5 Fun Milwaukee Activities For Families

June 1, 2017

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, whether we're in Denver or in Manila. 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.

Be sure to check out my ideas for fun things to do with your kids anywhere in the world.

Visiting Milwaukee, Wisconsin (May 2017)

1. 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.

2. Take a leisurely stroll along the RiverWalk

One of the things we love to do to stay healthy and fit during travel is to walk. And fortunately, Milwaukee offers plenty of opportunities for nice walks.

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)

3. 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)

4. 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)  

5. Check out the Milwaukee activities for families at market

In any city I visit, I love going to public markets. It helps feel like I'm traveling more like a local. Plus, 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.

Need inspiration for United States travel? Browse through my United States posts here.

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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