17 Free Things to Do in Milwaukee This Summer

If there’s one thing every Milwaukeean can agree on, it’s that summer in this city is truly one of a kind. From beach days to live music and everything in between, it’s hard to fit it all in during the few short months of warmth and sunshine. Milwaukee offers seemingly endless options to fill up all your sunny days and steamy nights, but best of all? There’s so much to do without spending a penny! Here are 17 free things you can plan to do in Milwaukee this summer:

  1. Stroll along the Riverwalk
    Take in the sights and sounds of the city as you walk along the water through downtown Milwaukee. Enjoy the beautiful architecture, wave at passing boaters, and be sure to take a selfie with local legend The Bronze Fonz!
  2. Find your inner child at the Swing Park
    You never know what surprises you’ll find in Milwaukee! A little urban adventure will land you at the Swing Park under the Marsupial Bridge. Aside from the obvious playground-style fun, the Swing Park holds several events throughout the summer including a Bike-In Movie Series and Newaukee’s Down Under Disco.
  3. Tour the Miller Brewery
    The Miller Brewing Company offers free, hour-long, indoor/outdoor guided walking tours of Miller Valley daily. You can learn about over 155 years of Miller’s brewing history, plus enjoy samples of Miller products. Did somebody say free beer?
  4. Get cultured at the Milwaukee Art Museum
    Free the first Thursday of each month, the Milwaukee Art Museum brings world-renowned art to our little patch of Lake Michigan’s shore. The building itself is a masterpiece of architecture, and there’s so much beauty to be discovered inside.
  5. Explore the Milwaukee Public Museum
    Also free the first Thursday of each month, the Milwaukee Public Museum is a perfect place to cool off from the hot summer sun. Filled with wonders of human history and natural science, plus the beloved Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, you never know what you’ll learn.
  6. Get your groove on with live, local music
    Milwaukee’s got plenty of live music to choose from all summer long. Head to Chill on the Hill in Bay View’s Humboldt Park on Tuesdays, River Rhythms in Pere Marquette Park on Wednesdays, and Jazz in the Park in Cathedral Square Park on Thursdays. Pack a picnic and enjoy the music – see where the beat takes you!
  7.  Hike or bike and breathe in the fresh air
    Milwaukee County has over 40 miles of trails running through it, inviting you to get out and enjoy nature. Walk, jog or bike your way through scenic routes in the area and see Milwaukee in a whole new light.
  8. Welcome the season at Summer Soulstice
    There’s no better way to welcome summer than at North Avenue’s Summer Soulstice Music Festival. From noon to midnight on June 24, 2017, enjoy live music from local bands, shop local vendors, eat, drink, dance and more – admission is free!
  9. Window shop at the Milwaukee Public Market
    The Milwaukee Public Market has become an iconic landmark of the city for good reason. It’s hard to find anything quite like the hustle and bustle of the Market anywhere else in the city. The people watching and window shopping are great, but the huge food selection makes it hard to resist treating yourself to something tasty while you’re there
  10. Soak up the sun at Bradford Beach
    Being on the shore of one of the world’s largest lakes definitely has its perks! Soak up the hot summer sun at Bradford Beach and enjoy three tiki huts with food and drink service, 35 sand volleyball courts, cabana rentals and a concession stand.
  11. See the outdoors indoors at the Mitchell Park Domes
    Free every Monday before noon, the Mitchell Park Domes allows visitors to experience a tropical jungle, desert oasis and a flower garden all in one trip, showcasing diverse plant and animal life in beautifully designed habitats - the perfect adventure for a rainy day!
  12. Entertain yourself at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
    We know, a list of free activities isn’t where you’d expect to find a casino, but Potawatomi offers plenty of entertainment that doesn’t cost a thing. Free live music fills Bar 360 and The Fire Pit’s Side Bar several nights each week, and Bonkerz Comedy takes over the Side Bar every Saturday night for free stand-up shows. Check out the full calendar of events for what’s coming up next!
  13. Find your inspiration at Gallery Night and Day
    The quarterly Gallery Night and Day event showcases dozens of venues throughout downtown for two days of gallery hopping and art admiring. This summer’s event takes place July 21-22, 2017.
  14. Party on at Brady Street Festival
    Dozens of local food vendors and artists, plus live entertainment on four stages will be scattered across Brady Street from Farwell to Van Buren for one packed day of fun. This year’s Brady Street Festival takes place July 29, 2017, and admission is free!
  15. Keep it fresh and local at a farmers market
    Summer in Wisconsin wouldn’t feel complete without a trip to a farmers market. Fresh air, sunshine and plenty of locally grown goods? Sign us up! With dozens of markets throughout the Milwaukee area, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do your grocery shopping outdoors this summer!
  16. Take a starlit stroll through a Newaukee Night Market
    One Wednesday a month, June through September, Newaukee holds a Night Market on Wisconsin Avenue. This free, open-air market showcases arts and crafts, food trucks, locally grown produce, live music, family activities, a beer garden and more – there’s truly something for everyone.
  17. Celebrate summer with a bang
    If you’re looking to “ooh” and “ahh” this summer, be sure to catch one of Milwaukee’s many fireworks displays. The downtown views look their best with a little extra sparkle!