Spring is in full swing in Milwaukee. Want to shake off cabin fever with a day out in Milwaukee without breaking the bank? Check out our list of free activities and spring into savings while exploring the Cream City!
Lakeshore State Park
Found just steps from Milwaukee’s downtown, Lakeshore State Park, is the city’s only state park. The free public park features panoramic skyline views and offers a variety of areas perfect for settling in to watch the sailboats with a picnic, walking your dog on one of the paved paths that weave around the park, or dipping your toe in the water on the beach. Right across the lagoon, at Henry Maier Festival Park, is the Northwestern Mutual Community Park, a fully accessible public park that is open spring through fall.
Take a Walk in the Park
With sunny days ahead, take your outdoor adventures just north of the city to Doctors Park in Fox Point. This hidden gem next to the Schlitz Audubon Center is complete with everything you could possibly need for a day of exploration outside. Shed your coat and take a walk along the path and explore the native plant community thriving on either side all the way down to the beach, splash in the surf and plan a beach day on the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan or try out your frisbee golf skills at the park’s two practice baskets. Be sure to bring the kids to play on the playground at the Tot Lot!
Make a Doctor(s Park) Appointment
Get the blood pumping with one of the fastest-growing sports on the planet, pickleball. The RiverWalk Commons, right across the street from the Milwaukee Public Market in the Historic Third Ward, is home to a pair of pickleball courts that are free to use, and reservations are not required. Bring your pickleball gear to the court and serve up some springtime fun. New to pickleball? The Milwaukee Public Market offers rental equipment completely free of charge. All you need is your ID to check out the equipment before dinking your day away with some pickleball fun.
Pickleball for All
3rd Street Market Hall
Shuffle up your plans with a new springtime to-do. Found in Milwaukee’s Westown neighborhood, the 3rd Street Market Hall is the place to be. The food hall is a great space to grab a bite, order a drink and enjoy the free activities. The reclamation project of the former Grand Avenue Mall has culminated in this gathering space ideal for groups and families. Throughout 3rd Street Market Hall, enjoy the art of shuffleboard, an indoor game of bags (or cornhole, if you prefer) and a Nintendo wall, complete with all your favorite games like “Mario Cart,” all for free!
Black Cat Alley
Founded in 2016, Black Cat Alley is a Cream City bucket list item that is free and open to the public. Each year, Black Cat Alley draws thousands of visitors to wander the massive outdoor collection of artistic expression that features more than 21 murals from 24 artists. Located in the bustling East Side neighborhood, the gallery sprawls across an entire city block behind the Oriental Theater between North Ave. and Ivanhoe Pl. Featuring Instagrammable works like “Merlin the Albino Buck,” “g00senek,” and, “Backdrop Project,” explore Black Cat Alley's stunning pieces, and snap that perfect profile picture.
Become an Alley Cat
Warehouse Art Museum
Explore the galleries of the only museum in Milwaukee dedicated to the exhibition of modern and contemporary art. Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2023, the Warehouse Art Museum is in a beautifully maintained five-story brick warehouse in the Menomonee Valley. Open now through July 22, 2023, the museum’s “Objects of Substance,” exhibition explores the studio craft movement that began in the 1960s, featuring functional works made of clay, fiber, glass, wood and metal.
Wander the Warehouse
Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel
Uncover the exhibitions inside Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel. Situated in the heart of downtown Milwaukee the hotel is an art-lovers paradise. Boasting four on-site exhibition spaces; an artist in residence; an art vending machine; and The Canvas, four rooms designed entirely by local artists, the arts are beautifully incorporated into every inch of Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel. Current exhibitions on view include “Still Life,” by Jaymee Harvey Willms, “Relief—The Stories We Carry,” by Bela Suresh Roongta, “Anna: Photography by Lidia Sharapova,” and Intimate Gestures: Drawing on Desire by Yuna Kim.”
Artistic Adventures Await
Basilica of St. Josaphat
For the countless houses of worship throughout the area, Milwaukee has earned its moniker, “the City of Steeples,” yet few are quite as iconic—or have as unique a history—as the Basilica of St. Josaphat. One of just 89 basilicas in the country, the building’s beautiful architecture is a testament to creativity, innovation and resourcefulness that tells the story of Milwaukee’s rich Polish roots. While the artwork inside is original, much of the building was created using repurposed materials from a former Chicago post office. Free walking tours of the Basilica of St. Josaphat are available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. through 3 p.m.
Looking for more wallet-conscious inspiration? Explore our free and budget-friendly guide!
Bank on it
Make the most of your stay with hotel packages and deals! From family-fun packages that include complimentary Milwaukee County Zoo passes to food and beverage credits, be sure to check out our Hotel Packages page for great hotel deals.
Stay Your Way
Article originally published on 5/4/2023