15 Best Things to Do in Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee, WI
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Milwaukee is a famous city located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

The city has much to do because of its sprawling museums and art culture.

It’s home to several exciting niche museums and has many street arts all over town.

The city is also located along the coast of Lake Michigan, one of the largest lakes in the world.

Because of this, several great parks and lighthouses are also in Milwaukee.

One of the best places to visit in Wisconsin, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the prosperous city life and outdoor activities.

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum

Exterior of the unique Milwaukee Art Museum
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Milwaukee Art Museum is one of Wisconsin’s most prominent art museums and the East Coast.

The museum is known not only for its vast collection and works of masters but also for its architectural pedigree.

Situated at the lakefront of Lake Michigan, the museum has unique geometry, making it a landmark icon in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Art Museum has well over 25,000 artworks, many of which are from famous artists.

Gorgeous interior of the Milwaukee Art Museum
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One of their notable collections is from Georgia O’Keeffe, the Mother of American Modernism.

Milwaukee Art Museum will easily take up four hours of your day if you want to immerse yourself in its exhibits.

You can find it at 700 North Art Museum Drive.

Sunset over the Milwaukee Art Museum
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Watch the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum

Exterior of Fiserv Forum
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Milwaukee is home to one of the most-watched NBA teams since 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks.

Fiserv Forum is the home arena of the Bucks, which recently won an NBA championship in 2021.

The arena is also relatively new, having opened only in 2018.

If you’re a big fan of basketball, Fiserv Forum can give you an up-close look at one of the best basketball players in the world, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Facade of Fiserv Forum
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If you’re not into basketball, you can still watch concerts or Wisconsin’s football team, the Green Bay Packers.

Fiserv Forum is a landmark destination for any sports or music lover.

Visit it along Philips Avenue in Downtown Milwaukee’s Deer District.

Interior of Fiserv Forum
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Appreciate Natural History at Milwaukee Public Museum

Exterior of the Milwaukee Public Museum
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The Milwaukee Public Museum is another must-visit if you’re looking for a place with loads of things to see.

Specializing in Natural History, Milwaukee Public Museum is full of exciting displays relating to geography, anthropology, botany, and prehistoric to ancient zoology.

Many dioramas, fossils, and interactive exhibits are scattered throughout this multi-level museum.

You could easily spend a whole day here if you want.

Cars passing by the Milwaukee Public Museum
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Some of its highlights include its fossil exhibit, featuring creatures like the T-Rex, triceratops, wooly mammoth, and saber tiger.

There’s also a butterfly sanctuary, and a planetarium inside that are destinations on their own.

With so many things to discover here, visit the Milwaukee Public Museum along West Wells Street.

Get a Scenic View of Lake Michigan at North Point Lighthouse

Welcome sign of the North Point Lighthouse
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Lake Michigan ranks as the world’s fifth largest freshwater lake; you can marvel at its natural beauty through the many spots in Milwaukee.

One of the best spots is through the North Point Lighthouse, which offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding area.

Located in Milwaukee’s Lake Park, the North Point Lighthouse is both a dramatic structure from the inside and outside.

Exterior of the North Point Lighthouse
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There’s also some local history when you climb the lighthouse.

When you’re done climbing the lighthouse, the surrounding park is a great place to unwind and enjoy the gentle breeze of Lake Michigan.

North Point Lighthouse is along North Wahl Avenue.

Observation deck of the North Point Lighthouse
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Relax and Swim at Atwater Park

The beach at Atwater Park
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If you want to see more of Lake Michigan’s beauty, another place to visit is Atwater Park.

It’s a beautiful spot to relax or have a picnic while enjoying the breeze of Lake Michigan.

Atwater Park is one of the less visited parks in Milwaukee because it requires a bit of uphill trekking.

Still, it’s a rewarding visit.

There’s a sandy beach on its shoreline, and you can swim along its waters safely, as there’s a lifeguard in the area.

Thick fog along Atwater Park's trail
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The waves are sometimes also great for those who would like to surf.

There’s also a unique art installation and a nice playground for children.

Overall, its tranquility and swimming area is its main attraction.

Atwater Park sits along North Lake Drive in the Shorewood suburb of Milwaukee.

Go on a Science Adventure at Discovery World

Aerial view of Discovery World
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Discovery World is one of Milwaukee’s premiere destinations, featuring a holistic science adventure for kids and adults that will easily take up your entire day.

There are many facilities geared towards families to enjoy, such as an expansive aquarium, virtual experience room, automation center, and a liquid house.

Located along the shores of Lake Michigan along North Harbor Drive, Discovery World has a Great Lakes facility that also acts as a learning center.

Front entrance to Discovery World
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While its most famous area is the aquarium, the science and technology sections have a lot of interactive activities for all ages, too.

You can easily spend four hours at Discovery World, whether you’re with fellow adults or with kids.

It’s a fantastic place to enjoy science and marine life.

Replica of a ship displayed in Discovery World
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Explore the Gardens of Mitchell Park Domes

Aerial view of the Mitchell Park Domes
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Mitchell Park Domes is another tourist hotspot unique to Milwaukee.

It’s a horticultural garden that has stunning architecture.

When visiting, you’ll first see its three beautiful domes connected by a uniquely shaped building.

The massive domes are beautifully constructed, mostly made of glass, to allow sunlight for the flora.

One of the unique things about Mitchell Park Domes is its botanical garden with controlled environments for its flora.

A garden inside a Mitchell Park Dome
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Each dome is themed, with a tropical, desert, and floral crown housing various flora.

The low dome, for example, has a rainforest ecosystem, while the desert one has climates fit for plants like cacti.

Mitchell Park Domes is a must-visit in Milwaukee for its unique and serene experience.

Find it along South Layton Boulevard.

Gorgeous flora inside a Mitchell Park Dome
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See Milwaukee’s Wildlife and Forestry at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

An owl perched on a tree at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
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After visiting the beautiful flora, you can head to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to observe Milwaukee’s rich wildlife.

Spanning 185 acres, this nature preserve has thick forests and wetlands next to Lake Michigan.

There’s also a 60-foot-tall observation tower where you can see a fantastic view of the forests and lake.

There are also six miles of hiking trails if you feel the urge to explore.

Along its tracks, you can observe all sorts of wildlife, such as turtles, deer, and migratory birds.

Another famous attraction here is their raptor program.

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is home to many non-releasable raptors, which you observe up close through their trained specialists.

This nature center is a beautiful place to experience Wisconsin’s rich outdoors.

It’s along East Brown Deer Street in the Bayside suburb.

Go on an Urban Exploration at Milwaukee Riverwalk District

Paved pathway of Milwaukee Riverwalk District
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If you want to experience the beauty of Milwaukee’s urban culture, the Milwaukee Riverwalk District is a great place to start.

The district is by the Milwaukee River and comprises several historic buildings, outdoor art, and a beautiful riverwalk.

You’ll see a lot of great architecture throughout your urban exploration.

There are also plenty of local restaurants and cafes along with shopping areas.

Bronze statue of the Fonz at Milwaukee Riverwalk District
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However, the riverwalk is where this place truly shines.

It’s a scenic place to enjoy the Milwaukee River, where you can see locals doing boating and river activities throughout the day.

There are also all sorts of bronze statues and artworks at Milwaukee Riverwalk District, waiting for your discovery.

You can access the area along West Pleasant Street.

People eating at a restaurant at Milwaukee Riverwalk District
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Check the Motorcycles at Harley Davidson Museum

Exterior of the Harley Davidson Museum
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Another famous museum in Milwaukee is the Harley Davidson Museum.

Harley Davidson is a global brand icon with a vast collection of motorcycles and historical artifacts in this museum.

Spanning 20 acres, Harley Davidson Museum is easily the best place to enjoy and take photos of hundreds of luxury motorcycles.

You can even see their 1900s exhibit of vintage Harleys here.

One of the most exciting displays in the museum is a recovered Harley Davidson from the 2011 Japan Tsunami.

Interior of the Harley Davidson Museum
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The motorcycle was found on the shores of British Columbia after the disaster.

Of course, the museum isn’t only a place for exhibits.

You can shop in their retail stores and dine in for the complete experience.

Harley Davidson Museum is one of the unique attractions in Milwaukee.

It’s located at 400 West Canal Street along the Menomonee River.

Exhibit in the Harley Davidson Museum
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Explore the Historic Third Ward

Entryway of the Historic Third Ward
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Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward is a must-visit for any tourist.

It is a cultural hub for the city, featuring dozens of art galleries, themed restaurants, boutiques, and more.

If there’s one word to describe Historic Third Ward, it’s probably eclectic.

The neighborhood is brimming with diverse cultures from local fashion, jewelry, pubs, and art studios.

Road of the Historic Third Ward
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During the day, visit the numerous art galleries, the beautiful Broadway Theater Center, Milwaukee’s premiere European-style opera house, and black box theater.

At night, you can enjoy its multicultural restaurants and speakeasies.

Start your exploration of Historic Third Ward at either 212 North Milwaukee Street or 225 East Chicago Street.

Shops along the Historic Third Ward
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Go Shopping at Milwaukee Public Market

Exterior of Milwaukee Public Market
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Milwaukee Public Market is in the Historic Third Ward District, but it deserves a separate mention because its size and offerings make it a destination on its own.

Located in a sizeable industrial-themed building, it offers loads of food, natural products, or ready-to-eat meals.

This market has a wide range of pastries, cheeses, and snacks.

Tons of fresh produce like vegetables, fruits, and seafood are also available.

You’ll find diverse cuisines if you want a full meal.

Shoppers inside Milwaukee Public Market
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The shops are chic, too.

There are a lot of exciting fixtures and design motifs inside, so it’s wise to bring a camera.

Milwaukee Public Market is a must-visit for lunch, shopping, or a quick place to hang out.

It’s at 400 North Water Street near the Milwaukee River.

Interior of Milwaukee Public Market
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Relive the 19th Century at the Pabst Mansion

Exterior of the Pabst Mansion
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The Pabst Mansion is one of the historic landmarks in Wisconsin.

It’s the home of Frederick Pabst, founder of the Pabst Brewing Company, now headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

The Pabst Mansion is an architectural masterpiece.

It’s a Flemish Renaissance Revival-styled mansion built in 1892.

At present, Pabst Mansion has been beautifully restored for public tours.

The rooms inside the mansion feature eclectic decor and furniture, taking you back to the 19th century.

Front porch of the Pabst Mansion
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Each corner of the Pabst Mansion has intricate wood and glasswork, making it a haven for design enthusiasts.

The tour guides here are knowledgeable, so you’ll have a great time touring the place.

There’s also a Pabst-themed gift shop if you want a souvenir.

You can find the Pabst Mansion at 2000 West Wisconsin Avenue.

Check Out the Quirky Miniatures at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame

Display inside the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame
Adam Moss from East Amherst, New York, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee is home to the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame, a place dedicated to bobblehead miniatures.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame has a collection of over 7,000 bobbleheads, making it the world’s largest museum for these quirky figures.

You’ll find all sorts of characters turned into bobbleheads in this small but charming museum.

Plenty of athletes, actors, and politicians from the United States and Canada have bobblehead versions.

Bobbleheads inside the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame
Adam Moss from East Amherst, New York, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are also iconic characters from Disney, Looney Tunes, and several other famous shows.

They also offer a service of making custom bobbleheads in case you want a souvenir.

You can find the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame at 170 South 1st Street.

Bobblehead presidents inside the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame
Adam Moss from East Amherst, New York, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Try Your Luck at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino

Exterior of the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino
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If you want to diversify your Milwaukee itinerary, you can visit one of its most famous hotels, the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino is one of the most famous luxury hotels with a large casino facility in Wisconsin.

Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or you’re in the mood to try your luck, you will enjoy the premium Las Vegas-style experience in this hotel and casino.

Meanwhile, the drinks here are also affordable, making it an excellent location for a night out with friends.

If you want to check in, the hotel’s rooms are also spacious and well-maintained.

Check out the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino at 1721 West Canal Street.

Final Thoughts

Milwaukee is a vibrant city brimming with diverse culture and a rich outdoor experience, thanks to its proximity to Lake Michigan.

You’ll enjoy a holistic adventure in this beautiful city full of landmark attractions, from urban exploration to nature discovery.

Not to mention, there are a lot of exciting art galleries and museums that you can visit in between.

Use this list of the best things to do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for an unforgettable experience!

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