Milwaukee Patio Party


Professional and collegiate sports, theater and ballet, museums galore, and then – the world’s largest music festival

You will be hard-pressed to find a weekend in Milwaukee when there is nothing to do. Professional sports teams play year-round. Theater, dance and opera companies keep the stages filled with action. And there are dozens of small clubs offering a variety of music, including blues, jazz, swing and rock ’n’ roll. If your musical tastes are more classical, you might enjoy a night with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at its home in the restored, historic Bradley Symphony Center on West Wisconsin Avenue. If you are looking for Las Vegas-style entertainment, head over to the Potawatomi Casino Hotel, which is located just south of the downtown on Canal Street. It is just completing a $190 million renovation that features new gaming areas, restaurants, bars and sportsbook. It offers everything from bingo to roulette, poker, blackjack and slot machines for the total Vegas experience.

Perhaps you’re just hungry. If so, you will be amazed at the variety of excellent ethnic restaurants and world-renowned chefs in the metropolitan area. Or you may want to organize a group of friends for a RiverWalk boat tour. Whatever your tastes, you will quickly discover there is no shortage of things to do in Milwaukee.


The Milwaukee area is blessed with a variety of cultural attractions:

  • The recently expanded Milwaukee Art Museum is home to more than 30,000 works of art, including 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 hand-on exhibits for children ages 1 through 10.
  • The Charles Allis Art Museum, housed in the lavish 1911 home of Charles and Sarah Allis, contains original furnishings and a world class art collection spanning more than 2,000 years.
  • 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 just south of downtown Milwaukee in the Menomonee Valley, it attracts more than 6 million visitors every year and offers 24/7 action with nearly 100 table games, 3,000 slot machines, a bingo hall, poker room, off-track betting, 500-seat theater and seven different 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.

Festivals & Events

During the summer, there are major music and art festivals, block parties and church festivals throughout Milwaukee. The largest festival is Summerfest, which draws over 624,000 people to Milwaukee’s lakefront Henry W. Maier Festival Park, a spectacular venue that offers stunning views of Milwaukee’s skyline as well as a panoramic vista of Lake Michigan. The festival park also is used to stage the many events organized by local ethnic groups, including Festa Italiana, German Fest, Irish Fest, Mexican Fiesta, and Polish Fest. Festivals, however, aren’t confined to the lakefront. In July, Milwaukeeans celebrate the beginning of the French Revolution at Bastille Days, a downtown block party that’s considered to be the largest celebration of its kind in the country. Greek Fest is an annual celebration held at State Fair Park. Catholic parishes hold weekend galas throughout the city, while the Milwaukee Public Market’s Riverwalk Commons Concert Series draws hundreds of people to the Milwaukee River over the course of the summer. Nor are festivals confined to Milwaukee. Racine’s 1,000-slip marina is a focal point of activity throughout the summer as well. The city’s nationally famous fishing contest, Salmon-A-Rama, draws participants from around the country in July. And the historic community of Cedarburg is known for its annual Strawberry Festival.


Every summer, Milwaukee proudly hosts Summerfest, the “World’s Largest Music Festival,” on the shores of Lake Michigan in a world-class festival setting. The 2024 festival, which celebrated its 56th anniversary last year, will be held over three consecutive weekends again this summer: June 20-22, June 27-29 and July 4-6. The event runs each weekend Thursday-Saturday, from noon to midnight, for a total of nine days. Considered one of the most diverse and most affordable music festivals in the country, features over 800 acts and more than 1,000 performances on 12 permanent stages with a continuous lineup of “the music industry’s hottest stars, emerging talent and local favorites.” Among the artists featured in this year’s lineup are Kane Brown, Mötley Crüe, Tyler Childers Mule Pull ‘24 Tour, Keith Urban, AJR with Guest Carly Rae Jepsen, and REO Speedwagon.

Outdoor Fun

The area also offers a variety of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Sparkling lakes, quiet woodland areas and prairie vistas can be found throughout Waukesha, Ozaukee, Racine and Washington counties. All told, the greater Milwaukee area features 17,700 acres of county parkland, more than 60 public and private golf courses and more than 240 miles of bikeways and hiking paths. Boating and fishing are major activities on Lake Michigan as well as the many beautiful inland lakes. Charter boat captains are always eager to take people out onto the “local ocean” to land perch, steelhead, coho or chinook salmon. Sailing is also very popular. The South Shore Yacht Club’s annual Queen’s Cup Race attracts over 120 boats per year for the Wisconsin-to-Michigan race. For more casual sailors, sailboats and windsurfing equipment can be rented at McKinley Park Marina just east of downtown Milwaukee. If a leisurely ride is more your speed, gather up some friends for a RiverWalk Boat Tour along the Milwaukee River.

Golfing Paradise

Wisconsin has become known as a golf destination sensation thanks to superbly designed courses and its hosting of major golf championships in recent years. According to Golf Digest, seven of the nation’s top 100 golf courses are located in the state, including three in the Milwaukee area: Washington County’s Erin Hills, which hosted the 2017 U.S. Open; the Milwaukee Country Club in River Hills; and the Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wauwatosa. Whistling Straits, in nearby Kohler, has hosted the PGA Championships three times and hosted The Ryder Cup in 2021. In addition, the state has hosted two U.S. Women’s Opens, with a third coming back in 2025, two U.S. Senior Opens, and a U.S. Amateur. To stay abreast of all things golf in the state, see the Wisconsin State Golf Association website You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy golf, as there are dozens of affordable public courses. For information and access to special deals, visit:

Fresh from the Farm

Milwaukee's farmers markets offer everything from fresh, locally grown produce to arts and crafts. They are great places to savor fresh produce, see people and enjoy the outdoors. One of the oldest and most popular is the award-winning West Allis Farmers Market ( City neighborhood markets include the popular Cathedral Square Park (; fun and funky East Side Green Market (, Westown’s Milwaukee Night Market (, the South Shore Farmers’ Market in Bay View (, and the century-old Fondy Farmers Market (, Milwaukee’s largest and most diverse. .

Greenfield (, Oak Creek ( and Wauwatosa ( host suburban markets.

The region also boasts the the Downtown West Bend Farmers' Market (, Cedarburg's Makers & Growers Market (, the Holy Hill Art & Farm Market in Hubertus ( and events in East Troy ( Brookfield (, Elm Grove (, Port Washington (, Thiensville ( and Waukesha ( also host markets.

The Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market (MWFM) is held at The Table, 5305 W. Capitol Drive, November–April ( Waukesha also holds a winter market at Martha Merrell’s Books, 231 W. Main St. each Saturday ( Milaeger’s year-round Great Lakes Farmers Market ( in Racine offers a plethora of fresh produce, hand-crafted edibles, organics, artisan goods, florals, arts and crafts, live music and more!

For more details about area farmers markets go to:, the national registry at, or check out the Milwaukee Farmers Market Guides at and

A Full Menu for Foodies

There’s a reason Milwaukee made Eater’s list of “The Most Dynamic Food Cities in the World”! From global cuisine and fusion dishes, to tapas and farm-to-table comfort food, to classic fare and iconic fish fries, Milwaukee serves up a full spectrum of epicurean delights.

Home to several James Beard Award winners and nominees, if it’s trending in the culinary world, you’ll find it here! Explore artisan specialty shops featuring everything from local cheeses, spices, chocolates and more. Grab a local Rishi or Urbal tea, or seek out local coffee roasters. Find out why real estate website Clever named us the 2022 Coffee Capital of the United States due to our “perfect blend of passionate coffee culture and affordability.”

Experiment at food halls like the popular Sherman Phoenix Marketplace ( on the city’s north side or the trendy east side’s innovative Crossroads Collective (  Zócalo Food Truck Park ( in Walker’s Point and 3rd St. Market Hall ( at The Avenue MKE downtown are also causing a buzz!

Hop on a Milwaukee Food Tours bus ( for an adventure or learn how to create your own delights by signing up for one of the classes offered at the notable Milwaukee Public Market (

Events celebrating the area's rich epicurean heritage, such as Food and Froth Fest (Milwaukee Public Museum; (, Downtown Dining Week ( or A la Carte at the Zoo ( Check out MKE Food Truck Fest ( for a tasty sampling of cuisines.

Pick up a copy of Milwaukee Magazine, which lists restaurants by cuisine and location, or check out the Brunch Guide at Discover more at, and Bon Appétit!

Milwaukee Public Market

The Milwaukee Public Market is a unique downtown food, shopping and social nexus. Filled with unique selections of artisan and ethnic products, freshly made foods and eating areas, it is one of Milwaukee's premier destinations, attracting more than 1.7 million visitors per year. The market also showcases a variety of cooking classes in The Madame Kuony Demonstration Kitchen. Instructors include Public Market vendors, local chefs and nationally known cookbook authors.

Located in the Historic Third Ward, just south of downtown, the market is easily accessible by car (parking lot available), walking, biking and Milwaukee's street car, The Hop, which has a stop just outside the entrance. Open seven days a week (10 am to 8 pm weekdays, 8 am to 8 pm Saturdays, and 9 am to 6 pm Sundays; some stores have extended hours).

Class-Act Theaters

The Milwaukee Theater District is home to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater (The Rep), which is located within the Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex. The Complex is comprised of three distinct performance venues: the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret. The Rep also performs in the opulent Pabst Theater, a national historic landmark and fourth oldest continuously operating theater in the nation, for its annual production of A Christmas Carol. The District is also made up of the Riverside Theater, a popular music venue; the Miller High Life Theater and the Marcus Performing Arts Center, offering several venues for performing artists.

Large shows are held at Fiserv Forum and the outdoor American Family Insurance Amphitheater and BMO Pavilion, which are located at Henry W. Maier Festival Park. The Broadway Theatre Center, located in Milwaukee’s trendy Third Ward, is the home of The Skylight Music Theatre and the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.


Having Fun with the Kids

There’s lots of choices! There’s Betty Brinn Children’s Museum (page 27), designed for kids 10 and under, with lots of interactive exhibits and special events. Everyone loves zoos, but few can compare to the Milwaukee County Zoo (page 28), which features hundreds of species in specialized habitats on a 190-acre site. The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (page 28) and the Urban Ecology Center (page 28) immerse children in natural surroundings, allowing them to experience flora and fauna in their natural habitats. Discovery World Science + Technology Center (page 27) makes science fun and features a multi-story aquarium. For families looking to learn more about the region’s history and heritage, the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) (page 27) and Old World Wisconsin (page 28) are both a must! While at MPM, don’t miss the two-story butterfly vivarium and the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium.   

For Fans of the Silver Screen

Celebrating a decade of bringing the best in independent and international film to Milwaukee audiences, the annual Milwaukee Film Festival will run from May 6 - 20, 2021. Feature films, shorts, screenings, post-film conversations, panels, and parties round out the 15-day festival. More than 300 films will be shown during this virtual (for 2021) event.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee also hosts several film festivals throughout the year, including the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, and the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival. See for more information.


Attendance at Major Attractions

Potawatomi Casino Hotel

4.5 million


Milwaukee Brewers Baseball

2.4 million


Milwaukee Bucks

1.5 million


Milwaukee County Zoo

1.1 million


Wisconsin State Fair

1.0 million





Once known as the "Beer Capital of the World" due to its many breweries, Milwaukee is now a leader in the ever-evolving art of craft brewing thanks to inventive, local brewers who offer a wide variety of distinctive brews.
Milwaukee Event Calendar 2024/2025 For a more complete listing of area events, please go to
Milwaukee, the City of Festivals, holds more festivals than any other city in the United States.  There isn't an idle weekend in Milwaukee from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Every week, the metro area hosts at least one major celebration.
Milwaukee is a cultural center offering a wealth of opportunities to attend plays, operas, symphonies and chamber music, thanks to an arts community that is well supported by metro-area residents.
The Milwaukee area is blessed with a variety of cultural attractions, including museums, gardens, nature centers, and zoos.
A Major League City When it comes to sports, Milwaukee is definitely in the major leagues with two professional sports teams – the NBA's exciting Milwaukee Bucks, which won the National Basketball Association national championship in 2021; and the Milwaukee Brew
Southeast Wisconsin offers many unique specialty stores and shopping venues, including, increasingly, pop-ups.
The greater Milwaukee area is definitely pet-friendly, as you’ll see firsthand at Fromm PetFest (, Salty Paws doggy ice cream bar,, or the Brad