Annie Mattea

How To Get To Summerfest Without a Car

Bikes, trains and buses; not automobiles.

By - Sep 2nd, 2021 02:41 pm
Summerfest from the sky glider. Photo by Alison Peterson.

Summerfest from the sky glider. Photo by Alison Peterson.

Summerfest kicked off this week with the first concert on Wednesday. With a new weekend format, the big gig runs through September 18 this year.

For festival goers wanting to avoid the hassle of driving, here are some of the ways you can attend using other forms of transportation. 

The Park-and-Ride Shuttle System

Although the Milwaukee County Transit System canceled its Summerfest shuttles this year due to a shortage of bus drivers, Summerfest is offering its own shuttle service.

The Summerfest Shuttle will operate during the nine days of the festival beginning at 11 a.m. and will run continuously throughout the day, every 30 minutes.

The shuttle will pick up from three locations: College Avenue at I-94 from both lots; State Fair Park at I-94 (S. 76th and W. Kearney streets); and E. Brown Deer Road, west of I-43.

The drop-off location is located just west of Summerfest’s Mid Gate. 

Round trip fare for the shuttle is $12 and riders are encouraged to purchase tickets online prior or to pay when exiting the bus. Only debit and credit cards will be accepted. Prepaid riders must present their online purchase bar code at the Summerfest kiosk to receive the round-trip ride wristband. 

Bus shuttle passengers will receive a wristband, which is mandatory to show for return trips. If a rider does not have the wristband, they can purchase one for the full-price fare.

The shuttle service won’t run during the special Wednesday concerts on Sept. 1, 8 and 15. 

The Hop

Milwaukee’s streetcar provides a free option for transportation to Summerfest, with stops on the Lower East Side, Downtown and the Historic Third Ward.

It is a 10-minute walk via N. Broadway and E. Chicago Street to the festival’s Mid Gate.

Bike

Milwaukee has an extensive bikeshare system, Bublr Bikes, with more than 50 stations throughout the city. Several docks are located adjacent to the festival grounds.

Users can check out a bike for a fee anywhere in the system and check it in near the festival grounds. For more information, visit bublrbikes.org.

Attendees can also bike to the festival with their own bike, as there are bike racks near every gate.

Rideshare

Rideshare pickups and drop-offs at Summerfest will be located right outside of the Mid Gate at E. Chicago St. and N. Jackson St. and outside the north gate at Michigan Street near Art Museum Drive.

Summerfest also provided some tips to follow for rideshare users, such as looking at fare before accepting, checking the license plate on cars and confirming your name with a driver. Surge pricing from Lyft and Uber has historically made this one of the most expensive options.

Bus

Although MCTS canceled its Summerfest service, several of the bus lines will still bring attendees within walking distance.

These bus routes include the GoldLine, GreenLine, Route 14, Route 15, Route 30 and Route 33.

Train

If coming to Milwaukee from Chicago, Racine or Kenosha, the Amtrak Hiawatha Service is a viable option.

The train has stops at Chicago’s Union Station, suburban Glenview, Ill., and the Village of Sturtevant in Racine County. The timing of the trips may require an overnight stay.

Boat

Lakeshore State Park has several public docks, but they are often busy during festival season and operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Once your boat is docked, it is a seven-minute walk to Summerfest Grounds. More information is available on the Friends of Lakeshore State Park website.

Walking

For those who live close by, there are several entrances you can get to by walking.

The North Gate is the nearest to E. Wisconsin Ave. and people can walk down to it via O’Donnell Park. The Mid Gate lines up with E. Chicago St. The southern gate is closest to E. Erie St.

Bar Shuttles

Historically, many bars and taverns have provided shuttles to Summerfest. Some are still planning to this year. Before using a bar shuttle, be sure to check with the venue to make sure they are still offering them this year!

Downtown

Milwaukee Brat House
1013 N. Old World 3rd St.
downtown.milwaukeebrathouse.com/
414-273-8709
Shuttles run each day of the festival beginning at 1 p.m. 

Oak Barrel Public House
1033 N. Old World 3rd St.
oakbarrelmilwaukee.com
414-897-8320
Shuttles run for free 3:30 p.m to Midnight on Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to Midnight on Thursdays and Fridays and 2 p.m. to Midnight on Saturdays. 

Who’s on Third
1007 N. Old World 3rd St.
whosonthirdmke.com
414-897-8373
Shuttles run for free 3:30 p.m to Midnight on Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to Midnight on Thursdays and Fridays and 2 p.m. to Midnight on Saturdays. 

Third Street Tavern
1110 N. Old World 3rd St.
thirdstreettavernmke.com
414-897-8137
Shuttles run for free 3:30 p.m to Midnight on Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to Midnight on Thursdays and Fridays and 2 p.m. to Midnight on Saturdays. 

North

Milwaukee Brat House
4022 N. Oakland Ave.
shorewood.milwaukeebrathouse.com
414-539-5826
Shuttles run each day of the festival beginning at 1 p.m.

Camp Bar
4044 N. Oakland Ave.
campbarmke.com
414-962-5182
Shuttles start Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday at 4 p.m. and are complementary with a Miller or White Claw purchase. Wristbands are required. 

East

Izzy Hops
2311 N. Murray Ave.
izzyhops.com
414-249-4489
Shuttles will run from Thursdays to Saturdays from 5 p.m. to Midnight. 

Crossroads Collective and Hooligan’s Bar
2238 N. Farwell Ave.
crossroadscollectivemke.com
414-763-9081
Shuttles will start at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and will run every half hour until Midnight. Shuttles will start at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays and will run every half hour until Midnight. Purchase at Crossroads or Hooligan’s is required. 

Jack’s American Pub
1323 E. Brady St.
jacksamericanpub.com
414-763-2830
Shuttle runs daily beginning at 1 p.m.

Stubby’s Gastrogrub and Beer Bar
2060 N. Humboldt Ave.
stubbyspubandgrub.com
414-763-6324
Shuttles run Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to Midnight and 2 p.m. to Midnight Saturday.

South

Steny’s Tavern
800 S. 2nd St.
stenystavern.com
414-672-7139
Shuttles run from 1 p.m. every day of the festival until the park closes. Food or drink purchase is required. 

Fat Daddy’s
120 W. National Ave.
fatdaddyball.com
414-347-0524
Shuttle will start at 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays. It will start at 3 p.m. on Saturdays. It is free with a drink purchase. 

O’Lydia’s
331 S. 1st St.
olydias.com
414-271-7546
Shuttles will run from Summerfest open to close. On Wednesdays they will start an hour before and end when the show is over. Drink purchase required.

Spirits
922 Milwaukee Ave.
South Milwaukee
www.facebook.com/spiritssouthmilwaukee/
414-762-2005
Shuttles begin on Thursdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. On Saturdays, shuttles begin at 2 p.m. Masks are required. Riders must wear wristbands and must be 21+. More information can be found here. 

West

Camp Bar
6600 W. North Ave.
campbarmke.com
414-763-3793
Shuttles start Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday at 4 p.m. and are complementary with a Miller or White Claw purchase. Wristbands are required.

Paulie’s Pub and Eatery
8031 W. Greenfield Ave.
pauliespubandeatery.com
414-257-2854
Shuttles will run daily beginning at noon. Riders must be 21 and the last shuttle back will be 30 minutes after the festival closes. Wednesday shuttles begin at 5 p.m. 

Be sure to check in with each venue regarding rules and shuttle offering updates. 

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