Top Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee celebrates its German heritage (brews and brats, anyone?) while also making the most of its Lake Michigan location with beaches, boat tours, sailing and waterfront museums. Check out our picks for what to do, where to eat and where to stay in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Wisconsin Riverwalk
Riverwalk. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux


American Family Field

Catch the Milwaukee Brewers in this major-league ballpark (formerly Miller Park) with a retractable roof and reasonably priced tickets.

Bradford Beach

Bring a towel and relax at this popular urban beach, or get in on soccer, sand volleyball or a yoga class. Beachside snack bars make it easy to find ice cream and drinks.

Brewery heritage

Experience the city's brewing heritage with local beer and snacks, like a sausage flight, at Lakefront Brewery. Sprecher Brewing Co., which makes root beer and other craft sodas as well as beer, offers tours. Tours of Miller Brewing Company take you to the company's famous underground caves and historic Bavarian-Style Miller Inn.

Discovery World
Discovery World. Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Discovery World

Exhibits encourage exploring science and technology at the engaging waterfront museum.


The city celebrates its heritage through festivals. Signature events include Irish Fest, the Wisconsin State Fair and Summerfest.

Fiserv Forum

The $524 million sports and entertainment arena provides a 17,500-seat home for the NBA's Bucks and a venue for performers like Justin Timberlake. Check the website for upcoming events.

Grohmann Museum

Paintings and sculptures at the Milwaukee School of Engineering chronicle the evolution of organized work in areas such as agriculture, skilled crafts and mining.

Harley-Davidson Museum gas tank exhibit
Harley-Davidson Museum. Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Harley-Davidson Museum

The 20-acre campus is a must-see for its hands-on exhibits and nine Harleys to "ride" past farms and rivers.

Milwaukee Public Market
Milwaukee Public Market. Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Historic Third Ward

A 12-square-block neighborhood of 1890s warehouses now holds boutiques, galleries, cafes and the Broadway Theatre Center. A highlight: Milwaukee Public Market, a collection of specialty food growers and shops selling goods and serving lunch and dinner.

Historic Milwaukee Inc. Walking Tours

Passionate volunteers lead the preservation society's architectural tours.

The Hop MKE

The streetcar connects Milwaukee's central train and bus station to many of the city's attractions and hotels.

Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee Art Museum. Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Milwaukee Art Museum

Glass ceilings soar 90 feet above visitors to the postmodern Quadracci Pavilion. A $34 million expansion and renovation brightened galleries displaying highlights of the museum's 30,000-piece collection.

Milwaukee Boat Line

Double-deckers ply the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan for sightseeing.

Milwaukee City Tours

Tour options include Around the Ward in 90 Minutes and a Streetcar History Tour.

Milwaukee Public Museum

Discover what the city was like during the 1880s in The Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Or walk through Africa or Living Ocean.

National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum

The world's largest collection of pop culture nodders (6,500-plus) stars Babe Ruth, Flo the Progressive Insurance saleswoman and more.

Old World Third Street

This former German community has restaurants, 19th-century storefronts and cobbled streets. Usinger's, a fourth-generation business, sells over 70 sausage varieties.

Pabst Mansion Milwaukee
Pabst Mansion. Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Pabst Mansion

Beer baron Frederick Pabst built this 1890s Flemish Renaissance mansion; the restored home hosts exhibits and tours.


The 3-mile path along the Milwaukee River winds past restaurants, shops, pubs and outdoor art.

Sea Dog Sailing

From May through September, the 38-foot Quinn Marie sails from McKinley Marina.

Cafe Benelux and Market Milwaukee Wisconsin
Cafe Benelux. Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Eat and Drink

AJ Bombers

Peanut shells litter the floor and crayon graffiti decorates the walls of the burger joint, which delivers nuts via overhead "bombers."


Mismatched chairs, cherubs and taxidermy set a fun mood for wine and sharing small plates.

Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro

Savor seasonal French cuisine at this pastoral spot along Lake Michigan.

Blue's Egg

It's hard to beat the Classic Benedict with piles of ham and poached eggs, but we love the goat-cheese- stuffed hash browns, too, at this lively brunch spot.


About 400 Wisconsin farmers supply the ingredients for the braised dishes that will please discerning palates.

Cafe Benelux

With 40 pages of beers to choose from, you're sure to find one to go with your European-style meal of mussels and mac 'n' cheese with Brie at Cafe Benelux.

Colectivo Coffee

This local coffee cafe serves tasty cookies, huge yogurt parfaits and sandwiches, plus offers free Wi-Fi and great joe, of course. You'll find multiple local branches, but our favorite is the one along the lakefront in the historic Milwaukee River Flushing Station.


This cozy Bay View tavern serves comfort foods, like fennel-rubbed spare ribs and spicy crab pasta with pepperoni.

Harbor House restaurant Milwaukee
Harbor House. Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Harbor House

Waterfront dining shows off Lake Michigan views and seafood such as rainbow trout, salmon and lobster.

Kopp's Frozen Custard

Locals call this frozen custard their fave.

The Lafayette Place

With the opening of brunch spot The Lafayette Place, Milwaukee's Lower East Side can make a fair claim to being the city's vegan epicenter. The cafe—with options including portobello banh mi and a Cajun-fried tofu po'boy—is just around the corner from beloved vegan spot Strange Town and half a mile from the second location of Twisted Plants (formerly a food truck). The Lafayette Place comes from the same folks who run popular brunch spot The National Cafe.

Mader's. Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee


Open since 1902, Mader's art and antiques turn dinner into a gallery visit. The sampler features three German classics, including Wiener schnitzel.

The Mecca

This Deer District bar caters to sports fans with dozens of screens throughout the space and elevated takes on bar food classics, like the Mecca Burger Nachos with brisket burger and cheese.


James Beard Award-winner Justin Aprahamian creates seasonal fare—like a cucumber gazpacho with lemon cream or pear compote with Maytag blue cheese—at his fine-dining spot.

Uncle Wolfie's Breakfast Tavern

One of Milwaukee's favorite brunch spots in Brewer's Hill is best known for the BELTCH: Bacon, eggs, lettuce, tomato and cheddar on sourdough with sambal aioli and potatoes.


At the classic, blue-collar Milwaukee bar, we love the Sobelman Burger, topped with Swiss, cheddar and American cheeses; bacon; fried onions; and fried jalapenos.

Stack'd Burger Bar

Burgers, beer and milk shakes go high-class at a slick Fifth Ward bar. The German Stack is a potent mix of beer brat patty, raw onion, spicy mustard and sauerkraut.

Third Coast Provisions

The porthole in the front door hints at the seafood specialties: dishes such as king crab and sweet leek bruschetta, lobster pot pie, and chargrilled oysters.

Milwaukee Wisconsin restaurant
The Vanguard. Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

The Vanguard

It's the place to go for housemade sausages, with more than two dozen options for classics, as well as chef-selected toppings.

Brewhouse Inn and Suites Milwaukee Wisconsin
Brewhouse Inn and Suites. Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux


The Brewhouse Inn and Suites

Gleaming copper brewing kettles anchor the lobby in the refurbished Pabst Brewery Complex, which has 90 guest suites and an on-site pub.

Dubbel Dutch

A former private home in East Town, Dubbel Dutch offers 17 rooms that balance modern upgrades with 19th-century relics.

Hilton Milwaukee City Center

The lakefront, museums and other downtown attractions are easy to access from this Art Deco hotel.

Hotel Metro

A 63-suite Art Deco boutique lodging downtown offers a variety of accommodations including pet-friendly suites, spa suites and conference suites.

Iron Horse Hotel Milwaukee
Iron Horse Hotel. Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

The Iron Horse Hotel

An edgy yet welcoming downtown hotel mixes biker-inspired decor with sophisticated guest rooms.

The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel

To encourage local exploration, the hotel lends guests customized leather backpacks, as well as custom bikes. Come back to relax at The Outsider rooftop bar or Tre Rivali restaurant.

Pfister Hotel

Opulent architectural details, antique furniture and an artist in residence combine with modern comforts in the 1893 Romanesque Revival hotel.

Milwaukee Wisconsin
Saint Kate Arts Hotel. David Mitchell

Saint Kate Arts Hotel

The former Intercontinental Hotel has an artsy new personality, with a ukulele, record player, colored pencils and drawing paper in every room.

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