Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the largest city in Wisconsin by population. It’s home to a mix of different cultures, making it one of the most diverse cities in all of the United States. There is plenty to do in Brew City, as it’s also commonly referred to. Whether you’re looking to visit here as a family, couple, solo traveler, or with friends, you can find something everyone will like. It has numerous museums, festivals that occur throughout the year, a vibrant downtown, and soaring nightlife. If you’re planning a day trip to Milwaukee and want to figure out what you can do here for an entire day, here are some helpful suggestions.
Visit The Famous Mitchell Domes
Milwaukee is home to the famous domes found in Mitchell Park on the Southside of Milwaukee. The Mitchell Domes are one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the city. There are three domes that house different plants — a tropical dome, desert dome, and floral show dome. Apart from plants, they have a variety of wildlife in each dorm. You’ll find all sorts of animals like birds, fish, lizards, insects, and frogs. It’s a beautiful and unique attraction that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, the prices are budget-friendly at $8 for adults, $6 for kids age 6+, and kids under 5 get in for free.
Grab Lunch At AJ Bombers
AJ Bombers is located in downtown Milwaukee on one of the most famous streets in Milwaukee, Water Street. Given the restaurant’s name, it’s not surprising that it’s extremely popular for the burgers (veggie burgers included) and unique atmosphere. They’ve won various awards over the years for the burgers and their appetizers — cheese curds and buffalo chicken eggrolls — are just as impressive. If you aren’t feeling burgers, then la Merenda or Swingin' Door Exchange are top choices.
Visit The Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum is another famous piece of architecture. It holds more than 30,000 pieces of art and is an excellent spot for just about everyone. It’s open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. They also routinely have live music and classes, so check out their website and see what events are happening. It offers a fantastic view of the lakefront, with its location being great for a relaxing sightful walk with the water and parks nearby.
Grab Some Dinner At Five O'Clock Steakhouse
Five O’Clock Steakhouse is one of Milwaukee’s oldest and family-owned steak places since 1946. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a fancy or romantic dinner opportunity. Apart from the tasty steaks, they have options like crab legs, prime rib, pork chops, shrimp, and lobster. If you’re looking for something more budget-friendly in Milwaukee, consider checking out Oscar's Pub & Grill or Real Chili. If you’re feeling Mexican food, El Señorial is a popular place found on the south side of Milwaukee.
Treat Yourself With Frozen Custard At Leons
Another one of Milwaukee’s most famous attractions is Leons. It’s a family-owned frozen custard place that’s been serving local Milwaukee residents since 1942. It’s the perfect place to get dessert after a delicious dinner.
They have several dessert options including banana split, cones, malts, and shakes in all different flavors including strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, and many more! It’s located on the south side of Milwaukee near 27th and Oklahoma.
Go Bar Hopping In Water Street Or Brady
Water Street is where the vibrant nightlife of Milwaukee shines. There is a multitude of bars like Brothers and Duke's on Water that are always pretty busy. If you’re into nightclubs, there are plenty of those. Consider checking out Lucid Lounge or Trinity. For the older crowd, Brady street is another popular entertainment district in the city that’s a bit calmer than Water Street.
Best Time To Visit Milwaukee
Wisconsin has some pretty harsh weather during the winter and also pretty high temperatures during the summer. Milwaukee is no different, and there are some months in Milwaukee where it’s freezing cold. Regardless of the season — there are plenty of fun things to do in all of Wisconsin and the city itself.
However, if you’re not a fan of the cold, the best time to visit Milwaukee is around the middle of March where the weather starts to get warm. Milwaukee gets very warm during the summer months, where it can reach highs of 90 degrees. In the fall, the weather is still relatively warm.
There are festivals all year round, but most of them occur during the summer and fall. So if you’re a huge fan of festivals, consider coming around those seasons. Assuming you don’t mind the cold, there are plenty of activities to do here during the winter as well. Just be ready for the snow cause it gets a lot of it.
Is Milwaukee Safe?
Unfortunately, Milwaukee does have a high crime rate. However, there are specific areas where most of the crime occurs. Just like you would in any big city, you should take precautions and be aware of your surroundings — especially at night.
Downtown always has something going on at night, so it’s populated there, and police routinely drive around, so you should be pretty safe in the area. Not all of Milwaukee is safe, so if you aren’t too familiar with certain areas, it’s best to avoid them. Don’t draw too much attention to yourself, consider investing in an anti-theft bag or backpack, and watch your surroundings.
If you're looking for a safer city in Wisconsin, Madison is one of safest cities in all the United States, so at only one hour and a half away from Milwaukee — it's another great place to visit.
Read our guides on other popular cities in Wisconsin: