Of course, it wouldn’t be summer in Milwaukee without a day at Summerfest! 2017 marks 50 years of Summerfest, and they’re pulling out all the stops for this year’s celebration. Proclaimed the World’s Largest Music Festival, approximately 900,000 people flock to the lakeside grounds to see 800 bands on 11 stages as well as enjoy delicious food and drinks, shopping, and other entertainment. The 2017 festivities take place June 28-July 2 and July 4-9.
July 1: Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party
July 3: Fireworks Kite Festival
July 3: Downtown Milwaukee Fireworks
July 12: NEWaukee Night Market
July 13-16: Bastille Days
July 14-16: South Shore Frolics
July 15-16: Milwaukee Air & Water Show
July 15: Garfield Avenue Blues, Jazz, Gospel, & Arts Festival
July 21-22: Gallery Night & Day (Plein Air Painting Competition)
July 21-23: Festa Italiana
July 21-23: Waterford Balloonfest
July 22: Firkin Fest
July 23: Armenian Fest
July 24-30: EAA AirVenture
July 25-30: Washington County Fair
July 26-30: Racine County Fair
July 28-30: German Fest
July 28-29: Riverwest 24
July 29: Brady Street Festival
July 29: Milwaukee Brewfest
The Mitchell Park Domes are always free on Monday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to noon for Milwaukee County residents, except for major holidays. You must provide current valid ID.
Please note there is no Boerner Botanical Gardens free day in July. The next gardens free day is August 1!
Ongoing Summer Events
Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out
May 6-September 4, 2017
If you’re going to visit one special exhibit in Milwaukee this summer, it should be Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out at the Milwaukee County Zoo! The exhibit features over 100 specimens from goats to octopuses to giraffes, exploring biology, zoology, and physiology. The Milwaukee County Zoo is the first zoo in North America to host this outstanding presentation. Visit the zoo’s website for more information about the exhibit, including admission.
I also highly recommend checking out Ultra Violet, the all-purple summer show at the Michell Park Domes, which runs June 10-September 10, 2017. Also, at some point during the summer, make a point to walk Wisconsin Avenue to check out Sculpture Milwaukee, which will be up through the early fall. Finish the sculpture tour at the Secret Sculpture Garden.
Bay View Art in the Park: Second Saturday of the month, May-September, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Bike Night: Thursdays, 5:00-9:00 p.m., May 11-September 2017.
Bristol Renaissance Faire: Saturdays and Sundays only, July through Labor Day
Chill on the Hill (2017 lineup): Tuesdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m., June 6-August 29, 2017
Concerts in the Gardens: Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., June 29-August 31, 2017
Denim Park Music Series, Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., June 8-August 10, 2017
Friday Night Live in Waukesha: Fridays, 6:30-9:00 p.m, June through October
Jazz in the Park: Thursdays, 5:00-9:00 p.m, June 1-August 31, 2017
Lakeshore Chinooks: The Lakeshore Chinooks baseball team plays at Kapoc Park on the grounds of Concordia University-Wisconsin from May through late August.
Live at Peck: Sunday band concerts, Tuesday lunch concerts, Tuesday dance competitions, Friday family movies, and Optimist Theatre. Late July through late August. The series concludes with the Taste of Islands, Saturday, August 26 from 2:00-10:00 p.m.
Live at the Lakefront: Wednesdays, 5:30-9:00 p.m., July 12-August 30, 2017.
Musica del Lago @ Colectivo Lakefront: Thursdays, 7:00 p.m., June 15-August 17, 2017.
NEWaukee’s Lunar Series Presented by Penrod @ the Milwaukee Athletic Club: Fridays, 6:00-11:00 p.m., July 8-September 2, 2017.
Milwaukee Trolley Loop: Thursdays-Sundays, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., $1 per trip, June 1-August 27, 2017
Old World Wisconsin: Old World Wisconsin features special events and classes (including historic beer brewing!) all summer long.
River Rhythms: Wednesdays, 6:30-9:00 p.m, June 14-August 30, 2017
Summer Sounds: Fridays, 6:30 p.m., June 16-August 18, 2017
Sunset Zoofari: Wednesdays, 6:00-9:00 p.m, June 28-August 2, 2017
Tosa Tonight: Wednesdays, 6:00-10:00 p.m, June 14-August 30, 2017
Wednesday Night Live @ State Fair Park: Wednesdays, 6:00-11:00 p.m, May 31-August 30, 2017
Wind Point Lighthouse Climbs: The first Sunday of the month from June to October, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., even half hour.
Wonderful Wednesdays: Wednesdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m., June 21-July 26, 2017
Yoga on the Terrace: Sundays, 8:30 a.m, June 4-October 29, 2017
The greater Milwaukee area is home to dozens of fabulous farmers markets, including one of my personal favorites (and one of the biggest in the area), the West Allis Farmers Market. Many Milwaukee farmers markets operate through mid to late fall.
There are around a dozen places to catch free outdoor movies during the summer. Check out the full 2017 lineup for the Milwaukee park movie nights here. Please note Fish Fry and a Flick isn’t returning for 2017.
Milwaukee is home to five fabulous permanent beer gardens, all of which operate through October. The city also runs a traveling beer garden from mid-May through early September. Enjoy a brew and a giant pretzel in a gorgeous park setting. The Landing at Hoyt Park features live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (see event calendar for times), and the South Shore Terrace features live music Wednesday evenings from 4:00-10:00 p.m.
Are you looking for even more things to do in Milwaukee on the cheap?
Check out Free Things To Do In Milwaukee WI.
[Disclaimer: I do not work for the city of Milwaukee. I am not paid to promote any of the events listed on this page. I’m simply a resident of southeast WI who loves Milwaukee and enjoys attending and generating exposure for events in Milwaukee.]