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30 Cool Things To Do in Winter in Milwaukee

A guide to all the best attractions and outdoor activities for winter in Milwaukee

Ah, Milwaukee in winter – its chilly temperatures and snow-kissed streets offer much more than just a cozy fireplace to enjoy during the cold months.

From outdoorsy activities like ice fishing on Lake Michigan to cultural trips through famous museums, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city!

Whether you’re a local looking for things to do or visiting from out of town, I’ve got some fun ideas for how to make the most of winter in Milwaukee while you travel Wisconsin.

Keep reading if you want to learn about adventurous getaways that are sure to leave lasting memories!

Hey! Don’t forget to grab my free “Wisconsin Winter Itinerary” below!

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Table of Contents

Where To Stay in Milwaukee

Budget and Mid-Range Hotels in Downtown Milwaukee

Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee
DoubleTree by Hilton Milwaukee
Homewood Suites By Hilton Milwaukee

4 Stars Hotels in Downtown Milwaukee

The Pfister Hotel
The Iron Horse Hotel
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Hilton Milwaukee City Center
Ambassador Hotel

If you are more of an Airbnb fan, have a look at these top-reviewed Airbnbs in Milwaukee Downtown:

If you’re still looking for somewhere, you can check out my ultimate guide for where to stay in Milwaukee and this curated list with the most unique Airbnbs in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee in winter is also a fantastic romantic destination. Luckily there are plenty of romantic hotels in Milwaukee to choose from.

Additionally, the city is a great city for dogs, and there are many wonderful pet-friendly hotels in Milwaukee.

milwaukee winter activities, milwaukee bridge covered in snow
Winter morning in downtown of Milwaukee

Things To Do in Milwaukee in Winter for Adults

1. Take a Brewery Tour

weird things to do in milwaukee, man holding beer
Brewer testing beer

Milwaukee and beer share a common history, and what better way to warm up during the cold Wisconsin winters than with a pint or two?

From the myriad of brewery tours, one you shouldn’t miss is the Miller Brewery tour in Miller Valley.

This guided outdoor and indoor tour will take you to the discovery of over 160 years of brewing history and show you the evolution of brewing from rudimentary methods to the modern high-speed production lines used today.

The famous underground caves and historic Miller Inn will be the highlights of this tour, while three samples of Miller’s finest brews will refresh you at different stops along the route.

Whether you’re alone or in good company, this tour tops the list of fun stuff to do in Milwaukee as an adult.

A brewery tour is one of the best things to do in Milwaukee at night if you’re not sure how to get the evening started.

Book the best Milwaukee activities in advance

2. (Christmas) Shopping in Milwaukee

milwaukee in the winter, worm's eyeview of the ceiling of an Atrium of a shopping mall in Milwaukee
Shopping Mall Atrium in Milwaukee

Wondering what to see in Milwaukee if you’re a fashionista? Whether you’re after the latest high-street fashion or unique Christmas gifts, know that shopping is one of the best things to do in the winter in Milwaukee WI.

The Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa could be defined as a shopaholic’s heaven; 166 stores propose everything from high-end fashion to home and houseware items.

Plenty of restaurants including the iconic Maggiano’s Little Italy, or places where you can try different flavors and exciting dishes like The Cheesecake Factory.

Alternatively, The Mayfair Collection at West Burleigh Street is another shopping paradise.

Stroll through stores like Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, J. Crew Mercantile, or the Nordstrom Rack. Have a coffee break and a bite at Café Grace, and enjoy lunch or dinner at the Smoke Shack for a dining experience like no other.

Related: 25 Gifts for Outdoorsy People Under $50

3. Chill Out at the Historic Third Ward

a river with boats and red brick buildings, Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Historic Third Ward Neighborhood
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Historic Third Ward Neighborhood

Located in downtown Milwaukee, the Historic Third Ward is one of the most iconic warehouse districts in the county and the city’s creative hub.

Whether you’re into art galleries or want to chill at performing art venues like the Broadway Theater Center, this artsy neighborhood has a lot to offer.

Besides loads of culture, you can also enjoy a fine dining experience in one of the upscale restaurants scattered throughout the area or shop fashion and bohemian homeware in the many indie boutiques.

Not to mention that wandering through this neighborhood is one of the free things to do in Milwaukee in Winter.

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4. Warm-up in Milwaukee’s Museums

a weird looking white building on a grass with other buildings on the background
Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee in winter can sometimes get very cold and uninviting. Luckily though, the city has plenty to offer even when the temperatures drop way below zero.

Some of the best places to visit in Milwaukee in winter are its museums.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is perhaps the most renowned and impressive with its futuristic architecture and jaw-dropping artworks inside.

The Milwaukee Public Museum attracts hoards with interest in nature and human history.

It’s conveniently located in downtown Milwaukee and easily accessible from the Historic Third Ward.

If you like history, including the Jewish Museum Milwaukee on your bucket list too.

Located on Prospect Avenue, the museum’s purpose is to celebrate the city’s Jewish heritage by preserving and presenting the history of the Jews in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear is another hot spot for history lovers.

At the same time, bikers and motorcycle fans shouldn’t miss the Harley-Davidson Museum, another gem to discover if you’re wondering what to do in downtown Milwaukee.

5. Visit Milwaukee Winter Farmer’s Market

milwaukee outdoor winter activities, Fresh healthy bio fruits and vegetables on farmer agricultural market, wisconsin
At the Farmer’s Market

A visit to Milwaukee’s Winter Farmer’s Market is a must for any avid food lovers who are looking for fun things in Milwaukee.

Operated by the Fondy Food Center, the market’s mission is to connect citizens with fresh local food and gather dozens of agricultural vendors in the Greenhouse Annex at the Mitchell Park Domes.

This weekly market is where you can find just about anything from fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, freshly baked goods, homemade jams, sauces, and delicious global cuisine.

It’s one of the most fun things to do in Milwaukee for adults, especially for foodies!

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6. Explore Milwaukee Domes

two glass domes on a snowy land, Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

Among the top-rated Milwaukee tourist attractions you shouldn’t miss in winter are the Milwaukee Domes. A unique destination you wouldn’t expect to find in such a wintery territory.

The Mitchell Park Domes house Milwaukee’s horticultural conservatory is a true tropical jungle hidden in the heart of the city.

Exploring this mesmerizing place in winter is amazing, as you’ll walk among 1,200 species of rainforest plants and floral gardens.

Open every day of the year, the Domes also host various cultural events, exhibitions, and educational programs. The perfect winter getaway in Wisconsin!

The Domes are also one of the best date ideas in Milwaukee in the winter.

7. Attend Cooking Classes at Sur La Table

2 pans on with soup being cooked, with a woman holding a ladle on one hand and an ingredient on the other

One of the unique and fun things to do in Milwaukee winter is attending a cooking class!

Whether you’re a solo food enthusiast or looking for a fun group activity, Sur La Table’s classes provide an immersive experience for anyone eager to sharpen their kitchen skills.

With a diverse selection of classes, there’s a class for every taste and interest, making it an ideal opportunity to broaden your culinary horizons.

Experienced chefs will guide you through each step of the culinary process making it more practical and interactive.

End your experience with a tasting session, where you get to savor the delicious creations.

It’s truly a fantastic opportunity to get yourself warm, expand your culinary skills, meet like-minded individuals, and enjoy a memorable culinary experience.

Don’t want to cook? Check out some food tours instead!

8. Relax at a Wellness Spa

woman having a massage at one of the best spa resorts in Wisconsin Dells

If you don’t know what to do in Milwaukee in the winter when you are too cold to go out, indulge in a serene escape at one of Milwaukee’s wellness spas.

As Milwaukee boasts a variety of wellness spas, each offering a unique atmosphere and range of services. Select one that aligns with your relaxation preferences.

Many wellness spas offer seasonal treatments such as hot stone massages, hydrating facials, and invigorating body scrubs that provide the perfect antidote to winter’s dry air and cool temperatures.

Warm up and unwind with hydrotherapy options like soothing hot tubs or calming sauna sessions.

These experiences relax your muscles and create a tranquil space for quiet reflection, allowing you to escape the winter hustle and bustle.

It’s one of the best things to do during winter in Milwaukee, especially after enduring all of that winter chill.

Find the best spa resorts in Wisconsin!

Things To Do in Milwaukee in Winter for Couples

9. Get warm at the Milwaukee Public Market

Christmas ball reflecting a christmas tree with christmas lights, Best wisconsin christmas market, View of Christmass tree reflected in round silver ornament
Time for Christmas Shopping!

Milwaukee in winter can be one of the most romantic destinations for couples around the world.

Whether you want to enjoy winter sports together or chill out in unique places, there are plenty of things to see and do in this fantastic city.

From all, one of the best places to go in Milwaukee when the temperatures drop and you need to get warm is the Milwaukee Public Market.

This unique attraction in Milwaukee downtown tops the charts as the favorite destination for foodies.

It bursts with freshly made foods and artisan products prepared by independent merchants.

A colorful place that can surely warm your heart and satisfy your taste buds.

This is one of the best Christmas markets in Wisconsin and a real winter treat!

Wisconsin Cutting BoardWisconsin Cutting BoardWarm Winter LeggingsWarm Winter LeggingsWisconsin HoodieWisconsin HoodieWisconsin NecklaceWisconsin NecklaceWinter 1-3 PCS Beanie Hat Gloves ScarfWinter 1-3 PCS Beanie Hat Gloves ScarfWomen's Boot Classic SuedeWomen’s Boot Classic Suede


10. Cheer the Milwaukee sports teams

Woman in Milwaukee Baseball Shirt playing
Woman in Milwaukee Baseball Shirt

Lovebirds visiting Milwaukee can have loads of fun and spend quality time while cheering for one of the local sports teams.

In such an icy destination, watching an ice hockey match from the Milwaukee Admirals’ tribune makes sense.

Or you could warm up while cheering the Milwaukee Waves, their professional indoor soccer team.

Milwaukee also has a stronghold of the American Wrestling Association.

Or you could discover the city’s most recent addition to the sports team, the women’s Roller Derby.

This is one of the unique date ideas Milwaukee Winter.

11. Snowy walks along the lakeside

bridge on a lake covered on snow, best things to do in milwaukee in winter, milwaukee winter activities, winter festivals, christmas parties, snow walks, dinner

Wondering if there are other fun things to do in winter in Milwaukee for couples? Well, you could surprise your significant other with a snowy walk along the lakeside.

Undeniably this is one of the most romantic things to do in Milwaukee in winter.

This frozen scenery offers a different perspective and lets you enjoy the tranquil side of this vibrant destination.

Have a snowball fight or just enjoy each other’s company while admiring the frozen shores of Lake Michigan.

Winter activities, such as ice skating at Lake Park, are another great way to spend quality time with your significant other.

For a sophisticated getaway, the Knickerbocker on the Lake is one of the best Milwaukee lakefront hotels.

From rooms with a view to refined suits, a spa, and high-class dining, this is undoubtedly a great place for two.

Book the best Milwaukee activities in advance

12. Have fun in a Curling Club

a person curling ice

To be honest, I had no idea what curling was until my first Milwaukee, Wisconsin winter.

I was told it was one of the most fun things to do in winter in Milwaukee, and my friends were not wrong! In fact, it’s one of the best things to do anywhere in Wisconsin in the winter.

Curling consists of two teams sliding different colored stones around on the ice into differently colored circles for points. It is easily one of the most popular Wisconsin winter activities and attracts very large crowds.

Although it is a lot of fun to watch, it is even more fun to play! There are curling clubs throughout Wisconsin that you can join where they will teach you how to play, or you can join a team if you’re there for long enough. 

In Milwaukee, you’ll want to check out the Milwaukee Curling Club. They are very professional, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a total beginner like I was!

I wasn’t very good, but I quickly fell in love with curling and it is now one of my top things to do in Milwaukee winter whenever I visit.

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13. Enjoy a Movie Night at Avalon Atmospheric Theater

Madison Christmas events, red theater seats getting blurry as the rows go back

If you don’t know any winter date ideas Milwaukee, then why not do the classic movie night?

Embrace the enchantment of winter in Milwaukee by immersing yourself in the timeless allure of Avalon Atmospheric Theater.

What makes this edgier than other cinemas is its unique architecture. The twinkling stars on the ceiling, intricate detailing, and a captivating atmospheric setting make it more romantic.

During the winter season, Avalon often curates a selection of films that capture the season’s essence.

Revel in the warmth of the surroundings and with your partner as you prepare for a cinematic journey while indulging in an array of classic and gourmet treats.

14. See Winter Lights at Boerner Botanical Gardens

fun christmas events in wisconsin, lit up Christmas display with reindeer, santa, and many trees covered in lights

As a local couple seeking a magical winter experience, going to Boerner Botanical Gardens is one of the best Milwaukee date ideas winter.

Embrace the romantic allure of the season as you stroll hand in hand amidst the dazzling Winter Lights display.

Bundle up and take a leisurely evening stroll through the gardens, where the Winter Lights create a serene and romantic ambiance.

The soft glow of lights against the winter landscape sets the stage for an intimate experience as you explore the pathways adorned with enchanting displays.

Capture the magic of your winter date night with a camera in hand. The Winter Lights display offers numerous picturesque settings for couples’ photos, creating lasting memories

Check the calendar for any themed nights or special events. Some evenings may feature live music, seasonal treats, or guided tours.

Conclude your evening with a romantic dinner at the Garden House, which often features seasonal menus complementing the Winter Lights display.

The inviting atmosphere and culinary delights perfectly conclude your night of enchantment.

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Things To Do Milwaukee in Winter for Outdoor Lovers

15. Skiing at Wilmot Mountain

outdoor winter activities in milwaukee, wisconsin, Man Doing Ice Skiing on Snow Field in Shallow Focus Photography
Skiing is one of Milwaukee’s best outdoor winter activities

Milwaukee is not only for casual travelers and lovebirds. Outdoor lovers can enjoy lots of winter activities in Milwaukee and the surroundings as well. Such as skiing at Wilmot Mountain.

Situated a stone’s throw away from the city (aka a 45-minute drive), Wilmot Mountain presents itself as an outdoor lover’s paradise.

From downhill skiing to snowboarding, snow tubing, and other entertaining activities, this place is ideal for singles, couples, groups of friends, or families who want to have their fair share of outdoor winter fun!

16. Hiking in the surroundings of Milwaukee

things to do in the winter in milwaukee, Leg woman in winter shoes walking on the snow in a winter park.
Winter Hikes in Milwaukee

If you’re craving a different experience, a winter hike is one of the most surprising winter outdoor activities in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee and its surrounding areas have some of the best Southern Wisconsin hiking trails!

Of all possible routes, the Milwaukee River Trails are perhaps the most suggestive. They start where the Milwaukee Riverwalk ends and stretch along both sides of the Milwaukee River.

While the trails aren’t official, they’re well maintained by the Milwaukee Green River Coalition and are a true gem to discover without leaving the city.

If you don’t mind going a bit further, the Emma Carlin trail in Palmyra is well worth exploring. The three-loop trail ranges from 3.5 to 8 miles and is ideal for the more experienced hikers and bikers.

There are many spots to go hiking in Milwaukee and the surrounding area; just be sure to pack appropriate footwear!

17. Snow walks in Milwaukee’s parks

magical milwaukee winter activities outdoors, rear view of woman walking in park in winter with hair blowing in wind and magical snow falling
Walking in Milwaukee Park

Hiking might not be for everyone, but you can still enjoy the outdoors in Milwaukee by simply taking a snow walk in one of the many parks.

Lake Park is undeniably the most suggestive, but there are many other options to choose from.

For instance, the Veteran´s Park is a great choice for history lovers and impresses visitors with a memorial and a walking path.

The Cambridge Woods, situated in the East Side neighborhood, also awaits you to explore its 20.9 acres stretching along the Milwaukee River.

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18. Dare the Polar Bear Plunge

best things to do in milwaukee in winter, the polar plunge in milwaukee, wi
Ready to jump in?

While this one’s not for the faint-hearted, a Polar Bear Plunge in frigid Michigan lake is dubbed as one of the coolest outdoor winter activities in Milwaukee.

The annual event held at noon on each New Year’s Day gathers hundreds of enthusiasts ready to plunge into the freezing water despite the unwelcoming temperatures.

The event is free to the public and equally exciting for spectators and participants.

Things To Do in Milwaukee in Winter for Kids and Families

19. Go ice skating

sitting person touching their ice skating boots, best things to do in lake geneva in december, young girl with mittens in ice skates sitting on ice and leaning forward
Fun for young and old

The city is a great family destination in all seasons, but it becomes magic in winter.

Among the top-rated family things to do in Milwaukee in winter is ice skating.

Slice of Ice in Red Arrow Park is an inspired choice for some outdoor fun and is conveniently located in the midst of downtown.

A warming house offers skate rentals and a café to grab a hot drink or a bite, and loads of other kid-friendly activities are located just a stone’s throw away.

On those icy days, head to the Pettit National Ice Center, an indoor ice skating rink.

It not only comes as a great alternative to the Slice of Ice but that lets you enjoy some winter sports even in summer, as it’s open all year round.

Ice skating is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Milwaukee with kids during the wintertime.

20. Go Snowshoeing

outdoor winter activities in milwaukee wisconsin, Person Trekking In The Snow
Snow Trekking

There are many unique and even weird things to do in Milwaukee in winter, but few can beat snowshoeing if you’re visiting with kids.

This is one of the best things to do in Milwaukee in January or February when it’s freezing.

But it’s one of my favorite things to do in Wisconsin in February as it’s usually a little less busy than in January.

An easy trail where to shake off those winter blues is the Havenwoods State Fores, Milwaukee’s unique urban forest.

There are various loops for a total of 6 miles, winding across 200 acres of mixed woods, grasslands, and wetlands.

The Riveredge Nature Center in Saukville is another of the fantastic places to see in the Milwaukee area.

This beautiful 380-acre property stretching along Milwaukee River in Ozaukee County passes through a mesmerizing mix of forests, wetlands, and prairies and awaits surprising events.

Undoubtedly, the best time to go is on a Friday night in either January or February, when you can join a weekly candlelight snowshoe hike from 4.30 to 8 pm.

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21. Enjoy the Christmas atmosphere and Ballet Shows

things to do in milwaukee in december, Christmas nutcracker toy soldier and balerina dolls on the stage. Famous Russian Ballet installation.
Visit Nutcracker Ballet in Milwaukee

Do you know what to do in Milwaukee in December?

Well, nothing says fun things to do with kids in Milwaukee more than enjoying the Wisconsin Christmas atmosphere.

Luckily, there is an abundance of fun things to do in Milwaukee in December to get in the holiday spirit.

Start with Christmas in the Ward on the first Friday of December.

The iconic district is where you can visit Santa and his live reindeer and enjoy splendid fireworks at the beginning of the festive season.

Milwaukee Ballet’s Nutcracker performance is an unmissable event to attend with the kids. Or you could go to one of the many theaters and venues throughout the city for other beautiful holiday shows.

For bigger kids and parents alike, the Wizards of Winters show comes as an unexpected alternative to a traditional

Christmas carols concert and one of the most surprising indoor activities in Milwaukee.

This show of progressive rock holiday tunes is anything but typical.

22. Sledding at Lafayette Hill and Humboldt Hill

best things to do outside in milwaukee in winter, sled on ice outdoor
Getting ready to explore all the icy places near me!

Another one of those fun activities in Milwaukee to do with kids is sledding at Lafayette or Humboldt hill.

Perfect for kids of all ages and adults, these events bring unrivaled fun to people of all ages. The youngsters can enjoy safe rides on sleds with runners, while the bigger kids can pick from snow disks or toboggans.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Milwaukee in winter at night, sledding in the evening is also possible.

Furthermore, both hills are conveniently located in well-served areas where you can enjoy hearty meals or warm up with a cup of mulled wine or spiced tea in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

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23. Enjoy the Cedarburg Winter Festival

festival lights hanging Winterfest, festival,

Did you think the magic of winter ends when Christmas is over? Think again.

Wisconsin’s Cedarburg Winter Festival shows the entire world that winter means much more than candy canes and holiday carols.

Undoubtedly one of the best things to do near Milwaukee with kids, this annual event is held each February.

Super-entertaining, it attracts visitors with dozens of food stalls, ice carving competitions, and many kid-friendly activities. For the grown-ups, they can indulge in delicious local wine.

Mark it on your calendar as it is one of the best things to do in Milwaukee in February!

24. Enjoy a winter carriage ride in Milwaukee downtown

romantic things to do in milwaukee during winter, Horse with rich animal harness pulling sleigh in winter. Winter festival in Suzdal ( The Golden Ring of Russia). Snowy cityscape on background.
Care for a romantic winter carriage ride?

The many Milwaukee winter events can quickly drain your energy. So if you’re wondering what to do in downtown Milwaukee in winter that’s both exciting and relaxing, try a carriage ride.

Many companies provide carriage or horse-drawn sleigh tours in Milwaukee that will make you feel like the main character of a fairytale.

One of the companies offering affordable carriage tours is the Milwaukee Coach & Carriage.

They offer solutions for groups of all sizes, and you can admire some of the top-rated landmarks from the comfort of your ride. No doubt, it is one of the best things for kids to do in winter in Milwaukee.

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25. Visit Milwaukee County Zoo

fun things to do Puerto de la Cruz offers, Close up shot of two penguins looking off to one side and displaying the bright orange parts of their beaks with more penguins behind

One of the Milwaukee attractions kids should not miss is the county Zoo.

Here, kids can discover how animals adapt to winter at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

From the sleek movements of cold-loving penguins to the thick fur coats of Arctic mammals, each exhibit showcases the resilience and natural behaviors of creatures in colder climates.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the festive Wild Lights display featuring thousands of sparking lights, creating a magical atmosphere that adds a touch of enchantment to your visit.

Educational presentations and keeper talks are also scheduled throughout the day so that you can learn about the conservation efforts, behaviors, and characteristics of the zoo’s inhabitants.

A visit to the Milwaukee County Zoo in winter promises an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

26. Enjoy some Milwaukee comfort food

Snacks from Spain, fritter, food, dessert, snack, spanish, appetizer, sweetened, crispy, sweet, gastronomy

To get you through the cold Milwaukee winters, you’ll want to indulge in some comfort food. And Milwaukee has some of the best!

Of course, there’s local Wisconsin food, such as cheese, bratwursts, booyah stew, and butter burgers. For a great selection, I recommend heading to the Milwaukee Public Market, or for a sit-down meal I love Milwaukee Brat House.

But, as perfect Wisconsin food is for keeping you warm throughout the long Milwaukee winters, sometimes you just need something new. And my other comfort food restaurants of choice are Real Chili and Maxie’s.

It’s the best way to spend winter in Milwaukee.

And on days when it’s just too cold to go outside, consider settling in and enjoying one of my favorite movies set in Wisconsin.

Check out some food tours!

27. Spend the afternoon at an Escape Room

visit central wisconsin, neon sign reading ESCAPE

I love being outside, and winter in Wisconsin is no exception! But sometimes, it’s just too cold during the Wisconsin winters, and I want a chance to warm up and thaw off.

That’s where escape rooms come in! It’s one of the most fun things to do in Milwaukee for young adults.

The escape rooms in Wisconsin are tons of fun for the whole family – and they’re inside, where it’s warm.

Milwaukee has more escape rooms than anywhere else in the state, so you’ll be spoiled for choice!

Whether you’re hunting for treasure, solving cold cases, or pretending to be a spy, this fun activity will make you fall in love with winter in Milwaukee.

Things To Do Near Milwaukee in Winter

28. Visit Winter Festivals near Milwaukee

fun things to do in winter in milwaukee, Cropped image of an african young man standing posing outdoors winter oncept drinking coffee holding bengal lights.
Magical Milwaukee, Wisconsin winter activities

Among the fun things to do in Wisconsin in the winter, there are countless winter festivals that can keep both kids and adults entertained.

One of the most popular is the Lake Geneva Winterfest. Located only 1h from Milwaukee, a trip to Lake Geneva, WI is always a great idea and one of the best weekend trips in Wisconsin.

Lake Geneva Winterfest is a true winter carnival spanning over nine days and one of the best winter events in Wisconsin!

Some kid-friendly activities at the WinterFest include a fun snow race and attending the U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship.

The Fish Creek Winter Festival is another fun one for the whole family. Kids can enjoy a dog sled ride and partake in other winter outdoor activities.

Watching an ice kickball match or warming up in a heated tent overlooking Green Bay are other highlights of the festival.

And if you or the children miss those fun summer backyard games, know that at the Fish Creek festival, they do it even better.

Or at least, I don’t know many other places where you can play a round of toilet seat toss instead of the classic corn hole.

29. Go ice fishing near Milwaukee

Close up shot of ice fishing rods left above circular holes cut in a frozen lake next to a wooden box of ice fishing supplies with a line of people visible in the background on a grey cloudy day

Winter in Milwaukee wouldn’t be complete without some ice fishing!

In case you don’t know, ice fishing is where you try to catch fish through a hole in the ice. It is one of the most beloved outdoor winter activities in Wisconsin.

Many people spend a full day sitting out on the ice with coolers, leaving their fishing poles dangling in the hole, and just hanging out.

And, of course, wrapped up in several layers of clothing.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first went ice fishing, but it is now one of my favorite activities to do in Milwaukee in winter.

I became so obsessed I started wondering if any of the icy places near me would be suitable for ice fishing!

If you’re looking for some fun winter things to do in Milwaukee, join some friends or find a local company to take you out for this unique experience.

I was lucky enough to go with some friends!

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30. Do a winter day trip from Milwaukee

romantic getaway in lake geneva, wisconsin, lakeside view of pier on lake geneva under a bright blue sky with clouds
In the winter this can freeze over completely!

Although there are plenty of great and unique things to do in Milwaukee, the winters are long and cold, so I would often look for fun things to do near me in winter.

If you’re looking for things to do outside Milwaukee, I have a whole post on the best day trips from Milwaukee.

But some of the best places to visit in Wisconsin for winter especially are:

  1. Madison
  2. Door County
  3. Green Bay
  4. Lake Geneva.

In Madison, you can marvel at the beautiful Capitol Christmas Tree, try out snow carving, or go sledding in Elder Park one of the best places to take kids in winter in Madison.

And speaking of Christmas trees – you can buy your own at nearby Capaul’s Christmas Tree Farm in Wanaukee, one of the best Christmas tree farms in Wisconsin.

Some of the most things to do in Door County during the winter are snowshoeing and ice fishing.

However, I also love walking along the Whitefish Dunes State Park shoreline as cool ice formations form during the winter months.

If you decide to stay, Door County has some of the most romantic cabins in Wisconsin you can stay at.

During the winter, the Titletown District in the downtown area sets up an ice skating rink, and ice hockey is also popular.

But one of my favorite things to do in Green Bay in the winter is going skiing along the hiking trails at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.

If you decide to stay overnight in Green Bay, consider staying at one of my favorite luxury hotels in Wisconsin.

Lastly, Lake Geneva in winter is magical, and so is one of the most popular winter day trips from Milwaukee because there are a lot of cool things to do in Lake Geneva in the winter.

The most popular is a great ski resort at Big Foot State park, which comes to life in the winter, but many also go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing across the frozen lake.

If you decide to stay overnight, read my guide on where to stay in Lake Geneva. The city is home to some of the best winter resorts in Wisconsin.

where to stay in milwaukee downtown, wisconsin, lake michigan skyline at twilight
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.

Whether you’re looking for fun places to go in Milwaukee in winter to enjoy with your family, things to do on a date in Milwaukee, or cheap things to do in Milwaukee on your solo winter trip, I hope this list inspired you.

So, what do you say? Do you now know what to do to enjoy a Milwaukee, Wisconsin winter? Which of the things above would you do during winter in Milwaukee?

You can’t get enough of winterly things to do in Milwaukee? Have a look at my web story about things to do in Milwaukee in winter.

Tell me in a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends. They might find the best things to do in Milwaukee in winter on this list too.

Short FAQ about Winter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1. What are fun winter day trips from Milwaukee?

The best winter day trips from Milwaukee are to Madison, Door County, Green Bay, and Lake Geneva. Chicago is also a great day trip outside of Wisconsin.

2. What are outdoor things to do in the winter near Milwaukee?

There are lots of outdoor winter activities in Milwaukee. A few of the most popular ones are Skiing at Wilmot Mountain, the Polar Bear Plunge, and winter hikes in the surrounding areas.

3. What are cool winter activities for kids in Milwaukee?

Some of the best winter outdoor activities in Milwaukee for kids are ice skating, snowshoeing, and winter ballets. The best activity is probably sledding at Lafayette Hill and Humboldt Hill.

4. What are free things to do in Milwaukee in winter?

The Historic Third Ward’s charming streets and Lake Michigan are free to enter. On Thursdays, the Milwaukee Art Museum is also free. The county Zoo has “Frost Free Week” which means daytime admission is free on selected dates.

5. What are fun things to do in Milwaukee for couples?

Snowy walks on the lakeside, curling, or watching a Bucks game are fun options for couples.

6. What are fun winter date ideas Milwaukee?

A movie date night at Avalon Atmospheric Theater or strolling hand in hand at Boerner Botanical Gardens are both romantic date ideas.

Alice Carroll

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

Wow, it's interesting to know that the Polar Bear Plunge is free to the public. My husband and I are planning to go on a Milwaukee city tour later this year as part of our shared gold to explore the whole country before we die. Perhaps taking the plunge would make for some good remembrance videos.


Thursday 14th of May 2020

Hey dear, that sounds like a lovely idea! I can't wait to see your pics! They will be legend!


Monday 23rd of September 2019

Hi! Milwaukee truly has a list of cool places to check out, a snowy walk along Lake Michigan would be like walking in a winter wonderland!