Free Activities in Milwaukee, WI
If you’re over 21, the MillerCoors Milwaukee Brewery Tour is a must for your free-to-do activities list. The tour takes you deep inside the one-of-a-kind Miller caves with its catacomb-like brickwork and astonishing murals. On your visit, you’ll get an inside look into 150 years of brewing history, from brewery founder Fredrick Miller’s arrival in Milwaukee to the state-of-the-art high speed production lines in use today. After filling up on the brewery’s history, indulge in a few refreshing samples of the company’s ice-cold brews at the Bavarian-style Miller Inn. During the summer you can also spend your after-tour hours hanging out in their outdoor beer garden.
Getting a little cultural enrichment doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny when you have a great performing arts college in town. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is home to the Peck School of the Performing Arts where students study all arts, including dance, film, music, drama and more. Throughout the summer, Peck hosts a variety of events featuring the best work of their students with art gallery showings, stage performances and mini film festivals. Most of these events are free to the public or ask for a pay-what-you-can donation in support of the arts.
No matter what your music preference, chances are there’s a band playing your kind of music at a River Rhythms show in Pere Marquette Park this summer. Rain or shine on Wednesday evenings from June through August the Westown Association hosts local musical groups playing reggae, blues, West African music, rock and roll covers, salsa and funk. Some concerts even feature outrageous instruments like bagpipes and didgeridoos. For just a dollar, you can hitch a ride to River Rhythms on Milwaukee’s Trolley Loop. The ride takes you around East Town, Westown and the Historic Third Ward, giving you access to some of the city’s best shopping and dining venues.
Since 1984, the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University has been dedicated to giving visitors access to great works of art free of charge. The museum’s permanent collection includes pieces by master artists such as Salvador Dalí’s 1949 Madonna at Port Lligat, Marc Chagall’s Bible Series and Keith Haring’s 1983 construction fence mural. Also in the collection are minor works by artists like Rembrandt and Andy Warhol. Aside from the big name artists, the Haggerty is also dedicated to showcasing the works of local Wisconsin artists in its rotation of temporary exhibitions. The Haggerty is open 7 days a week with varying hours and while the museum is always free to visit, parking is limited so call ahead before heading out the door.
Tucked inside Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport, the Mitchell Gallery of Flight provides a fun, free outing for aviation and airplane model enthusiasts. The museum tops USA Today’s list of places to fly into when traveling with kids as it provides a welcome distraction on long layovers. The micro-museum houses a mix of permanent collection items and revolving exhibitions that highlight the best of Wisconsin’s aviation history. There are even some displays dedicated to telling the story of General William Mitchell. While admission to the museum is free, be prepared to pay for airport parking, plus the other minimal hassles that come with getting in and out of Milwaukee’s busiest airport.