Milwaukee, Wisconsin has big city attractions and a friendly Midwestern vibe. Families can take in a Brewers game, or tour a brewery (with soft drinks for the kids). There are also riverboat cruises, museums and the Cedar Creek Settlement, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here are 14 family friendly free activities to fill a long weekend getaway.
River Rhythms: This outdoor music festival is held every Wednesday evening throughout the summer in Pere Marquette Park and features a wide variety of diverse and eclectic music.
Frank Mots International Kite Festival: This annual kite festival is held at Veteran’s Park on Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Don’t miss the grand launch that kicks off the festival with over 600 kites flying at once. There are also professional kite teams who perform throughout the festival.
Slice of Ice: Strap on your skates and glide at Red Arrow Park’s Slice of Ice. Bring your own skates and skate for free.
Milwaukee Air and Water Show: The Air & Water Show is Milwaukee's largest free, family-friendly event. The Show is 2 full days of amazing acts in the sky and in the water.
Joan of Arc Chapel: The only medieval structure in the entire Western Hemisphere, the St. Joan of Arc Chapel was moved stone by stone from Chasse, France, to New York in 1927 and moved to Marquette University in 1966.
It’s rumored that Joan of Arc once kissed a stone in the chapel after praying here, and that to this day it remains colder to the touch than the surrounding stones.
Mitchell Gallery of Flight: Located inside General Mitchell International Airport, the Mitchell Gallery of Flight displays artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and artwork representing the contributions of aviation pioneers from Milwaukee County and Wisconsin. The changing displays offer a variety of information, education and entertainment.
Jazz in the Park: The free, outdoor, summer music series that every Thursday evening in Cathedral Square Park. Performers come from across town and across the country. Bring a picnic or try delicious food and wine from local vendors while enjoying the great music.
Bastille Days: Located in Cathedral Square, Bastille Days celebrates French culture with music including French ballads, jazz, folk, world, Cajun, zydeco and rock. See elly dancers, mimes, stilt walkers, an Eiffel Tower replica with hourly light shows and street performers.
Haggerty Museum of Art: Located on Marquette University’s campus, the Haggerty Museum of Art features several exhibits each year, plus its permanent collection.
Bucyrus Museum at the Caterpillar Global Mining Visitor Center: Climb into the cab of a 1,500-ton machine and find out what it feels like to excavate and dump over 120 tons of dirt at the Bucyrus Museum. Exhibits and vintage company memorabilia showcase the rich history of mining in the area. The 18,000-square-foot museum also features a diorama of an open mine pit, multimedia presentations andproduct models.
Harvest Fair: Harvest Fair is held annually at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds. Seasonal activities include concerts, hayrides and a pumpkin patch.
Oak Leaf Trail: The Oak Leaf Trail, a 100+mile paved trail that encircles Milwaukee County, is perfect for biking, running, walking or skating. The scenery along this spectacular trail network is outstanding and ever changing, including gorgeous wooded sections of the Milwaukee River, the stately mansions of Newberry Boulevard and the Estabrook waterfalls.
Bradford Beach: Enjoy Bradford Beach, Milwaukee’s largest and most popular public beach.
Milwaukee’s RiverWalk: Stroll Milwaukee’s award-winning RiverWalk to find restaurants, attractions and 20 sculptures from national, regional and local artists. See the one-and-only, Bronze Fonz!
Kenosha is a charming small town on the shores of Lake Michigan and just north of the Wisconsin-Illinois state line. The town is home to a Civil War Museum, which opened in June 2008, and hosted its first Wisconsin Marathon along Lake Michigan in May 2009.