Welcome to my own personal little(ish?) summer bucket list for the beautiful city of festivals: Milwaukee Wisconsin. There really are endless and ENDLESS lists of things to do in Milwaukee, which is why this is just my personal list. Some include things I’ve worked through already, some traditional favorites that I do every year in Milwaukee, and some new activities I’m just dying to try.
I’ve been wanting to do this so long, that I’m making a serious effort to do it this year! I’ve gone kayaking plenty of times, but it’s time to rent a paddle board from Milwaukee Kayak Company and explore the Milwaukee River! I might fall in… but hey, all in a days worth of fun. It’s worth trying something new!
Location: 318 S Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
If it says adventure, I’m 100% here for it! Adventure Rock is a large gym FILLED with rock climbing walls. Literally, the inside is mostly climb-able. From straight walls perfect for beginners to walls at extreme angles for those who want to challenge themselves, Adventure Rock really has it all. Personally, Adventure Rock might end up being a mother/daughter date for me!
Location: 2220 N Commerce St. Milwaukee, WI 53212
There’s so much at Bounce Milwaukee: laser tack, vintage video games, MASSIVE inflatable bounce houses and obstacle courses and more. It’s great for kids, but…wait for it… it turns into an awesome adults only (21+) area after 9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Did I mention Bounce Milwaukee is also a bar and restaurant. Yes. Take a shot of vodka and bounce away til your heart’s content.
Location: 2801 S. 5th Ct. Milwaukee, WI 53207
(Please, please, pleeaassseee have a DD present or utilize Uber/Lift. BE SMART AND BE SAFE. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE)
I’m 100% positive it would be a crime to create an ultimate summer bucket list for Milwaukee Wisconsin and not include any beer activities. I’ve heard such awesome feedback about these activities, and I’m absolutely stoked to head out to cross them off my list!
Need I say more? Milwaukee is full of beer gardens, and it’s a fun little bucket list inside another bucket list (bucket list-ception?!) for you this summer! Check out this full list of the beer gardens across this beautiful beer city to plan your summer accordingly!. My personal goal is to head out to Estabrook Park Beer Garden and Hubbard Park Beer Garden. I’m a sucker for a good German pretzel with cheese!
Probably a little touristy, possibly a tad cheesy, but it’s on my list because it looks so much FUN. Don’t tell me getting together with a group of your closest friends drinking beer while biking outside doesn’t sound like fun. Because it does. And if you do say it, you’re lying. Besides, I think it’s time you and your gang drank beer outside of your local [albeit beloved] dive bar. This way: you might get a bit of exercise for a change. (Or that one guy in your group will do all the work….I’m sure a name already popped into your head, too.)
Not to be confused with pedaling on a bike… the paddle tavern is a really cool boat drinking experience! Utilize the tour or just enjoy a day on the lake with your buddies drinking beer. This year, they even have NEW eco-friendly boats. It’s a win/win/win situation here.
7 Bridges Trail
Grant Park is a classic and a favorite hiking spot in the Milwaukee area. Bring a picnic lunch to the park and wander through seven bridges trail (and count to see if there really are seven bridges… I think I counted 8 last year!)
Grant Park: 100 Hawthorne Ave, South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Urban Ecology Center
I’ve heard some really cool things about the Urban Ecology Center lately, especially the Riverside Park location. The Riverside Park building is nicknamed the “green” building because it’s so environmentally friendly! The toilets flush with rainwater, the floor is “reused” hardwood maple wood, and more amenities are included here.
- Riverside Park: 1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee, WI 53211
- Washington Park: 1859 N. 40th St., Milwaukee, WI 53208
- Menomonee Valley3700 W Pierce St, Milwaukee, WI 53215
This beautiful nature center consists of 185 acres of forests, wetlands, ravines, bluffs, and prairies. YES, Wisconsin really does have it all, doesn’t it? (Okay, no deserts, but personally….I’m okay with that. I’ll die and melt.) I’m hoping to take an evening to head up here to wander [part of] the six miles of trails.
Location: 1111 E Brown Deer Rd, Bayside, WI 53217
Ice Age Trail – Holy Hill
The Ice Age Trail is a true Wisconsin classic if you want to explore nature. This large trail is entirely in the state of Wisconsin and shows the landscape created by glaciers. Though there are many segments throughout the state, the Holy Hill segment is just under 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee in Hartford, Wisconsin. It’s called Holy Hill, because at the start of the trail is a gorgeous church called Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. Before or after your trail hike, you can climb one of the church spires to see one of my favorite views in Wisconsin. It’s truly gorgeous!
The Kettle Moraine State Forest has so many beautiful trails to explore and many sections. You depending on how far you’d like to drive, theres the Northern Unit, Lapham Peak Unit, Southern Unit, and Pike Lake Unit. I visited Lapham Peak Unit last year; it has an awesome lookout point that’s a great picture opportunity!
Lapham Peak Unit: 30 miles west of Milwaukee, W329 N846 County Road C, Delafield, WI 53018
Northern Unit: 50 miles north of Milwaukee, N1765 Hwy G, Campbellsport, WI 53010
Southern Unit: 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee, W39091 WI-59, Eagle, WI 53119
Pike Lake Unit: 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, 3544 Kettle Moraine Rd, Hartford, WI 53027
Sweet Treats to Eat!
Rolled ice cream
Yes, rolled ice cream is a tad trendy, but who cares. It still tastes delicious, you get a ton of beautiful toppings, AND it looks cool! Head over to Fro Zone on E. Brady Street to get a chilly treat and avoid the heat. (Rhyme totally intended. Hate me for it.)
Location: 1320 E Brady St
Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puff
This is on my summer bucket list in Milwaukee every year as it’s a personal tradition of mine and my families. Of which I am now graciously handing over this tradition to you. (Unless you already have this tradition, then you, my friend, are genius; we should be friends.) Grab a freshly made cream puff while at the Wisconsin State Fair, a couple of napkins if you’re a hot mess like me, and dive in mouth first! The Wisconsin State Fair this year is going on August 1 – 11, so you have plenty of time to get your cream puff tasting on!
Continuing on this ice cream trail (because if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with ice cream), with these boozy milkshakes from Merriment Social! They’re big, they’re grand, they’re deliciously messy, they’re alcohol-y (huh?). To help with the booziness, you might have to grab a delicious juicy burger to pair with it. Merriment Social should definitely be on your bucket list, too.
Location: 240 E Pittsburgh Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204