By Danielle Stobb Editorial Assistant Published Mar 12, 2015 at 6:03 PM

Stay in Milwaukee, save money, have fun. It’s as simple as that. Call me a tourist in my own city, but I believe Milwaukee has a lot to offer when looking for something affordable to do. So affordable that a broke intern won’t feel guilty participating. Here is a list of 10 local money saving swaps for entertainment and fun.  

1. Swap: Visit to France for Bastille Days

Traveling abroad to France is expensive – too expensive for a broke intern. Bastille Days is the perfect bite sized bit of French culture that comes to Milwaukee every summer. I like to satisfy my sweet tooth on sugar coated beignets and chocolate strawberry crepes. Local choirs perform French songs as chalk artists decorate sidewalks with brilliant designs, and a replica of the Eiffel Tower creates the perfect photo opportunity. The event is free, but a beignet and crepe will set you back about $15.

2. Swap: Water parks for Bradford Beach

Forget spending money on tickets to Wisconsin’s Largest Water Park this summer. Milwaukee’s Bradford Beach is free and open to the public. Soak up some sun, catch a few waves, join a volleyball team or watch local women compete for the title of Miss Bradford Beach. There’s always something to do. I like to relax in the sand with a gossip magazine or play a few games of volleyball before my competitiveness gets the best of me. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

3. Swap: Road trip for The Domes

Visiting The Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) is like traveling across the country in one afternoon. You get the sandy desert of Arizona, the tropical breeze of Florida and the gardens of New Jersey. Each dome is monitored at appropriate climates to house unique plant life found in the desert, tropics and gardens. I never knew there were so many different types of cacti, nor had I seen a banana tree before visiting. Students can get in for $5 with a photo ID.

4. Swap: Barnes & Noble for Downtown Books

I’ve mentioned that I have a type-A personality and create many to-do lists. Another list I like to keep is a to-read list. Downtown Books offers secondhand books at an affordable college student price. Hello five dollar classics! They also do buybacks for store credit or cash. So if you’re looking to save money on the latest best seller, or earn money to buy groceries for the week, ignore Barnes & Noble and hit up Downtown Books. 

5. Swap: Thirsty Thursday for tour of MillerCoors or Lakefront Brewery

Going out on the weekends can do some serious damage to a wallet, unless you’re like me and prefer a tall frosty mug of water. Instead of hitting up the bars for drinks, try the MillerCoors Brewery Tour and save some bucks. MillerCoors is just one of the many Milwaukee breweries that make up the beer capital of the world. The tours are free and so are the samples. If you don’t mind spending a little money, Lakefront Brewery offers $8 tours with four free beers and a collectable glass.

6. Swap: Art class for Milwaukee Art Museum

As much as I enjoyed my recent trip to Splash Studio, Milwaukee Art Museum’s Free First Thursday is a cheaper way to enjoy the local art culture. No matter how many times I visit the art museum there’s always something new I take away from it. My favorite has to be the suitcase with mysterious feet, but the creepy realistic janitor might come in a close second.

7. Swap: Boat cruise for North Point Lighthouse

Each fall I participate in UWM’s Panther Prowl 5k, a fundraiser for student scholarships. The course takes runners/walkers through Lake Park past the North Point Lighthouse. While passing the lighthouse this year, I thought, what a tremendous view of the lake must be from the top. So instead of buying tickets for a boat cruise, check out the water with $5 North Point tickets.

8. Swap: Gym membership for Riverwalk

The Riverwalk is my favorite place to take a break from homework and stretch my legs. The scenic path along the water leads around downtown restaurants, a vintage red telephone booth, and the forever famous Bronze Fonz! I realize a gym membership offers a wide range of equipment, so if you’re seeking a more challenging workout, try running stairs at Atwater Beach or paths through Lake Park.

9. Swap: Lollapalooza for Summerfest

Summerfest is the perfect concert for a broke intern! General admission tickets are under $20 compared to one-day passes at Lollapalooza for $100. With the extra money saved on tickets, one could take a break from the music and try paddleboating for $8 or a zipline ride for $5 or munch on some buttery grilled corn.

10. Swap: Movie rentals for UWM Union Theater

Renting movies is already an appropriate swap to traditional movie theaters, but if you’re looking to avoid fees altogether, the UWM Union Theater is free and open to the public. Usually the films shown at this theater are experimental or independent, so it’s worth the visit to see something a little out of the ordinary.