25 free things to do this summer (with kids!)


There’s nothing quite like Milwaukee in the summertime, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy every moment of it with your kids.

Our local guides offer ideas for family-friendly fun around Milwaukee all year long, but here are 25 free things to do with the whole family:

1. Watch the airplanes take off at the Airport Observation Area (1200 block of E. Layton Ave.). (Tune into 88.5 to hear aircraft communication. You can pick up some Culver's custard down the road, sit out on the car hood and make a night of it!)

2. Feed the animals at the Urban Ecology Center every Saturday at 1:00.

3. Find the A.W.E. Truck Studio in a nearby park. These bright mini-vans from Artists Working in Education are stocked with loads of art supplies and friendly artists who lead creative projects. The vans will be traveling around Milwaukee throughout the entire summer. Kids can drop-in to paint, create prints, and build sculptures.

4. Cool off in the Bayshore Town Center Splash Pad.

5. Watch a volleyball match at Bradford Beach (and get some custard at North Point Custard!).

6. Take a free day trip! Check out Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, the Jelly Belly Factory in Pleasant Prairie (yes, it's still open!), or the Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha. Find more day trips on our Day Trips page.

7. Visit Kayla’s Playground in Franklin, a truly unique play space for kids of all abilities. Find more must-visit playgrounds here.

8. Find all of the geocaches in Visit Milwaukee’s neighborhood geocache tour.

9. Head to the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning for Kidz Days. You'll find free kids activities like magic shows and dance performances.

10. Go on a guided family nature hike at Havenwoods State Forest.

11. See the Milwaukee skyline from far away atop the lookout tower in Lapham Peak State Park or from Holy Hill.

12. See the newly revamped Streets of Old Milwaukee when you visit the Milwaukee Public Museum on the first Thursday of the month for free admission. (Residents of Milwaukee County receive a $2.00 discount on general admission everyday with proof of residency.)

13. Find worms in the soil during a tour of Growing Power, Milwaukee’s only urban farm.

14. Visit the Bronze Fonz and Gertie the Duck on the Milwaukee Riverwalk. (Check out the entire self-guided walking tour here.)

15. Find a great book at a Little Free Library.

16. Hear live music at Bay View’s “Chill on the Hill” at the Humboldt Park Bandshell on Tuesdays in June through August.

17. Take a short hike through Lakeshore State Park next to Discovery World.

18. Explore the Mitchell Gallery of Flight inside the airport.

19. Bike or skate on the Oak Leaf Trail.

20. Watch a Water Ski Show at Lakefront Park in Pewaukee every Thursday evening.

21. Find the tiny doors (fairy houses) hidden in Humboldt Park.

22. Sign up for Kids Bowl Free online and bowl for free at participating locations.

23. See the last covered bridge in Wisconsin in Covered Bridge Park in Cedarburg.

24. Catch a free family flick in Veteran’s Park.

25. Check out a free ArtPack just for kids when you visit the Art Museum on the first Friday of each month.

What else should we add to the list? Contact us!


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