3…2…1…Happy New Year! As we kick off a massive 2024 for Milwaukee, there’s no better time to spotlight some of the most exciting restaurants, developments and attractions on the horizon this year.

The year of Milwaukee, 2024 is set to be one wild ride that will once again put the city in the national conversation, highlighting all the great things that make Milwaukee the Good Land. Beginning in the late winter, the Wisconsin Center District is poised to unveil the expanded Baird Center, redefining Milwaukee’s place as a premier destination for meetings, conventions and events. 

Coming later this year, the culinary sensation “Top Chef” will showcase Milwaukee as a culinary destination unlike any other in the program’s twenty-first season. Featuring the places, chefs and restaurants that have made the city Midwest Living’s Best of the Midwest as the “Best Culinary City” in 2023. In 2024, Milwaukee once again gets a chance to show all the city’s dining scene offers on a national scale.

The city will host the Simpleview Summit, drawing destination marketing professionals from all over the country to Milwaukee, April 7-10. The summer will be bookended by industry conventions, including Connect Marketplace 2024. Coming at the end of a busy summer, August 27-29 will welcome meeting planners from all over the world to the Cream City.

Of course, as the City of Festivals, the heartbeat of the city this summer will be the more than 100 festivals taking place throughout the city. From the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest, to the 100th anniversary of the Original Cream Puff at the Wisconsin State Fair, the roar of the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival to the state’s largest celebration of Pride at Pridefest, there’s never been a better time to celebrate everything in Milwaukee.

fans in a crowd cheering for the Bucks in playoffs at the Deer District

Then, in the world of sports, the Milwaukee Bucks’ hot start and potent offense featuring two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dame Lillard and Milwaukee’s Official Hype Man Bobby Portis has fans daydreaming of another parade down Wisconsin Ave. The Admirals, too, coming off an AHL Conference Finals appearance, have playoff plans of their own a block away at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The team currently sits in playoff position at second in the Central Division. Meanwhile, across town, the Milwaukee Brewers enter 2024 as N.L. Central Champions, looking to recapture the magic of 2023 and chasing their first World Series bid since 1982. 

For the first time since 2015, the Milwaukee Mile will host an IndyCar Series race. Taking place Labor Day weekend, the Milwaukee Mile 250 will bring the best IndyCar drivers in the world to the Cream City for Milwaukee's first NTT IndyCar Series doubleheader. Drawing visitors from all over the country to Milwaukee for the engine revving, high-speed action, Saturday and Sunday's races will be broadcast to a national audience on Peacock and the USA Network.

In addition to a packed professional sporting calendar, Milwaukee will welcome the first-ever Women's College Volleyball Showcase. Also taking place Labor Day weekend at Fiserv Forum, the four-team tournament will welcome the 2023 NCAA National Champion Texas Longhorns, Final Four finisher UW Badgers, 2023 Elite Eight finalist Stanford Cardinal and the northern Midwestern neighbor Minnesota Golden Gophers.

And then there’s the main event. Coming to Milwaukee July 15-18, the 2024 Republican National Convention will draw an expected 45,000 delegates and another 15,000 media to cover the event. The first city to host consecutive political conventions since New York City (in 1976 and 1980) hosted back-to-back Democratic National Conventions, and the first turn-key host city since Miami in 1972 and 1976, hosting both Democratic and Republican National Conventions. This event will once again put Milwaukee on the world’s stage, highlighting everything the city has to offer to every corner of the globe.

But there’s so much more in store for 2024! With so much going on around town in the coming year, it can be hard to keep track of all the incredible restaurants, developments and attractions opening their doors. We’ve made a list of everything new and coming soon to a neighborhood near you.


New Heights

Baird Center Expansion

Beginning, of course, with the Baird Center expansion, opening on May 16, 2024. Formerly known as the Wisconsin Center, the destination-defining $456 million convention center expansion will more than double the total square footage to more than 1.3 million sq. ft. The Baird Center will also house 52 breakout rooms, 300,000 sq. ft. of contiguous new exhibition space, 400+ parking spaces, 12 loading docks and an executive kitchen. The bright, innovative-looking space is also home to some unique touches, including the collaboration stairs overlooking a dazzling new water feature. Finally, the expansion is punctuated by the stunning 30,000 sq. ft. rooftop ballroom, featuring a terrace that boasts some of the most beautiful views of Milwaukee’s downtown cityscape.

The newest addition to the city’s rapidly growing skyline, The Couture will be a $191 million 44-story residential building featuring 322 apartments. Opening in April 2024, the building is an essential piece in the Lakefront Gateway project, featuring a pair of pedestrian bridges from The Couture to ease pedestrian traffic during major events and public plazas. 

The HOP 2942 Ret Flt

The skyscraper will also be a hub for Milwaukee’s streetcar, The Hop, as well as retail and restaurant space. The Hop’s Lakefront Extension, previewed in the fall of 2023, will make a permanent home at the base of the Couture building, connecting the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World and the Henry Maier Festival Grounds to the downtown area via three new stops, with full-service coming this spring. 


A new addition to the Historic Third Ward, the 333 N. Water St. Tower is a $165 million 32-story apartment tower boasting 333 units. A neighborhood-defining building, the tower is slated to open in late spring or early summer of 2024.


And, as part of a $105 million development in the former Schuster’s department store, Thrive On King is set to open the residential portion of the $105 million mixed-use development in the Bronzeville neighborhood later this year. The 90 mixed-income apartments include housing for students, families and seniors. The new housing is the first stage of Thrive On King. The development is designed to offer new resources and opportunities to the community.


Finally, the state's largest museum of natural history will make history this spring as the Milwaukee Public Museum breaks ground on its future home. Located in Haymarket Square near Fiserv Forum, the museum's new innovative-looking space is expected to open in early 2027. 

New Bites

a chef sitting on a chair at a dining table in a restaurant

As Milwaukee stars in the Bravo series “Top Chef” in 2024, it’s clear that the city has so much more to offer than beer, cheese curds and brats. There’s never been a better time to be a foodie in the Brew City. Milwaukee has a unique culinary flare that’s earning the attention from the James Beard Foundation to Midwest Living and drawing visitors from all over the country to savor the flavor of Fresh Coast cuisine. Here are some of the latest and greatest additions to the city’s flourishing dining scene.



New Sights

Turner Hall concert with crowd

Later this winter, the East Side will come alive with the Pabst Theater Group’s newest venue, The Vivarium. The new concert hall replaces The Back Room @ Colectivo. Complete with live greenery and an already packed slate of live music, The Vivarium looks to be the next step in the evolution of the theater group’s stable of independent theaters throughout the city. Located just south, on Farwell Ave., the 450-capacity Vivarium will kick off its quickly-filling schedule with Molly Grace on February 22, 2024.

Across town, the final phase of the Adventure Africa exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo will begin construction in 2024. A new $22 million rhinoceros habitat and exhibit space will provide a state-of-the-art space designed to meet the endangered species' needs with expected completion in 2026. 

Couple waling a dog along the shores of Lakeshore State Park

Milwaukee’s first downtown dog park is set to open later this spring and redefine the space along the Milwaukee River as a self-proclaimed “dog district.” Located underneath the I-794 overpass, pups can run and play at this publicly accessible park.

The space adjacent to the dog park will soon be home to a three-story restaurant, brewery and distillery of Mequon-based Foxtown Brewing called the Foxtown Landing. In addition to the 28,000 sq. ft. building, Foxtown will create a pet-friendly outdoor space designed for guests to spend some time with their furry friends as they enjoy a bite or a brew.


Major Milestones

skyline hoan

In addition to all the exciting new developments and experiences coming to Milwaukee in the coming year, here are several long-standing icons in the city’s landscape celebrating milestones this year.