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7 Best Things To Do In Milwaukee In The Winter 2024

To some people, the idea of having fun when winter arrives in Milwaukee sounds difficult. With near sub-zero temperatures and inch-think snowstorms during certain days, it’s not always the most ideal to do things outside.

But contrary to some opinions, it’s entirely possible to enjoy winter in Milwaukee doing outside and indoor activities to help you avoid the winter blues. You just need to know where to look, whether it’s during the holiday season or just some random day of the month.

Here are seven fun activities you can do when winter comes around in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

milwaukee in the winter

Try Winter Sports

Milwaukee winters can be freezing. With temperatures even dropping below zero on some days (although not too often), most people avoid going outdoors in Wisconsin winters. But if you’re into winter sports like ice skating or snowboarding, this season presents many opportunities for unlimited fun. You can experience the thrill of snowboarding, snow tubing, downhill skiing, and other exciting activities.

If you want to go ice skating, you can try the skating ring in Red Arrow Park, located in downtown Milwaukee. Another fun thing you can do is visit one of the many ski resorts scattered near Milwaukee. The Rock Snowpark, located 20 minutes away from Milwaukee, is a popular ski resort in Franklin.

Otherwise, if you don’t mind driving over an hour away to Tyrol Basin — located in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin — it’s ideal for winter sports and caters to beginners and experts.

As a side note, read our Wisconsin guide you’re looking for a place to stay with luxury accommodations or rent a luxury car in Milwaukee to get around the city better.

Experience History at Milwaukee Public Museum 

milwaukee public museum

Milwaukee has some top-notch museums you should consider when planning your next winter getaway. Visiting a museum is a great family activity where you can learn fascinating things and have fun while avoiding the cold of a Wisconsin winter. The Milwaukee Public Museum is famous among natural history buffs and carries a collection of artifacts, including animal skeletons and items from all around the world.

Visit the permanent exhibitions to see the world’s most enormous dinosaur skull and a life-sized replica of the T-Rex. If you want to see more than dinosaur bones, visit the planetarium to stargaze virtually and see exciting shows.

Don’t forget to visit the famous Old Streets of Milwaukee for a journey back in time. This exhibit features a walk-through diorama and takes visitors through a typical fall evening in 20th Century Milwaukee, complete with cobblestoned paths and candy shops.

Apart from the Milwaukee Public Museum, you also have the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World. 

Visit The Milwaukee Domes

mitchell park domes

You can either curl up in bed on winter days in Milwaukee. Or, you can visit the Milwaukee Domes to experience nature like never before!

The Domes collectively known as the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory house over 1,200 plants, flowers, and trees. Popular attractions include the Rainforest Dome, Train Show, and Cacti Gardens.

The Domes are always open throughout the year, and you can visit during winter with friends or even by yourself. You can register for any of the one-off special holiday themed events and year-round educational events held at the conservatory for a more exciting and interactive experience. It’s the perfect way to raise your holiday spirit. Plus, on certain days you can enjoy a free admission.

It makes for a perfect date night, especially if you’re staying with your significant other.

Take A Brewery Tour

brewery tours

The city’s nickname “Brew City” is a nod to the state’s ties to the brewery industry. Beer and Milwaukee have a long history together. When the cold winter days arrive in Milwaukee, it’s not a bad idea to visit local breweries and enjoy some great beer.

Even if you’re just visiting the city for a day or two, you need to try some of them. An excellent option is the Miller Brewery Tour, which takes you through the historical Miller Valley. The district is home to the second-largest beer manufacturer in the USA, Miller Brewing Company.

Expect to enjoy a slice of history on this tour, with stops at the underground caves and historic Miller Inn. The tour also includes a trip to Miller’s modern production facility, where more than 200,000 beers are produced daily. Plus, you get to enjoy some of Milwaukee’s finest beers during the tour!

Do The Polar Bear Plunge

One of the most well-known winter events and fun things to do is the Polar Bear Plunge. You can face your inner fears and attend the Polar Bear Plunge, where participants jump into freezing Lake Michigan. It’s held every New Year’s Day, and it’s a popular event that pulls hundreds of participants.

You’ll need steely nerves and a healthy dose of courage. And if you’re not enthusiastic about jumping unclad into freezing water sounds, attend the event as a spectator. 

Either way, attending the Polar Bear Plunge is a great way to enjoy winter in Milwaukee. Plus, the amount of money you raise for the foundation goes to Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes.

Hike Milwaukee Trails

winter hiking trails

There are several outdoor hiking trails near the area for beginners and expert hikers. Although slightly different from hiking in warmer weather, winter hiking is just as fun, although a bit higher on the difficulty level. Still, there are plenty of beginner hiking trails for hiking in the snow. Some of the most popular hikes for the cold weather are the Milwaukee River Trails, which are probably the closest ones you’ll find. Otherwise, if you don’t mind driving, you have the seven bridges trail in Grant Park and multiple options in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

If you’re not up for hiking and want a more casual walk, then Veteran Park is the perfect place for other outdoor activities. Whether it’s during the summer, fall or winter, the park offers a relaxing vibe and pathways with lovely views of the lakeside.

Learn Curling at the Milwaukee Curling Club

curling in milwaukee

Curling in Milwaukee has a long history, dating back to the 1840s when early settlers created the Milwaukee Curling Club in 1845. The MCC remains the oldest existing curling club in the US and offers opportunities for pros and amateurs to curl in the Milwaukee area.

It also provides teaching sessions for newbies, although these are currently on hold. Assuming you sign up as a member, you can register for the leagues and play with other members. You may also play with the junior team to develop your curling skills. Even if you don’t plan to curl professionally, those games help you stay active and healthy even in winter.

Although the city doesn’t offer the same consistent warm weather levels of other warm areas in the United States, it’s still a great place to visit.

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