100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die
Milwaukee lover Jennifer Posh offers the ultimate Milwaukee bucket list.
Milwaukee is, in my opinion, the best kept secret of the Midwest. It has all the amenities of a big city — award-winning chefs and acclaimed dining, world class arts and theater, professional sports teams and exciting events — combined with the easy-going hospitality and charm of a small town. Yes, the locals really are as friendly as they say.
I’ve been in love with Milwaukee since I was a kid, riding the school bus downtown on a field trip to a museum and driving home at night after a festival entranced by the city lights. I’m excited to have it as my home as an adult, and my favorite thing is to show friends who have never visited before all the parts of the city I love the most.
This guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die, gives you a cross section of the city, from the must-see areas to the quirky local secrets. Whether its your first time in the city or you’re a Milwaukeean looking to get to know it a little better, I hope that this book will inspire you to get out and explore Milwaukee. Here are just four of the book’s 100 things, to give you a flavor of the range of items.
ROCK OUT AT THE WORLD’S LARGEST MUSIC FESTIVAL
Summerfest is the iconic Milwaukee summer experience. It’s the largest music festival in the world and it takes place right on the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. Over eight hundred bands perform over the course of eleven days. Expect to see both major arena tours and local cover bands rocking out on the eleven stages. Almost every genre is represented, so you’re sure to nd something that you like, be it pop, country, alternative, rock, or reggae. The seventy- ve-acre festival grounds are permanent, which means you don’t have to deal with mud, portable toilets, or outdoor sleeping arrangements…at this festival, you can enjoy the music and the comforts of a nice hotel. Stroll the grounds to shop for everything from clothes to jewelry to music-themed memorabilia, purchase food from local vendors, and participate in interactive exhibits. Both the dedicated kids’ stage featuring magicians, dancing, puppets, and more and the large playground make this event a popular stop for families.
Henry Maier Festival Park
200 N Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202
INTRODUCE THE KIDS TO THEATER
First Stage, one of the nation’s most renowned children’s theaters and the second largest theater company in Milwaukee, is the perfect place for kids and adults to discover the joy of the arts together. First Stage produces shows with age-appropriate casting, so you’ll be entertained by a company of talented youth actors alongside adult professionals. Every season, this theatre o ers shows aimed toward a variety of age levels, from toddlers to teens, inspired by the world of children’s literature. In addition to their traditional season of shows, First Stage presents the “First Steps” series, which introduces children between the ages of three and six years old to theater in a lively, engaging way. A select performance in the First Steps series is adapted to a sensory-friendly performance designed for children with autism and their families.
First Stage Children’s Theater Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
929 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
FIND ARTS AND STYLE IN THE HISTORIC THIRD WARD
Known as the “SoHo” of Milwaukee, the Historic Third Ward is the home of arts and fashion. Here, warehouses have been revitalized and repurposed into trendy shops and galleries that sell everything from designer clothing to artisan chocolates, stylish eyewear to unique jewelry. Visit Broadway Paper, a charming stationery store that’s a must-stop for anyone in search of lovely cards, o ce supplies, and gifts. Need a new pair of jeans? Denim Bar MKE features one thousand pairs of premium jeans, the largest selection of denim in Wisconsin. Locally owned gallery and boutique Hot*Pop is the perfect place for quirky home goods or gifts as well as pieces by local artists. This neighborhood is also home to major national retailers, such as Anthropologie, West Elm, and Pendleton.
191 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Denim Bar MKE
317 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
201 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
COOKING CLASS (OR DINNER) AT BRAISE
Traise is the city’s only community -supported restaurant. In addition to the hyper-local, super-seasonal menu they serve in the restaurant, Braise also runs a culinary school and a Restaurant Supported Agriculture program. This program makes it easier for other restaurants in the area to obtain local, sustainable food. De nitely stop in for dinner (chef/owner Dave Swanson has been repeatedly recognized by the James Beard Association), but if you’re a true foodie, take it to the next level with a cooking class. Let the expert chefs at Braise teach you everything from how to whip up the basics of Mexican street food to how to bake great breakfast pastries. You’ll get to take the fruits of your labor home, but (even better) you’ll be able to keep your new skills forever!
1101 S 2nd St., Milwaukee, WI