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Come out and enjoy the vendors and performers at NEWaukee's night market each month.

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Any day of the week, head out and get your produce from one of Milwaukee's many farmers markets.

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Don't forget to head to State Fair in August! While you're there, make sure to grab a cream puff!

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Rent a Bublr Bike and explore the city!

100 things to do in Milwaukee this summer



Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on June 21, 2017 at 1:56 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.


Looking for a way to get out and enjoy summer with your friends and family? We have ideas. From eating at a restaurant with a great patio view to enjoying local festivals to exploring the many outdoor attractions around town and more, here's everything you need for a great Milwaukee summer.

Check it out and enjoy your fun-filled summer!

  1. Get a burger from Nite Owl: Satisfy your taste buds with a burger from one of the best burger joints around. Known for their generous portions and '50s era atmosphere, Nite Owl is a classic. Read more about the drive-in here.

  1. Kayaking on Milwaukee River in boats rented from the Urban Ecology Center: Don't feel like lugging around a kayak? Then rent one from the Urban Ecology Center. All you have to do is take a water safety course and become a member ($35, $45 for families, $30 for students) and leave a deposit of $5.

  1. Hit the Newaukee Night Market: See impressive works of art from local artists while eating good grub at the Newaukee Night Market. The market is held four Wednesdays during the summer months and is a must for all of those who want to experience Milwaukee.

  1. Estabrook Park Beer Garden: Enjoy a cold brew, a Bavarian pretzel and a pleasant view at the historic Estabrook Beer Garden. Estabrook was the first beer garden opened post prohibition. Of course, now there are several beer gardens around town, each with something different – and delicious – to offer, so check out a list of all your options here.

  1. Volleyball leagues on the beach: Join a volleyball league today to show off your superior spiking skills while taking in the scenic Lake Michigan. If you can't make it to the beach, there's also a variety of other parks where you can join a league.

  1. Sail at Milwaukee Sailing Center: See Lake Michigan from a whole new perspective when you learn how to sail onto the great lake. The Milwaukee Sailing Center will help you to develop the skill for this fun recreation.

  1. Edelweiss boat cruise: Grab a drink and relax while voyaging down the Lake Michigan shoreline and Milwaukee River.

  1. Drinks along the Riverwalk: Sip a beer, ale or cocktail while making your way down the picturesque Milwaukee Riverwalk. Don't know where to go? Check out our Third Ward bar guide.

  1. Milwaukee Kite festival followed by 3rd of July Fireworks: Keep the celebration going all day by first watching tons of kites soar in the sky, and at night, be ready to ooh and aah at the spectacular fireworks show.

  1. Moonlight Paddles on the Milwaukee River: Join the Milwaukee Kayak Company on the water at dusk with only the light of the moon to guide your way. This one would be perfect for a date night, or just for you and a friend! Read Molly's take on the experience here.

  1. Patio dining at Twisted Fisherman: There's nothing quite like a dinner on a summer evening in Milwaukee, and the patio at Twisted Fisherman is perfect for just that. If you're not feeling seafood, feel free to check our outdoor dining guide to find your perfect al fresco meal.

  1. Pedal Tavern: Most people would assume that operating machinery and consuming alcohol do not go hand in hand, but that's not the case for the Pedal Tavern. Feel free to bike and drink at your leisure when you're riding with Pedal Tavern!

  1. Jazz in the Park: Who doesn't love live music in a beautiful park on a Thursday night? Throw in a bottle of wine as well, and you've got yourself a lovely evening. Hit up Jazz in the Park every Thursday this summer for some smooth jazz in a beautiful setting!

  1. Local Motives music series at Iron Horse: Grab a seat the historic Iron Horse Hotel to enjoy Wisconsin-themed cocktails and drinks alongside excellent live music. Take a look at our free music series guide for more information!

  1. Go see the Latin Performance Series at Colectivo: Try out something new by heading to Colectivo on the Lakefront to watch the Latin Performance Series during one of the many shows available this summer. Best of all, it's free!

  1. Shop at a farmers market: The summer months are perfect for picking up fresh produce at the farmers market, and Milwaukee has some of the best around. Whether you're looking for ripe tomatoes or handmade soaps, check out this farmers market guide for more information!

  1. Visit Bastille Days: If you haven't already attended, let this be the summer that you make it out to the classic Milwaukee celebration of French culture: Bastille Days. Watch chef demonstrations, sample cheese, run a 5k, look at the replica Eiffel Tower and more at the festival this July! Check out the full lineup of events here.

  1. Go to a special attraction at Summerfest: Summerfest may be best known for its music, but there are certainly a number of other activities to attend at the grounds. Take a look at this guide to find out more about their fireworks, contests, comedy shows and more!

  1. Go to Summerfest, period: If you are more excited for the music than anything else, make it a mission to take in as many shows as possible at Summerfest this summer. Head over to our Summerfest guide to take a look at all the shows hitting the stage this year.

  1. Booze cruise on Milwaukee River with Riverwalk Boat Tours: What's better than beer and boats? Combine the two and take a booze cruise on the Milwaukee river with you and a couple of friends. Make a reservation here.

  1. Snack on a cream puff at State Fair: Cream puffs are as quintessentially Wisconsin as cheese curds, and there's no better place to get them than the State Fair in August. If these fluffy, creamy puffs are a treat you've never experienced, this summer is the time to do it.

  1. Take in the world!: There are so many awesome ethnic festivals that take place during the summer months, it would be a shame to miss any of them. From German Fest to Festa Italiana and Mexican Fiesta, there's sure to be an exciting option for everyone. Take a look at our festival guide for the lowdown on all the events.

  1. See a Brewers Game: Nothing screams summer more than a hot dog, a cold beer and a Brewers game. Make it a plan to take in a few games with family, friends or just yourself and a bag of peanuts.

  1. Camp at the zoo: Grab the kiddos and your sleeping bags to spend a night with the animals of the Milwaukee County Zoo. Each night includes a movie, s'mores and kid-friendly fun. Find more information and make a reservation here.

  1. Race around Milwaukee: Challenge your biking skills and sign up for a bike race here in Milwaukee or in a number of locations around Wisconsin. Register online now.

  1. Partake in a little drunk painting: Get those creative juices flowing with a bit of wine and paint your heart out at Splash Studio Painting Bar. All you need is a glass of merlot and a paintbrush. Sign up for a three-hour painting session, or feel free to drop in whenever, have a drink and observe the alcohol-fueled art in action.

  1. Take the Brady Street walking food tour: Milwaukee is chock full of food tours, but a good place to start is the Brady Street walking food tour. Take a stroll down Brady and explore the Italian and Polish fare available in this ethnic enclave. Find out more information here.

  1. Check out a church festival: Take your friends and family out to not only spend some time at the many beautiful churches we have around Milwaukee, but also to enjoy rides, live music and even some snow cones! Check out our list of church festivals here.

  1. Lakefront Brewery Tour: Embrace Brew city by getting yourself some cold ones at this brewery tour. During our bar month, Lakefront Riverwest Stein was voted best local product, so it is certainly a must-try.

  1. Brunch at Blue's Egg (or anywhere): After a long week, there is no better way to start off your weekend than grabbing some pancakes, eggs, mimosas or bacon with your pals. No need to wake up early because brunch hours go past the a.m., so you can still get the much needed rest you deserve. Check out our guide to see where to get the city's best brunches.

  1. Climb the North Point Lighthouse: Explore one of Milwaukee's oldest and greatest treasures! Take a tour and learn the history of this cherished landmark. Check out what OnMilwaukee's Bobby thinks about the lighthouse.

  1. Figure out the password and visit the Safe House: Become a spy and take on a mission at Milwaukee's own Safe House! It was our 2016 Best Themed Bar, so it's about time you get over there!

  1. Walk or run on one of Wisconsin's beautiful trails: Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and see a more natural side of Milwaukee by taking a nice walk on one of our many trails. Here is a list of places you can take a nice stroll, so check it out!

  1. Grab a pizza or see a concert at Anodyne Coffee: Stray away from the typical pizza shops and get some za at Anodyne Coffee, all cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven. Besides eating and drinking, you can also catch some musicians performing live throughout the summer. See the schedule here, and see what our own Lori wrote about Anodyne's pizza.

  1. Get a drink on Old World Third Street: Bars are lined up and down this street, so why not make a stop at one of them and enjoy a cocktail or a beer! Listen to some dueling pianos at Lucille's, get down on the dance floor at Pub Club or drink a liter of beer at Old German Beer Hall. There are many bars to explore there this summer, so here is a guide to help you get the full scoop on what Old World Third Street has to offer.

  1. MAM After Dark: Spend a night at the museum to enjoy music, beer and wine gardens, a scavenger hunt and more! Check out the full details here.

  1. Get a drink or burger at Ugly's Rooftop Bar: Unlike most bars, at Ugly's, you can sit in the fresh air on the roof while enjoying a variety of food and drinks. Learn more about Ugly's from Molly's OnMilwaukee article.

  1. Rent a Bublr Bike and ride around greater Downtown: Bublr Bikes have been growing all over Milwaukee, making it easy for anyone to get one. Find one near you and take a ride!

  1. Check out the new exhibits at Discovery World: Check out the new features at this interactive exhibit! You can mix and share music, create your own sound and more.

  1. Don't forget about Briggs and Al's Run: Support the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin by coming out to this 8K run. Proceeds help raise funds for the hospital, so come out to run or walk in the summer sun this Sept. 16.

  1. Third Ward Art Festival: It may be in September, but this art festival is not one to miss. Head out to the Third Ward at the tail end of summer to purchase works from over 140 artists.

  1. Explore your city and go on a geocache adventure: Discover and learn about all of Milwaukee's neighborhoods by testing out your navigation skills during this scavenger hunt adventure. Here is more info on how and where to geocache around the city.

  1. Braise Garlic Fest in Walker's Point: If you're a garlic lover, then this food festival is perfect for you. Stop by Walker's Point to try garlic infused dishes, drinks, games and more. See the full details of this and other festivals here.

  1. Pabst Street Party in Bay View: Stop by Bay View to enjoy the ninth annual Pabst Street Party. There will be local music, food, crafts and, of course, lots of PBR beer for all to enjoy.

  1. Brady Street Festival: In July, Brady Street will be rockin' all day and night for its annual street festival. Local bands will perform at four different stages throughout the street, as well as other vendors and activities. See the full details here.

  1. Yoga on the Terrace every Sunday morning at Villa Terrace: Start your morning off with the sunshine on your face and some downward dogs! Come out to the Villa Terrace to receive a yoga lesson from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m from June to October. Learn more about this historic landmark here.

  1. Try to find the Pete's Pop truck and enjoy a popsicle on a hot summer day: Try to spot this traveling food car to enjoy a cold popsicle under the hot summer sun. These popsicles come in tons of unique flavors, from avocado to salted watermelon and banana cream. Pete's is certainly a must-try MKE gem.

  1. Check out Milwaukee's sangria bar: You don't need to go all the way to Spain to have some refreshing sangria, especially now that Milwaukee has its very own sangria bar. Grab a class of this fruity drink to cool off after a day in the summer sun.

  1. Have a drink at The Yard at Iron Horse Hotel: The Iron Horse may be one of Milwaukee's most historic hotels, but it's not just for visitors who need a place to stay the night. Get a drink at The Yard, one of Milwaukee's best patios and the perfect location for a few after-work drinks. Check out our outdoor dining guide for more information!

  1. See the anatomy of animals at Body World: Animal Inside Out: The Milwaukee County Zoo is offering a limited time exhibit for attendees to see the complete anatomy of many animals including a bull, horse, octopus and many more.

  1. Drive to Gilles for frozen custard: Kopps may be the king of frozen custard around here – at least judging by our best of dining poll – but who says you can't go on an adventure to get your custard fix? Take a drive to Gilles to pick up some of the best Wisconsin has to offer in terms of the classic dairy treat. If you have a hankering for every custard offered in Wisconsin, check out our custard guide.

  1. Tre Rivali restaurant: Visit new Kimpton Journeyman Hotel as well as their resident restaurant, Tre Rivali. The Mediterranean restaurant will have a complementary bar program run by San Antonio native, Gen Longoria. Definitely don't miss out on the awesome rooftop bar and patio.

  1. Take some cuts in the batting cages at Swing Time in Germantown: Summer is the perfect time to improve your batting skills, and Swing Time in Germantown is here to help you in your pursuit to become the next star Brewers player. With both baseball and softball cages available, Swing Time can help you hone your skills.

  1. Pick your own fruit at Barthel's in Mequon: The quintessential taste of summer is that of a freshly picked strawberry, and at Barthel's, you can pick your own. Head out to Mequon to get your share of this season's crop to bake into a pie, throw on a shortcake or just pop into your mouth.

  1. Camp at Bong Recreation Area: All 4,515 acres of the Richard Bong State Recreation Area await you and your sleeping bag for a day of summer camping fun. Bring your family and friends for a night under the stars in one of Wisconsin's best parks. For more information on Wisconsin State parks, check out our guide.

  1. Try a new cider at Lost Valley Cider Co.: If regular cocktails aren't really your thing, make a date at Milwaukee's first cider-only bar, Lost Valley Cider Co. From "fruit forward" to herb and spiced, they are sure to have a cider that suits your tastes.

  1. Rent a paddle boat at the Veterans Park lagoon: Grab your sweetie and rent a paddle boat for a fun afternoon activity in the Veteran's Park lagoon. Two-to-four people can fit in either a single or double paddle boat, so bring friends if you like.

  1. Miniature golf: Everyone has a childhood memory of playing mini golf with their family, so why not continue that tradition this summer? Check out our miniature golf guide to find the perfect park for you.

  1. Drive-in movie in Jefferson: If you're craving a real drive-in movie experience, take a drive to Jefferson to visit the Keno Drive-in. It's a surefire way to feel like you've been launched straight back into the '50s.

  1. Duckpin bowling at Koz's: If bowling with big pins has gotten a bit boring, try mini-bowling at Koz's! Experience what it is like to bowl with smaller pins, a smaller ball and a smaller alley, but with a jumbo-sized amount of fun – plus the added surprise of having a pinsetter.

  1. Visit one of the new breweries in Walker's Point: Explore one of the many new breweries in this historic neighborhood, such as Urban Harvest Brewing Company. These local brews are perfect to enjoy in the summer sun.

  1. Check out a Timber Rattlers or Chinooks game: Have some fun at the ballpark by checking out the local teams. No, not the Brewers: the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and the Lakeshore Chinooks! Eat some hot dogs, cheer them on and enjoy your time out in the sunshine.

  1. Yacht Rock on a Monday night: The Milwaukee boat line will be rockin' all summer long. Hop aboard and see some of Milwaukee's local musicians while enjoying a few drinks on beautiful Lake Michigan.

  1. Visit the one-year-old giraffe at the zoo: In late May of 2016, the Milwaukee County Zoo welcomed with open arms their new baby giraffe, Zola. See her in the flesh – or in the fur – and visit the zoo this summer.

  1. Enjoy the view of the skyline from the patio at Harbor House: Come get OnMilwaukee's choice for best seafood in Milwaukee and enjoy their patio view of the city's skyline.

  1. Download the summer pack of LocaMoji: Add some pizazz to your texts by downloading OnMilwaukee's summer pack of LocaMojis. The pack features some of Milwaukee's favorite landmarks, people and things. Be sure to download it to see for yourself!

  1. Ride a canopied bike for four at the lakefront: Grab the whole gang and pedal your way through the lakefront! Instead of getting an individual bike for everyone, you can all pedal together under one roof. Find out how to rent one here.

  1. Have a cocktail at the Umbrella Bar at The Rock: The Umbrella Bar is the first of its kind in the Midwest, so be sure to stop on by and enjoy beverages as well as some fresh air. There are wonderful patio views that you can enjoy at a night on the town with your friends.

  1. Dinner with a view on the patio at Sail Loft: Eat your share of seafood by coming out for a meal or two at Sail Loft this summer. All their food is all made with local products, and you can enjoy it while taking in their lakeside view.

  1. Lawn bowling at Lake Park: Whether it's your favorite sport or not, come out to learn and play some lawn bowling this summer. Lake Park offers lessons and equipment, so you can come out and enjoy at any point in the summer! If you are interested, learn more about the game here.

  1. Attend a bonfire at Lakeshore State Park: Nothing says summer like late-night bonfires with your friends, so why not take a break from the city and head to Lakeshore State Park to enjoy a bonfire. Come out for their free monthly bonfires on the beach to enjoy the company, s'mores and more. Check out their dates here.

  1. Swim at the Hoyt Park Pool and grab a drink at The Landing afterward: Cool off from the summer sun and take a dip at the Hoyt Park pool. Once you enjoy some fun in the water, stop by The Landing's beer garden to enjoy a drink or two (or three, if you're smart).

  1. Bike the Hank Aaron State Trail: Take your bikes out for a spin and enjoy one of the many bike trails Milwaukee has to offer. Take in the nice Milwaukee sights as well as get some exercise. Check out Hank Aaron State Trail and more in our top trails piece here.

  1. Lakefront Festival of Art: Come out to the 55th annual Lakefront Festival of Art to purchase works from over 175 artists from around the world. Whether it's a painting, pottery or blown glass, there's sure to be something that catches your eye.

  1. Enjoy brunch on the patio at Bass Bay Brewhouse: There's nothing like brunch with a side of lake views, and Bass Bay Brewhouse is exactly the place to get just that. Read up on the dining experience here, and then head over there yourself.

  1. Take in a concert at Bayshore's Square Tunes Summer Concert Series: Do a little shopping and take in some music at Bayshore Mall at one of their summer concerts! Bring a few chairs and your family and friends to enjoy these free outdoor music events.

  1. Hit up Greek Fest for some flaming cheese: Let's face it; the best part of Greek Fest is arguably the food. Offering everything from gyros and and kebabs to Greek sweets loukoumades (deep fried dough balls drizzled in honey), there's sure to be something to please every palate. But don't sleep on the fun carnival rides and cultural shows.

  1. Run the Color Run: Although the Color Run will not be making its way to Milwaukee this summer, it will be in Racine on September 16th. A fun event like this would definitely be worth the trip.

  1. Celebrate the 4th of July at your local park: See beautiful fireworks at one of our many parks with your family and friends! Find what park is near you from this list so you can bring friends and family along to celebrate the holiday.

  1. Buy a Thirsty Passport or Pub Pass: Want a new way to discover bars throughout Milwaukee? Well, purchase a Pub Pass, visit the 30 bars listed and receive a free beer from each. Last year, OnMilwaukee's Molly completed the pass, so check out her experience here.

  1. Taste the best Milwaukee has to offer: There's sure to be at least a couple appealing items on Lori's list of 100 Milwaukee foods to eat before you die, so take a look and try to consume as many as you can during these summer months.

  1. Rent a lounge at Bradford Beach and get a piña colada: If you've only ever sat on your own dingy beach towel while at Bradford Beach, it's time to step it up. For your next visit, rent a personal lounge and treat yourself to a piña colada.

  1. Eat brunch at Brunch: There's no better place to eat the meal that falls somewhere between breakfast and lunch at an establishment aptly named Brunch.

  1. Belly up to the oyster bar at Barnacle Bud's: Head over to Barnacle Bud's on any Monday this summer for $5 margaritas and a plate of oysters of the perfect way to celebrate the end of your work day. More fun outdoor dining ideas can be found in our guide.

  1. Take a ride on the Lake Express: Need to get to Michigan, but want to avoid the boring freeway? Buy a ticket for the Lake Express, the high speed ferry that connects Milwaukee and Muskegon. Check out Bobby's video blog of his own experience on the ferry to learn more.

  1. See something at the Rebel Music Stage at Summerfest: The Rebel Music Stage is perfect for anyone looking to see some local, independent or original entertainment. It's a DIY stage, so expect to see any and all genres of music. Come out and discover something new!

  1. See – or even better, volunteer – for the 24-hour bike race: Join 24-hours worth of bike races in Riverwest! If you aren't a bike rider, no need to fret as you can volunteer at the event instead. Get the full details of the ride here, and be sure to check out Jason's experience from last year here.

  1. Join a kickball league: Reminisce about your childhood kickball games by joining a kickball league this summer! Check out the Milwaukee Social Club website for more information.

  1. Waterford Hot Air Balloon Festival: Save the weekend of July 21-23 for this Hot Air Balloon festival, which is certainly a unique event for these parts. This year is the sixth annual festival, so don't miss out.

  1. Take a Segway tour: See Milwaukee in a different way by taking a Segway on a tour all around the city. Grab a helmet and roll around in style.

  1. Tour the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay: While heading down to Lake Geneva, you must make a stop at Yerkes Observatory to use their telescopes to check out the summer stars. Read up on the experience here.

  1. Go on a picnic: Check out our list on picnic spots in Milwaukee and give it some of them a try. It's the perfect way to relax and enjoy a beautiful day.

  1. Relax at a Wisconsin resort: Take a break from your fast paced Milwaukee life and relax at one of Wisconsin's fine resorts. Read Bobby Tanzilo's article about Elkhart Lake here.

  1. Tee off at Nite Glow Golf: Change up the typical mini golf experience by playing in the dark. The glow-in-the-dark golf balls are worth it in and of themselves!

  1. Drive out and take a hike at Holy Hill: Come out and see one of the most beautiful churches in Wisconsin. The neo-Romanesque architecture is sure to be a treat to take in, not to mention the lush woods surrounding the church and the tower that offers fantastic view.

  1. Visit a Wisconsin cheesemaker and see the magic happen: Are you yearning to know how your favorite cheese is made? Tour a Wisconsin cheesemaker and find out. Places like Milwaukee's own Clock Shadow will be sure to satisfy your curiosities. You'll be sure to have a gouda time.

  1. Climb rocks at Devil's Lake: Devil's Lake might be around a two hour drive but it's worth it when you see the clear tranquil lake. The lake is surrounded by black rocks which gives the body of water its name.

  2. Catch a wave at Shorewood's Surfing Film Festival: Sign up for some surfing lessons at Atwater beach this August! After you enjoy the water, you can sit and watch Great Lakes filmmakers' documentaries and shorts.

  3. Do the dunes at Whitefish Dunes State Park: There's no doubt that Door County is one most of the attractive places this state has to offer. If you're there, be sure to visit the Dunes for a unique Wisconsin experience.

  4. Take a fishing charter out onto Lake Michigan: Enjoy a peaceful day on Lake Michigan by fishing the day away! Grab your poles, some bait and check out this list of the many places you can fish!

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