Museums and Attractions

The Milwaukee area is blessed with a variety of cultural attractions, including the Harley-Davidson Museum. Located in the Menomonee Valley just south of downtown, it details the history of the legendary motorcycle and its impact on America. Other notable Milwaukee-area museums and attractions include:

  • The recently expanded Milwaukee Art Museum, includes masterpieces by Rembrandt, Durer, Picasso and Warhol. The museum’s stunning Calatrava-designed addition has added a dramatic architectural signature to the lakefront.
  • A tradition of excellence in exhibits, education, collections and research has been the hallmark of the Milwaukee Public Museum since it was established in 1882. Permanent exhibits include multi-level displays of dinosaurs, North American Indians, a tropical rain forest, 19th-century Milwaukee neighborhoods and an environmentally controlled butterfly pavilion.
  • The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum features hands-on exhibits for children ages 1 through 10.
  • Discovery World is a lakefront science and technology museum designed for young adults and children.
  • The Milwaukee County Zoo is one of the top zoological parks in the country. The 200-acre park is known for its open concept, which simulates the animals’ natural environments by using moats to separate predators from their prey. Its Aquatic & Reptile Center includes sharks and alligators, as well as more than 200 fish that are native to Wisconsin lakes.
  • Those who want to test their luck will want to head to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Located in downtown Milwaukee, it attracts more than 6 million visitors every year and offers action 24/7 with nearly 100 table games, 3,000 slot machines, a bingo hall, poker room, off-track betting room, 500-seat theater and six unique restaurants.
  • Plant enthusiasts will want to explore the recently renovated Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. Known locally as “The Domes,” the facility consists of three 85-foot domes. One contains a desert environment, another houses tropical plants and the third features changing displays.

Museums - Art

Charles Allis Art Museum

1801 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee; Designed by prominent Milwaukee architect Alexander Eschweiler and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the lavish 1911 home of Charles and Sarah Allis contains a world-class art collection that includes impressive 19th century French and American paintings, classic antiquities, Renaissance bronzes, Asian ceramics and decorative arts. Open 1-5 Wednesdays and Fridays- Sundays; 1-8 Thursdays; Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day. Telephone: (414) 278-8295; Website: www.cavtmuseums.org or www.charlesallis.org.

The Grohmann Museum

1000 N. Broadway, Milwaukee; Home to the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work. “Man at Work” includes more than 1,400 paintings, sculptures and works on paper from 1580 to today. Open 9-5 Mondays-Fridays; 12-6 Saturdays; and 1-4 Sundays. Telephone: (414) 277-2300; Website: www.msoe.edu/grohmann-museum.

Haggerty Museum of Art

1234 W. Tory Hill St., Milwaukee; Located on the Marquette University campus, the museum features two floors and a permanent collection that includes European and American contemporary art, Old Master paintings and photography. Free. Open 10-4:30 Mondays-Saturdays (10-8 Thursdays); 12-5 Sundays. Telephone: (414) 288-1669; Website: www.marquette.edu/haggerty.

Lynden Sculpture Garden

2145 W. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee; Offers an experience of art in nature through its collection of more than 50 monumental outdoor sculptures sited across 40 acres of park, lake & woodland. Open daily 10-5 (closed Thursdays); Wednesdays 10-7:30, June-October. Telephone: (414) 446-8794; Website: www.lyndensculpturegarden.org.

Milwaukee Art Museum

700 N. Art Museum Dr., Milwaukee; The museum’s holdings include nearly 25,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day, with strengths in 19th and 20th century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. Special exhibits & events. Open 10-5 Tuesdays-Sundays; 10-8 Thursdays. The Burke Brise Soleil opens at 10 a.m., flaps at Noon, & closes when the museum closes, as weather permits. Café and gift shop. Telephone: (414) 224-3200; Website: www.mam.org.

Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA)

205 Veterans Ave., West Bend; Celebrates the diversity and uniqueness of Wisconsin artists by collecting, conserving, exhibiting and promoting the visual arts of Wisconsin. Open 10-5 Tuesdays-Sundays; 10-8 Thursdays; Closed Mondays and New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Telephone: (262) 334-9638; Website: www.wisconsinart.org.

Racine Art Museum (RAM)

441 Main St., Racine; Houses America’s largest contemporary crafts collection, including objects made from ceramics, fibers, glass, metals, polymer and wood, as well as painting, sculpture and works on paper. Open 10-5 Tuesdays-Saturdays; 12-5 Sundays. Closed Mondays, Federal Holidays and Easter. Telephone: (262) 638-8300 Website: www.ramart.org.

RAM's Wustum Museum of Fine Arts

2519 Northwestern Ave., Racine; Highlights exhibitions of important regional and local artists. Admission and parking are free. Open 10-5 Tuesdays-Saturdays. Closed Sundays, Mondays, Federal Holidays and Easter. Telephone: (262) 636-9177; Website: www.ramart.org.

UWM Peck School of the Arts Galleries

2400 E. Kenwood Blvd., Milwaukee; Features four adjoining exhibition spaces. Exhibitions include contemporary architecture, film, painting, performance, photography and sculpture. See specific galleries on website for hours. Telephone: (414) 229-4771; Website: www.uwm.edu/art-and-design/galleries.

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

2220 N. Terrace Ave., Milwaukee; Overlooking Lake Michigan in a 1923 Italian Renaissance-style villa designed by architect David Adler, the museum features fine and decorative arts from the 15th through 18th centuries, wrought-iron masterpieces by Cyril Colnik, a formal garden and changing exhibits. Open 1-5 Wednesdays-Sundays, except Thursdays 1-8. Telephone: (414) 271-3656; Website: www.villaterracemuseum.org.

Museums - General

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

929 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee; The Milwaukee area’s only museum designed specifically for children ages 10 and younger, where children and grown-ups learn alongside each other. Features hands-on exhibits, educational programs, events and performances. Open 9-5 Mondays-Saturdays; 12-5 Sundays; Special Hours for Holidays and Special Events. Open 9-5 Mondays-Saturdays and 12-5 Sundays. 929 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee; Telephone: (414) 390-KIDS(5437) Website: www.bbcmkids.org.

Discovery World Science + Technology Center

500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee; Milwaukee’s premiere science and technology center that offers fun and learning for the whole family. Explore interactive exhibits, the Reiman Aquarium featuring the Caribbean walk-through tunnel, and DIY projects in the Kohl’s Design It! Lab. In the summer months, enjoy a Family Sail on Discovery World’s Tall Ship, the Denis Sullivan – a 137 ft. recreation of a 19th-century Great Lakes cargo schooner. Hours: Mondays (Closed Seasonally - See Website for Details); 9-4 Tuesdays-Fridays; 10-5 Saturdays and Sundays. Telephone: (414) 765-9966; Website: www.discoveryworld.org.

Harley-Davidson Museum

400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee; More than a nostalgia trip for motorcycle enthusiasts, the Harley-Davidson Museum offers a glimpse of American history and culture like you’ve never seen before through the successes and trials of an iconic American company that was started in a Milwaukee garage. MOTOR Bar & Restaurant. May-September: 9-6 daily; until 8 p.m. Thursdays; October-April: 10-6 daily; until 8 p.m. Thursdays. Telephone: (877) 436-8738; Website: www.h-dmuseum.com.

Logic Puzzle Museum

533 Milwaukee Ave., Burlington; More than 60-plus hands-on logic and brain puzzles to work and solve for families, adults, school groups, youth and scout groups, for ages 5-105. Annual events include: Mystery Objects, International Tongue Twister Contest, Brain Twister Day, Tangram Celebration, Sam Loyd “Puzzleman” Birthday. Gift shop open year-round. Call for hours. Telephone: (262) 763-3946; Website: www.logicpuzzlemuseum.org.

Milwaukee Public Museum

800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee; Life-size dioramas, hands-on experiences, and traveling special exhibits. Travel back more than 65 million years to the land of dinosaurs. Gaze at ancient civilizations and see real mummies. Surround yourself with the sound and feel of the tropical rainforest. Walk the “Streets of Old Milwaukee” to experience the city as it was at the turn of the 19th century. Watch a butterfly wriggle out of its chrysalis in a two-story butterfly vivarium. Daily tours, special events and cultural programming. Open 10-5 Mondays-Fridays; 9-5 Saturdays; 11-5 Sundays; Closes at 8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. Closed Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Telephone: (414) 278-2702; Website: www.mpm.edu.

The Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium

800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee; Offers visitors three unique visual experiences in one venue: a thrilling 3D film, a planetarium show, or a magnificent giant screen film on a six-story screen with digital surround. Telephone: (414) 319-4629; Website: www.mpm.edu.

Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum

533 Milwaukee Ave., Burlington; Features 35 hands-on toy tops and top games; a 2,000 item exhibit of tops, yo-yos, and gyroscopes from around the world; plus a live presentation by a top expert. Events include Annual Yo-Yo & Skill Toy Convention, Yo-Yo Summer Day Camp, and gyroscope contest. Yo-Yo classes and old-fashioned top-spinning classes are offered for groups and birthday parties. Call for hours. Telephone: (262) 763-3946 Website: www.topmuseum.org.

War Memorial Center

750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee; Stunning architectural landmark on Milwaukee’s lakefront stands as a memorial to those who died in service, served and are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Services. Original World War I and World War II poster collection, eternal flame and reflecting pool, Purple Heart Memorial, 9/11 Memorial and Fox Company Memorial. Open Daily; Free Admission. Telephone: (414) 273-5533; Website: www.warmemorialcenter.org.

Wisconsin Automotive Museum

147 N. Rural St., Hartford; Wisconsin’s largest auto museum with more than 100 cars and trucks of all makes and vintages, a 250-ton steam locomotive and the world’s largest collection of Kissel automobiles, which were built in Hartford between 1906 and 1931. Hours: May 1-September 30: 10-5 Mondays-Saturdays, 12-5 Sundays, Open Holidays; October 1-April 30: 10-5 Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-5 Sundays, Closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Holidays. Telephone: (262) 673-7999; Website: www.wisconsinautomuseum.com.

Museums - History

Brew City MKE Beer Museum

275 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee; A site of the Milwaukee County Historical Society featuring the region’s brewing history and heritage. Admission includes a beer or craft soda; group rates with souvenir mugs. Hours: 11-8 Wednesdays-Fridays; 11-10 Saturdays; 11-6 Sundays; Closed for Holidays. Telephone: (414) 897-8765; Website: brewcitymilwaukee.com

Firehouse 3 Museum

700 Sixth St., Racine; An authentic 1881 firehouse maintained as a turn-of-the-century firehouse featuring antique firefighting equipment. Open by appointment. Telephone: (262) 637-7395; Website: www.racinefirebells.org.

Fortaleza Hall

1525 Howe St., Racine; A testament to SC Johnson’s rich history, Fortaleza Hall honors the spirit of adventure and highlights the landmark expeditions to Brazil by the late fourth-generation leader Sam Johnson and his father, H. F. Johnson, Jr. The hall also houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Library and Reading Room, which includes hundreds of books, documents, drawings, correspondence, videos, blueprints and DVDs about one of America’s most well-known architects. Telephone: (262) 260-2154. Website: www.scjohnson.com/en/company/architecture/Fortaleza-Hall.aspx.

Golden Rondelle Theater

1525 Howe St., Racine; Originally designed as the Johnson Wax Pavilion for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, the theater now serves as the center for the company’s tour program. Includes a 45-minute guided tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson Administration Building. Also the home of the films “Carnauba: A Son’s Memoir” and “To Be Alive.” Reservations required. Telephone: (262) 260-2154. Website: www.racinecounty.com/golden.

Milwaukee County Historical Society

910 N. Old World Third St., Milwaukee; The region’s only organization exclusively focused on the comprehensive history, culture, people and places of Milwaukee County. Featuring a collection of artifacts and archival materials, the society shares Milwaukee’s stories at five distinctive locations. Open 9:30-5 Mondays-Saturdays. Hours at Trimborn Farm, the Curtin House, the Damon House and the Kilbourntown House historic sites vary by season. Telephone: (414) 273-8288; Website: www.milwaukeehistory.net.

Old Falls Village Museum

N96 W15791 County Line Rd., Menomonee Falls; The museum consists of a series of eight buildings that are maintained by the Menomonee Falls Historical Society and furnished with authentic artifacts. Open from May through September, except holidays; group tours by arrangement. Telephone: (262) 250-3901; Website: www.oldfallsvillage.com.

Old World Wisconsin

Highway 67 near Highway 59, Eagle; Open-air, interactive history attraction located south of Eagle on Hwy. 67 in southwest Waukesha County featuring farm and rural life with more than 65 historic buildings, an 1880’s village and octagonal Clausing Barn Café. “Catch Wheel Fever!” interactive experience highlights the 1890s cycling boom. Showcases food preparation methods, hands-on activities, historic breeds of animals and heirloom gardens. Open May-October; Seasonal Hours & Daily in Summer; Post-Season Special Events.Telephone: (262) 594-6301; Website: www.oldworldwisconsin.org.

Racine Heritage Museum

701 Main St., Racine; From astronaut Laurel Clark and architect Frank Lloyd Wright to Case steam tractors and the Underground Railroad, the Heritage Museum of Racine has something for everyone, including a new Racine County Sports Hall of Fame. Free Admission. Open 9-5 Tuesdays - Fridays, 9-8 Thursdays, 10-3 Saturdays, 12-4 Sundays. Telephone: (262) 636-3926; Website: www.racineheritagemuseum.org.

Ten Chimneys

S43 W31575 Depot Rd., Genesee Depot; The estate lovingly created by theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne is a museum and national resource for theatre, arts and arts education. 2019 Tours are offered May 12-December 1, 10-2:30 Tuesdays-Saturdays and Noon-2:30 Sundays. Reservations recommended. Telephone: (262) 968-4110; Website: www.tenchimneys.org.

Waukesha County Museum

101 W. Main St., Waukesha; Located in an 1893 courthouse, the museum features three floors of exhibits, tours, special events, camps for kids and a research center that tell the story of Waukesha County from the time of the Ice Age. Tours available for a minimal fee. Open 10-4:30, Tuesdays - Saturdays. Research center open 10-Noon and 12:30-4:30 Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 12:30-4:30 Thursdays. Telephone: (262) 521-2859; Website: www.waukeshacountymuseum.org.

West Allis Historical Society Museum

8405 W. National Ave., West Allis; Housed in an 1887 Richardsonian Romanesque “Cream City” brick building, the museum includes artifacts from an old-time dental clinic, a school room, blacksmith shop, pioneer room, tool room, general store, a cemetery plotted in 1849 and a log-cabin school. Research library contains historical information on West Allis and Town of Greenfield. Open 7-9 Tuesdays, 2-4 Sundays or by appointment. Telephone: (414) 541-6970; Website: www.westallishistory.org.

Nature/Wildlife

Boerner Botanical Gardens

9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners; A collection of formal garden spaces hosting a number of plant collections from ornamental grasses to phenomenal peonies. Formal gardens include the perennial, peony, rock, rose, shrub, annual, daylily, herb and trial gardens. Guided garden tours, classes and special events year-round. Located in Whitnall Park. Hours: 8-6 (or sunset) April-Late Fall; Closed Late November-Early April. Telephone: (414) 525-5601; Website: www.boernerbotanicalgardens.org.

Milwaukee County Zoo

10001 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee; Visit over 3,100 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles in specialized habitats spanning 190 wooded acres. Features a zoo train, sea lion show, tram tour, animal rides, dairy farm, restaurants and gift shops. Special events and education programs. Seasonal hours. Telephone: (414) 256-5412; Website: www.milwaukeezoo.org.

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

524 S. 27th St., Milwaukee; Three architecturally unique glass domes house a tropical rainforest with a 30-foot waterfall and orchid collection, a desert oasis and a floral “Show Dome” featuring five floral seasonal exhibits. Open 9-5 Monday through Friday and 9-4 Saturday and Sunday; extended winter hours. Telephone: (414) 257-5600; Website: www.milwaukeedomes.org

Racine Zoo

2131 N. Main St., Racine; Nestled on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, the zoo is home to the world’s most remarkable and endangered wildlife. An easy walk for kids and seniors. Open every day of the year; free parking. Summer hours (May - October): 9-6; Fall/spring hours: 9-4:40; Winter hours: 9-4. Free for children under 3. Telephone: (262) 636-9189; Website: www.racinezoo.org

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., Bayside; Featuring a 30,000-square-foot “green” building, six miles of hiking trails and a 60-foot observation tower, the center is 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan. Summer hours: 9-8 Mondays - Thursdays; 9-5 Fridasy - Sundays. Closed most major holidays. Telephone: (414) 352-2880; Website: www.schlitzaudubon.org

Urban Ecology Center

Riverside Park: 1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee; Washington Park: 1859 N. 40th St., Milwaukee; An environmental education organization with two community centers. Open 9-7 Mondays - Thursdays, 9-5 Fridays and Saturdays, and 12-5 Sundays. Telephone: (414) 964-8505; Website: www.urbanecologycenter.org

Wehr Nature Center

9701 W. College Ave., Franklin; Five miles of nature trails loop through 200 acres of woodlands, wetlands, prairie, oak savanna and around 20-acre Mallard Lake. Nature programs for all ages and special seasonal events for families. Visitor’s center open daily 8:30-4:30 except New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day and some days near Thanksgiving and Christmas. Telephone: (414) 425-8550; www.friendsofwehr.org

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