34 Things to do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

When visiting a new city city trying to maximize your time while hitting all the places your friends said “you have to try” can be daunting. There is just not enough time in the day it seems. Conversely, even hometown folks enjoy the pleasant surprise of a new burger joint or cocktail bar. So no matter your reason for being in the MKE, we got you covered. Below is the definitive list of the spots you must see, eat, drink, and shop at in Milwaukee.

The List:

Things to do in Milwaukee Wisconsin

1. Kayak on the Milwaukee River

Grab your wet suit or favorite beachwear and get ready to navigate your way along the Milwaukee River. 

2. Untapped Tours

Grab 14 (or less) of your best friends and see everything Milwaukee has to offer, from famed to historical. A sure fire way to ensure you get sense of the city, in person.  

Location:
200 E. Wells St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria
Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria

3. Cocktails at Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria

Come for the global street food and stay for the exquisite cocktails! Blue Bat Kitchen is Milwaukee's first Tequilaria and its offerings might blow you away. Any guesses on how many types of Tequila it stocks?

160!

Location:
249 N Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

4. Selfie with the Bronze Fonz

If you find yourself on the River Walk, don’t be shy just because he is so cool (also, he is inanimate). You never know when a picture with you and a life-sized statue of the Fonz will come in handy.

Bublr Bikes

Saddle up!

Bublr your way around Milwaukee.

5. Ride Bublr Bikes

Burn off some extra calories by biking your way around Milwaukee with Bublr Bikes. This bike sharing system can be found on almost every block in Milwaukee — and it's super affordable!

6. Tour of Historic Pabst Brewery

Pabst was established in 1844 and was the largest brewer in the country until 1946. If you like beer, or history or like me enjoy both this is an ideal way to spend an afternoon; it is $10, but you will get two pints along the way.  

Location:
917 W Juneau Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Website

Things to do in Milwaukee - Milwaukee Public Market

7. Explore Milwaukee Public Market

Shop, sip, eat and browse independent, artisanal vendors at the Milwaukee Public Market. It even offers hands on and demonstration cooking classes!

Location:
400 N Water St
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

8. Seafood at Third Coast Provisions

Self proclaimed as “Milwaukee's Ultimate Seafood Experience,” Third Coast is known for fresh seafood paired with refreshing cocktails. This is a great place to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Location:
724 N Milwaukee St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

9. Peruse One of a Kind Goods at Mod Gen

Mod Gen may be short for Modern General Store — this unique, vibrant shop has a little bit of everything. If you have a green thumb, be prepared to lug a house plant or two home after your excursion.

Location:
211 N Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

Things to do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Sculpture Milwaukee

11. Take a stroll during Sculpture Milwaukee 

Take a walk like none other during Sculpture Milwaukee Art Unleashed! Enjoy artistic sights, including work from the late Robert Indiana, as you peruse down Wisconsin Avenue.

12. Explore Haggerty Museum of Art

Part of Marquette University’s beautiful campus is the The Partick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art. Exhibitions change, but the gorgeous atmosphere never does. A solid excuse to soak up some cultural while walking around MKE.

Location:
1234 W Tory Hill St.
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Website

13. Tour of Miller Brewery Company

With more than 155 years of brewing practiced here there is a lot to see, learn, and drink. This tour is indoor and outdoor and is guided. However, if you don’t have time for the full tour it is still an excellent place to see some MKE history.

Location:
4251 W State St.
Milwaukee, WI 53208

Website

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14. BBQ at DOC's Commerce Smokehouse 

As a Kansas Citian, I take BBQ very seriously. Stop by DOC's for meats that will melt in your mouth: hickory smoked and spiced to absolute perfection. Ask if rib tips are part of the daily special — if so, you are in luck!

Location:
754 Vel R. Phillips Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Website

Things to do in Milwaukee - Harley Davidson

15. Go Full Throttle at the Harley-Davidson Museum

Open 363 days a year, the Harley-Davidson Museum is an activity for anyone to enjoy, whether you are a motorcycle lover or just want to learn more about Harley history. 

Location:
400 W Canal St.
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Website

16. Pizza from Transfer Pizzeria

If pizza sounds good, and of course it does, Transfer has more than 40 options to choose from. They also have live music most nights. Helpful hint, if you have a large group you should call ahead.

Location:
101 W Mitchell St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Website

17. Brunch at Palomino Bar

Can I interest you in a locally-sourced chicken fried steak to kick off your afternoon? Well if so then Palomino is the place to be. Serving up tasty drinks and all their dishes are made from scratch.

Location:
2491 S Superior St.
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Website

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18. Coffee from Colectivo Coffee

With locations all across Milwaukee, Colectivo Coffee is a staple place for java in the city. You will be allured by its award-winning coffees and artful interiors, but don't skip over its food menu! I highly recommend the smoked salmon sandwich featured on the all day breakfast menu. 

Location:
223 E St Paul
Milwaukee, WI 53202

multiple locations in WI

Website

19. Custard from Leon’s

Leon’s has been a premier custard shop in the MKE area since it opened for business in 1942. If 76 years of custard craftsmanship does not entice you, then nothing will.

Location:
3131 S 27th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53125

Website

20. Explore Milwaukee County Zoo

Housing many exotic animals including an aquatic and reptile center, the County Zoo lends a great opportunity to see Lake Sturgeon and sharks up close. Or head to Big Cat Country and see what an African lion looks like in person. There is also event space if you are looking for a unique place to throw a party.

Location:
10001 W Bluemound Rd
Milwaukee, WI 53226

Website

21. Eats at Gouda’s Italian Deli

Authentic Italian deli with sandwiches featuring locally sourced meats. The delectable cheeses and fresh produce make Gouda’s an ideal lunch spot, they also have an impressive carryout only menu.

Location:
218 N Water St
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

22. Guided Tasting and Tour of Central Standard Craft Distillery

Small batch distilleries are all unique, this tour is a great chance to see the process and learn what makes these spirits so much different than others. Don’t forget to stop by the tasting room after to put your newfound knowledge into action.

Location:
613 S 2nd St #609
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Website

23. Coffee + Wine + Productivity at Hudson Business Lounge

As much as everyone loves a vacation some trips are for business. It is Hudson’s belief that comfort and work should go hand in hand which is why they have a spirited cafe and gorgeous work spaces. Get a day pass, or join for as long as you would like; you will never complain about being in the office again.

Location:
310 E Buffalo St
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

Indulgence Chocolates, Milwaukee Wisconsin

24. Satisfy your Sweet Tooth at Indulgence Chocolatiers

As an artisan confectioner Indulgence offers its patrons the finest chocolates imaginable. You will not find these treats in grocery stores, made with the tastiest ingredients, the truffles, chocolates, and fruits here are almost other worldly.

Location:
211 S 2nd St
Milwaukee, WI 53204

multiple locations in WI

Website

25. Volleyball at Fat Daddy’s

Fat Daddy’s has established itself as a volleyball destination in MKE, however there is much more than meets the eye. Having a plethora of bar games, awesome food, and a full bar that hold 23 taps of beer you can get your favorite brew or try something you have never heard of.

Location:
120 W National Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Website

26. All you can Eat at Bollywood Grill

A change of pace is always welcomed when on vacation and Bollywood Grill’s authentic Indian food is just that. The wide-ranging menu has lamb curries, Biryani Rice Specials, and an expansive appetizer menu.

Location:
1038 N Jackson St
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

Things to do in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Rooftop Bar -The Outsider
Things to do in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Rooftop Bar -The Outsider

27. Cocktails at the Outsider Rooftop

A fun place to spend an afternoon is the Outsider. The Outsider couples its imaginative cocktail list with mouthwatering small plates in an upscale atmosphere that boasts an excellent rooftop patio.  

Location:
310 E Chicago St f9
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

28. Discover Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

A great way to spend a day outdoors, Schiltz Audubon covers 185 acres and has some of the best hiking trails Lake Michigan shoreline has to offer.

Location:
1111 E Brown Deer Rd
Milwaukee, WI 53217

Website

Things to do in Milwaukee, Summerfest

29. Summerfest

Held at the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park, and tagged as the world’s largest music festival Summerfest hosts more than 800 bands and sees more than 900,000 fans. It runs for 11 days and entertainment is spread across 11 different stages. This event is enough to make the trip Milwaukee in itself.

Location:
200 N Harbor Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

See Also: Summerfest Ultimate Food Guide

30. Happy Hour Cruise on Milwaukee Boat Line

This is an adult-only expedition and spans 90 minutes. It takes you around the most scenic areas of MKE and has excellent drinks and live entertainment.

Location:
101 W Michigan St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Website

31. Steak from Rare Steakhouse

Wisconsin has long been known for its cheese and history of brewing beer, but Rare enables you to see MKE’s deep ties to quality steak and fine dining. The feast will be enough to write home about, or at least give you some Instagram material that will pique your friend’s interest.

Location:
833 E Michigan St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

Things to do in Milwaukee, Ice Cream from Purple Door

32. Ice Cream from Purple Door Ice Cream

There are nearly 20 flavors to choose from at the Purple Door Ice Cream, and a glorious aspect is you can get a scoop in a waffle cone, or pick up a few pints for the house. For nearly two decades Purple Door has crafted some of the best ice cream you can find, stop in for a midday snack.

Location:
205 S 2nd St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Website

33. Veg Out at Beans and Barley

Since 1973 Beans and Barely has been built upon its three principles: quality, value, and fun. If you are looking for a fresh, local experience drop in and pick up some souvenirs, and treat yourself to their homemade deli while you’re at it.

Location:
1901 E North Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Website

34. Milwaukee Riverwalk

The Riverwalk ties three historic neighborhoods together. Featuring a diverse array of local shops, eateries, and sightseeing. The iconic area is a solid place to pick up some souvenirs, or spend the day.


This list is only a fraction of the endless things to do in the beautiful city of Milwaukee! Have a recommendation to add to my list? Shoot me a dm on social, @kasimjhardaway

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Visit Milwaukee. The opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Kasim Hardaway! Photography by Nam C. of Treezy