Lifestyle

Everything You Need to Do in Milwaukee This Summer

Updated On 06/26/2018 at 04:54PM EST Updated On 06/26/2018 at 04:54PM EST
Thursday - Sunday
Jun 14-Jul 15
Various locations
Granted, Milwaukee not the biggest soccer town in the country, but the World Cup only comes around once every four years, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the rest of the world’s footie mania. So what if team USA isn’t competing this time? Pick another country, and start rooting for ‘em at one of the city’s best bars showing the World Cup -- Three Lions Pub, McBob’s, and The Highbury are all solid options.
Cost: However much a beer costs
summerfest
Summerfest
Wednesday - Sunday
Jun 27-Jul 8
Summerfest Grounds
Local music critics have spoken: the lineup this year is actually good. Stack your empty beer cups, lounge on the lakefront rocks, and stuff your face with mozzarella marinara while listening to The Weeknd, Kesha, Nelly, Imagine Dragons, Charlie XCX, and Foster the People, among hundreds of other performers.
Cost: Free-$21 for rounds admission, more for headliner tickets
Saturday
Jun 30
Burnhearts Bar
This year is the 11th annual Burnhearts summer party -- not to be confused with Mittenfest in winter. Eclectic local bands will be playing in the blocked-off street, along with a local craft fair, food, brandy slushies, and all the usual street party goodness.
Cost: Free
Tuesday
Jul 3
Veteran's Park
For whatever reason, Milwaukee's main Fourth of July fireworks are always held on July 3. If you want a primo spot (or really any elbow room at all), you’ll want to get to Veteran's Park early in the morning to stake out a spot.
Cost: Free
Thursday - Sunday
Jul 12-15
Cathedral Square Park
Bask in the warm glow of a replica Eiffel Tower while you sip wine and count the number of berets you see. French food, wine tastings, and strolling street performers will all help to make Downtown feel more like gay Paris.
Cost: Free
Friday - Saturday
Jul 20-21
Various locations
Discover new art and artists as you visit galleries, shops, museums, and other cultural institutions around the city. Check the website for a full list of participating locations, map, and hours.
Cost: Free
festa italiana
Festa Italiana
Friday - Sunday
Jul 20-22
Summerfest Grounds
Sure, people go to Festa Italiana for reasons other than eating, but do you really want to know those people? Get your fill of arancini, cannoli, ravioli, and Italian sausage while you check out the religious statues, schmoozy lounge singers, and antique wedding photos from the city’s Italian-American community.
Cost: $10
Saturday
Jul 21
Cathedral Square Park
One of the most popular beer fests in town -- and we have a lot of them -- Firkin Fest specializes in rare beer offerings. There are currently more than 40 brewers signed up to pour their beers, but more may still be added.
Cost: $50+
Saturday - Sunday
Jul 21-22
Veteran's Park
Assuming the show doesn't get canceled due to fog like a couple years ago, you'll see all kinds of aircraft, watercraft, and parachuting performers. The US Air Force Thunderbirds are the headliner this year, and will be the last to perform each day.
Cost: $30 for centerpoint tickets, free to watch from anywhere else
Friday - Saturday
Jul 27-28
Riverwest
It’s the 24-hour race you’ve been waiting all year for: create a bike team and hit as many checkpoints as you can, many of which are conveniently located at bars. Teams are scored by laps and bonus points to determine a winner, but really, everyone who competes or watches in a lawn chair from their front yard is a winner.
Cost: $24 to ride, free to watch or volunteer
Friday - Sunday
Jul 27-29
Summerfest Grounds
Dig those novelty lederhosen -- props if you've got real ones -- out of your closet and don them to MKE's largest celebration of German culture. There will be sausages, beer, schnitzel, sheepshead tournaments, beer gardens, dachshund races, and giant liters of beer. Did we mention beer?
Cost: $12
Saturday
Jul 28
Brady Street
Everyone loves a good old fashioned street festival, and lively Brady Street couldn't be a better setting. There will be four stages of music and all the usual street fest stuff, plus art, crafts, and primo people watching.
Cost: Free
Saturday
Jul 28
Lakefront
Milwaukeeans try to do everything on the lakefront during the summer, including this beer fest. You'll get unlimited samples of beer and a pint glass to drink it from. There's free shuttles to get you to and from the event safely, which conveniently drop you off at bars and German Fest.
Cost: $55-85
Wednesday - Sunday
Aug 1-5
Various locations
A full schedule of stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy is spread across multiple venues around the city. The Lady Parts Justice League’s Vagical Mystery Tour headlines on August 2, with a super secret special guest at the Best of the Fest on August 5.
Cost: $16-20
wisconsin state fair
Wisconsin State Fair
Thursday - Sunday
Aug 2-12
State Fair Park
I don't know whether Wisconsinites all around the state look forward to the State Fair, but I know Milwaukeeans sure do. Listen to as many cover bands as possible, eat foods on a stick, try to resist buying a $400 blender at the Expo Center, and wait 20 minutes in line for root beer-flavored milk.
Cost: $14
Thursday - Sunday
Aug 16-19
Milwaukee County Zoo
Though the name is long and sponsored, the concept of the event is about as simple as you can get: eat your way through the zoo. Local restaurants set up food booths all over the zoo grounds, and for some reason, there's usually Subway, too.
Cost: TBD
Thursday - Sunday
Aug 16-19
Summerfest Grounds
Irish Fest is billed as the "world's largest celebration of Celtic music and culture," and it's pretty hard to argue with that. It utilizes the entire Summerfest grounds and brings in musicians from all over the world to perform. Don't miss the chance to pet the Celtic canines.
Cost: $20
Friday - Sunday
Aug 24-26
Summerfest Grounds
Mariachi will serenade you and your buddies at this celebration and promotion of Mexican heritage. Besides the arts and culture vendors and exhibits, there's a gold tourney, all-you-can-eat taco dinner, run and walk, and tequila tasting tent.
Cost: $17
Wednesday - Monday
Aug 29-Sep 3
Various locations
Harley-Davidson owners descend on Milwaukee each Labor Day weekend to celebrate all things HD. Events take place at the HD Museum and dealerships around town, including street parties, live music, organized rides and probably a lot of barbecue.
Cost: Varies, but generally free
big gig bbq
Big Gig BBQ
Sunday
Sep 2
Summerfest Grounds
Live music provides the perfect backdrop for stuffing your face full of smoked meat. Local restaurants (and some chains, let's face it) set up shop to dole out barbecue to the masses.
Cost: Free
Friday - Saturday
Sep 7-8
Hart Park
After many years in downtown Wauwatosa, TosaFest is moving to Hart Park. That'll give people (and especially kids) plenty of elbow room; the main draws will be an artist corner, 5K run, cooking contests, petting zoo, and live music.
Cost: $2
Friday - Sunday
Sep 7-9
Summerfest Grounds
Appreciate Native American art, music, dancing, and culture at this festival run by a non-profit in order to educate, preserve, and showcase Native tribes.
Cost: TBD
Saturday
Sep 15
Bay View
The last hurrah of summer festivals, Bay View Bash is the main source of funding for the Bay View Community Foundation. You'll find the usual good stuff plus lots of unusual performers at this zero-waste festival.
Cost: Free