Located in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, West Allis in Milwaukee County was first called Honey Creek when villagers first settled in 1835.
Then, for much of its early years, the city progressed to an agricultural community serving the greater Milwaukee area.
West Allis may give the surface look and feel of every urban metro in the country.
Still, it’s far from just another modern city without an identity.
With its beautiful urban parks and precious landmarks, the city is perfect for tourists fond of the outdoors as much as they are of an urban lifestyle.
Don’t just take anyone’s word for it!
To personalize your itinerary and make it more memorable, consider this list of free things to do in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Enjoy the Outdoors at Greenfield Park
Greenfield Park at 124th Street boasts an aquatic recreational park, a central lagoon, an 18-hole golf course, and a segment of the Oak Leaf Trail, among others.
This historic park opened in 1923 but was only surveyed and added to the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory in 2011.
Locals say the area is most beautiful for sightseeing in fall when the surrounding trees are in brilliant shades of orange and yellow.
Although the 293.2-acre park has a lot to offer throughout the year, including transitioning wildlife, seasonal events, and just a lot of nature that most urban cities could only dream of.
There are also plenty of shade and picnic areas around Greenfield Park, making it great for personal and group recreational activities.
Visit West Allis Historical Society Museum
The West Allis Historical Society Museum is conveniently located at the city's center, along West National Avenue.
The museum is open to the public on Sundays and Tuesdays, where admission and parking are free.
Aside from the historical context of the museum, the Richardson Romanesque building is also an architectural landmark for wandering tourists.
Meanwhile, artifacts include toys, quilts and crafts, furniture and home goods, vintage fashion, farm equipment, and factory machinery.
As one of the few local museums that give free access for locals and visitors, West Allis Historical Society Museum has to be a shoo-in for your itinerary.
Walk around Honey Creek Park
After touring the museum, you should consider a walk around the 3.7-acre Honey Creek Park just outside, which is marked by walking trails and a gazebo.
Several tree species bring life to the green park, including Norway maple, spruce, linden, pine, oak, cedar, and many others.
The grounds also have access to the West Allis Historical Society’s Monument Garden, featuring the remains of the Honey Creek Bridge and the architectural remnants from West Allis’ past.
Meanwhile, exploring the historic Honey Creek Cemetery will give you a poignant and fascinating encounter with some of West Allis’ earliest settlers.
Spend the day at Honey Creek Park!
Relax and Recharge at McCarty Park
Honey Creek Parkway links McCarty Park in West Allis to the Menomonee River Parkway near Wauwatosa.
Due to its location, the park is an ideal rest stop for cyclists in and around the city and a popular hangout for the densely populated McCarty Park neighborhood.
McCarty Park features miles of tree-lined walkways and a decent-sized lagoon for wildlife and fishing.
The park also has an abundance of the play area and sports fields for group and recreational activities.
Hikers will also find it convenient that the 50-acre park is connected to the rest of the county park system via the Oak Leaf Trail corridor.
Run Laps around LaFollete Park
LaFollete Park is an 18-acre county park at West Washington Street.
The critical facilities in the park include a pavilion, a wading pool, sports fields, a play area, and equipment.
Much of the park is open to the public, while the pavilion and athletic fields are available by reservation for group events.
The park offers very spacious fields of green but lacks shade, which is almost a signature in the other eco-park systems in West Allis.
There is also a “Little Free Library” within LaFollete Park, which offers a decent range of books for anyone to borrow.
Ride a Bike around West Allis
West Allis is a bike-friendly city with miles of lanes and multipurpose trails for riders, regardless of experience.
While not required, you can also license your bicycle for free to get great assistance from authorities if it’s lost or stolen.
The local government has a comprehensive digital bike map featuring all the bike routes, lanes, and trails within and around West Allis.
Additionally, the map marks existing and future bicycle routes connecting to neighboring municipalities and trails.
Some popular and scenic pathways you can visit are the Oak Leaf Trail, Cross-Town Connector, and Hank Aaron Trails, which all pass through parts of West Allis.
Hike the Oak Leaf Trail
Oak Leaf Trail is a multi-use trail system with over 135 miles that will take you around Milwaukee County.
Following renovations, most of the trail system is now smooth asphalt, which will take you anywhere in the Milwaukee metro area, including West Allis.
Parts of the trail are waved through Milwaukee County parkways, shared with traffic, while some sections use municipal streets.
Therefore, you’ll find dynamic scenery just by following the trails alone.
Oak Leaf Trail also connects to other popular trails in the county, including the Beerline Trail, the Hank Aaron State Trail, and the New Berlin Recreation Trail.
Hang Out at the Joyce Ann Radtke Skate Park
Joyce Ann Radtke Skate Park, or simply Radtke, is a beautiful 0.9-acre park along West National Avenue.
This state-of-the-art location features essential skate elements, benches, and ample lighting.
Radtke opened just in the fall of 2014 as one of the newest culture hubs for West Allis locals.
The government teamed up with the community-focused, Los Angeles-based Spohn Ranch for the initial design and again during a slight makeover and structural improvements.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Since West Allis is well-connected with its neighboring cities via scenic pathways and local culture, expanding your itinerary to other places of interest nearby is a no-brainer.
Check out this list of other free things you can do nearby when visiting West Allis.
Take Photos of the Famed Brady Street
The trendy Brady Street neighborhood is a melting pot of locals and visiting parties due to its timeless vibe and eclectic appeal.
There’s a more modern feel to the Brady Street of today, especially when it comes alive at night.
However, it’s still an architectural and cultural haven that encapsulates generations of local history.
It’s almost a crime not to visit the district if you’re touring Milwaukee, especially downtown.
Along with locally iconic bars and restaurants, Brady Street is packed with indie movie theaters, salons, jazz clubs, and more.
Brady Street is 14 minutes from West Allis.
Follow the Kinnickinnic River Trail
If you feel like taking on the Oak Leaf Trail, you might find yourself at Kinnickinnic River Trail in southern Milwaukee, 11 minutes from West Allis.
You might also extend to the famed Hank Aaron State Trail, a 13-mile east-west route that features historical sites, art installations, and other cultural and recreational attractions.
The trail offers a dynamic experience of both on-road bicycle lanes and off-road paved trails, including some sections parallel to an active railroad.
Visit the Menomonee Valley Community Park
The Menomonee Valley Community Park is one of the best examples of successful urban redevelopment and restoration.
The land was left for dead in the waning years of the city’s industrial era.
Then, the state of Wisconsin and the Menomonee Valley Partners brought the community park back to life with acres of green space and parks.
Today, the urban space is also home to a bustling business and food district, as well as the 24-acre Three Bridges Park, which is connected to Hank Aaron State Trail.
Menomonee Valley Community Park has also won awards for its ingenuity, aside from being widely celebrated for its cultural significance to the city of Milwaukee and its future.
The park is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, eight minutes from West Allis.
See the Historic Eschweiler Buildings
Landmark hunters would be pleased to know that the Eschweiler Buildings in Wauwatosa are just a few minutes from downtown West Allis.
Milwaukee’s iconic Eschweiler buildings continue to hold cultural and architectural value and are natural attractions for cultural and outbound tourists.
During their time, the firm has designed everything from public spaces to private properties, commercial buildings, and more.
Most Eschweiler establishments in the county have deteriorated over time, razed, or closed down.
Still, the Eschweiler Buildings in Wauwatosa are at least in picturesque condition from the outside.
Enjoy Stunning Views of Lake Michigan at Lakeshore State Park
Lakeshore State Park is Wisconsin's only urban state park.
The 22-acre reserved park opened in 2007 and quickly made a name for itself for its prime location and the exciting urban lifestyle that started to thrive around the area.
The park notably has a paved trail that links to the Hank Aaron State Trail and the Oak Leaf Trail, making the riverfront park a fitting grand destination if you follow any of the famous Wisconsin trails.
Aside from typical land and aquatic recreational activities, the park is also home to rich wildlife that includes over 70 confirmed species of birds and roaming grey and red foxes, to name a few.
Lakeshore State Park is in Milwaukee, ten minutes from West Allis.
Take a Relaxing Walk around Scout Lake Park
Scout Lake Park is a hotspot for fishing and birdwatching enthusiasts.
The park also has scenic trails through the woods and some stunning pathways around the centerpiece lake.
Additionally, Scout Lake Park has a dedicated play area for kids and picnic spots for families, ensuring that there’s something for everyone visiting.
You can find Scout Lake along West Loomis Road in Greendale, Wisconsin, 14 minutes from West Allis.
Take a Retreat at Sanctuary Woods
The Sanctuary Woods is a 66-acre natural landscape of wetlands and woodlands.
It is in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, nine minutes from West Allis.
You can access the woods from 92nd Street, next to the power plant, or from 87th Street.
It's a protected area in what was once the 1,000-acre Milwaukee County Grounds, developed 160 years ago.
Notably, patients of the nearby mental hospital in the 18th century traveled to portions of the woods for leisure and quiet time.
As a result, you can see remnants of the patios, pathways, and stairs that once served these residents.
Wildlife can emerge along the trails or elsewhere depending on the season and volume of foot traffic.
Sanctuary Woods hosts various terrains and diverse ecological systems.
West Allis offers a great mix of cultural and environmental attractions that are accessible even if you are working on a budget.
Bookmark this list of the free things to do in West Allis.
Hopefully, this collection can help you build a more dynamic and cost-effective itinerary for your next stop at Milwaukee County.