By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jul 04, 2024 at 9:56 AM

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

Summerfest is ... oh wow, it's today! Over the past several weeks and months, they've announced all their performers, admission promos, new foods and, sure, a giant glowing cornfield too. The only thing left now? Actually getting to the Big Gig – quite literally.

Want to make sure you don't miss even the opener to the opener? And make sure you're not getting home well after the band and crew's already cleaned the stage and hit the road to the next stop? Here's a guide to transportation options to and from Summerfest this summer – from buses to bikes and beyond. (And if you're doing your own driving, check out the Big Gig's own recommended driving routes and parking tips.)

MCTS Summerfest shuttles

Last year, for the first time since 2019, Summerfest and MCTS teamed up to bring two of their Big Gig park-and-ride shuttles back. Well, good news: Not only are both of those shuttles returning for 2024, but there's a third MCTS shuttle joining the transportation bill as well.

For 2024, Summerfest and MCTS will have three bus shuttles: the College Avenues shuttle, the Brown Deer Park option and, back in action this year, the Hales Corners park-and-ride bus. Beignning at 11:30 a.m. and running until 12:30 a.m., the shuttles will take off approximately every half-hour from their designated locations and drop off attendees right at Henry Maier Festival Park's midgate. Round-trip service costs $10 for riders ages 12 and up as well as $5 for kids, seniors over 65 and those with disabilities.

(Pro tip: Payment is cashless on the shuttles. For a full lineup of payment options, and for more information on the MCTS Summerfest shuttles, click here.)


For another MCTS option down to the lakefront, try out the CONNECT 1 BRT line, zipping approximately every 10-15 minutes from the park-and-ride at Watertown Plank Road down to its new final Downtown destination at the Couture on the corner of Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive – pretty much right at the doorstep of the Big Gig grounds. The line will run on weekdays from 4:35 a.m. until 1:39 a.m. as well as on Saturdays from 4:45 a.m. until 2:15 a.m. – with more buses in service on Saturdays, running every ten minutes. Rides will cost just $2 each way as well as $1 for kids, seniors and those with disabilities; for more information on payment options and its general route schedule, click here

MCTS buses 

None of those special routes hitting the spot? No worries; several of the regular MCTS bus routes will also still be in action and still be able to bring you close to the concerts.

Coming from the north? Summerfest recommends snagging the GreenLine or Route 15 (as well as the Brown Deer Park park-and-ride shuttle). Wandering in from the west? Hop aboard Route 18, Route 30 or the CONNECT 1 line – or hail down the new Hales Corners park-and-ride shuttle. And as for scooting in from south of the Summerfest grounds? Bounce on the GreenLine, Route 15 and Route 18, or try shuttling in from the College Avenue or Hales Corners park-and-rides. 

For more help, here are several regular routes that will get you close enough to make transportation a cost-effective breeze – just $2 for a 90-minute fare for those 12 and up, $1 for kids and seniors. 


Running from around 4 a.m. until 2 a.m. on weekdays as well as 4 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays, the GreenLine hits stops at Bayshore, UWM, Downtown, Bay View and the airport before dropping folks off in the Third Ward on Water Street at either Chicago Street or St. Paul Avenue.

Route 15 

Wheeling from 3 a.m. until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays, Route 15 hits locales like Riverwest, MSOE, Bay View, Cudahy, South Milwaukee and Downtown before letting off Summerfest attendees on North Water Street in the Third Ward. 

Route 18

Zipping from 4 a.m. until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 5 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays, Route 18 will pick up passengers Greenfield and National avenues en route Downtown, dropping off attendees on North Water Street in the Third Ward. 

Route 30

Running from 4 a.m. until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays, both Route 30 will snag passengers up on Sherman Boulevard south of Mill Road, around Washington Park, UWM and Downtown before dropping them off around Summerfest at Wisconsin and Jackson. 

For more bus tips and information, as well as real-time bus tracking, check out MCTS's website

Bublr Bikes

Why use four wheels when just two will work quite nicely? Bublr Bikes are a Brew City staple, with bike stations found around the entire city. It's the perfect way to get to and from the Big Gig while enjoying the gorgeous summer weather – and convincing yourself the ride qualifies as enough exercise to balance out ordering an extra sampler platter. For a list of Bublr station locations and for more information on how to rent a bike, click here

The Hop

The Hop will be hopping for Summerfest this year, as the streetcar will expand its footprint for the festival with a special line running until 1 a.m. each night all the way down to the lakefront station near the Big Gig's north gate entrance. It's another great way to get to Summerfest from all sorts of Downtown neighborhoods and locales – and as an added bonus, it's free to ride, so you can spend that cash down on the grounds rather than in the process of getting there. For information on routes, stops and arrival info, click here

Bar shuttles

If you're interested in pregaming before your main acts on the grounds, there are a ton of area bars that offer transportation to and from the festival. 

  • The Belmont Tavern – 784 N. Jefferson St.
  • Caffrey's Pub – 717 N. 16th St.
  • Camp Bar Wauwatosa – 6600 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa
  • Clementine's Tavern – 3143 S. Clement Ave.
  • Dale Z's – 3585 S. Howell Ave.
  • Fat Daddy's – 120 W. National Ave.
  • Gingerz – 3915 S. Howell Ave.
  • Izzy Hops – 2311 N. Murray Ave.
  • Jack's American Pub – 1323 E. Brady St.
  • Jersey's – 4024 S. Howell Ave.
  • King Pins Spirits – 4102 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • McBob's – 4919 W. North Ave.
  • Milwaukee Brat House – 1013 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr.
  • Milwaukee Brat House (Shorewood) – 4022 N. Oakland Ave.
  • Murphy's Irish Pub – 1613 W. Wells St.
  • The Newport – 939 E. Conway St.
  • O'lydia's – 338 S. 1st St.
  • Patti's Power Plant - 2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Paulie's Pub – 8031 W. Greenfield Ave.
  • Redbar – 2245 E. St. Francis Ave.
  • Spirits – 922 Milwaukee Ave.
  • Spitfire's – 5018 W. State St.
  • Steny's – 800 S. 2nd St.
  • Uncle Buck's – 1125 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr.
  • Vier North – 1832 E. North Ave.
  • Who's on Third – 1007 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr.
  • The Wisconsin Club – 900 W. Wisconsin Ave.
  • WurstBar – 1239 E. Brady St.

Ride sharing

Utilizing Uber? Lobbying for a Lyft? For those snagging a ride-share to and from Summerfest these upcoming few weekends, the designated pickup and dropoff point near the grounds is found outside the north gate to Henry Maier Festival Park, around North Harbor Drive. 

For even more transportation advice – including parking tips and driving directions with all the usual summer construction – check out Summerfest's get-around guide. And as for everything going on inside the grounds once you get there, click here for all of OnMilwaukee's Summerfest coverage.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.