By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jul 13, 2024 at 12:01 PM

The Great Milwaukee Summer is HERE! Your guide to what you'll be doing, where you'll be drinking, who you'll be hearing and how you'll be getting a sweet tan this summer is on OnMilwaukee. The Great Milwaukee Summer guide is brought to you by Geis Garage Doors and Peoples State Bank

Looking for fun stuff to do in and around Milwaukee for kids of all ages? From smelling the roses at Boerner Botanical Gardens to visiting Old World Wisconsin, this list is chock full of suggestions, both popular and lesser-known, to keep you and your little ones entertained all year long.

Read on – and have a blast this Great Milwaukee Summer!

Partner Pick

Optimist Theatre Presents: Shakespeare in the City Watch free, live, professionally-produced performances from several companies in neighborhood green spaces throughout the greater Milwaukee area, including:
  • Hamlet, by Optimist Theatre, a one-woman, 100% Shakespeare production starring Milwaukee’s very own Libby Amato.
  • Another Midsummer Night’s Dream, by Available Players, an original piece written and directed by Milwaukee playwright Liz Shipe.
  • The Comedy of Romeo and Juliet: Kinda Sorta, by Schmitz ’n Giggles Shakesparody Players, this triumphant return is written and directed by Patrick Schmitz.
  • Macbeth by Pocket Park Puppet Players, as can only be accomplished by puppets. Puppets with knives.
PLUS: Optimist will also present Shakespeare-focused theatre games and workshops with The PLAY’s the Thing. Find out more
  1. Visit the Domes
  2. Make friends with the animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo
  3. See a big movie or sit under the stars at the Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome Theater & Planetarium
  4. Make the second rattlesnake rattle at Milwaukee Public Museum 
  5. Discover art at the Milwaukee Art Museum
  6. Smell the roses at the Boerner Botanical Gardens
  7. Pedal a swan paddleboat on the Veterans Park lagoon
  8. Make a splash at one of Milwaukee County Parks pools or splash pads
  9. Explore the Betty Brinn Children's Museum
  10. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to have a family-friendly lunch at the Safe House (Make sure you know the password!)
  11. Enjoy a play for all ages at First Stage Milwaukee
  12. Discover something unusual at American Science and Surplus
  13. Get the perfect yo-yo at Art Smart's Dart Mart & Juggling Emporium
  14. Watch the roasters at Colectivo Coffee on Humboldt
  15. Go fly a kite at the lakefront with the help of Gift of Wings
Gift of Wings
PHOTO: Gift of Wings Facebook
X
  1. Play laser tag at Kids In Motion
  2. Cool off, strap on skates and take to the ice at the Pettit National Ice Center
  3. Crawl through the play tubes during a ballgame at American Family Insurance Field
  4. Slide into the Springs Water Park inside the Ingleside Hotel
  5. Drive your parents crazy by taking them to Chuck E. Cheese's
  6. Feed fish and other aquarium life at the Urban Ecology Center 
  7. Eat a slice of apple pie – a fall favorite, delicious in any season! – at the Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago
  8. Get airborne at the Wauwatosa Skate Park
  9. Enjoy story time at one of the Milwaukee Public Libraries
  10. Roller skate at Skateland
  11. Rock out at The Lil Gig, featuring kid-friendly fun at the Northwestern Mutual Community Park during Summerfest 
Northwestern Mutual Community Park
PHOTO: Dan Garcia
X
  1. Take a walk on the Milwaukee River Trails
  2. Ride the East Troy Electric Railroad
  3. Step back in time at Trimborn Farm & Curtin House
  4. See a family-friendly flick at one of Milwaukee's movie theaters
  5. Watch the planes take off at Timmerman Field
  6. Cruise Lake Michigan on the Denis Sullivan, the world's only recreation of a 19th century sailing vessel
  7. Skip rocks on Pewaukee Lake
  8. See how the other half lived at The Pabst Mansion
  9. Visit Villa Terrace and pretend you're in Italy
  10. Commune with nature at the Riveredge Nature Center
  11. Venture around a free open-air art gallery scattered all around Downtown with Sculpture Milwaukee
  12. Get a taste of farm life at Green Meadows Farm in East Troy
  13. Kick it at a soccer game with the Milwaukee Torrent 

Partner Pick

Make this summer your masterpiece On the lakefront and in the galleries, come face to face with art that tells stories, sparks creativity, and brings you closer together. Start planning your visit at mam.org
  1. Check out how Wisconsin residents lived in the 1800s at Pioneer Village
  2. See how root beer is made at Sprecher Brewery
  3. Cheer on the pig races and all the other animals at the Wisconsin State Fair
  4. Volunteer at the Wisconsin Humane Society or simply visit to check out the cute, fluffy, four-legged creatures
  5. Feed the geese at the Veterans Park lagoon (but no bread, please)
  6. Hike on the wooded paths at Lake Park
  7. Learn about nature at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
  8. See what frontier life was like at Old World Wisconsinin Eagle 
  9. Take a tour of the city with The Hop
  10. Bike the Hank Aaron State Trail
  11. Hit the links with a few holes on Milwaukee's golf courses

Partner Pick

Gift of Wings Buy and fly a kite from Milwaukee’s full service kite & aviation store. Gift of Wings produces many kite festivals and free movie nights throughout the year. Find out more
  1. Bowl a few games at Bay View Bowl or Koz's Mini Bowl
  2. Jump in the lake and play on the cool equipment at Atwater Beach
  3. Grab a bucket and go fishing with dad
  4. Explore the city's landmarks big and small, famous and hidden, during Doors Open Milwaukee
  5. Rock out at Bayshore's Sounds of Summer or one of the city's other glorious free summer music series
Bayshore Sounds of Summer
PHOTO: Bayshore
X
  1. Enjoy Pete's Pops on a hot day (but quickly before it melts!) 
  2. Stroll along the Riverwalk and see the big neon fish
  3. Try out Adventure Rock and their impressive climbing wall
  4. Savor the flavor of the day at Kopp's or one of the city's many tasty custard options

Partner Pick

Take a GIANT dinosaur-sized step back in time! Stop by Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) July 22 through August 17, 2024, for four weeks of dino-themed programming! You’ll have the chance to examine real dinosaur fossils, think like a paleontologist, and learn how these amazing creatures lived through fun activities, events, and online resources. Learn more
  1. A regular golf course too big for the kiddos? Go miniature golfing instead!
  2. Enjoy an outdoor movie right by the lake with Gift of Wings summer family movie series
  3. Picnic among the art at Lynden Sculpture Garden
  4. Plant a garden
  5. Take a bite of history with a stop at the Old World sausage shop at Usinger's
  6. Share Milwaukee history at the Forest Home Cemetery
  7. Shop and savor the Downtown atmosphere at one of the city's Night Markets
Night Market
PHOTO: Visit Milwaukee
X
  1. Chase butterflies at the Wehr Nature Center
  2. Connect with a curveball at a batting cage
  3. Drive up to Leon's for a burger and fries, '50s style!
  4. Take a one-tank getaway somewhere close to Milwaukee – but far enough to still feel like an adventure
  5. Look to the sky to see the Air & Water Show above the lake this July
  6. Sample step dancing at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center
  7. Cheer on the Brewers (and the racing sausages) at American Family Field
  8. Find a treasure at the Mars Cheese Castle
  9. Experience major-league-level fun at a Lakeshore Chinooks baseball game
  10. Learn something new at Discovery World
  11. Have fun and a feast with the games and eateries inside 3rd Street Market Hall
  12. Cool off in style at Bear Paw Adventure Park with a water park, adventure activities and more
Bear Paw Beach Park
PHOTO: Bear Paw Beach Facebook
X
  1. Brush up on Milwaukee's story at the Milwaukee County Historical Society
  2. Take a class at Danceworks
  3. Explore an island at Lakeshore State Park
  4. Celebrate a Rainbow Summer with the Marcus Center with art, music, vendors and more running July 23-27
  5. Request your favorite song (with a tasty slice) at Organ Piper Pizza
  6. Take in a movie under the stars at a drive-in theater
  7. Take a scuba lesson at Port Deco Diversin Port Washington
  8. Join the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
  9. Marvel at the falls in Menomonee Falls
  10. Go horseback riding in Ozaukee County
  11. If you can't catch Giannis for a selfie at Fiserv Forum or Barnacle Bud's, snap one in front of his giant Downtown mural 
Giannis mural
PHOTO: Dan Garcia
X
  1. Have fun both young and old at one of Milwaukee's friendly beer gardens
  2. Learn about maritime history at the Port Exploreum in Port Washington
  3. "Ride" a Harley and more at the Harley-Davidson Museum 
  4. Head back to the past with a visit during Renaissance Faire, beginning July 6
  5. Take a tour of the post office
  6. See a family-friendly concert or performance at one of the city's many stages
  7. Take music lessons at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
  8. Climb to the top of the steeple (and earn a slice of their famous pie) at Holy Hill
  9. Figure out which of the new cream puff flavors are the best at the Wisconsin State Fair – or just stick with an old classic on-a-stick.
  10. Go back in time at Old Falls Village Museum
  11. Mooooooo-ve it on over to a Milwaukee Milkmen baseball game