairways run from Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee River. Thriving local businesses are passionate about providing the community with everyday goods as well as extraordinary and rare items.
1224 L.R. E. Brady St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
18. North Point Lighthouse Museum
The North Point Lighthouse Museum is your ticket to understanding the role Milwaukee played in regional Great Lakes maritime activities. The museum features artefacts, documentation, and artwork from the lighthouse and its various keepers.
The museum proudly displays a Fresnel lens and provides a detailed explanation of how it works. It also features panels describing and illustrating the history of the lighthouse keepers and their duties and heritage, along with personal scrapbooks and wreck artefacts.
The intriguing history of this period really comes to life at the North Point Lighthouse Museum. Be sure to check the museum’s hours, as they change periodically.
2650 N. Wahl Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211, Phone: 414-332-6754
19. Honeypie, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Honeypie is a diner-style eatery where locals and tourists alike flock for honest Midwestern fare, pastries and desserts.
Everything is made from scratch with fresh local ingredients. You can eat at the bar, at a table, at a table or outside on their patio. There are no surprises on the menu, just excellent, delicious soups, sandwiches and cakes. And they’re not just cakes; Food critics across the country have been writing about them.
Check out the Bourbon Walnut or the Apple Cheddar Bacon, just two choices out of dozens of options. Honeypie also has a nice selection of beer on tap to go with your cake. You can sign up for their cake-making classes or buy whole cakes at their attached bakery to take home.
2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53207, Phone: 414-489-7437
20. Visit to the Palermo Pizza Factory
If there is one food that everyone around the world is excited about, it has to be pizza. At Palermo’s Pizza Factory Tour, everyone has the chance to try absolutely delicious, fresh, handmade pizza.
Palermo’s Pizza Factory Tour offers not only great pizzas but valuable information about the process they use to make their pizzas. You’ll get a panoramic view of the production floor, as well as interesting information about the company’s history.
After you have filled in the facts and secrets about Palermo Pizza, you can sit back and enjoy eating one of their tasty creations. Check their website for tour dates and times.
3399 W Roundhouse Rd, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53215, Phone: 888-571-7181
21. Braise, Milwaukee, WI
Braise is located in Walker’s Point on Milwaukee’s south side in an old bowling alley. The dining room is comfortable and inviting, with private and communal community tables available.
The dining room overlooks the kitchen and offers a great view of the action. The menu changes daily and depends on what ingredients are in season. Chef-owner Dave Swanson is known not only for his delicious food but also for his development of the first restaurant-supported agriculture program in the country.
Many of their ingredients come from their own rooftop garden or are the result of their active collaboration with local farmers and food producers. You may be able to try the grilled bison strip loin and the boudin blanc. And if you have time, sign up for Chef Dave’s culinary school. We guarantee that he will learn a lot and eat well.
1101 S. 2nd Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204, Phone: 414-212-8843
22. MOD GEN
MOD GEN is a modern twist on the classic general store concept, located within Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward neighbourhood. The store, which originally opened as a garden and landscape design store in 2001, has evolved to showcase the works of dozens of local craftsmen and makers who work in the home, pantry and décor media, including Great Lakes Proud, Bubble Connection, Cream.
City Caramels and RosyMade Designs. Products from smaller, nationally distributed artisan retailers like Uncommon Goods are also sold, along with popular international brands like Joseph Joseph, Umbra and Illume. Staying true to the company’s gardening roots, more than 600 houseplants are also in stock at all times.
211 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-963-1657
Streetza is a food truck that sells pizza slices. These are not your daily pizza slices. In fact, they’re so amazing that Streetza has been declared the best street food in Milwaukee four years in a row.
You’ll find the Streetza truck anywhere there’s a block party, summer concert, or any other fun public gathering. Streetza serves good slices of traditional pizza, but they always include a special on their menu.
Depending on the season, it can be a crab leg pizza with a basil and thyme cream sauce, fresh crab meat, fresh corn, leeks and mozzarella. There are even whole crab legs on top.
2201 S 84th St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53227, Phone: 414-215-0021
24. Lynden Sculpture Garden
Lynden Sculpture Garden is the former home of Harry and Peg Bradley. In May 2010, they opened their doors to the public, allowing everyone to enjoy the tranquillity and beauty for which these 40 acres of woods have become famous.
The charming lakeside park is filled with intriguing sculptures, while the interior galleries showcase contemporary exhibits containing thought-provoking paintings and other works on paper. Lynden Sculpture Garden offers educational programs and interactive experiences.
2145 West Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53217, Phone: 414-446-8794
25. Ardent, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Ardent redefines simplicity. This restaurant on Milwaukee’s Lower East Side manages to pull off effortless upscale elegance.
The decor is understated with muted colours, and modern and industrial touches create a peaceful, zen-like atmosphere, an aura that extends to the food. Chef Justin Carlisle sources all of his ingredients from local growers and farms, including his own where his father raises beef.
High-quality ingredients are fresh and combined in the most imaginative ways: try Pig Head Terrine with apples and mustard greens. The portions are small and exquisitely presented, and the flavours are rich and unique. For true food lovers, this place deserves a long drive.
1751 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, Phone: 414-897-7022
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things To Do In Milwaukee
Is Milwaukee worth seeing?
One of the best things about Milwaukee is that it never seems to stop growing. Visit only once a year and you may notice new buildings, new street art, or even a completely new vibe to the entire city. Improvement is definitely a Milwaukee staple, which makes every visit different and unique.
Is Milwaukee a cool city?
Of course, many longtime residents will tell you that Milwaukee has always been cool: a Midwestern city that feels like a coastal one, where sailboats bob in the harbor and golden beaches stretch along a shockingly blue shore.
Is Milwaukee a good place to live?
With an affordable cost of living, great employment opportunities, family-friendly activities, and a dining scene centered around cheese and craft beer, it’s no wonder that Brew City is one of the best places to live in the U.S. Here are 13 things to know about living in Milwaukee!
How many breweries are in Milwaukee?
There are more than 30 breweries in the city and surrounding areas, and it’s once again a great place to find a beer. And the city certainly has history on its side. “There’s a huge beer renaissance going on right now in Milwaukee,” says Mike Doble, owner of Explorium Brewpub in suburban Milwaukee.
Is Milwaukee a walkable city?
Not only is downtown Milwaukee easy to navigate and walk around, eight other Milwaukee neighborhoods have been considered a “walker’s paradise,” and 28 others are said to be “very walkable.” Walkscore.com recently surveyed the entire country to find out what cities are the most walkable.
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