Tips For Exploring the Milwaukee RiverWalk (With Kids!)

The Milwaukee Riverwalk is a great way to explore the city on foot.

The Downtown Riverwalk leads you past our city’s main Theater District, including the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (home of First Stage Children’s Theater, Milwaukee Ballet, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra), Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and the Pabst & Riverside Theatres.

Pro Tip: Explore the Riverwalk on a Wednesday evening in the Summer, and end with a picnic and a free live music concert at River Rhythms in Pere Marquette Park.

Plus, did you know that the RiverWalk in Milwaukee is actually an outdoor art gallery? It’s called RiverSculpture, and it includes a mixture of permanent pieces and temporary installations. You can find a map of the sculptures here.

If you’re lucky, you might get to see one of the bridges go up for a large boat!

Here are some highlights to look for:

1. Look for a whimsical and colorful statue called “Cow and Ballerina” in Pere Marquette Park.

2. Located just off of Wells St. on the Milwaukee RiverWalk, the Bronze Fonz is Milwaukee’s ultimate selfie destination. The statue is a tribute to Arthur Fonzareli from “Happy Days,” a sitcom based in Milwaukee circa 1950. The statue is five foot six, just like the actor who played the Fonz, Henry Winkler.

3. Don’t miss Gertie the Duck! In April of 1945, a mallard duck nested under the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge. A story in the Milwaukee Journal dubbed her “Gertie,” and it went viral in a 1940’s kind of way. Crowds gathered and motorists stopped by the nest to check on the ducklings’ status. It captivated Milwaukee and eventually the entire nation.

Five ducklings eventually hatched, and the ducks were put on display in Gimbel’s department store. The ducks were later relocated to the Juneau Park lagoon.

Today Gertie the Duck stands guard over her ducklings in all their bronze glory on the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge over the Milwaukee River. The sculpture by Gwendolyn Gillen was installed in 1997.

Find out more at

Related Posts