There’s something about live music being carried on a summer breeze that just makes you want to celebrate. And as we know so well in Wisconsin, just the fact that it’s summer is something to be celebrated. That’s why it’s fitting that on any given night in the Milwaukee area, you will probably be able to find a venue for outdoor live music. These concerts bring communities together, support local businesses, artists, and culture, and introduce listeners to music they might not otherwise be familiar with. Outdoor music is frequently a hidden gem in communities, so we thought we would compile a list of our favorite outdoor music venues to share with you. The extra benefit? These concerts are generally FREE unless otherwise noted.
Musical Mondays – Lake Park – July 11 to August 29 at 6:30pm. Musical Mondays offers a variety of music genres including woodwind quartets, folk, celtic, and barbershop quartets.
Chill on the Hill – Humboldt Park – June 7 to August 30 at 6pm (Main Stage Act at 6:30pm). Chill on the Hill features local musicians. Bring your own food and drink or patron one of the food or beverage vendors on site.
Skyline Music Series – Kadish Park – July 12 to August 23 at 5:30pm. This community music series is provided by COA Youth & Family Centers and features family-friendly food, fun and music in the Riverwest neighborhood.
River Rhythms – Pere Marquette Park – June 8 to August 31 at 6:00pm. Priding itself in being Milwaukee’s most diverse outdoor concert series, River Rhythms features everything from salsa to reggae to cover bands. Both local and national artists are featured.
Tosa Tonight – Rotary Performance Pavillion (68th and State) – June 15, 22; July 4, 13, 17; August 17, & 31 at 6:00pm. Tosa Tonight features a unique blend of genres and artists. Concert goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and come hungry. Food and beverage purchases from vendors directly raise money for the operation of the Rotary Performance Pavilion and Tosa Tonight concerts.
Waterfront Wednesdays – Lakefront Park, Pewaukee – June 8 to August 24 at 6:00pm. Everything from classic rock to Irish music can be enjoyed on the beach of Pewaukee Lake.
Wednesdays at the Shell – Washington Park – Wednesdays in July & August at 6:00pm. A variety of local artists of various sorts (including dancers, musicians, children’s performances and more make up this concert series. Follow their Facebook page for specifics as they are released.
Wonderful Wednesdays – Lake Park – July 6 to August 17 at 6:30pm. Wonderful Wednesdays is a series of seven concerts specifically geared toward children and their families.
Concerts on the Green – Enderis Park – June 23, July 14, August 4, & August 25th. A multi-genre four concert series in Ederis Park. This year featuring a Beatles cover band, R&B, Reggae, and more.
Concerts in the Garden – Boerner Botanical Gardens – June 30 to September 1 at 6:30pm. This concert series offers a wide variety to please every musical palette, opening with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and closing the season with “twisted guitar genius.” Admission to the gardens is free to concert goers after 6:00pm and attendees are invited to explore the gardens during the concert.
Jazz in the Park – Cathedral Square – June 2 to September 3 at 5pm. This unique lineup includes jazz, big band, funk, R & B, reggae, blues and more. Vendors offer Happy Hour from 5-6pm with the music starting at 6pm.
Música del Lago/Florentine Opera @ The Lake – Colectivo Lakefront – June thru August at 7pm. This unique concert series alternates between highlighting Milwaukee’s finest Latin music and music from the Florentine Opera on Thursday nights. See their website for specifics.
Music On/Off Main – Old Settlers Park, West Bend – June 2nd to September 1st at 6:30pm. Also featuring a variety of locally and nationally acclaimed artists of various genres, this concert series also offers an indoor venue in the case of inclement weather.
Friday Night Live – Historic Downtown Waukesha – June 3 to September 30th at 6:30pm. Park on the outskirts of downtown and walk your way into the heart of Waukesha. Roam the streets listening to live, local music from numerous artists on different stages. Grab some snacks along the way at the open vendors.
Summer Sounds – Cedar Creek Park, Cedarburg – June 17 to August 19 at 7:00pm. Celebrating their 14th season with a brand new bandshell, enjoy Cedarburg’s beautiful Cedar Creek Park for music, food, and fun. Pack a picnic or enjoy one of many vendors and food trucks.
Sounds of Summer – East Silver Spring, Whitefish Bay – Saturday, August 30 from 5:30-10pm. A musical street festival on the east end of Silver Spring presented by Whitefish Bay’s Civic Foundation, this year featuring Daryl Stuermer of Genesis and Phil Collins.
And of course, no post about music in the summer in Milwaukee would be complete without mentioning The Big Gig. What would Milwaukee be without Summerfest? Know as the world’s largest music festival, this annual event draws crowds from far and wide to the famous Summerfest grounds for a music experience unlike any other! Point to note :: Definitely does NOT fall into the FREE category. Summerfest is definitely a Bucket List kind of activity, but be ready to pay a pretty penny. June 29 – July 3 / July 5 – 10
**Don’t see your favorite outdoor music hotspot or festival listed above?? Share it below and tell us why we should check it out!!**