One of the many reasons we love living in Bay View and the greater Milwaukee area is that it’s completely chock-full of world-class activities, exciting places to see, and unique events.  And, the best part is that you can explore all that the city has to offer without even spending a dime! Here’s a look at just a few things you can do in and around Milwaukee absolutely free:  

  • Milwaukee Art Museum – Housed in the gorgeous Santiago Calatrava building, you simply can’t go wrong with a day spent enjoying the wonders of the Milwaukee Art Museum.  It contains more than 25,000 works of art, from American decorative arts, to German Expressionist prints and paintings, to folk and Haitian art, and so much more.  Admission is free for all on the first Thursday of each month.
  • Explore the Milwaukee Central Library – Built from Bedford limestone in the style of French and Italian Renaissance architecture, the Milwaukee Central Library is truly a site worth seeing.  The historic structure takes up an entire block and is the perfect place to spend a day engrossed in stories and adventure. There’s even an on-site used bookstore!   
  • Milwaukee City Hall – City Hall is one of those places that you should definitely add to your to-do list simply to view the stunningly impressive architecture.  Constructed in 1895, at the time it was the tallest habitable building in the U.S. and cost more than $1 million to build. Visitors can take tours Monday – Friday.  
  • Tour the Basilica of St. Josephat – Many visitors and even some locals are surprised to learn that Milwaukee is home to the beautiful Basilica of St. Josephat.  It was commissioned by Pope Pius XI in1929 and is still an active church. The structure features stunning stained glass windows that were imported all the way from Austria and an impressive, painted interior.  Tours are offered on Sundays after mass, and the visitor’s center is open every day except Sunday.
  • Joan of Arc Chapel – Did you know that you can experience European history right here in Milwaukee?  That’s right! Just head over to the Marquette University campus to explore the Joan of Arc Chapel, a 15th-century French chapel.  Of course, it didn’t always call Milwaukee home.  In the 1960’s, it was dismantled and shipped to Long Island, NY, before it was gifted to the university.  Visitors can take free tours, and mass is held when university classes are in session. 
  • Milwaukee County Zoo – You can visit all of your favorite animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo for free on special Family Days throughout the year.  This beloved attraction is home to over 3,000 animals that span 400 different species! It’s great fun for the whole family any day of the year.  For a complete list of free family days, head to their website.  
  • Oak Leaf Trail – As the days get warmer, explore the Oak Leaf Trail to experience some of the beautiful greenery right here within the city limits.  The trail winds all throughout the city, spanning more than 100 miles including 55 miles of off-road paths.
  • Milwaukee Riverwalk – Milwaukee Riverwalk is a fantastic way to explore and enjoy all of the wonderful shops, restaurants, bars and even a few local breweries that line the downtown waterway.  You’ll also find several different art installations along the way, including crowd favorite “The Fonz,” a bronze sculpture of the beloved character from Happy Days.    

This is just a small glimpse of all of the exciting, free things you can find around town.  But, no matter what you find or how you choose to explore the area, you really can’t go wrong!  Just get out, and enjoy submerging yourself in all of the culture and sights.