How To Travel To Summerfest Without A Car
9 options for getting to the Big Gig.
Summerfest returns this week, with the first show Thursday, June 23. It’s also the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the festival has returned to a summer schedule.
For festival goers wanting to avoid the hassle of driving to the festival, here are some other ways to get there.
The Park-and-Ride Shuttle System
Service will begin running at 5 p.m. on all nine days of the festival, running from June 23-25, June 30-July 2 and July 7-9. Roundtrip fares are $15 and only credit or debit cards will be accepted for payment. Only debit and credit cards will be accepted.
Park and Ride locations include:
- Milwaukee/College Avenue Park and Ride (I-43/I-94/County ZZ/College Avenue)
- Milwaukee/Holt Avenue Park and Ride (I-94/I-43/US 41/Holt Avenue)
- Hales Corners Park and Ride (I-43/I-894/WIS 100)
- West Allis Park and Ride (State Fair Grounds – I-94/76th Street)
- Wauwatosa Park and Ride (US 45/Watertown Plank Road)
The drop-off location is located just west of Summerfest’s Mid Gate.
Riders are encouraged to purchase tickets online prior or to pay when exiting the bus. Prepaid riders must present their online purchase bar code at the Summerfest kiosk to receive the round-trip ride wristband.
Riders paying ahead of time will need to show their online purchase bar code to receive a wrist-band for their trip. That wristband is required to get back on the shuttle to make a return trip. Riders seeking a return trip without their wristband will be required to purchase another fare at full price.
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 will have extended hours during the festival, running until 1 a.m.
It is a 10-minute walk via N. Broadway and E. Chicago Street to the festival’s Mid Gate.
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. Find a nearby Bublr station at this link.
Bublr is also providing extra bike parking near the Discovery World Bublr bike docking station so you’ll be sure to have a place to park your Bublr while you’re at the festival.
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 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.
Although MCTS no longer provides shuttle service to the festival, it has seven bus lines that bring riders within walking distance of the grounds. It also has a new mobile app for purchasing fares that can be downloaded at this link.
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.
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.
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.
Historically, many bars and taverns have provided shuttles to Summerfest. Below is a list of bars Urban Milwaukee has been able to confirm are operating a shuttle to Summerfest this year.
Who’s on Third
1007 N. Old World 3rd St.
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.
Milwaukee Brat House
4022 N. Oakland Ave.
Shuttles are free with a food or beverage purchase. Shuttles will run continuously throughout the day.
Spirits Bar and Grill
922 Milwaukee Ave.
Shuttles begin on Thursdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. On Saturdays, shuttles begin at 2 p.m. Riders must purchase a minimum of two drinks.
Paulie’s Pub and Eatery
8031 W. Greenfield Ave.
Riders must be 21 or older. A two drink minimum is required for shuttle ride. Shuttles run until a half hour after the end of the festival.
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