2017 Milwaukee summer festivals guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Aug. 20, 2017 at 11:16 a.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.
The Milwaukee summer festival season is right around the corner, and it's time to start planning out your fun. But with seemingly a festival or live music event every weekend, it can be overwhelming to try and keep track of all the terrific options headed your way. Luckily, the OnMilwaukee summer festivals guide is here to help.
Here's 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.
Now get out there and have some Milwaukee summer fun!
Bay View Art in the Park
Venture to Bay View every second Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Art in the Park. This monthly outdoor arts festival was created to celebrate local artists and help create connections to their community, featuring work from over 50 rotating artisans throughout Milwaukee. Enjoy the beauty of the park, delicious food and live music at Bay View Art in the Park!
Jazz in the Park
Cathedral Square Park
June 1-Aug. 31
Every Thursday happy hour starts at 5 p.m. and music kicks off at 6 and runs until 9. Drinks will be available throughout various tents at the festival, however it is asked that there are no carry-ins. While jazz may get top billing in the title, the lineup for the weekly summer concert event – newly sponsored this year by Educators Credit Union – offers plenty of tuneful variety from across genres and across the globe, from funk to R&B, local favorites (Extra Crispy Brass Band, Streetlife) to a nine-piece group from Barcelona (Alma Afrobeat Ensemble).
Chill on the Hill
June 6-Aug. 29
Hosted as always at Humboldt Park, Chill on the Hill will welcome over 20 bands over the course of 12 weeks, as well as local food vendors – last year's list included Bay View eateries like Hue, Tenuta's and more – and community partners. And if that's not enough chilling on the hill for you, this year's edition also features two movie screenings, "The LEGO Batman Movie" and the Oscar-winning "La La Land."
Pere Marquette Park
June 14-Aug. 30
Westown is the place to be on Wednesday nights this summer! River Rhythms is a free, outdoor summer concert event which hosts some of the finest local talent Milwaukee has to offer – this year including Chicken Wire Empire, De La Buena, King Solomon and more.
NEWaukee Night Markets
June 14, July 12, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13
Wisconsin Ave. between 2nd and 4th Streets
NEWaukee's Night Market is a collision of all Milwaukee has to offer. The Night Market is a free, open-air market that offers a wide variety of experiences for people of all backgrounds and ages. The Night Market features a mash up of art, craft and food vendors, live art creation, local music and a beer garden!
Bristol Renaissance Faire
July 8-Sept. 4
Grab your corset or your homemade chainmail armor; the Bristol Renaissance Faire is set to make its annual return. Open rain or shine, every Saturday, Sunday and on Labor Day, the Bristol Faire takes visitors for a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., complete with 16th-century arts, crafts, games, rides, food, music and one-of-a-kind encounters with a colorful cast of characters from the era.
Henry Maier Festival Park
Don't miss the world's largest Irish music and culture celebration. The four-day family festival showcases more than 100 entertainment acts from all over the world, including over 30 Milwaukee groups, several local Irish dance groups and about 90 vendors selling Irish crafts and retail items will as well.
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Milwaukee County Zoo
Head over to the Milwaukee County Zoo to "Feast with the Beasts," enjoying great food and live music as you explore the world's animal kingdom right here in Milwaukee. The kids will love it, but you're sure to love it too!
Henry Maier Festival Park
Mexican Fiesta is a celebration of Mexico's rich history of history, art, music and food. Sample some wines, browse through an art gallery, participate in a golf tournament, participate the Fiesta Run and Walk or enjoy taco dinner. Also feel free to take part in various contests such as salsa/bachata, dance, el grito, jalapeno eating and costume. The Fiesta also provides a scholarship for some of Milwaukee's deserving Hispanic youth.
City of Wauwatosa
For two nights in Wauwatosa, catch live music performances at one of three stages – this year including the likes of Greg Koch, The WhiskeyBelles and more – a cupcake and chili competition, petting zoo, arts and crafts, and local eats and treats. Plus, over the past ten years, Tosa Fest proceeds have donated over $150,000 to local organizations. So be sure to bring some spare change in exchange for a fun weekend!
Indian Summer Festival
Henry Maier Festival Park
Now celebrating its 31st year, Indian Summer Festival is still Milwaukee's favorite way to close out the summer festival season. Attend a moving prayer ceremony, clap along with a traditional pow wow or visit the circle of art featuring Native American-inspired art which you can admire and purchase. Indian Summer Festival will be both an educational and exciting experience.
Bay View Bash
Between Potter and Clement on Kinnickinnic Avenue
The Bay View Bash is back with its 13th annual event, delivering a community festival filled with food, art, music, crafts, books and community organizations is also striving to be waste free!
Doors Open Milwaukee
Historic Milwaukee quite literally gets 150 buildings – big and small, new and old, landmarks and hidden gems – open their doors to the city of Milwaukee for this adventurous early fall event. Guided tours are often times offered free of charge with no entry fee required – but if there is somewhere particularly interesting to you, check out the in-depth tours that are ticketed. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so get out there and be a tourist in your hometown!
Milwaukee Film Festival
Various theaters in the Milwaukee area
Sept. 28-Oct. 12
Come out and see countless eclectic films from all sorts of genres, delivered from all across the globe – and many right from your backyard too. It's almost a guarantee that a few of the films will pop up again a few months later at the Oscars – and will probably pop up on your own personal top ten list for the year – so come out and support good cinema!
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