Over the past several years, Milwaukee has grown into a flourishing landscape of public art. From the annual exhibitions established by Sculpture Milwaukee to the many vibrant murals adding splashes of color to our cityscape, art is everywhere you look in the Cream City. As you make your way around town and explore the many works of public art, stop and explore the beauty of artistic expression in many forms, from the multi-disciplinary wonder of the Milwaukee Art Museum to the splendors of nature on the Hank Aaron Trail, the expert artisanship of the decorative arts to the mouthwatering ma jesty of the culinary arts. Let this art-inerary be your guide as you explore just a handful of Milwaukee’s many murals and attractions.Milwaukee’s East Side – Black Cat Alley
Begin your day on Milwaukee’s East Side. A youthful and energetic neighborhood, it is also home to one to Black Cat Alley. The outdoor mural gallery is jam-packed wall-to-wa ll with an immersive exhibition of street paintings stretching through the entire alley. Originally opened in 2015, the space contains 21 unique murals by 24 artists from Milwaukee and beyond. Featuring whimsical creations like “Merlin the Albino Buck,” to Instagramable murals like, “Monarchs,” stroll through the alley with a cup of Colectivo Coffee from the coffee house’s Prospect location around the corner as you take in art as far as they eye can see.
Looking to take in more artistic splendor? Take a walk just a few blocks east to the historic Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum for a display of incredible craftsmanship as well as an ornate, immaculately manicured Renaissance Garden.Downtown Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Mural – Giannis Mural
Continue your morning art walk at a larger-than-live mural fit for an MVP at the Mauricio Ramirez-designed Giannis Mural. Painted on the side of 600 E. Wisconsin Ave., the piece is a nod to Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis An okounmpo in homage to the NBA Finals Champions dedication to the city, connection to the fans, and the global visibility he’s leant the Cream City.
For an artistic flourish to get your day off and running, visit the Milwaukee Art Museum to take in the spectacular feat in architectural design as well as renowned art from some of the greatest artists on the planet. However, if you’d prefer to continue your morning walk, head on down to Veterans Park for a peaceful morning walkabout with spectacular views of the Milwaukee skyline.
Walker’s Point – “Anything for SALENA”
Mauricio Ramirez has undoubtedly left his impression on Milwaukee, from the Giannis mural to “Frontline Heroes,” on the…, “Heart & Sol,” to “Anything for SALENA,” the Milwaukee-born artist’s work is visible all over the city. Celebrating the life and career of musician Selena Quintanilla in Walker’s Point, the mural was created in 2022. The second iteration of this piece, the original was painted on a building that was later demolished. The mural now rests on a newly constructed apartment building overlooking Zocalo.
Enjoy a lunch in the shadow of the mural at Zocalo Food Truck Park. With eight food vendors, an indoor bar, plenty of outdoor seating, savor culinary creations from Arepas to pizza, tacos to ice cream all within view of the new Salena mural.
After noon on the Trail —"Valley Passage” mural
Seize the day on the Hank Aaron State Trail as you bike or walk your way to the Valley Passage mural on the trail in the Menomonee Valley. Depicting the history of the area through visuals like Milwaukee Braves/Brewers legend Henry “Hank” Aaron, local icons, and wildlife, the tunnel connects the Menomonee Valley to the Silver City neighborhood. Explore the intricately rendered images telling the history of the region before you continue on to explore the many murals, sculptures, and artistic creations along the trail.
If you’d like to explore the wonder of the natural world, head through the tunnel to the Urban Ecology Center, located just on the other side. With three locations, the Urban Ecology Center has rapidly expanded from a double-wide trailer to three locations throughout Milwaukee to help connect people within the city to nature. The Menomonee Valley Branch, once a vacant tavern, is now celebrating its 10th anniversary as a “green” environmental community center. Continue south on the trail to find The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, affectionately known to locals as “The Domes,” that displays flowers from around the globe in their Desert Dome, Tropical Dome, and revolving exhibit, The Show Dome.
As you make your way back to the downtown area, stop at the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum, that showcases the history of the iconic motorcycle brand or try y our luck at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.
Westown—Find “The Answer to the Area…A.) Persons B.) Places C.) Things D.) All of the Above E.) None of the Above”
What may look like a mind-warping equation in fact requires no math at all. The mural’s wordless riddle is designed to capt ure the attention of viewers and ponder the future of the Westown neighborhood. Leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions, the piece asks visitors to interpret the piece through the context of people, places, things, all of the above, or none of them at all.
After weighing the kaleidoscope of images, icons, and symbols found throughout the mural, head over to Miller Time Pub located in the Hilton Milwaukee City Center or The Capital Grille across from Milwaukee’s convention center, the Wisconsin Center.
Looking for a way to cap off your artistic day around Milwaukee? Cap off the day with an exhibition from one of the city’s performing arts venues. Whether you’re a Broadway buff, taking in a show at the Marcus Performing Arts Center; a sporting fanatic, root, root, rooting for the home team at Fiserv Forum or UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena; a night of beautifully orchestrated music at the Bradley Symphony Center. or a concert fiend rocking out at the Miller High Life Theatre, Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, or Turner Hall, t here’s something for you to wrap up your perfect artistic day in Milwaukee.
Looking for more artistic inspiration in Milwaukee? Check out our Art-inerary that takes you on a creative excursion across Southeastern Wisconsin from Racine to Kohler! Plan the perfect day your way here.