With free concerts, inexpensive brewery tours and stunning arts venues, Milwaukee provides plenty of budget-friendly ways to fill a Midwest weekend getaway.
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Free summer concerts in Milwaukee
Jazz in the Park
| Credit: Courtesy of VISIT Milwaukee

Free summer concerts

Milwaukee is famous for its outdoor summer festivals and events. Jazz in the Park in Cathedral Square fills the air with soulful sounds on Thursday nights (free); Chill on the Hill delivers a dose of funk, blues and rock to Humboldt Park on Tuesdays. Find more free concerts in Milwaukee parks here.

The Hop Streetcar Milwaukee
The Hop

The Hop MKE 

A relatively recent addition to the city's downtown, this streetcar connects Milwaukee's central train and bus station to many of the city's attractions and hotels. Take advantage of free rides! 

Quadracci Pavilion Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee Art Museum
| Credit: Bob Stefko

Milwaukee Art Museum

Kohl's sponsors free admission to this striking museum for all visitors the first Thursday of each month, and free admission every day for kids 12 and under. (Regular price is $22 for adults). If you don't have time for a full-fledged visit, at least stop by at opening, closing or noon to watch the gigantic architectural "wings" above the Quadracci Pavilion fan open or close. 

Milwaukee Public Market. Photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee.
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Milwaukee Public Market

A melting pot of ethnic foods and flavors, this marketplace lures crowds to the Historic Third Ward district for lunch and shopping. You'll find fresh produce, sushi, meats, chocolates, baked goods, coffee, oils, vinegars, spices and, of course, cheese. (This is Wisconsin, after all.)

family at Bradford Beach
Credit: David Nevala

Bradford Beach

This Lake Michigan beachfront park attracts a mix of visitors when the temperatures soar. Bring a towel and relax, or get in on a soccer game, sand volleyball, yoga class or Frisbee tossing—there's always some activity.

Milwaukee Brewery Tours
Lakefront Brewery
| Credit: Courtesy of VISIT Milwaukee

Brewery tours

Although the free Miller Brewery tour remains closed as of July 2022, Lakefront Brewery's tours ($12 weekdays; $13 weekends) last 45 minutes and include two 16-ounce pours and a souvenir pint glass, and Sprecher Brewery offers 45-minute family-friendly tours (adults, $12; under 21, $5) that come with a commemorative tour glass and samples of craft beer, craft soda and root beer.

couple on the Milwaukee Riverwalk
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki

Milwaukee Riverwalk

The 3-mile path along the Milwaukee River winds past restaurants, shops, pubs and outdoor art. 

St. Joan of Arc Chapel

This little Marquette University chapel has a big history. Originally constructed in France's Rhone River Valley more than five centuries ago, the Gothic chapel was dismantled and moved to Long Island in the 1920s; then it underwent extensive repairs and renovations. It was later given to Marquette University, moved to Milwaukee, painstakingly reassembled yet again and rededicated in 1966. Tours are free, but donations are welcome.

Grohmann Museum Milwauke
Grohmann Museum Rooftop
| Credit: Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Grohmann Museum

The Milwaukee School of Engineering campus seems an appropriate setting for a museum dedicated to the evolution of human work. Exhibits  cover topics including agriculture, skilled crafts, mining, medicine and intellectual trades. The exterior cuts a dashing profile with a steel-and-glass entrance leading to the three-floor facility. Don't miss the rooftop sculpture garden. Admission is just $5.

Milwaukee lighthouse
North Point Lighthouse
| Credit: Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

North Point Lighthouse

Climb the 74-foot-tall tower for great views over the city and lake, and learn about the Great Lakes maritime industry. Currently open weekend afternoons year-round; $8 adults and $5 children.

Hilton Milwaukee City Center

Location, location, location. From this Art Deco hotel, it's easy to access the lakefront, museums and other downtown attractions. Stay-and-play packages make the best deals.