50 Top Attractions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2024)

Hello there!

As a long-time resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I can confidently say that this is a city full of hidden gems and exciting attractions.

However, if you’re like many visitors to the city, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available.

You might be asking yourself, “Where should I go? What should I do? What’s the one attraction I can’t miss?”

I’m here to share my personal experience and guide you to the top 50 attractions in Milwaukee that you absolutely cannot miss.

The city of Milwaukee and its surrounding area has captivated me for years, and I’m excited to share with you all the reasons why you should add these spots to your must-see list.

From stunning museums and galleries to charming neighborhoods and stunning parks, (and yes, some epic cheese curds), Milwaukee has something to offer everyone. 

So, let’s dive in and discover Cream City together!

Here are the top attractions and best places to visit in Milwaukee:

1. Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee skyline was forever changed with the completion of the magnificent Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001.

Among the many world-class museums in Milwaukee, this one is a must-visit for families.

Nestled by the beautiful Lake Michigan, the museum is one of the largest in the United States. This stunning museum is home to over 30,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and photographs.

The museum’s most notable feature is the Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, which is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.

Marvel at the stunning architecture of the building, which itself if a work of art, and immerse yourself in the impressive collection of works of art and masterpieces from renowned artists like Pablo Picasso, among others.

Don’t forget to stop by the museum’s gift shop for unique souvenirs and keepsakes to take home with you.

Milwaukee Art Museum Kohls Studio Wisconsin

While their Free Admission Day is currently not being offered, children 12 and under are always admitted for free.

You can also enjoy reduced admission to the Art Museum during Milwaukee Museum Days.

For insider tips, don’t miss the “10 Best Things To Do at the Art Museum”, including watching the wings of the building open and close, and creating art at the Kohls Art Generation Open Studio.

2. Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson is an iconic American motorcycle brand that holds a special place in the hearts of many people, especially those who call Milwaukee home.

The company was founded in Milwaukee in 1903, and its presence in the city has had a significant impact on the local economy, culture, and identity.

Harley-Davidson Museum Milwaukee Wisconsin

Not only is it a major employer in Milwaukee, but its headquarters and some of its manufacturing facilities are located in the city.

Harley-Davidson has become an important cultural symbol of Milwaukee, closely associated with the city’s blue-collar roots and its working-class heritage. The motorcycles are often seen as a symbol of freedom, individuality, and rebellion, values that many people in Milwaukee hold dear.

The Harley Davidson museum is a must-visit for motorcycle enthusiasts and fans of American history and business. 

The immersive experience showcases the design, engineering, and culture behind the legendary bikes. 

You can explore interactive exhibits, galleries, and displays of vintage models and rare artifacts, and gain a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and innovation that has made Harley-Davidson a household name.

Visitors can learn about the history of the iconic Harley-Davidson brand and see some of the most famous motorcycles ever made, including the original Harley-Davidson XA and the legendary XR-750.

Pose for a photo with the company founders, see the oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle (also known as “Serial Number One”), rev up your engines in the engine room, rummage through discovery drawers filled with vintage toys and trinkets, make your own custom creation at the build-a-bike station, and more.

Free Admission: Discounted admission is typically offered on “Milwaukee Day” (April 14th).

3. Milwaukee County Zoo

If you’re planning a visit to the Milwaukee County Zoo with your family, you’re in for a treat!

The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to over 200 wooded acres and more than 2,000 animals. You’ll come face to face with giant elephants, looming giraffes, roaring lions, bears resting in hammocks, swinging monkeys, a sweet red panda, Happy the Hippo in the Hippo Haven, and more.

The Family Farm is a must-visit, and you can also ride the carousel or ride a choo-choo train through the grounds.

One of the newest additions to the Zoo is Gorilla Trek, a virtual reality experience that takes you within arms reach of gorillas in the remote mountains of Rwanda. It’s open year round.

For a unique, up-close experience, check out the Giraffe Experience, open in the summers. You’ll have the chance to feed a giraffe a few pieces of lettuce!

Around the holidays, don’t miss the magnificent Wild Lights show for a magical evening with your kids.

The Zoo offers Family Free Days throughout the colder months, and free admission for Frosty Free Week the last week of December.

And if you visit around Mother’s Day, be sure to stop by and say hi to one of our favorite moms at the Zoo, Patty the Lioness.

Here is a Complete Guide to the Milwaukee County Zoo & Pro Tips for visiting.

Discover more Milwaukee area Zoos & Petting Zoos >>

4. Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum welcomes more than half a million visitors annually. Located in downtown Milwaukee, the Museum currently houses more than 4 million objects in its collections.

It’s a favorite destination among residents and offers a fascinating look at the world’s natural and cultural history. 

Milwaukee Public Museum

The museum recently unveiled their future plans for a new museum in 2026.

Currently, MPM has three floors of permanent exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rainforest, and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater and Planetarium.

One of the most beloved exhibits is the immersive Streets of Old Milwaukee, originally opened in 1965, and renovated for its 50th anniversary in 2015. After entering through an old-fashioned street car, visitors get an glimpse of what life was like in Milwaukee in the 1800’s by strolling along cobblestone streets and peering through dozens of store-front windows and residences. The grandmother resting in her rocking chair is a local celebrity. (She even has her own Twitter account!)

Milwaukee Public Museum butterfly wing exhibit Wisconsin

Other must-visit exhibits include the European Village, which brings 33 immigrant cultures to life at the turn of of the 19th century and the Butterfly Vivarium, where butterflies flutter freely in a tranquil environment, and kids can try on costumes and participate in hands-on activities.

Visitors can see the skeleton of the Hebior Mammoth without even paying admission. The exhibit is open to the public on the ground floor. The mammoth is is over 14,000 years old and was found in Kenosha County. It’s notable especially because it helps date human habitation in our region of North America.

The Milwaukee Public Museum planetarium MPM’s Planetarium is the first in the world to debut a Digistar 6 computer projection system. The Dome Theater boasts a six-story-tall screen and digital surround sound, and delights families with stunning 3D animations and vistas of the night sky, Mt. Everest, dinosaur life, and more!

Fun fact: There are three secret buttons in the Milwaukee Public Museum. The most widely known one is found by the Bison Hunt exhibit. If you press it, you’ll activate a rattlesnake noise and movement. Another is found in the Rainforest exhibit near the howler monkey. And the final one is found in the Exploring Life on Earth exhibit.

Pro Tip: To get the butterflies to land on you, wear red or orange!

Get in free! Milwaukee County Residents receive free admission on Thursdays and Milwaukee County Residents receive a $2.00 discount on admission every day.

5. Discovery World

This modern science and technology center is a great place for families to explore and learn about science, technology, engineering, and math.

The museum features interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and live demonstrations that make learning about science and technology fun and engaging.

Don’t miss the Wind Leaves right outside of the main building. These tall aluminum columns are made of thousands of stainless steels disks, and they rotate with the wind. The material reflects light beautifully. You can also play on the musical benches surrounding the columns.

Once inside, visit the Innovation Station and try your hand with the flight simulator, construction truck display, and more. Climb the winding staircase with neon lights to the second floor and check out the Virtual Reality station, an enormous miniature train display, and a “bed of nails” made of tiny spikes to teach kids about pressure.

One of the most fun things to do at Discovery World is visit the Reiman Aquarium downtairs. It’s a great way to learn about the underworld of Lake Michigan with hands-on and immersive exhibits. Fish swim above, below, and all around you, and kids can pet sting-rays, crabs and more.

There’s also a road race simulator, a holiday exhibit around Christmas time, and the Kohl’s Design It! Lab, where families can create make and take projects together that vary in difficulty and complexity. They have staff on hand who can help you with creative tools such as hot glue guns, heat sealers, and vacuum-formers.

Towards the back of the building, you’ll find the a huge replica of the Great Lakes, where kids can cause a rainstorm or fog with the touch of a button. Upstairs is a replica of 19th century Great Lakes schooner that you can climb on board and explore.

On one side of the life-size ship, you’ll find the Simple Machine Shipyard, where kids learn about the building blocks of complex machines. Kids are empowered to lift large boulders, use a pulley system to lift themselves into the air, and more. On the opposite side of the ship, visitors can explore how Milwaukee Water Works purifies its water.

The entire family will love this amazing science and technology museum!

Discover more aquariums in Milwaukee >>

Where To Stay

6. Pabst Mansion

The Pabst Mansion is an iconic landmark in Milwaukee that is steeped in history and culture.

It was built in 1892 by Captain Frederick Pabst, a prominent Milwaukee beer baron, and his wife, Maria for $254,000. The mansion served as their family home for many years before falling into disrepair in the mid-20th century.

In the 1970s, a group of concerned citizens formed the Pabst Mansion Foundation to save and restore the mansion, and it’s now listed on the national register of historic places.

The structure is a beautiful and well-preserved example of Gilded Age architecture. The mansion’s exterior is made of cream city brick, a distinctive building material that is unique to Milwaukee, and its interior is filled with ornate woodwork, stained glass windows, and other luxurious details that were popular during the late 19th century.

It now serves as a museum that is open to the public, offering guided tours that provide visitors with an inside look at the lives of Milwaukee’s wealthy elite during the Gilded Age.

You can take also take a family-friendly tour of the mansion, specifically designed for kids.

See which animal friends you can find in the art and architecture, peek inside a secret cabinet, and imagine yourself as young Elsbeth Pabst growing up in the Mansion on this tour which leans less beer and more playful cheer.

7. Milwaukee Public Market

Located in the heart of the city’s historic Third Ward, The Milwaukee Public Market is surrounded by a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants, making it a great place to spend an afternoon or evening exploring the neighborhood.

It’s home to over 20 vendors, each offering a unique and delicious selection of foods. From fresh seafood and sushi to artisanal cheeses, local coffee, and handmade chocolates, there is something for every palate. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of local beers and wines at the market’s wine bar.

Many of the vendors at the Milwaukee Public Market source their ingredients locally, ensuring that visitors can enjoy the freshest and highest quality food.

The atmosphere is bustling and lively, perfect for socializing and people-watching. They also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including live music and cooking demonstrations, adding to the festive atmosphere.

The best part? There are lots different food options to please everyone’s pallet, and you can eat in the casual dining area upstairs. 

Don’t miss the vegan restaurant with a real vintage bus!

8. American Family Field

With it’s state-of-the-art design, retractive roof, and high-definition video boards, American Family Field is a world-class sports facility and an impressive place to visit for several reasons.

Plus, what other stadium hs racing sausages?

American Family Field Milwaukee Brewers baseball stadium Wisconsin

American Family Field – formerly Miller Park – is home to the Milwaukee Brewers, the city’s beloved baseball team.

The stadium’s design pays tribute to Milwaukee’s brewing heritage, with a variety of beer-inspired features and local food and drink vendors throughout the facility.

And, it’s family friendly. The stadium features a play area for kids, interactive games, and a variety of concessions options.

The stadium is not just a sports venue. It has also hosted a variety of musical acts and events over the years, including Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and even an NCAA basketball tournament.

Here are the top 10 Tips for Visiting American Family Field With Kids, including arriving early to watch batting practice, running the bases after Sunday home games, and more!

9. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (“The Domes”)

When the weather turns cold in the winter months, the Mitchell Park Domes is a great spot to escape. But it’s worth a visit all year round.

You won’t believe you’re in the heart of the midwest as you roam through desert oasis, a tropical jungle, and elaborate floral gardens, all in one afternoon!

The massive greenhouse structures consist of three domes: The Tropical Dome, The Desert Dome, and the Show Dome, where seasonal exhibits take place. The Mitchell Park Domes also offers story times during the week, a Farmer’s Market in the winter months, live music in the Music Under Glass concert series, and special events throughout the year.

This beautiful conservatory is home to three glass domes, each of which is dedicated to a different climate and ecosystem. Visitors can explore everything from a tropical rainforest to a desert and learn about the plants and animals that live in each environment.

There’s also a children’s area with hands-on, educational programs.

Don’t miss their annual Train Show in the winter, their festive Holiday Show, and their gorgeous Summer Floral Show.

10. Summerfest

Summerfest is an annual outdoor music festival that takes place at Henry Maier Festival Park along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, and it’s one of the most anticipated events in Milwaukee.

It has been a Milwaukee tradition for over 50 years, and has become a beloved event for locals and visitors alike. The festival has hosted some of the biggest names in music, including the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Lady Gaga, making it a must-see event for any serious music lover.

The world’s largest music festival features over 800 acts across 11 days on 11 different stages. From rock and pop to country and hip hop, you are sure to find something that you love.

The outdoor venue allows for plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the music, as well as take in the beautiful views of the lake.

It is not just a music festival, but a true celebration of summer. The festival features a variety of food and drink vendors, as well as carnival rides and games, making it a fun and festive atmosphere for music lovers of all ages.

Besides Summerfest, Milwaukee is home to a variety of ethnic festivals that take place on the summerfest grounds throughout the rest of the summer.

We created a comprehensive guide to Milwaukee’s summer festivals – so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any of the excitement.

11. Lakefront Brewery Tour

The Lakefront Brewery tour in Milwaukee is a popular and unique experience that offers beer lovers a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process and a taste of some of the best craft beers in brew city.

The brewery itself is located in a beautiful spot along the Milwaukee River, with views of the city skyline and the riverwalk. Visitors can enjoy a drink on the outdoor patio or take a stroll along the riverwalk after their tour.

This venue has a long and storied history in Milwaukee. Founded in 1987, it was one of the city’s first craft breweries and helped pave the way for the thriving craft beer scene that exists today.

The guided tour provides an up-close look at the brewing process and the machinery used to make their award-winning beers. It is informative and fun, and includes a generous sampling of beers at the end.

Lakefront Brewery is known for its unique and innovative beers, many of which are only available at the brewery, from the famous Lakefront IPA to more experimental brews like their seasonal Pumpkin Lager and popular Wisconsinite Weiss.

12. Fiserv Forum

If you’re looking for a fun family activity in Milwaukee, a guided tour of the Fiserv Forum is definitely worth considering.

This state-of-the-art arena is home to your World Champion Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and hosts a variety of other sports, entertainment, and cultural events throughout the year.

The Fiserv Forum is located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, making it easily accessible by car or public transportation. There are several parking options nearby, including the 5th Street Parking Structure, and a number of restaurants in the neighboring Deer District.

The tour lasts about 90 minutes and takes you through various areas of the arena, including the locker rooms, the player tunnel, and the court itself.

You’ll also learn about the history and architecture of the building, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of running a major sports venue.

One of the highlights is the chance to see the impressive collection of art and memorabilia that is on display throughout the arena.

The artwork includes pieces from local and national artists, as well as some pieces that are specifically related to the Bucks and the history of basketball in Milwaukee.

The memorabilia collection includes jerseys, trophies, and other items that highlight the team’s successes over the years.

Whether you’re a die-hard basketball fan or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon in Milwaukee, this tour is sure to be a memorable experience for the whole family.

Want to save some money? The Fiserv Forum typically offers free tours during Doors Open Milwaukee.

13. Milwaukee Riverwalk

The Milwaukee Riverwalk is a pedestrian walkway that runs alongside the Milwaukee River through the heart of downtown Milwaukee.

You’ll see stunning views of the river and the city skyline, public art installations, sculptures, murals, and shops, restaurants and bars.

One of the most famous residents of the Riverwalk is the Bronze Fonz, a life-sized bronze statue of Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, the iconic character from the popular television series “Happy Days.”

The statue is located near the intersection of Wells Street and North Riverwalk Way. It stands just over five feet tall and depicts Fonzie in his signature leather jacket and jeans, giving a thumbs-up gesture with a big smile on his face.

It has become a popular attraction in Milwaukee, drawing fans of “Happy Days” and visitors who want to take a photo with the iconic character.

14. North Point Lighthouse

The North Point Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, and situated within Lake Park, one of Milwaukee’s oldest and most scenic parks.

North Point Lighthouse Milwaukee Wisconsin

The lighthouse was built in 1888 and served as an active aid to navigation until it was decommissioned in 1994.

Today, it is a museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the Great Lakes and the important role that lighthouses played in guiding ships safely to shore.

Visitors to the North Point Lighthouse Museum can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, where they can enjoy stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee skyline.

Along the way, explore the museum exhibits, which include artifacts and photographs documenting the history of the lighthouse and its keepers.

Its location within Lake Park, a beautiful and historic park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, makes it an ideal destination for a leisurely afternoon stroll or a picnic with family and friends.

15. Third Street Market Hall

The Third Street Market Hall is a food hall located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the old Grand Avenue mall.

Third Street Market

The market hall is home to a diverse collection of over 20 local vendors offering a wide range of delicious food and drink options. From sushi and poke bowls to tacos, hot dogs, and craft cocktails, there is something for everyone at the Third Street Market Hall.

You’ll also find games like cornhole and shuffleboard, plus a virtual golf simulator and a selfie museum.

The space is family-friendly with a small children’s play area.

The convenient downtown location and wide range of vendors make it the perfect place for a casual lunch, a happy hour drink, or a dinner with friends.

The market hall is also home to a variety of special events and live music performances, making it a vibrant hub of activity in the heart of the city.

16. Boerner Botanical Gardens

Boerner Botanical Gardens is a 12-acre botanical garden located in the Milwaukee suburb of Hales Corners. The gardens are situated within Whitnall Park, a larger park system run by the Milwaukee County Parks Department.

The gardens were first opened in 1933 and have since become a popular destination for nature lovers, garden enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a peaceful outdoor oasis.

It’s known for its impressive collections of roses, daylilies, peonies, irises, and other flowering plants, as well as their Japanese Garden, Herb Garden, and Trial Garden.

Visitors to Boerner Botanical Gardens can stroll along winding paths through lush gardens, past tranquil ponds and waterfalls, and over ornate footbridges.

17. Margie’s Garden

Margie’s Garden is a must-visit garden located within Boerner Botanical Gardens.

The children’s garden is an enchanted village for kids, featuring outdoor activities and sights like an Alphabet Garden, a Numbers Garden, sound makers, playhouses, slides, a giant caterpillar and birds nest to play on, a “Flower Shop” with complimentary postcards, a small stage and seating area, and more.

It is an accessible space that is wheelchair and stroller friendly, with a pavilion for shade and benches for resting. Bathrooms are in the main Boerner building.

Read more about Margie’s Garden >>

18. Wisconsin State Fair

The Wisconsin State Fair is an annual agricultural fair held in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee. The fair takes place for 11 days in August and attracts over one million visitors each year, making it one of the largest state fairs in the United States.

The Wisconsin State Fair dates back to 1851 and has been held in its current location since the late 1800’s. The fair is a celebration of Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage and showcases the state’s finest livestock, produce, and food products. Visitors can explore barns filled with prize-winning cows, pigs, and chickens.

In addition to the agricultural exhibits, the Wisconsin State Fair is also known for its entertainment and attractions.

The fair features a variety of live music performances, carnival rides and games, and a massive midway with over 50 different rides.

Visitors can also indulge in the fair’s famous food offerings, including cream puffs, cheese curds, corn on the cob, and deep-fried treats of all kinds.

For many families, a trip to the State Fair is an annual tradition, and generations of Wisconsinites have fond memories of attending the fair with their loved ones.

19. Pabst Theater

The Pabst Theater is a historic performing arts venue located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. The theater was built in 1895 by brewing magnate Captain Frederick Pabst and has since become a beloved cultural landmark in the city.

The Pabst Theater is renowned for its stunning architecture, which combines elements of the German Renaissance Revival and Baroque styles. The theater’s ornate interior features intricate plasterwork, gilded accents, and a stunning hand-painted ceiling. The stage has hosted countless performers over the years, including musicians, comedians, and theatrical productions.

Today, the Pabst Theater is a popular destination for visitors to Milwaukee who are interested in experiencing the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene. The theater hosts a diverse array of performances throughout the year, ranging from world-renowned musicians and comedians to local theater productions and community events.

20. Pettit National Ice Center

The Pettit National Ice Center is an Olympic training facility and public ice-skating rink, featuring a 400-meter Olympic-sized oval ice rink, two international-sized ice rinks, and a recreational skating rink.

The Pettit National Ice Center is a popular destination for visitors to Milwaukee who are interested in ice skating, hockey, and other cold-weather sports. The facility offers public skating sessions, figure skating lessons, and ice hockey leagues for all ages and skill levels.

In addition to its recreational offerings, the Pettit National Ice Center is also a world-class training facility for Olympic speed skating. The facility has hosted numerous national and international skating competitions, including the US Olympic Trials in 1998, 2002, and 2018.

21. Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is a hands-on learning center designed to promote interactive learning and discovery for children ages 0-10 and their families.

The museum offers a wide range of interactive exhibits and educational programs that encourage children to explore and learn through play.

Children can engage in imaginative play in the pretend city of “Home Town,” get creative in the maker space, and learn about science in Science City.

There’s now a coffee shop inside of the museum called Betty’s Beans and Books, proudly serving Stone Creek Coffee. An assortment of snacks are also available for purchase. 

22. Lakeshore State Park

If you’re looking for a nice walk, Lakeshore State Park fits the bill.

It is a 22-acre urban oasis located on the shore of Lake Michigan. The park features a 1.5-mile walking and biking trail that winds around the perimeter of the park, providing stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee skyline.

Milwaukee city skyline from Lakeshore State Park Wisconsin

The park is a popular destination for birdwatching, with over 200 species of birds having been spotted there.

Lakeshore State Park is also accessible to strollers and wheelchairs, with a paved trail that makes it easy for families with young children to explore the park.

Read more about Lakeshore State Park >>

23. Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in the suburb of Bayside offers six miles of trails through 185 acres of habitats such as forests, wetlands, prairies, and Lake Michigan shoreline.

Hike on the stroller and wheelchair friendly boardwalk through Mystery Lake, climb a 60-foot Observation Tower, take the paved trail down to Lake Michigan, and stop in the visitor center and see Emerson, a resident snapping turtle, and other animal ambassadors.

If you’re interested in bird watching, the spring and fall migrations are a great time to visit, as many species of birds pass through the area during these seasons.

Summer is also a popular time to visit, as the trails are lush and green, and there are a variety of wildflowers and butterflies to see.

The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is best for families with children of all ages who are interested in outdoor activities, nature education, and wildlife viewing.

The center offers a variety of programs and events throughout the year, including nature walks, animal encounters, and educational exhibits. The center also offers a variety of summer camps and classes for kids.

24. Historic Third Ward Neighborhood

The Historic Third Ward is a vibrant neighborhood located just south of downtown.

The area was once home to Milwaukee’s wholesale and manufacturing district but has since transformed into a trendy destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The Hop Third Ward

Visitors to the Historic Third Ward will find a variety of unique boutiques, art galleries, and specialty shops selling everything from handmade jewelry to gourmet foods.

The neighborhood also boasts a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and bars, with options ranging from sushi and pizza to craft cocktails and locally brewed beer.

In addition to its shopping and dining options, the Historic Third Ward is home to several cultural attractions, including the Milwaukee Public Market, which features local and artisanal food and drink vendors.

The neighborhood is also home to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and the Broadway Theatre Center, which hosts a variety of theater productions throughout the year.

The Historic Third Ward is good for visitors of all ages, but is particularly well-suited for adults and teenagers who enjoy shopping, dining, and cultural attractions. The neighborhood is also popular with couples and groups of friends looking for a fun night out.

A good time to visit the Historic Third Ward is during the warmer months, from May through September, when the neighborhood hosts a variety of outdoor festivals and events.

The neighborhood is also beautiful during the holiday season, with festive lights and decorations adorning the streets and storefronts.

25. Brady Street

Brady Street is a historic street on the east side known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse mix of shops, restaurants, and bars.

You’ll find a mix of boutique shops and vintage stores that sell everything from clothing and accessories to home goods and gifts.

There are plenty of dining options on Brady Street, ranging from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. You’ll find cuisine from all over the world, including Italian, Mexican, Indian, and Thai.

Brady Street is also known for its nightlife, with plenty of bars and music venues that offer live music, karaoke, and DJ nights.

Brady Street hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Brady Street Festival, which features live music, food vendors, and a street market.

The area is best suited for adults and teenagers who are interested in shopping, dining, and nightlife.

While there are a few family-friendly options on Brady Street, it is primarily a destination for adults.

The best time to visit Brady Street is during the summer months when the weather is warm and the street is bustling with activity. However, the street is also charming during the winter months when it is decorated with holiday lights.

26. Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts is a world-class performing arts venue located along the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee.

It hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including Broadway shows, musicals, plays, dance performances, and concerts.

One of the unique features of the Marcus Center is its outdoor venue, the Peck Pavilion. During the summer months, the Peck Pavilion hosts a variety of free performances and events, including concerts, movies, and festivals.

The Marcus Center is an important cultural institution in Milwaukee, providing access to world-class performing arts to the local community and visitors to the city.

27. Avalon Atmospheric Theater

The Avalon Atmospheric Theater is a historic movie theater located in the Bay View neighborhood.

It was originally built in 1929 and has undergone several renovations over the years to preserve its unique features and charm.

What makes the Avalon Atmospheric Theater unique is its stunning interior design.

The theater was designed to look like an outdoor Spanish courtyard, complete with twinkling stars overhead and a beautiful painted sky on the ceiling.

The walls are adorned with intricate carvings and painted scenes of Spanish architecture, and there is a large, ornate balcony overlooking the main seating area.

If you’re a fan of movies or just appreciate beautiful architecture, a visit to the Avalon is definitely worth your time.

Check their website for information on showtimes and upcoming events.

28. The Oriental Theater

The Oriental Theater is a historic movie palace located in the East Side neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It was built in 1927 and is known for its ornate decor and Middle Eastern-inspired architecture, including intricate tile work and domed ceilings.

One of the unique features of the Oriental Theater is its dedication to showing a diverse range of films, including independent, foreign, and classic movies.

The theater is also home to the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which showcases new and exciting works from around the world.

It’s within walking distance to a variety of eclectic bars and restaurants.

29. Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park is a public park located in the Bay View neighborhood that is home to walking trails, a lagoon, a beer garden, and an amphitheater.

The park hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including the Chill on the Hill summer concert series and the Pumpkin Pavilion in the fall.

30. Bradley Symphony Center

The Bradley Symphony Center is a state-of-the-art performance venue located in downtown Milwaukee.

The center was completed in 2020 and serves as the new home for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Its stunning modern design and striking interior that incorporates natural light and acoustics creates a world-class concert experience.

If you are a music lover or interested in modern architecture, the Bradley Symphony Center is definitely worth a visit when in Milwaukee.

31. Central Library

This stunning library is one of the largest in the country and offers a variety of resources for visitors.

The library features a large collection of books, magazines, and other media, as well as free Wi-Fi, computer stations, and meeting spaces. Milwaukee Public Library

The library’s central rotunda is a stunning feature with an impressive domed ceiling.

The Betty Brinn Children’s Room at Central Library gives kids their very own separate area to explore.

There’s a lighthouse to climb, plenty of cozy reading alcoves, 30 computers, and special children’s book collections grouped together.

Fun Fact: The stained glass window in the Central Library Children’s Room is called the “Hans Christian Andersen Window”. It was designed by Marie Herndl in 1896, one of the only women in her field at the time. It was restored for the grand opening of the children’s room in 1998.

32. Milwaukee Fire Museum (Free!)

1615 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53215
1st Sunday of each month (April – December, excluding holidays) 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM or by appointment


The Milwaukee Fire Museum features a vintage bunk room, alarm area and fire officers office. It is one of five fire stations of this style built in 1927. The museum houses the first department ambulance, a 1947 Cadillac, plus two trucks built in the Milwaukee Fire Department Shop during the 1920’s and 30’s. The building also a vintage kitchen, locker room, and hose tower.

Read more about the Milwaukee Fire Museum >>

33. National Bobblehead Hall Of Fame & Museum

170 S. 1st St., 2nd Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53204

This one-of-a-kind museum houses the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads from all genres and periods, plus dozens of exhibits related to the history of bobbleheads, the making of bobbleheads, and more.

34. Old World Wisconsin

The Milwaukee area is home to several open-air museums, and Old World Wisconsin is crown jewel of them.

At Old World Wisconsin, families can walk through the 1870’s Crossroad Village, shop in the general store, watch the blacksmith work his craft, tour homes rom Irish and Yankee immigrants, learn about an early African-American community, take a lesson in the Raspberry School, explore immigrant homes, hop on a high-wheel bicycle, meet pigs, cows, horses, sheep, and chicken, and so much more.

The Wade House is another open-air museum in Greenish, Wisconsin. It’s a 240-acre Wisconsin historic site operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. 

35. The Hop Streetcar

 The Hop is Milwaukee’s very own modern street car system that operates in downtown Milwaukee.

It has several stops along its route, which includes the Historic Third Ward, the Milwaukee Public Market, and the Fiserv Forum.

Riding The Hop can be a convenient and efficient way to explore downtown Milwaukee and its attractions, especially if you don’t have a car or prefer not to drive. The streetcar also offers a unique perspective of the city and its architecture.

Here are 10 family-friendly destinations along the route, including Milwaukee City Hall, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, the Milwaukee Public Market, and more.

Keep an eye out for special events like Holidays on the Hop and Hop Summer Nights, when riders get a free popsicle and enjoy live music aboard the streetcar.

See all 21 Tours and Tastings in Milwaukee >>

36. Sculpture Milwaukee

Downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin Ave.

Sculpture Milwaukee is an annual outdoor sculpture exhibition that takes place in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It features large-scale contemporary sculptures from internationally renowned artists and is free and open to the public.

If you enjoy art and outdoor exhibitions, then Sculpture Milwaukee is definitely worth a visit. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see world-class sculptures in a public space, and it’s a great way to explore the city’s downtown area on foot.

The sculptures are located along Wisconsin Avenue, which is one of the city’s main thoroughfares, making it easy to access from many points in the downtown area.

Sculpture Milwaukee changes annually, so even if you’ve seen the exhibition before, it’s worth going back to see what new works are on display.

The exhibition typically runs from June through October, with some sculptures remaining on display for longer periods.

You can find a  particularly family-friendly section in O’Donnell Park near the Art Museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

Check out our special feature on how to do Sculpture Milwaukee with kids.

37. Black Cat Alley

Black Cat Alley is an outdoor street art gallery located in Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood. It features a collection of large-scale murals created by local and international artists.

Black Cat Alley Milwaukee Wisconsin

If you appreciate street art and are interested in exploring Milwaukee’s art scene, then Black Cat Alley is definitely worth a visit.

The murals are located in an alley between Kenilworth Place and Ivanhoe Place, and it’s a unique and colorful outdoor space to explore.

It’s also free and open to the public, making it an accessible attraction for visitors and locals alike.

In addition to the murals, Black Cat Alley is also located in a vibrant neighborhood that’s home to a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening exploring the area and taking in the local culture.

Besides Black Cat Alley, Milwaukee is home to some epic street art. Take a stroll around the city of to find some of these stunning Milwaukee murals.

Photo Credit: Abby Hoerchner/Milwaukee Bucks 

From the new enormous Giannis mural on Wisconsin Avenue to the iconic Mural of Peace in Walkers Point, the streets are bursting with color and creativity.

38. Lynden Sculpture Garden

2145 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53217

The Lynden Sculpture Garden is a sprawling property that provides a whimsical yet peaceful experience of art in nature.

cow sculptures at Lynden Sculpture Garden in River Hills Wisconsin
Lynden Sculpture Garden is a unique experience of art in nature.

The grounds of Lynden Sculpture Garden are currently open for walking at no charge.

Be sure to visit the bright polka dotted cows grazing along the pond (“Des Vaches: Mo, Ni, Que” by Swiss artist Samuel Buri), run around in the wide open spaces, explore magical trees the kids can hide inside of, and find frogs and turtles galore.

Remember to enjoy the sculptures with your eyes only. Don’t climb on them!

The 40 acre space makes it easy to keep a safe distance from others. The hours are 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m, and they are closed on Thursday.⠀

Discover more Milwaukee Gardens & Flower Farms >>

39. Grohmann Museum Rooftop Garden

Located on the Grohmann Museum on the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) campus, this rooftop garden features a dozen large, bronze statues of men at work – toiling in the field and foundry, heaving hammers or pinching molten metal with hot tongs.

rooftop sculpture garden at Grohmann Museum MSOE campus
Photo Credit: Facebook, @grohmannmuseum

Each sculpture is about 9 feet tall and weighs a thousand pounds. From their perch along the roofline, they have a commanding view of the city that was built on the hard work they depict. 

The Grohmann Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12.

40. Alice’s Garden Urban Farm

2136 N. 21st St, Milwaukee, WI 53205
(414) 687-0122

Alice’s Garden is a two-acre urban garden that is committed to wellness and community, and it sits on land that used to be a part of the Underground Railroad.

girl in urban Alice's Garden Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: alicesgardenmke.com

You can check their website for upcoming events such as yoga classes and movie nights, or you can drop by with your children and take a walk in the labyrinth. They also offer free movies for kids and families in the summer – check their Facebook page (or our Calendar) for dates and times!

41. Community Park at Summerfest

Henry Maier Festival Park, Enter Through Mid-Gate

The brand new Northwestern Mutual Community Park officially opened at Henry Maier Festival Park in June, 2021.

This entirely redeveloped entertainment space for families offers inclusive and accessible play for children ages 2 – 12 years of age, including those who may experience a variety of challenges. 

Community Park at Summerfest

Located adjacent to the Henry W. Maier Festival Grounds is access to Lakeshore state park trails, a small beach, and accessible paved trails that link to Milwaukee’s other lakefront parks and the Hank Aaron State Trail.

Check the Milwaukee World Festival’s website for current hours.

42. Harbor View Plaza

Great Lakes Research Facility, 600 E Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Harbor View Plaza is the first waterfront public park in the Harbor District, located at the east end of Greenfield Avenue in front of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. The Plaza opened in July 2019.

The plaza includes a play structure for children, a water play area and water feature, and a canoe/kayak launch and dock. The play structure is designed to look like the shipping containers synonymous with ports around the world.

Harbor view Plaza Milwaukee Wisconsin
Harbor View Plaza has a tall play structure with a great view of the Milwaukee River.

The water play area allows children to explore water flow and cool off on hot days. The canoe/kayak launch and dock allows visitors to get to the water’s edge and provides the only public canoe/kayak launch and docking south of the Milwaukee River in Milwaukee’s inner harbor.

It is the first major investment in what will eventually be a continuous network of Riverwalk and waterfront parks spanning much of the western shore of the Harbor District.

43. Safe House

Location: Top Secret
(Okay, okay, it’s 779 N. Front St., Milwaukee, WI 53202)

The Safe House, if you can find it and figure out how to pass the agent authorization process, is a unique experience for the whole family. 

Even the location of the spy-themed Safe House restaurant is top secret.

Your kids will love this spy-themed restaurant hidden downtown, where every turns presents interactive elements, spy technology, gadgets, and riddles. 

You’ll learn about 50 years of spy history and see the world’s largest puzzle wall. 

(Yes, cheese curds are on the menu.)

44. Zócalo Food Park

Milwaukee’s first and only food truck park, Zócalo has something for everybody.

Zocalo Food Park food trucks and vendors Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @ZocaloFoodPark

The name Zócalo is Spanish for “plaza” or “town square.” It’s a gathering place where everyone belongs.

The expansive patio is the perfect spot to snag a seat and enjoy some global cuisine.

45. Leon’s Frozen Custard Drive-in

3131 S. 27th St. , Milwaukee, WI 53215

Leon’s Frozen Custard is a Milwaukee institution that has been serving frozen custard since 1942.

The family-owned business is known for its creamy and delicious frozen custard, which is made fresh on-site using the original family recipe.

Leon's Frozen Custard Milwaukee Wisconsin

If you’re a fan of frozen desserts and are looking for a classic Milwaukee food experience, then Leon’s Frozen Custard is definitely worth a visit.

The custard is a local favorite and has been featured in numerous food publications and shows, including the Travel Channel’s “Food Wars.”

Leon’s Frozen Custard is also a classic drive-in with a vintage atmosphere. It’s a fun and nostalgic way to enjoy a frozen treat, and it’s a great place to visit with friends or family.

See more of our favorite Milwaukee custard and ice cream spots >>

46. Springs Water Park 

Ingleside Hotel, 2810 Golf Rd., Pewaukee, WI 53072

Over 45,000 square feet of water park adventures await you just outside of Milwaukee at The Springs Water Park. It’s one of 5 indoor water parks near Milwaukee.

Springs Water Park Pewaukee Wisconsin
Springs Water Park is the closest indoor water park to downtown Milwaukee.

Your family will love exploring the high-speed raft and body slides, the relaxing lazy river, activity pool with water basketball & lily pad rope walk, indoor and outdoor whirlpool, and interactive arcade. Don’t miss the the Triple Dog Dare, a 362 ft. long boat slide for up to three people.

For little kids, head to Waukesha Waterworks, a zero depth entry interactive area with a 600 gallon dump bucket, squirting water cannons, small water slides, water geysers, and more.

47. Manfred Olsen Planetarium

Tucked away inside the Physics building on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus is a hidden gem for families around Milwaukee.

The Manfred Olson Planetarium offers live, interactive programming for kids and families to learn more about the night sky and the cosmos.

It’s equipped with a Spitz A3P optomechanical projector that projects stars, planets, the Sun, and the Moon on the Planetarium’s 30-foot dome.

48. Bradford Beach

2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53211

A favorite of college students, Bradford Beach is bustling and boisterous. You can watch sand volleyball on any of the 35 courts, grab some shade in a tiki hut, or rent a cabana.

Bradford Beach Milwaukee Wisconsin
Bradford Beach is known for its festive atmosphere and volleyball tournaments.

There’s also a boat house building with convenient restrooms and a concession stand.

49. Holy Hill

Holy Hill is a popular attraction that you need to visit if you live in southeastern Wisconsin.

You can admire the beautiful architecture of the neo-Romanesque church built in 1926, enjoy the peaceful environment and expansive views, and even climb the scenic tower.

Once you get to the top, the view is absolutely incredible.

The paths leading through the forest and up to the church are especially magical in October, when all the leaves turn golden yellow.

See all 9 Best Views in Milwaukee >>

50. Seven Bridges Trail

100 S. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172

“Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature.”

This message, written on a sign atop a covered bridge, welcomes you to the Seven Bridges Trail in Grant Park. So it’s no wonder that there are rumors the trail is haunted.

Grant Park Milwaukee Wisconsin

The good news? If you head there during the day, there’s nothing spooky about it.

The trail runs along a babbling creek, and leads all the way down to Lake Michigan, where you’ll find a beautiful beach. 

To get there, enter Grant Park at South Lake Drive and Park Avenue, and travel about 1/8 mile. On your left you will find parking spaces with a path leading to the trail’s main entrance.

Milwaukee is a vibrant and diverse midwestern gem with something to offer everyone.

From its world-class museums and art galleries to its historic neighborhoods and outdoor attractions, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this great city.

These are just a few of the best attractions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you’re looking for more options, check out the 100 Best Things To Do in Milwaukee With Kids.

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