By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jul 06, 2023 at 7:56 AM

Festival City is hopping this summer! OnMilwaukee's Festival Guide is brought to you by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Escape the heat and step inside! 

Summerfest is ... oh wow, it's no more days away! It's now! Over the past several weeks and months, they've announced all their performers, admission promos, special experiences, new foods and then some. 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 shuttles

Rejoice! Milwaukee County Transit Service bus shuttles to Summerfest have returned!

For the first time since 2019, the two Milwaukee institutions have teamed back up to help get you to the Big Gig with two park-and-ride shuttles – one at College Avenue, the other at Brown Deer Park – taking off approximately every half-hour from their designated locations and dropping off attendees right at Henry Maier Festival Park's midgate. Starting at 11:30 a.m. and running until 12:30 a.m., 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 payment options, and for more information on the MCTS Summerfest shuttles, click here.)


For another MCTS option down to the lakefront, try out the new CONNECT 1 BRT line, running every 10-15 minutes from the park-and-ride at Watertown Plank Road to the corner of Wisconsin and Van Buren – just a short walk over to 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. – and best of all, this option will be free for Summerfest riders throughout the festival. 

MCTS buses 

None of those special routes hitting the spot? No worries; several of MCTS's regular 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, Route 15 and Route 18 (as well as the Brown Deer Park park-and-ride shuttle). Wandering in from the west? Hop aboard Route 18 and Route 30, or the CONNECT 1 line. And as for shuttling in from south of the Summerfest grounds? Bounce on the GreenLine, Route 15 and Route 18, or try the College Avenue park-and-ride shuttle. 

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 3 a.m. until 2 a.m. on weekdays as well as 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays, the GreenLine hits stops at Bayshore, UWM, Walker's Point, Humboldt Park and the airport before dropping folks off in the Third Ward on North Water Street. 

Route 14 

Jetting from approximately 4:30 a.m. until midnight on weekdays along with 6 a.m. until midnight on Saturdays, Route 14 stops at destinations in Bayshore, Whitefish Bay, Riverwest, Shorewood and the lower East Side before hitting its drop-off point at Cass and Wisconsin. 

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 and 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 18 and 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

The Hop

Hop on The Hop for another great way to get to the Big Gig 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

Bublr Bikes

Why use four wheels when 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 the entire time. For a list of Bublr station locations and for more information on how to rent a bike, click here

Bar shuttles

If you're interested in pregaming before heading to the grounds, there are a ton of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.