Ready for an adventure in downtown Milwaukee?
The Hop streetcar is a fun and safe option for exploring the city, and it’s an experience both you and your kids can enjoy.
(And it’s free to ride!)
With its colorful and spacious cars, accessible platforms, and convenient stops, The Hop is designed to accommodate riders of all ages and abilities.
In fact, along the route, you’ll find a variety of engaging and family-friendly destinations that are sure to keep everyone entertained.
From interactive museums to outdoor play areas and delicious treats, The Hop offers easy access to it all.
In this blog post, we’ve handpicked 10 of the best kid-friendly destinations along the streetcar’s route that are perfect for families.
Your only challenge now will be to pick which stop to visit first.
So hop on board and explore!
Boarding The Hop
You can board The Hop at any of the stops along the route.
Streetcars arrive every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off peak hours and on weekends.
The Hop operates Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you want to start at the beginning of the north and southbound routes, begin at the Intermodal Station on St. Paul Avenue or Burns Commons on the East Side.
Here are 10 kid-friendly stops in order from north to south (boarding at Burns Commons).
1. Cathedral Square Park
Get off The Hop at the Cathedral Square stop to explore this scenic park.
Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, it’s a beautiful and vibrant public space that offers plenty of fun and entertainment for families with kids.
In the summer, the park is home to the Cathedral Square Market on Saturday mornings, Jazz in the Park in the evenings, and the French-themed Bastille Days festival in July.
Your kids can climb on the playground, have a picnic, or you can explore art installations that often pop up in the park, like the recent Lightfield exhibit.
In the winter, the park is home to a bright red Santa’s Mailbox, a giant Christmas tree, and festive holiday decorations.
Plus, with its proximity to some of Milwaukee’s yummiest restaurants, Cathedral Square Park makes for a perfect day out with the family.
Walk a couple of blocks north to visit Discourse: a Liquid Workshop.
2. Classy Girl Cupcakes
Speaking of food, Classy Girl Cupcakes is located on Jefferson St. facing Cathedral Square Park.
If you have a sweet tooth, you simply can’t miss it.
This delightful bakery specializes in handcrafted, gourmet cupcakes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. From classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate to creative and seasonal varieties, there’s a cupcake for every taste bud.
But Classy Girl Cupcakes is more than just a bakery – it’s an experience.
With its whimsical decor, friendly staff, and cozy seating area, this spot is the perfect place for a special treat.
3. City Hall
Next, hop off the streetcar at the City Hall stop.
Milwaukee’s City Hall is not only a stunning architectural masterpiece, but also a fascinating destination for families with curious kids.
Located in the heart of downtown, this historic building boasts a 393-foot clock tower that offers sweeping views of the city and Lake Michigan.
(The Solomon Juneau Bell weighs over 22,000 pounds!)
When the building opening in 1895, it was the largest occupied structure on the planet, and it remained that way for four years.
Built in Flemish Renaissance style, the building has a unique “lozenge” shape, rather than the typical squares or circles of other city halls, and intricate mosaic tiling.
It took 8 million bricks to construct this amazing building!
You can take the elevator to the top floor to see the glass atrium roof up close and walk the well-worn stairs.
If you want to tour the clock tower, you can go on a free public tour.
See all 21 Milwaukee Tours and Tastings >>
4. Grohmann Rooftop Garden
About 3 blocks north of City Hall is the Grohmann Museum, located on the campus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
It houses a vast collection of art and artifacts dedicated to the theme of ‘Man at Work’, from intricate metal sculptures and vibrant oil paintings to vintage tools and machinery.
Milwaukee’s Grohmann Museum is not only home to a fascinating collection of art and artifacts dedicated to the theme of ‘Man at Work,’ but it also offers a beautiful and serene rooftop garden.
Located on the top floor of the museum, the garden boasts stunning views of the city skyline and a lush variety of plants and flowers that make for a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
See all 24 Gardens and Flowers Farms Around Milwaukee >>
5. Bronze Fonz
Just a .4 mile walk from City Hall is the famous Bronze Fonz statue, located on the famous Milwaukee River Walk.
This iconic statue of the Happy Days character, Arthur Fonzarelli, is a beloved landmark and a fun photo opportunity for kids and adults alike.
Located near the intersection of Wells and Water streets, the Bronze Fonz is easily accessible and makes for a great pit stop during a walk along the river.
Plus, it’s free!
Take a moment to admire the detailed sculpture and snap a photo with the “thumbs up” sign, just like the Fonz himself.
It’s a great way to pay homage to one of Milwaukee’s most famous TV characters and create a lasting memory with your family.
Here are 5 tips for exploring the Milwaukee Riverwalk with kids >>
Just steps from the Bronze Fonz, hidden in a discrete alleyway, is the Safehouse.
This spy-themed restaurant and bar is sure to delight kids and adults alike with its secret entrance, spy-themed decor, and interactive experiences.
Your little spies will love entering the SafeHouse through a secret door disguised as a bookcase and exploring the restaurant’s secret passageways and hidden rooms.
The menu offers kid-friendly options like chicken tenders and mac and cheese, and adults can enjoy a wide selection of cocktails and dishes.
Plus, the SafeHouse offers interactive experiences like solving puzzles and completing missions while you wait for your food.
It’s a fun and memorable way to spend an afternoon or evening with the whole family.
See all 30 kid-friendly Milwaukee restaurants >>
7. Betty Brinn Children’s Museum / Art Museum
If you hop off the streetcar at Wisconsin Avenue, you can walk a few blocks east to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.
This award-winning museum, located in the heart of downtown, offers a hands-on, interactive learning experience that is both fun and educational.
With over 17,000 square feet of exhibit space, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum offers a wide range of exhibits and activities that are designed to spark the imagination and curiosity of young minds.
From building blocks and puzzles to science experiments and pretend play, there’s something to engage and delight children of all ages.
The Art Museum is also close by. You can watch the wings open and close, listen to Storytime in the Gallery, or stop by the Kohls Art Studio to make your very own project inspired by the exhibits.
8. Sculpture Milwaukee
Also along Wisconsin Avenue, you’ll find interesting sculptures that are a part of Sculpture Milwaukee.
Sculpture Milwaukee is a free outdoor sculpture exhibition that stretches along Wisconsin Avenue, showcasing the work of world-renowned artists from around the globe.
From abstract steel structures to playful animal sculptures, there’s a wide variety of artwork to discover and enjoy.
And the best part?
Exploring Sculpture Milwaukee with kids is a fun and engaging way to introduce your kids to the world of art and creativity.
Explore Sculpture Milwaukee With Kids >>
9. Milwaukee Public Market
This beloved local destination offers a wide range of culinary delights, artisanal products, and interactive activities for visitors of all ages.
With plenty of options for both picky eaters and adventurous foodies, the Milwaukee Public Market is a great place to introduce your kids to new flavors and ingredients, while also indulging in some classic favorites like tacos and smoothies.
“On the Bus” is a vegan food stall located inside the Milwaukee Public Market. This vendor offers a variety of plant-based options such as sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. However, what sets “On the Bus” apart is their unique and eye-catching checkout area – a refurbished vintage bus.
You can also get hot cocoa from Anodyne Coffee and do some people watching in the seating area on the upper level.
In addition to its diverse selection of food vendors, the market also hosts a variety of events and workshops throughout the year, from cooking classes to live music performances, and a gingerbread house competition!
10. Stone Creek Coffee Tour
Hop off the Street at the southern-most stop, the Intermodal Station and head over the Stone Creek Coffee for a treat or a tour.
Learn about the history of Stone Creek Coffee, see the farm-to-cup coffee journey up close, and get a behind-the-scenes look at their 1880’s factory. Learn more about coffee while you tour the green storage area, roasting facility, cupping lab, learning lab, and outside the bakery.
There will also be plenty of free coffee and some bakery treats to taste.
Tours take place every Sunday (excluding major holidays) at noon and 2 p.m., and you can sign up for them online.
See all 21 Milwaukee Tours and Tastings >>
Riding the Hop streetcar in Milwaukee is a great way to explore the city with your family.
With so many kid-friendly stops along the way, there’s no shortage of fun things to do and see.
From visiting Milwaukee landmarks and museums, to having tasty treats along the way, the streetcar route offers something for everyone.
For more information and to plan your trip, head to thehopmke.com.
Calie Herbst, Editor-in-Chief of Milwaukee With Kids, has spent over a decade combining her experiences as a parent of three to create a hub for Milwaukee’s family adventures.
Her decade-long teaching career in Milwaukee Public Schools and academic background, including a Master’s in Teaching from Marquette University and dual B.A.s in Sociology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, fuel her passion for inclusive and engaging family content.
Calie is also a recognized voice in local media, contributing to WISN Channel 12 News, WTMJ Wisconsin Morning News, Fox 6’s Real Milwaukee, and B93.3.