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Family Travel Guide to Milwaukee

The ultimate family-friendly travel guide to Milwaukee, here are ten things to do with kids in Milwaukee including where to stay, what to eat and where to play! 

lighthouse Milwaukee wi

When you live in Michigan, you tend to either stay put during the warm summer months or travel south during the cooler months to escape the cold. After years of hearing nothing but amazing things, we finally decided to cross the big lake and visit Milwaukee for a family getaway!

Milwaukee Public Market Rich and Boys

After years of recommendations from friends, we finally packed up our bags and took the boys on a little family getaway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Larger than Grand Rapids but smaller than Chicago, we had so much fun exploring this walkable,  friendly city.

Milwaukee River Downtown

While it may have been our first time visiting this beautiful midwest family travel destination, it certainly won’t be our last visit to Wisconsin. Without further ado, here is my guide to 10 things to do in Milwaukee with kids!

Ferry Ride to Milwaukee

Take the Lake Michigan Express Ferry: When traveling with kids from Michigan to Milwaukee, I highly recommend taking the Lake Michigan Express Ferry across the big lake.

Kids Waiting for Ferry

Just two and a half hours from coast to coast, it’s a great option when looking to avoid Chicago traffic.

Ferry Ride Jacob Dad

We left our car in Michigan but you can take your car on the ferry if you plan to venture outside of downtown Milwaukee. Since we planned to stay downtown, we had no trouble Ubering throughout Milwaukee. Bonus points: ferries are great for napping.

Hyatt Place Milwaukee

Check-In at the Hyatt Place Milwaukee: Home base for our visit to Milwaukee was the beautiful Hyatt Place hotel. This new hotel is located within walking distance of countless restaurants, breweries, coffee shops and attractions.

Hyatt Place Milwaukee Rooms

As an added bonus, each room features oversized workstations and cozy corner-sized sleeper sofas. A great option for larger families.

Hyatt Place Milwaukee Breakfast Buffet

Each morning we were treated to the complimentary breakfast buffet featuring a variety of hot and cold items that rotated daily.

Hyatt Place Milwaukee Breakfast Oatmeal
Hyatt Place Milwaukee Breakfast Jacob


I was very impressed with the variety of healthy options including hard boiled eggs and steel cut oats. Jacob was just happy to enjoy pancakes every day. YOLO right?

Lakefront Brewing

Grab Lunch at a Local Brew at Lakefront BreweryA trip to Milwaukee isn’t completely without visiting a brewery or three. After all, it’s called Brew City for a reason.

Lakefront Brewing Tap List
Lakefront Brewing Food

Established in 1987, we had a great experience at Lakefront Brewery which not only offers great beer but delicious, kid-friendly food as well.

Discovery World Asher Rich

Enjoy Hands-On Learning at Discovery World Science & Technology Center: One of the true highlights of our entire visit, the boys could have spent an entire full day running around, playing, learning and exploring at Discovery World.

Discovery World Asher Rich Jacob
Discovery World Jacob
Discovery World Asher Drawing

The 120,000 sq. ft. center offers fun and educational experiences and features interactive exhibits, the Reiman Aquarium, educational labs and programs, and other exciting activities.

My boys had so much fun with the hands-on learning, I definitely recommend allocating at least 3-4 hours for Discovery World.

Milwaukee Public Market Front

Satisfy Your Cravings at Milwaukee Public Market:At least once a day we stopped into the Milwaukee Public Market to grab a bite, a treat or a drink.

Milwaukee Public Market Jacob Cookies

Whether you’re craving cookies or hummus, this food hall has a little something for everyone in your group.

Milwaukee Public Market Jacob Asher

Whether you’re dining in or want to grab items to go for a picnic outdoors, the Milwaukee Public Market is a must-do when visiting with kids.

Card Restaurant Milwaukee

Eat Dinner at Char’dMy whole family loves Asian cuisine so when I saw the menu at Char’d online I knew we had to stop by. Described as “perfectly charred meats meet with fresh greens for a nutritious balance,” every bite that came out was better than the last.

Card Restaurant Milwaukee Dumplings

The Korean BBQ and dumplings are not to be missed. I was also very impressed with all of the thoughtful and unique veggie dishes.

Card Restaurant Milwaukee Asher

Clearly my oldest was loving every bite.

Purple Door Ice Cream Milwaukee

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Purple Door Ice CreamWhenever we travel we like to ask the locals for tips. When we inquired about the best ice cream in Milwaukee, everyone said we had to check out Purple Door Ice Cream.

Purple Door Ice Cream Flavors e1564964152854

Spoiler Alert: They were right. The ice cream was incredible! Offering a wide variety of flavors that rotate regularly, I highly recommend visiting Purple Door Ice Cream when visiting Milwaukee with kids.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Get Crafty at the Milwaukee Art MuseumOne of the most beautiful buildings in the Milwaukee skyline, I’ve probably heard more about the Milwaukee Art Museum than any other attraction in the city.

Milwaukee Art Museum Boys Running

While I knew the museum would be an incredible experience for adults, I had no idea it was going to be so kid-friendly.

Milwaukee Art Museum Asher Special
Milwaukee Art Museum Asher Crafting

Added bonus? Kids 12 and under get in for free. In fact, they even have an entire area of the museum dedicated to hands-on arts and crafts. How cool is that? The Art Museum is a must when you visit Milwaukee with kids.

Good City Brewing Milwaukee
Goodcity Brewing Milwaukee Kids Games

Eat, Drink and Play Games at Good City BrewingOne of the most kid-friendly breweries I’ve ever visited, I highly recommend checking out Goodcity Brewing.

Goodcity Brewing Milwaukee Kids Activities

Not only is the beer incredible, they offer a beautiful rooftop bar with tons of free activities to keep the kids busy while mom and dad enjoy a cold one.

Milwaukee Summerfest

Check Out SummerfestLast but not least, if you happen to be visiting Milwaukee with kids during the summer, I highly recommend checking out Summerfest.

Milwaukee Summerfest Ride

The world’s largest music festival, you could spend an entire day walking around, people watching, listening to music and riding the Ferris wheel.

Milwaukee Summerfest At Night

As the evening goes on the lights turn on and the music continues. In fact, one evening the kids went back to the hotel with dad and I checked out the Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg concert. Talk about a fun day in Milwaukee!

Milwaukee Summerfest Ferris Wheel

What are your favorite family-friendly destinations? We’re always looking for new ideas. Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Instagram!

Milwaukee River and Public Market

Disclosure: Visit Milwaukee covered our meals and lodging during our visit. All thoughts are my own. 

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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families.

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