Milwaukee Park

How to Spend Your Summer Outside in the City of Milwaukee

There is no such thing as a boring Summer day in Milwaukee. With the warm weather sticking around for a few short months, Milwaukeeans can’t help but spend a majority of their summer outside soaking up the sun. If this is your first Summer in Milwaukee, here are a few things to do in the 414 to get you outside and enjoying the summer day in the city.

Visit a city park

Milwaukee is home to the only urban state park in Wisconsin, Havenwood State Forest( 6141 N Hopkins St.) This six mile, 237-acre park is perfect for hiking, walking or jogging in the summer, but also doubles as a cross-country ski trail in the winter. Children are always welcome to participate in various outdoor activities during the summer, including the “geocoding adventure.” With the completion of booklets provided by the nature center, kids can earn the “Wisconsin Explorer” badge.

Did you know the same architect who helped build New York City’s Central Park also helped design some of the city parks in Milwaukee? Frederick Law Olmsted designed Milwaukee’s Washington Park located at 1859 N. 40thSt. That’s right city’s need beautiful parks too and Milwaukee defiantly has them. Washington Park is a great place to spend time enjoying what nature has to offer, even in an urban city.

Bike around town

Milwaukee enthusiastically welcomed many railroads as the Railway Age developed, and because of this, many of those railroads that are no longer in service have been created into bike trails around the city. Other long trails, like the 1250-mile OakLeaf Trail, are made of paved asphalt or crushed gravel but still make for a nice scenic route through the city. Many of the bike trails connected to Oak Leaf, however are hidden away in the forest and are up to you to discover.

Don’t have a bike of your own? Not a problem, check out a Bublr Bike at one of the many stations across the city and ride from one place to the next. For a scenic route drive along the lake or down a bike trail, the possibilities are truly endless. 

Visit the Urban Ecology Center 

The Urban Ecology Center has a vision of inspiring generations to build environmental curiosity, as well as enforcing a community effort to keep natural areas clean. The Urban Ecology Center gets people outside at one of their three locations; Riverside Park (1500 E Park Pl.) Washington Park(1859 N.40thSt.) and Menomonee Valley (3700 W Pierce St.) At the Urban Ecology Center, there are educational classes to connect children and community members with nature. There are also free trails to walk or bike along the Milwaukee River behind the Urban Ecology Center. However, Members of the Urban Ecology Center also have access to kayak, snow shoe and camping equipment rentals.

Visit a Beer Garden 

Since Milwaukee is a beer-drinking city, there are many beer gardens open for the summer for a nice refreshing craft beer. 

  • EastBrook Beer Garden is a Bavarian-style beer garden great for big celebrations.
  • South Shore Terrace Kitchen is a 1930’s Bathhouse and beer garden with a lake view. 
  • Hubbard Park is a cozy beer garden with great service.
  • Humboldt Park also features a great craft beer garden with open outdoor space and a baseball field and playground great for the kids to play around. 
  • Deer District Beer Garden is a great place to visit for a variety of different food and drink options, and watch some summer sports on the big screen in front of the garden.

Spend your night or day at a neighborhood festival 

Every year Milwaukee hosts the largest music festival in the world, Summerfest along the shore of Lake Michigan. In addition to Summerfest, there are some great festivals closer to home. Jazz in the Park is a great jazz fest with local artists that happens almost every Thursday in the summer in Cathedral Square. Also in Cathedral Square Park is Bastille Days Milwaukee’s French Festival with themed music, food, and even a replica of the Eiffel Tower. Another fun festival in the summer is Brady Street Festival, a whole street of entertainment with live local bands, food, drink, and endless fun.


For a full list of events happening this summer view our “Festival Season: June Edition” blog post and stay updated for our July and August Festival edition to come out.

There is always something going on in Milwaukee!

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