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Black Cat Mural Alley | © Brady Wieland/Flickr
Black Cat Mural Alley | © Brady Wieland/Flickr

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Milwaukee

Picture of Kelsey Grace Pfeifer
Updated: 8 September 2017

It doesn’t matter if you’re one or 100, Milwaukee is a city for all ages! This industrial hub may look bland to the untrained eye, but beneath its facade is a plethora of fascinating experiences just waiting to be explored. Grab a beer, or plan a year around Summerfest, and come see all that Milwaukee has to offer.

Harley Davidson Museum

For the hog lovers of the world, the number one place to visit is the Harley Davidson Museum. The museum is home to many one of a kind objects, including the very first Harley Davidson motorcycle! So pick up a leather jacket, or just enjoy a tour while daydreaming about the open road.

Milwaukee Art Museum

More commonly referred to as the Calatrava, the Milwaukee Art Museum is arguably Milwaukee’s most recognizable landmark. It was designed to blend into the harbors on Lake Michigan, and from far away it certainly passes as an elegant boat! The art inside is phenomenal, but it’s hard to really beat the view of the lakefront shore from the inside windows.

Milwaukee Public Museum

The Public Museum is home to plethora of phenomenal exhibits that show off some of the world’s coolest history as well as scientific innovations. And for those adults who are still kids at heart, there is an adult sleepover where participants can experience their very own Night at the Museum.

Discovery World

Discovery World is a one-stop shop for some of the most fascinating experiences in Milwaukee. They have unbelievable exhibits such as an interactive aquarium and a ship that hosts family sails along Lake Michigan! The venue is also a super cool place to hold parties and weddings.

Milwaukee Public Market

Seattle’s market may be iconic, but Milwaukee is nipping at its heels to take the top spot as the best market in the United States. The market is home to a wide selection of homemade or culturally significant products, and the numerous independent vendors will keep you satisfied for hours, even if you’re only there for the free samples! Be sure to take all food to the second floor Palm Garden to experience the best Milwaukee has to offer.

North Point Lighthouse

This lighthouse is straight out of a Nicholas Sparks saga, so naturally it’s one of Milwaukee’s most picturesque spots. The lighthouse was originally built to bring boats into the classic Milwaukee harbors, but now it simply serves as a fantastic tourist spot. They often have events, including tours and even beer tastings!

Pabst Mansion

Pabst Blue Ribbon is universally recognizable, but not many know the history behind the name. Learn about the family behind the beer by visiting the historic Pabst Mansion. The Pabst family practically helped build Milwaukee, so their home is a must-see on a trip to the city.

Oriental Theatre

Seeing a movie is always fun, but seeing a movie in one of the oldest and most antiquated theatres in the whole city of Milwaukee is an unforgettable experience. The Oriental Theatre is immediately recognizable by its ornate interior, as well as by the pipe organ that plays before certain films.

Basilica of St. Josaphat

Placed in the historic Lincoln Village on the south side of Milwaukee, the Basilica of St. Josaphat is sure to leave anyone breathless. The exterior is defined by its large dome, while the ornamental interior rivals cathedrals in Europe … the stained glass is particularly magnificent.

Miller Brewing Tour

Miller Brewery is quintessential Milwaukee. Signs for the Brewery campus can even been seen on the skyline, which shows how deep the loyalty goes. The tour is fantastic and shows the whole brewing process, also including free beer at the end! The tour runs nearly year round, which considering the harsh northern winters, is super impressive.

Great Lakes Distillery

It will be said time and time again; Milwaukee does alcohol well. Though the city is mainly known for beer, it also has some unbeatable distilleries. The Great Lakes Distillery makes surprisingly unique spirits such as Orange Liqueur with Spices and, wait for it, Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit just in time for Halloween!

Historical Milwaukee Boat Tour

One of the greatest things about Milwaukee is its waterways, so what better way to tour the city than by boat? The Edelweiss Boat Tours pass some of Milwaukee’s most recognizable buildings, all from the comfort of a spacious boat. Grab a drink and a sun hat and settle in for a relaxing and informative time.

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes)

Look closely to the Milwaukee skyline, the domes are a bit hidden amongst the more industrial buildings, but don’t be fooled, they’re one of Milwaukee’s greatest selling points. The cozy botanical gardens are a perfect way to escape the brutal winters for a quick tropical getaway!

Milwaukee County Zoo

The Milwaukee County Zoo is one of the city’s main attractions, bar none. The zoo is expansive and plays host to fantastic exhibits such as a penguin enclosure and aviary. It’s age and disability inclusive, which is amazing. There’s even a carousel and birds of prey show.

Pabst Theatre

It should be no surprise the name of this historic theatre – the Pabst’s truly are legendary in Milwaukee. This concert and event venue is the perfect place to catch a concert or lecture series, as it features everything from Kenny Rodgers to A Nightmare Before Christmas special featuring the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.


Forget Coachella, Burning Man, and Lollapalooza, Summerfest is the world’s largest music festival and does a marvelous job of booking local bands as well as huge names like The Eagles and Alice Cooper. With festival grounds specifically dedicated to Summerfest and similar events, there is no better laid out venue to grab some food or beer and listen to some great music.

Black Cat Alley

With Milwaukee being the creative hub that it is, a place like Black Cat Alley fits right in! The alley is filled with bright and exciting murals by local and international artists. One of the most spectacular is the “Glitch Frog” by European artist MTO.

Historic Third Ward

Walking through the Third Ward is like a blast from Milwaukee’s past, interwoven with its present. Milwaukee was one of the first industrial hubs, so the Third Ward is filled with gorgeous warehouses, many with original elements, that have been transformed into apartment buildings or fun and different restaurants.

Milwaukee River Walk

It’s pretty obvious that the people of Milwaukee are super proud of Lake Michigan. It’s the shining gem on what is otherwise an industrial powerhouse, though most citizens will try to convince you that Milwaukee is exclusively a port-town. So during the warmer months, tourists and citizens alike can be found on the Riverwalk, a three-mile trail right along Milwaukee’s proudest landmark—the lake.

Bronz Fonz

Every city has their kitschy landmark, and the Bronz Fonz is Milwaukee’s! The Bronze Fonz is genuinely just a bronze statue of Henry Winkler’s character from “Happy Days”, Fonzie. The statue is giving two thumbs up and is always up for a great picture.