20 things for 20-somethings to do in Milwaukee

Milwaukee is not the usual 20-something’s idea of a vacation spot. What do they even have there, cheese and beer?

If the beer isn’t enough to get you there, it turns out Milwaukee is a creative hub for art, music and food like you’ve never seen.

Here are 20-something must-do’s for 20-somethings visiting Milwaukee:

1. Eat Cheese

There’s a reason you’ve heard about the cheese: it’s delicious. Your first stop in Wisconsin should be to find some.

If you stay at the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, they will actually greet you with cheese. No need to go looking, it’s brought right to your door.


2. Do the Riverwalk

The Milwaukee River runs through the downtown area and has a continuous pedestrian walkway on both sides. You can stop in restaurants, bars, stores or even rent a kayak and get in the water.

5. Go to Summerfest

filer exampleBilled as “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” Summerfest is the most relaxed festival you’ll ever go to. Unlike Coachella and Sasquatch!, Summerfest is family friendly, there is real seating and it is insanely cheap. For $20, you could see Vance Joy and Ok Go! in the same night. Summerfest happens for only 11 days in the summer, but is definitely worth the trip by itself.

You can check out this year’s Summerfest on Instagram or Twitter with #smileMKE. Their snapchat filter was cute, but if you’re taking a selfie beware: it’ll cover most of your face.


8. Milwaukee Art Museum

The giant whale tail coming out of Lake Michigan, aka Milwaukee Art Museum, will bring back everything you remember from your high school art class and make it exciting again (or possibly for the first time). The building itself is a piece of art.

10. Get Colectivo caffeinated


The local-favorite café is Colectivo Coffee. Get bold and walk into Colectivo, ask the barista to surprise you with any coffee drink and any pastry. They won’t let you down.

Pictured is the Kouign Amann (Pronounced “Queen-Amann”) which is a French pastry with brandy-soaked cherries and raisins in the center.

11. Take a walk on Water Street

Stores, coffee shops and the public market line Water Street. It’s the hub of downtown.

13. Visit Milwaukee Public Market

Equipped with a coffee shop, two bakeries and a margarita bar, the Public Market is the perfect place to get a snack and shop around.


14. Grab some more coffee

Anodyne Coffee lives in Milwaukee Public Market and is home to some great brewed coffee and some seriously good espresso drinks. Try the “My Buddy,” an almond vanilla cappuccino that’ll knock your socks (or sandals) off.

15. Walk through town

Downtown Milwaukee has so many interesting buildings, people and sights you could easily end up walking for hours and realize you haven’t entered a single building. The downtown area also rests along Lake Michigan, which makes a beautiful landscape for a day outside.

The architecture around town is a mix of modern, sleek design and church-inspired, gothic moldings. You can walk blocks without taking your eyes off of the towers above you (though we advise against that.)


16. Go bug hunting

While you’re looking up at the buildings you might notice something strange. One basic and modern downtown building is brought to life with three giant (seriously, at least a story tall) ladybugs climbing the side of it, which makes you wonder: who are the poor people in those offices who just see lady bug bellies all day?

Turns out, the building (Official title: The Milwaukee Building) was once home to The Ladybug night club, but in 2010 they went out of business and a new club, “618 Live on Water,” moved in. Even though the Ladybug Club is no longer there, the bugs continue to call the building home and are a fun stop for travelers.

Click here for a map of all the animal statues in Milwaukee and go on a Safari.


17. Ask a Taxi or Uber driver to take you somewhere

Uber drivers (or any drivers, for that matter) spend their whole day driving people around and hearing about cool things happening in town. Grab the Uber app, call a driver and ask them to take you somewhere. Anywhere.

18. Harley-Davidson Museum

Motorcycles, coffee and food? Enough said, check it out.

19. Use every Milwaukee Snapchat filter

There are six. Here are three. #Getyoursocialmediaon

20. Drink!

Milwaukee is home to whiskey and vodka distilleries and countless breweries. New Glarus Brewing Company is a local beer company that can be found in almost any bar downtown. You can check out Great Lakes Distillary, Rock Bottom Brewery, Milwaukee Ale HouseStrecher Brewing Company and of course, the famous Pabst Brewery.

See it for yourself: Book a trip to Milwaukee now.


  1. Cheese curds that squeak during consumption, and Friday Night Fish Fry at your local tavern. Pure Wisconsin and Milwaukee. Go Packers!

  2. Don’t forget that Milwaukee is a big city with well over 1.5 million people in the small metro area. Plus over 600,000 in the city. It is truly a booming city with lots of new development. Lots of people think that is just about the beer. Great article and cant wait to read more from you.

  3. Don’t forget the amazing Wisconsin State Fair that happens for two weeks each summer. Two weeks of headline entertainment, fun activities, good food and a plethora of amazing funky deep fried treats. I hear the vendors have a contest each year to see who can create the most unusual deep fried snack.

  4. um, brewers games?

    1. Of course Brewers games! But there wasn’t one when I was there so I couldn’t confirm fun-ness.

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