Milwaukee isn’t the first place you think of when planning a vacation. Most people don’t even know where it is, or they just have a vague idea that it is in the Midwest somewhere. Yes, we have the Green Bay Packers, cheese, and beer, but there’s a lot more. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a visit during the middle of winter, summer is the perfect time to come and check it out. Seriously.
I may be a little biased because I’ve lived here most of my life. However, I have lived in three other states, and I came back to live in Milwaukee, so that should tell you something.
Get your plane ticket, pack up your car, or find a bus because I’m giving you 4 reasons that you should come to Milwaukee, Wisconsin right now.
4 Awesome Reasons
Did you know that Milwaukee is the home to one of the World’s largest music festivals? Not just in Wisconsin, not just in the United States, but in the World? I’m serious, and it’s awesome.
Summerfest takes place in the festival grounds located right at the lakefront of Lake Michigan. It’s a beautiful setting to listen to all the types of music that play at the festival. It runs for 11 days, and this year it goes from June 29th to July 3rd, and then July 5th to July 10th, closing on the 4th of July. Sure, there are the big Headlining acts like Selena Gomez, Tim McGraw, Paul McCartney, and Sting, but there are also 10 other stages that offer free music.
Yes, free. You just need to pay for admission to Summerfest, and you can see bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Willie Nelson, Jason Derulo, Garbage, The Roots, Nelly, Barenaked Ladies, Chris Isaak, Styx, and Billy Idol. And that’s just a sampling. There’s everything from Country to Rap to Reggae to Rock.
Plus, there’s beer, food, shopping, and the people watching. You can read all about it on their website HERE.
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2.Tons of Family Activities
Of course, you can take the kids to Summerfest. They even have a special “kids” day. However, there is so much more to do.
If crowds aren’t your thing, you can still take in the beauty of the Lakefront. There’s a path along the beach, a pier that goes out into the water, and plenty of giant rocks to climb. There’s also a place to rent a kite, rent paddleboats, and take a bike ride. Discovery World is also right on the Lakefront. You can learn all about water, conservation, and wildlife. I reviewed it during Christmas, and you can read about it HERE. While the special Christmas exhibits are not up, there’s so many things to see and learn about. Plus, it’s all hands on!
We also have a fantastic zoo, beautiful botanical gardens, and a ton of gorgeous State Parks.
If it happens to rain, we also have a wonderful children’s museum called Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, we have a Natural History Museum with an I-max theater, a lovely Art museum, and a place called Mitchell Park Conservatory, or The Domes. It’s three giant dome structures that each have different climates and landscapes for you to explore.
3.Location, location, location
As I mentioned, Milwaukee is located right on Lake Michigan. It is also close to some other fun cities, so you can take day trips while you are here.
Located about an hour and a half West, is the State Capital of Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is a beautiful city with a vibrant Art scene, great shopping, and, of course, the gorgeous University of Wisconsin Campus. State Street is a great place to walk around, check out the shops, eat some great food, and people watch.
Also, close to Madison, is Wisconsin Dells. There is a casino, there are tons of water parks, and lots of entertainment for the kids.
Located about 2 hours North of Milwaukee, is Green Bay, WI. You can visit the home of the Green Bay Packers, check out Bay Beach, and even visit the National Railroad museum. Our family took a trip to the last two, which you can read about HERE.
Milwaukee is also only about 2 hours North of Chicago, IL, which is a really fun city too. If you don’t feel like driving, you can take a quick train ride between the cities. During the summer, kids ride free on the weekends!
If you do drive, right in between Milwaukee and Chicago, there is a giant amusment park, Six Flags, and also some great Outlet Mall shopping.
4.Other Festivals and Adult Activities
Every weekend between now and the beginning of September is filled with some type of festival. From church festivals to Bastille Days to the State Fair, there’s plenty to choose from. There is Festa Italiana, Mexican Fiesta, Irish Fest, African World Fest, Polish Fest, and Indian Summer too. Some take place after Summerfest ends at the same festival grounds, while others are spread around the city.
These events are very family friendly, but there also great for just adults who want to enjoy music, food, and beverages. Lots and lots of beverages.
Wisconsin only gets about 3 nice months of weather a year, and that’s the summer months. Everyone is so excited to not have to layer up, or scrape the snow off their cars, that they are outside constantly…usually with a beer in hand, and very happy about it.
So many restaurants have patio seating, and there are traveling beer gardens that pop up everywhere. Milwaukee also has a ton of fun bars and nightclubs, and cabs/Uber are great options to getting around. Plus, you can gamble at a casino, located right outside of downtown.
We also have a couple of brewery tours, which are really fun to do. Of course, there is the Miller tour, but there are also smaller breweries, like Lakefront Brewery. You get to try three beers, plus keep your souvenir glass. On Friday nights, they have a great fish fry…another thing Milwaukee is famous for.