The Ultimate Milwaukee Summer Bucket List {FREE Printable Summer Calendar}

milwaukee summer

Thank you to the YMCA of Greater Waukesha County for sponsoring our Summer Bucket List and for their commitment to being an epicenter of family fun in all seasons of the year, including the summer months! Promoting wellness, teaching swim skills, and offering convenient wellness resources for families, the Greater Waukesha YMCA has five locations to serve Milwaukee families. 

ymcaThere are so many things to do in Milwaukee this summer, and we can hardly WAIT to get started on our bucket list items! We are famous for our festivals, fairs and fun so be sure to get out there and see what the Milwaukee area has to offer. This year’s bucket list offers more than 100 ideas of things to do this summer for every budget, interest, and age. We’ve even included some fun ideas for date nights as well as for when you get together with the girls. Think you’ve done it all in Milwaukee, think again! (Please note to check each event/business website for the most up to date information.)

Sausage Races

  • Check out a YMCA Summer Day Camp where kids laugh, learn, explore, and grow in the outdoors, while creating memories and friendships that last a lifetime.
  • What would a Milwaukee summer be without food on a stick from the Wisconsin State Fair?! From chocolate-covered cranberries to a Door County surf and turf on-a-stick, the food adventures at The State Fair are always epic. 
  • Take the family to Miller Park to cheer on the Milwaukee Brewers! Watch Bernie zoom down his famous slide when the home team hits a home run! Plus, SAUSAGE RACES. 
  • If a little smaller scale is more your style, check out a Lakeshore Chinooks Game! It’s a cheaper alternative to the major leagues where there’s no such thing as a bad seat. Good food, easy parking and a playground for the kids. 
  • Attend one our fun MKE Kids at Play Summer Play Date Series events! From STEM activities to gymnastics, superheroes to yoga, a movie night and more…..there’s something for everyone! 
  • Wednesday Night Classics at Gausthaus – a classic car show every Wednesday in Waukesha
  • Fly a Kite. In your yard, at the park, or even better — check out the Family Kite Festival in Veterans Park. (May 27/28)
  • Take classes at the Y to add some routine to your summer
  • Go back in time at Old World Wisconsin. You’ll see live demonstrations of blacksmithing, cooking and farming from yesteryear and meet characters who tell you what is was like to settle in Wisconsin. 
  • Paddle Boats! Explore Veterans Park by paddle boats, kayaks, and even stand-up paddle boards. Safety instructions and life jackets are provided with every rental, so it’s safe and fun for the entire family.kites
  • Take the whole family on a one-of-a-kind bike ride by renting a Surrey Bike and heading down Lincoln Memorial Drive. 
  • Explore Lynden Sculpture Garden, where you will find a unique experience of art in nature. There are more than 50 monumental sculptures across 40 acres of park, lake and woodland. They also offer Summer Camps
  • Wander through Bookworm Gardens, a garden-based completely on children’s literature. Over 60 different books are represented. FREE ADMISSION, but they do accept donations. 
  • Attend a special outdoor family night or take a family fitness class together
  • Head up to Grafton to experience Lion’s Den Gorge. Take a walk through their beautiful trails made for all shapes and sizes. You can walk down to the lake or just enjoy the view from up high. FREE ENTRY. 
  • Everyone knows the Milwaukee County Zoo is a must-visit in the summer, but it goes to a whole new level at Zoo a la Carte. Local food vendors set up all over the zoo grounds, complete with music and fun for all ages. (August 17 – 20)
  • If you like to get a bit more up close and personal with the animals, check out Green Meadows Petting Zoo. There will frequently be Groupon deals for this popular family destination, so keep your eyes peeled. 
  • Give the password at The Safe House! Newly renovated, this spy-themed restaurant is a Milwaukee tradition. The first challenge is finding it and then to gain access you have to give the password or prove your ability as a secret agent. HINT :: Be sure to bring $1.00 so you can leave through the secret exit! 
  • Visit Prairieville Park. Featuring mini golf, batting cages and bumper cars, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.Milwaukee County Zoo
  • Hang out at one of the many state parks and forests in the area. 
  • Do a family service project! 
  • What would the Brew City be without our Beer Gardens? Many of the beer gardens in the city are very family-friendly. These are definitely a highlight of a Milwaukee Summer. 
  • Speaking of beer, there are so many fun Brewery Tours in the area that celebrate the artistry of craft beer. There are plenty of these to keep you busy all summer long! The Sprecher Brewery Tour is especially family-friendly as the kids get root beer while Mom & Dad enjoy Special Amber. 
  • Enjoy the Summer Concert Series at the Umbrella Bar at The Rock Complex in Franklin. 
  • Cheer on a cyclist at the East Tosa Grand Prix. (June 25th)
  • Finish a DIY project. Find a hidden gem at a rummage sale or the ReStore to get that project done!
  • Make the perfect iced coffee. Follow these steps by the experts at Colectivo Coffee for the perfect summer caffeination! 
  • Ride a Bublr Bike. If you’ve seen these adorable blue bikes all over the city, it’s because Bublr is the bike-sharing program in Milwaukee that makes bike-riding convenient and fun! 
  • Take a Milwaukee Boat Tour. There is so much fun to be had aboard the Vista King and Voyageur, the two riverboats that offer sightseeing, live music, and charters that provide a Milwaukee experience like none other. 
  • Snap a selfie with the Bronz Fonz. Located on the Riverwalk just south of Wells Street, stop by and say “Heeyyyyyyy” to The Fonz himself!Bronz Fonz
  • Get hands-on with nature at the Schlitz Audobon Nature Center, Urban Ecology Center, or Wehr Nature Center. All three offer a wide variety of activities for families that get kids engaged with the natural world around them. 
  • Enjoy the blooms at Boerner Botanical Gardens. The gardens also hold a wide variety of events throughout the summer, including family yoga. 
  • Visit the North Point Lighthouse
  • Shop for fresh produce, flowers and so much more at any of the area Farmer’s Markets
  • Hike at Lapham Peak
  • Go Berry Picking! There are several berry farms in the Milwaukee area that offer both U-Pick and pre-picked berries. 
  • Even more fun than the ice cream truck, find the AWE Mobile Art Studio! These colorful mini-vans stocked with art supplies and friendly artists who lead creative projects will be traveling around Milwaukee the entire summer and it’s FREE to participate. Kids can drop in to paint, create prints and build sculptures while learning about famous artists and basic principles of design. 
  • Go Geocaching! It’s like a scavenger hunt, but taken to a whole new level. 
  • Attend a parade. 
  • Watch fireworks! 
  • Swing under the Holton Bridge. It’s directly across the street from the former Trocadero restaurant at 1758 N. Water St. 
  • Check out a waterski show in Pewaukee or Muskego
  • Enjoy Symphony Sundays with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. 
  • Drop by the Marcus Center for their Kidz Days, where there will be a variety of performing arts presented by local Milwaukee groups. This is an interactive program that serves to entertain and education. (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  • Grab a meal on-the-go from a food truck
  • Attend one of the many fun Milwaukee festivals.  
  • Cook together — try out a brand new recipe!
  • Ride the rollercoasters at Little Amerrika. The park features twenty-six rides and attractions, mostly restored from the classic amusement parks from a previous generation. The park is best suited for families with young children. 
  • Camp out in your backyard. Fishing
  • Go fishing. 
  • Take a Road Trip!
  • Indulge in authentic Italian gelato from Divino Gelato in historic downtown Waukesha. 
  • Jump off the walls at Sky Zone Milwaukee or Rockin’ Jump in Brown Deer! Indoor trampoline parks are great for is sure to getting out all that abundant summer energy! Also great for birthday parties. 
  • Write hand-written letters to people you love.
  • Check out your local library’s summer reading program. Pro-tip:: If you have kids under 12, sign them up for the Super Reader Summer Reading program at any Milwaukee public library and you get a summer family pass to the Milwaukee Art Museum! Plus, if you’re kid reads through the levels, they get prizes and additional coupons for local restaurants, museums, and Brewers games.
  • Race around the track at Veloce Indoor Speedway. Kids can race in Junior Karts that reach 20 mph!
  • Let the kids bounce around and climb the walls at Bounce Milwaukee. They also have laser tag and activities for adults to enjoy and Parents’ Night Out. 
  • Make sidewalk chalk art.
  • Lace up your skates and hit the rink at Skateland in Waukesha.corn 
  • Set up a lemonade stand. 
  • Eat corn on the cob. 
  • Create your own marble art :: Line the inside of a coffee can with construction paper. Roll marbled in your favorite colored paint, place them in the coffee can and secure the lid. Kick the can around the yard until you’ve burned off some energy. Open the can to see your masterpiece! 
  • Learn how Cheese Curds are made at Clock Shadow Creamery
  • Have a blast at Muskego Fest, the largest free admission festival in Southeastern Wisconsin. 
  • Drink mojitos.
  • Tour a winery! It’s a bit of a drive, but we love Wollersheim Winery up by Prairie du Sac.
  • Enjoy a date night or bring the kids to a children’s art class at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
  • Paint your own pottery at A Touch of Glaze
  • Read a book in the sunshine.
  • Make an iMovie with your kids, complete with epic music and special effects. Dinosaurs and Barbies make fun “supporting characters.” 
  • Go out for a Friday Fish Fry!
  • Have a dress-up party. With your kids, this means costumes and characters. With your girlfriends, it means high heels and lipstick!
  • Go down the Giant Slide at the Wisconsin State Fair
  • Eat an Original Cream Puff with no hands!! Trust us, it’s hilarious. giantslide
  • Watch an outdoor movie at the Hwy 18 Theater in Jefferson. Wear your jammies and pack the bug spray! This double feature outdoor drive-in movie theater is fun for the whole family! 
  • Play at the universally accessible playground, Imagination Station, in Oconomowoc.
  • Gather your girlfriends and head out on the Pedal Tavern.
  • Grab a frozen custard sundae outside at LeDuc’s.
  • Attend the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
  • Make your own popsicles with your favorite juice. 
  • Have a blanket picnic in the backyard with only finger foods. 
  • Make S’mores!
  • Dance under the stars. 
  • Splash around at a Milwaukee area splash pad, beach or pool
  • Get a giant pickle or indulge at the cheese curd truck at Maxwell Street Days in Mukwonago. 
  • Make a run for Purple Door Ice Cream or your favorite Frozen Custard
  • Chase fireflies. 
  • Have lunch at the Milwaukee Public Market and then stroll the Riverwalk. 
  • Grab a blanket and a picnic basket to take in an outdoor music concert
  • Create an epic Corn Hole tournament with your neighbors. 2015-08-10 16.32.52-3
  • Play in the rain.
  • Take a drive up I-94 for a day trip to Madison
  • Dangle your feet off a dock at a local lake. 
  • Go “frolfing” (disc golfing) at one of the various courses. 
  • Visit the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
  • Turn on the hose and run through the sprinkler. 
  • Host a cookout with friends. 
  • Play “Yard Twister” by spray-painting circles on your lawn! 
  • Have a date night on one of the many fabulous rooftop dining locations in Milwaukee
  • Plant a garden. 
  • Have a water balloon fight. 
  • Plan a romantic backyard movie night with your main squeeze. And then plan another one with a PIXAR movie once the kids see what you’re up to.
  • Take the kids to a park and play tag. Check out our Park Guide for a list of some of our favorite parks around Milwaukee. 
  • Use a kiddie pool, a hula hoop, and a lot of bubble solution to make life-sized bubbles
  • Get a jump on the school year by signing up for preschool or before and after school care

FREE PRINTABLE SUMMER CALENDAR! 

Thanks to the YMCA of Greater Waukesha County, you can keep your summer plans at a glance all summer long! Just DOWNLOAD THIS PDF CALENDAR, print it out, and start filling in the fun! 

 >>>CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD CALENDAR<<<

What fabulous activities would YOU add to this list? 


Six Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Milwaukee for FREE!

Berry Picking in the Milwaukee Area

Our Favorite Milwaukee Festivals

Milwaukee Splash Pads, Pools and Beaches

Our Favorite Milwaukee Area Parks

Patio and Rooftop Dining in Milwaukee

The Ultimate Guide to Milwaukee Area Fireworks – Coming Soon

Guide to Milwaukee Beer Gardens

Exploring Milwaukee’s Farmers Markets

Summer Outdoor Music in Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s Best Ice Cream and Frozen Custard

Milwaukee Summer Reading Programs

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