Five Fun Milwaukee Activities For Families

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A little over a month ago, I found myself in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since I spend most of my time in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not every day that I get to visit the Midwest. When the opportunity arose to attend the Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Milwaukee, I jumped at the chance to explore a new-to-me city. I was excited to see what kind of Milwaukee activities for families there were out there.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect of Milwaukee. The city prides itself on being the “beer capital of the world”. As much as I enjoy having a nice beer every once in awhile, that fact alone isn’t going to drive me to see a new place.

Now that I’m a parent, most of the places and activities I tend to gravitate towards are of the family-friendly variety. This happens even if I’m traveling solo. I suppose it’s mostly out of habit. Perhaps my tastes have evolved as I’ve grown into this motherhood thing.

This post was updated on April 19, 2020.

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A river in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a sidewalk along the river. In the background are buildings in a city. The riverwalk is one of the popular Milwaukee activities for families.
The Riverwalk in downtown Milwaukee (April 2017)  

Milwaukee activities for families

Fortunately, there are plenty of Milwaukee sight seeing activities that are fun for families. The book, 100 Things To Do In Milwaukee Before You Die, offers plenty of suggestions of Milwaukee activities for families. During my extended weekend in Milwaukee, I was able to experience several of these, either through events organized by WITS, or going out with fellow conference-goers.

For those of you interested in visiting Milwaukee with your family, here are my picks of Milwaukee kids activities.

Visiting Milwaukee, Wisconsin (May 2017)

Walk through history at the Harley Davidson Museum

Family-friendly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Harley Davidson. However, at the Harley Davidson Museum, you can find all sorts of amazing things to capture even the youngest minds’ attention. The museum houses 450 historic motorcycles from the famous brand, dating as far back as the early 1900’s. It’s a fun option for Milwaukee kids activities!

There are some interactive games too. There’s even a room where you can sit on the bikes and imagine what it feels like to ride down the highway on one of those beasts. My favorite exhibit was the wall of fuel tanks. I loved how it was displayed, like art. It was interesting to see the evolution of the designs over the years.

The Harley Davidson Museum is open daily from 9am to 6pm during the months of May through September. During the months of October through April, the museum is open from 10am to 6pm. Admission for adults is $22. Children between the ages of 5 and 17 are $8, while children under 5 are free.

Colorful Harley Davidson fuel tanks on display at the Harley Davidson Museum, on of the Milwaukee activities for families.

Take a leisurely stroll along the RiverWalk

The city of Milwaukee has three major rivers running through it. The Milwaukee River runs through the northern part of the city, while the Kinnickinnic River flows along the southern part of the city. The Menomonee River runs on the western part. The three rivers eventually meet together as they flow into Lake Michigan to the east of the city.

All this is to say that the downtown area can be quite a picturesque option for Milwaukee sight seeing, with its rivers and greenery. The RiverWalk, which is a pedestrian walkway running along the Milwaukee River, is a great way to catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery. If you get a little hungry during your walk, there are plenty of restaurant lining the RiverWalk to satisfy any craving.

The River Walk in Milwaukee (May 2017)

Soak in the art at the Milwaukee Art Museum

One of my favorite excursions during WITS was an early morning yoga session at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The building itself is a work of art. It has vaulted 90-foot high glass ceiling and a giant sunshade that opens and closes like wings. It was such a peaceful and serene space. The sunrise shining in through the windows made the architecture of the museum even more stunning.

The Milwaukee Art Museum holds almost 25,000 works of art in its collection. Many of the pieces date back to antiquity, while others are more recent creations. It’s one of the Milwaukee activities for families worth checking out. Even kids will love looking at the unique pieces of art.

Admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum is $19 for adults, and $17 for kids For kids under 12, the museum is free..

Morning yoga session at the Milwaukee Art Museum (April 2017)

Act like a spy at SafeHouse

Something that I often enjoy doing is going to themed restaurants. There’s something cheesy and cool about being transported into another world as soon as you step into a place. The SafeHouse, a spy themed restaurant in downtown Milwaukee, makes dining out more than just a culinary experience, but an interactive one too.

The restaurant even has requires a password to enter, which you must said correctly, or else you are made to do a stunt to gain entry. Our group was not able to give the right password, so we had to stand in a line and do a series of chorus line kicks. Once inside, we were treated to a plethora of Cold War era tchotckes, and a menu full of spy themed dishes and drinks. I could tell this was one of the more popular Milwaukee kids activities, as I saw plenty of families at the restaurant.

A menu from Safe House restaurant (April 2017)  

Check out the Milwaukee activities for families at market

In any city I visit, I love going to public markets. There’s something unique about being immersed in the sights and smells of a market, the bustle of the people interacting with the vendors, and the endless possibilities of things to buy and try.

The Milwaukee Public Market is relatively new, opened in 2005, but it sits in a historic part of downtown Milwaukee that was well known for its commercial and warehousing activities. The market has a variety of artisan and ethnic products to buy, and there are also cooking classes you can watch. It’s a popular place for Milwaukee sight seeing.

Milwaukee Public Market, one of the places for fun Milwaukee activities for families
Milwaukee Public Market from the street (April 2017)

Finding some fun Milwaukee kids activities

Whatever your interests are, there is something for everyone in Milwaukee. I enjoyed my time visiting the city, and had a blast experiencing all the fun Milwaukee activities that families can do. I can’t wait to take my kids there and have them experience the city for themselves.

Are you ready to visit Milwaukee? Use these tips as a starting off point, and then go out and find your own Milwaukee kids activities!

Disclosure: I received free admission to the Harley Davidson Museum through WITS and Visit Milwaukee, however, all opinions are my own.

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26 Responses

  1. Sounds like a great trip! I’m such a fan of public markets too! And I haven’t been to much of the Midwest so I’m totally curious!

    1. I had a great time! Hope you get to visit the Midwest some time. There are some great cities there, and isn’t that long of a flight (or a drive, if you want to make it a road trip) from Seattle.

  2. Museums always intrigue me. Every place has so much history associated to it and museums are the best way to unearth it . a fabulous list indeed! Bookmarking this for my reference:)

  3. I’ve only ever driven through Wisconsin on road trips, stopping at small farms along the way. But Milwaukee looks such a cool city. The sort of city that thrives in the summer months.

    1. Yes, it definitely seems like it. Although I do hear that there are also some fun activities to do during the winter months too.

  4. I recently visited Milwaukee for the first time during the WITS17 conference. I didn’t have much time to explore but we did make it to the Harley Museum and what a show they put on for us! It was fabulous. I went to the Public Market twice, liked it alot. Wish I had gone to the Safehouse with so many of my friends- they had a balL! Great list of things to see and do!

    1. I was there for WITS too! Too bad we didn’t get to meet while we were both there! Did you end up doing any of the other activities?

  5. WOW!! I love motorbikes! 🙂 So jealous you managed to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum. It seems like you really had a lovely time there in Milwaukee. Safe travels!

  6. Hi Astrid, you really found various activities to do in Milwaukee! I am not too much into museums but it is true that with kids is more about learning about trying out new things. Nevertheless, I loved that the city features riverside promenade, I really love when cities are build in a way that people can escape to greenery and get some fresh air!

    1. I agree, Veronika. It’s nice when cities play up their green spaces, so it’s not all just buildings.

  7. I’ve never been to Milwaukee but your post makes it look interesting. I’d love to go sometime. I’ll add it to my ever growing list of must see places!

  8. As a rider of a motorcycle I think I would be drawn to the Harley Davidson Museum. Even though I ride a “crotch rocket’ 450 historic motorcycles dating as far back as the early 1900’s is very cool
    The river walk looks very beautiful too
    I think those 2 things and the beer is enough for me to add it to my to go to list!!!

    1. I bet you would definitely enjoy the Harley Davidson Museum, Christopher. There is a room with at least 10 different types of Harleys that you can ride on.

  9. These are nice activities for families to enjoy and bond together. We would love to visit the Harley Davidson museum with our son and ogle at the beauties there 😉 Another fav would be to take a peaceful walk along the river and indulge in some friendly tete a tete.

  10. Thanks for all of the Milwaukee travel tips, Astrid. I think my kids would love the Harley Davidson museum! The River Walk looks cool too – Milwaukee seems like a very family-friendly destination.

    1. Thanks Nancy. I bet your kids would love the Harley Davidson museum. Hope you get to visit Milwaukee some day.

  11. Thanks for this list – the river walk looks like a beautiful way to relax and take in the waterfront / city scape of Milwaukee – nice diverse range of museums too. Glad to hear it’s more than just beer … though that too :D!

  12. Nice article. I’m actually searching for things to do in Milwaukee because I’m planning to visit the city soon. And glad I found your blog. We’ll be including this on my itinerary list.

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Hi, I'm Astrid

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!



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