Downtown Milwaukee Things To Do

Downtown Milwaukee Things To Do

  • Peter Mahler Team
  • 01/16/23

From its world-famous music festivals to its revitalized downtown, there has never been a better time to visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Set along the shores of Lake Michigan, downtown Milwaukee is conveniently located just 1.5 hours away from Madison and Chicago. Often considered a hidden gem, Milwaukee is one of the coolest cities in the Midwest. It has spectacular museums, world-class dining, downtown Milwaukee shopping, rich history, and fabulous nightlife. Downtown Milwaukee is a vibrant, dynamic area begging to be explored. Whether you are visiting Brew City or relocating to the area, there is much to explore within the downtown area. Here are some of the best things to do in Downtown Milwaukee.

Catch a sports game

Wisconsin might be best known for the Green Bay Packers, but Milwaukee is one of the best cities for sports fans. Home of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the best ways to get to know the city is through its sports teams. If you are a basketball fan, Downtown Milwaukee is the place to be since the Fiserv Forum is where the Milwaukee Bucks play. Take your friends and family out for a basketball game, or even purchase season tickets. There’s no better way to watch the Bucks! Prefer college sports? Downtown Milwaukee is the home of Marquette University, featuring an NCAA Division I basketball team. If you live for March Madness, hang out in Downtown Milwaukee. Even if you can’t get tickets, there are dozens of bars and taverns playing the games.

Even when basketball season isn’t in full swing, the Fiserv Forum is a popular venue for concerts and special events.

Check out the Harley Davidson Museum

When you think of Milwaukee, chances are three images come to mind: draft beer, sports, and Harley Davidson motorcycles. That’s because Milwaukee is the birthplace of Harley Davidson, which has manufactured some of the world’s best motorcycles. Harley Davidson is still alive and well in the Milwaukee area since its headquarters are still located there. If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, check out the Harley Davidson Museum, a one-of-a-kind museum dedicated to celebrating Harley Davidson’s legacy in the motorcycle world. The museum features an array of different exhibits, highlighting the company’s rich history. Check out some of their most iconic motorcycles and some of the stories behind the bikes.

Shop in downtown Milwaukee

If you are a fan of shopping, Milwaukee is the city for you. In fact, downtown Milwaukee shopping ranks up there with Chicago and the Twin Cities in terms of the best shopping destinations in the Midwest. Check out the Historic Third Ward, which has undergone massive revitalization efforts in recent years. There, you will find nearly every type of clothing and home furnishing store you can imagine, from national retailers to specialty boutiques. While you are downtown, check out the Milwaukee Public Market, a gathering place of some of the region’s best food vendors featuring domestic and international cuisine. Shopping in Downtown Milwaukee is truly an immersive experience.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

While Milwaukee is well-known for beer, sports, and motorcycles, it is also a dynamic city with some of the region’s best art and cultural activities. Watch a performance at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts for a truly spectacular night out. This features Broadway-caliber musicals and performances, as well as ballets, symphonies, concerts, and plays. Some notable performances include Frozen, Les Miserables, The Nutcracker Suite, and other classics. The Marcus Center of the Performing Arts is a wonderful destination year-round, but it truly comes to life during the holiday season.

Summerfest & other events

If you are a music fan, there is no better place to be than Downtown Milwaukee, especially during the summer months. Henry Maier Festival Grounds, a 75-acre park set along Lake Michigan's shores, is home to some of Milwaukee's biggest events, including Summerfest, one of the world's largest music festivals. Summerfest is an annual event featuring over 800 bands, spread over three weekends. There's no celebration quite like Summerfest. The festival grounds also host many concerts, festivals, and specialty events.

Grohmann Museum

Searching for fabulous art museums and galleries? Downtown Milwaukee is the go-to destination for art lovers. Of the many art galleries and studios throughout the city, one of the city’s most beloved places is the Grohmann Museum, featuring over 1,700 paints, sculptures, and drawings from 1580 to the present day. The Grohmann Museum has one of the most diverse collections of art styles of any museum and is one of the best places to learn about art history and its connection to everyday life. Each painting highlights the evolution of work and industry, showcasing what daily life was like for workers during each era. You can learn about different trades, including blacksmithing, mining, farming, glass blowing, etc. The museum features art from some of history’s most iconic artists, including Norman Rockwell, Jan Josefsz van Goyen, Ludwig Knaus, and more.

Milwaukee County Historical Society

Beyond its art and cultural scene, Milwaukee is a historic city with a strong heritage dating back centuries. The best place to learn more about Milwaukee’s rich history is the Milwaukee County Historical Society. The Milwaukee County Historical Society features vivid exhibitions, including Brew City, which highlight the city’s rich history with brewing and how it became known as the Beer Capital of the United States. See immersive exhibits which highlight the city’s history. The Milwaukee County Historical Society also features historic farmhouses and buildings outside Downtown Milwaukee. From group tours to self-guided tours, there’s no wrong way to experience Milwaukee’s history.

From the Historic Third Ward to the festival grounds, Downtown Milwaukee is a city like no other. Whether you are visiting for the weekend or considering moving, Milwaukee is a great place to be.

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