Located just 90 miles north of Chicago, along our beloved Lake Michigan, Milwaukee makes for a fun and easy family weekend getaway. Nicknamed Brew City for its beer-focused history, Milwaukee is brimming with things to see and do for families. For everything from a brewery visit fit for kids to impressive museums, read on for tips on things to do in this Wisconsin city. Don’t miss our Milwaukee events calendar to get the full scoop on local happenings.
photo: Discovery World via yelp
Spend the afternoon at Discovery World. This science and tech focused museum features everything from aquariums to total immersion virtual reality experiences. Since it’s located on the lakefront, the fun extends outdoors (weather permitting) — you can even set off on a tall ship from the museum’s dock now through October!
500 N. Harbor Dr.
Did you know that American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson was founded in Milwaukee in 1903? Cruise over to the Harley-Davidson Museum where you’ll learn more about this historic American icon. Kids can build their own virtual motorbike and even try on some hip Harley-Davidson gear.
400 W. Canal St.
No visit to Brew City would be complete without a tour of a classic brewery. Luckily, the Sprecher Brewery offers a kid-friendly tour. As the first microbrewery to be licensed in Milwaukee since Prohibition, this small, handmade brewery is dedicated to producing not only the best connoisseur style beers but also gourmet sodas, so even kids can get in on the taste-testing fun. Take a case of Sprecher Root Beer on the road with you as a tasty souvenir.
701 W. Glendale Ave.
photo: Marian Q. via yelp
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
Milwaukee’s only place for hands-on play and interactive learning, just for kids 10 and younger and their grown-ups! The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is dedicated to providing interactive exhibits and educational resources that promote school readiness, including the development of early literacy, beginning math and science concepts, problem-solving, and physical and social skills. Visit today to explore our resident exhibits, special exhibits and our weekly educational programs.
929 E Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee County Zoo
As one of the country’s finest zoological attractions, the Milwaukee County Zoo will educate, entertain and inspire you! Visit over 3,100 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles in specialized habitats spanning 190 wooded acres. Explore educational wildlife shows, fun attractions and enticing special events.
10001 W Bluemound Rd.
Start your day with a delicious brunch at Cafe Hollander. Ask for a table outdoors beside the picturesque fountain and you’ll feel as if you’re in Europe at this elegant yet kid-friendly grand cafe, where brunch is served daily from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Opt for the signature fluffy Lowlander pancakes or the Brew City Benedict, a Milwaukee take on classic eggs benedict featuring Wisconsin-fresh cheddar and housemade Hollandaise.
2608 N. Downer Ave.
photo: Khondker I. via yelp
North Point Lighthouse
This picture-perfect, restored 19th-century lighthouse also houses a small maritime museum. Climb to the very top via 84 narrow steps and a ladder and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful city and lake vistas. Kids who complete the climb will receive a special certificate.
North Point Lighthouse
2650 N. Wahl Ave.
End your day with burgers at AJ Bombers, voted best cheeseburgers in town by the Travel Channel’s Food Wars. Kids will love the pre-dinner peanuts that arrive to the table via a mini-bomber. The custom here is throw the shells right onto the floor. Bring a pen or a marker because writing on the table and walls is encouraged.
1247 N. Water St.
photo: Trisha A. via yelp
Milwaukee Art Museum
It’s hard to decide which is more awesome – the Quadracci Pavilion, designed by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava – or the more than 30,000 pieces in the museum’s permanent collection. Spanning antiquity to modern, the collection includes works by Monet, Warhol and Picasso, in addition to one of the largest Georgia O’Keeffe collections in the world. Be sure to rent an ArtPack for your kids, a small case filled with sketching supplies that can be used in the galleries, giving kids the chance to interpret and recreate masterpieces through their own eyes . ArtPacks are free and available from the ArtPack Station in Windhover Hall during regular museum hours.
700 N. Art Museum Dr.
Milwaukee Public Market
Pedal to the Milwaukee Public Market for a late lunch (easy bike parking just outside the entrances). This historic foodie hub has been serving up local delights for over 100 years. The focus is here is on Wisconsin products, so indulge in the area’s best housemade chocolates, artisan cheeses, pretzels, and creamy frozen custards or give one of the other purveyors a try – you’ll find the flavors of the world here, from the Middle East and Mexico. Let each member of your family choose their lunch and then head to the public seating on the second floor, where you’ll be treated to a great view of the bustling market.
Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St.
The Best Upcoming Events for Kids in Milwaukee
If you’re looking for events and activities, don’t miss our local Milwaukee events calendar, which has everything from story times to seasonal activities.