A quick look through photos of Milwaukee on Instagram will reveal some of the city’s most popular photo opps. Very few would be surprised to see the Milwaukee Art Museum, the blue expanse of Lake Michigan, or the delightfully cheesy Bronze Fonz on that list, but there’s also a distinctive red lighthouse that local photographers love to capture.
Established in 1872, the Milwaukee Pierhead Light is a sister light to the Kenosha North Pier Light. It is located where the Milwaukee River flows out into Lake Michigan, marking the mouth of the river to traveling ships. The lighthouse had a keeper until 1926, when the Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse was built across the harbor. Today, the Pierhead Light is solar-powered and operated automatically.
The tower is not open to the public, but the surrounding pier area is a popular spot for a lakefront walk, fishing, and (as mentioned above) photography. You can also get a great view of the Breakwater Lighthouse from the pier – two lighthouses for the price of one. (And that price is free!)
The Pierhead Light is located at the end of East Erie Street - follow the street until it ends in a parking lot just before the pier.