City of Festivals
Heralded as the "City of Festivals," Milwaukee showcases its rich heritage with a procession of ethnic and cultural celebrations throughout the summer. The Henry W. Maier Festival Park along the shores of Lake Michigan becomes a portal to the world as guests are invited to explore the arts, cuisine, history and entertainment of a new culture nearly every weekend.
|Bastille Days is one of the nation's largest French-themed celebrations.|
The summer festival season begins with PrideFest in June. This community celebration brings thousands of people from the LGBT community to the Henry W. Maier Festival Park for a wide variety of entertainment and activities.
The parade of world cultures begins with one of America’s largest Polish themed festivals, Polish Fest. Whether or not you’re of Polish descent, you’re sure to enjoy the music, dance, historical exhibits and delectable Polish culinary specialties. Don’t miss the Annual Chopin Youth Piano Competition, which has been a family favorite for years and showcases the talents of young and gifted pianists.
The world’s largest music festival, Summerfest, takes the lakefront by storm at the end of June. This 11-day musical mega event offers the best in regional and national bands on 10 permanent ground stages and a 23,000-seat amphitheater featuring national headliner acts. The area’s finest restaurants serve up delicious fare and entertainment includes comedy shows, a children’s play area and daily demonstrations and activities.
Bastille Days places a pint-size Paris in Cathedral Square Park, in the heart of downtown. One of the nation’s largest French-themed celebrations is filled with French cuisine, live music, an international marketplace, chef and wine demonstrations, roaming busker entertainment and the annual “Storm the Bastille” 5K run/walk, which kicks off the festivities on the opening Thursday.
Back at the 75-acre lakefront Henry W. Maier Festival Park, Festa Italiana, America’s premier Italian cultural event, brings Italian charm and romance to Milwaukee. Browse the cultural exhibits, challenge friends and family to a game of bocce ball, savor the delicious cuisine or be a part of the colorful religious procession following Sunday Mass. Every night offers explosive fun for all with a dazzling Italian-style fireworks show.
|Irish Fest is the world's largest Irish festival.|
Grab a stein, put on your finest lederhosen and cool off with your favorite brew at North America’s largest annually held German festival, German Fest. Indulge in unforgettable German cuisine, marvel as craftsmen demonstrate old world artistry, enjoy a colorful brass band or stroll through the Marktplatz for unique German gifts. You won’t want to miss the Dachshund Derby, the genealogy area or the Glockenspiel.
The Wisconsin State Fair is an 11-day extravaganza filled with family fun, fantastic musical entertainment and more wacky foods than you could imagine! This fair boasts 30 free entertainment stages and hosts more than 1,000 animals along with hilarious and fun activities like the racing pigs. Hop on the sky glider and take in a bird’s eye view, stop by the SpinCity amusement area for games and rides and don’t leave without devouring a mouthwatering Wisconsin cream puff.
Irish Fest, the world’s largest Irish cultural festival, brings the Emerald Isle to Milwaukee’s lakefront. Cultural exhibits, displays, theater, poetry readings and craft demonstrations bring alive the spirit of Old Ireland’s folklore and charm, while contests, raffles and sporting events add to the fun. Listen to traditional Irish music, admire the Irish dancers jigging to heart-pounding beats or enjoy the roaming performers dressed in traditional costumes. Stop at one of the two marketplaces to take a piece of Ireland home with you.
Spice things up at Mexican Fiesta at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park! This authentic south-of-the- border experience features mouth-watering food, rousing mariachi bands, foot stomping rhythms, and an elaborate swirl of traditional dancers. Walk through the cultural pavilion and learn about the history and traditions of Mexican and Latin cultures from ancient civilizations to the present.
Indian Summer Festival, the largest Native American festival of its kind in the country, offers a fun and entertaining way to experience the diversity of both traditional and contemporary American Indian culture. Held in September, the festival celebrates the rich Native American heritage with authentic tribal villages, storytellers, traditional handcrafts, dance troupes, a competition Pow Wow, fireworks, Aztec dancers and lacrosse.
Later in the year, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival transforms downtown Milwaukee into a sparkling winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the city. Visit city parks to see larger-than-life holiday displays from a steam locomotive to Santa’s reindeer and more. For only $1 you can ride the Jingle Bus for a warm and comfortable tour, complete with hot cocoa and cookies!
MORE GREAT FESTIVALS
- Cool Fool Kite Festival
- Cedarburg Winter Festival
- Lakefront Festival of Art
- Cedarburg Strawberry Festival
- Gathering on the Green
- Firkin Craft Beer Festival
- Brady Street Festival
- Milwaukee Brewfest
- Milwaukee IndyFest
- Milwaukee Rally
- Cedarburg Wine & Harvest Festival
- Harvest Fair
- Milwaukee Film Festival
- Christmas in the Country
- Christmas in the Ward
- Musical Mondays in Lake Park
- Chill on the Hill – Tuesdays
- River Rhythms – Wednesdays
- Tosa Tonight Concert Series – Wednesdays
- Florentine at Colectivo – Wednesdays & Thursdays
- Jazz in the Park – Thursdays
- Musica del Lago – Thursdays