Welcome to Milwaukee!
Located just 90 miles north of Chicago on beautiful Lake Michigan, the second largest of the Great Lakes, Milwaukee is a friendly, clean, walkable city, loaded with Midwest charm. Easy to get to and offering one-of-a-kind attractions, the city is home to impressive architecture, a wide range of hotels, nationally acclaimed restaurants, lively neighborhoods connected by a scenic RiverWalk, and festivals all summer long.
Maybe you’re coming to attend a conference or to visit family and friends, or just up for exploring a bit of America’s heartland. We hope you’ll join the millions of people from all over the world who visit the Milwaukee area every year.
Check out our list of must-see attractions. Then pack your bags and come share in the affordable fun and excitement of our culture, the warmth of our people and beauty of our city. You’ll go home knowing you’ve had a genuine experience of a great Midwest American city with a sense of fun, celebration and character all its own.
Milwaukee is the birthplace of Harley-Davidson and the site of the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum. The museum chronicles the history of this legendary American brand from the first motorcycle produced in 1903 through a priceless display of 450 bikes, and also features exhibits on engines, racing, customized bikes and Harley’s role in pop culture. Hop on one of the bikes at the end of the tour for a photo and stop at Motor Bar & Restaurant for Route-66-inspired foods.
MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM
Designed by star international architect Santiago Calatrava, the Milwaukee Art Museum is a striking architectural beauty, featuring enormous “wings” with the span of a Boeing 747 airplane that open and close daily. Inside you’ll find an extensive collection of American and European works, German Expressionist, decorative arts, folk art and a Haitian art collection. The museum is also home to one of the world’s largest Georgia O’Keeffe collections.
Maritime heritage meets 21st century cool at Discovery World. Explore interactive science and industry exhibits and pet the sharks in the aquarium. Play virtual guitar along with Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar and native of the Milwaukee area, or lie on a bed of nails, followed by a virtual walk through the universe. The SS Denis Sullivan, a replica of an 1800’s three-masted tall ship, takes visitors out on Lake Michigan in the summertime.
POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino brings the excitement of more than 3,100 slot machines, 100 table games, a bingo hall and an expanded off-track betting room to downtown Milwaukee. Treat yourself to a variety of dining options, including the award-winning Dream Dance Steak restaurant, and enjoy a show in the intimate, club-like atmosphere of the Northern Lights Theater. Enjoy the view of the city from your room in the casino’s 18-story luxury hotel.
BREWERY AND DISTILLERY TOURS
Breweries founded by prominent German brewers in the late 1800’s attracted thousands of German immigrants to settle and work in Milwaukee at breweries like Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller. Today, you can sample the brews on entertaining tours of MillerCoors, Sprecher Brewery, Lakefront Brewery or Milwaukee Brewing Company and even stay at the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, a boutique hotel in an old Pabst brewery building featuring original copper brew kettles in the hotel’s atrium. Just across the street, stop by Best Place for a fun lecture on the city’s brewing history and to see Captain Pabst’s original office, and go on to tour his splendid historic Pabst Mansion west of downtown. But there’s more than beer brewed in Milwaukee! Check out Great Lakes Distillery or Central Standard Distillery for small batch vodkas, gin and spirits.
CITY OF FESTIVALS
Head to Maier Festival Park on Lake Michigan for a full summer line-up of music and ethnic festivals. Party like a rockstar at the annual Summerfest, the largest outdoor music festival in the world, and explore the arts, cuisine, history and entertainment of a different ethnic culture nearly every weekend. Among the summer lakefront festivals, Irish Fest is the largest Celtic festival in the world, and German Fest and Festa Italiana are the largest of their kind in the U.S.
RIVERWALK & BRONZE FONZ
Extending three miles through downtown Milwaukee along the Milwaukee River, the Milwaukee RiverWalk is lined with public art, restaurants and pubs. At the southeast corner of Wells Street and the RiverWalk, be sure to stop for a thumbs-up photo with the Bronze Fonz – a life-sized statue of the beloved character Fonzie from the iconic, Milwaukee-based “Happy Days” TV series that ran from 1974-84.
HISTORIC THIRD WARD
The Historic Third Ward is often compared to New York’s “SoHo” neighborhood. Start your tour by sampling Wisconsin artisan foods, chocolates and frozen custard in the popular Milwaukee Public Market. Then have fun walking around this lively, renovated warehouse district, now home to art galleries, theaters, boutiques and specialty stores, restaurants and a lively bar scene.
OLD WORLD THIRD STREET
Discover Milwaukee’s German heritage along Old World Third Street, with its cobblestone streets and vintage the 19th-century buildings. Shop at legendary Usinger’s Famous Sausage, Wisconsin Cheese Mart and The Spice House. Don’t miss Mader’s restaurant, serving up German fare for more than 100 years, or grab a “brat and a beer” at a neighborhood pub.
Located along the RiverWalk, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and renowned First Stage children’s theater. Touring Broadway and Off-Broadway shows also take the stage throughout the year.
MILWAUKEE PUBLIC MUSEUM
At the Milwaukee Public Museum you can explore a Costa Rican rainforest exhibit and a year-round live butterfly garden. See the world’s largest dinosaur skull and be amazed by Egyptian mummies. Stroll through the “Streets of Old Milwaukee” and be transported back to a time of gas-lit, cobblestone walkways where you can peer into vintage shops and homes.
MILWAUKEE COUNTY ZOO
For guaranteed fun for the whole family, head to the nationally-recognized Milwaukee County Zoo. Feed the giraffes and view more than 2,500 animals, from bonobos to polar bears to elephants and big cats, all housed on 200 acres of natural habitats. Kids love the zoo train, the new 500-foot zip line, climbing wall and ropes course.
CITY ON THE WATER
Explore the city on excursion boats that cruise the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan or rent kayaks for an incomparable urban adventure through the heart of the city. Walk or run along our beautiful, green Lake Michigan shoreline. The bright blue bikes of the city’s bike-share program – Bublr Bikes – make urban transportation easy and fun, with convenient stations throughout the city.
Join the locals and cheer on the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park baseball stadium or catch professional basketball action at BMO Harris Bradley Center with the Milwaukee Bucks. Travel two hours north of Milwaukee to Green Bay and join the fans dressed in green and gold at a Green Bay Packers football game, or watch the game at a great sports bar in Milwaukee. You’ll find out why they call us “cheeseheads!”
You’ll find the state’s premiere shopping destinations here, from great shopping malls like Mayfair and Bay Shore Town Center, featuring luxury brand names, to stylish boutiques in the Historic Third Ward and one-of-a-kind antique finds in Walker’s Point. Just west of downtown in the suburb of Wauwatosa you’ll find a historic European-style village filled with boutiques and specialty shops, and just a half hour out of town you can explore the outlet stores at Johnson Creek Premium Outlet and Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets.