With close to 200 festivals year-round, Milwaukee is known around the country as the City of Festivals. From the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest, to the state’s largest celebration of Pride at Pridefest, the 120-year celebration of an iconic bike brand at the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival to the world’s largest celebration of Celtic culture at Irish Fest, there’s always more to explore in the City of Festivals. Planning your first fest experience might be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve created our Best Fest Guide, complete with everything you need to have your fest year ever.
Explore More in the City of Festivals
With so many festivals to choose from, planning your Cream City adventure can seem like a tall order. Some call it luck, others call it fate, but we call it fest-iny! Spin the wheel and let the winds of fate help you choose your fest-iny!
It is decided! Your Brew City adventure is booked and your fest-iny awaits. Before you let loose and lose yourself in the excitement and festive fun that the festival season brings, take a minute to double-check that you pack all the festival essentials to ensure you have your fest summer yet.
- Sunglasses: With a season of festivals this bright is it any wonder you need shades? In all honesty, the vast majority of festivals in Milwaukee take place exclusively outside, so it’s probably a good idea to bring a pair of sunglasses just in case.
- Sunscreen: Don’t get burned! Nothing spoils your fest day ever quite like a wicked sunburn. Take care of your skin and stay in the game with a tube of sunscreen and be sure to reapply as needed throughout the day.
- Hat: Keep your eyes on the prize and the sun out of your eyes with a hat. Ball cap, sun hat, Stetson, you name it, keep the blazing fireball out of your line of sight behind the brim of your favorite hat. Or, if you feel like repping the fest everywhere you go, pick one up at a festival shop on the grounds and show your festival pride all around town.
- Empty Water Bottle: Most festivals allow you to bring in an empty water bottle that can be filled up at bubblers throughout the grounds. Save the planet—and a couple of bucks—one reusable water bottle at a time.
- Layers: We say it’s cooler by the lake for a reason! When the sun goes down, temperatures drop and the warm sun-soaked afternoons can make the cooler summer evenings feel a little chilly. Bring an extra sweatshirt, sweater or jacket. Or, if you’re on the prowl for a souvenir that’ll remind you of your fest experience every time you wear it, pick up a stylishly designed sweatshirt at one of the merch booths.
Article originally published on 5/18/2023