Visit Milwaukee

City Of Festivals

As the "City of Festivals," Milwaukee showcases its rich heritage with ethnic and cultural celebrations throughout the summer. The Henry W. Maier Festival Park, along the shores of Lake Michigan, becomes a portal to the world as guests are invited to explore the arts, cuisine, history and entertainment of a new culture nearly every weekend.

While Milwaukee’s most predominant festivals are yearly, such as Summerfest, the city does play host to a number of weekly music attractions: Jazz in the Park, River Rhythms, Chill on the Hill, Musical Mondays in Lake Park.

JUNE

The festival season kicks off with color during PrideFest, the largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender pride festival in Wisconsin. Join the festivities with food, entertainment and shopping in the marketplace.

The parade of world cultures begins with one of America’s largest Polish festivals, Polish Fest. See historic exhibits, folk art demonstrations and old-world crafts. Enjoy colorful dance groups and traditional dishes such as pierogis and polish sausages.

Watch jets zoom in perfect formation along Milwaukee’s lakefront at the annual Air & Water Show. Then, turn your focus to the waters of Lake Michigan when the race boats, water ski teams and jet ski stunt shows take over.

The Lakefront Festival of the Arts showcases more than 170 jury-selected artists. Works include paintings, jewelry, sculptures and ceramics. Wander through the sculpture garden, sip wine under the famous Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava-designed wings, and enjoy local food and live music throughout the day.

The Cedarburg Strawberry Festival celebrates the fruit of the season at its summer prime. Enjoy summer’s sweet treat by the quart or in crepes and even a strawberry bratwurst. Stick around for live music, fine arts on display and to cheer on the brave participating in the Strawberry Shortcake Eating and Bubblegum Blowing Contests in this charming, 19th-century village, voted by Forbes as “one of the prettiest towns in America.”

Say goodbye to June at the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest. The 11-day event features national headliners and upcoming indie artists on 10 ground stages and a 23,000-seat amphitheater. Smorgasbords of the area’s finest restaurants serve mouth-watering fare and entertainment abounds with four shopping marketplaces, a children’s play area, daily sports demonstrations from pro athletes and more.

JULY

Bastille Days, located in Cathedral Square Park, celebrates French culture with an eclectic mix of entertainment, including strolling musicians, mimes, chef demos, stilt walkers and street performers. Kick off the celebration with the Storm the Bastille 5k Run/Walk on the opening Thursday of the festival.

Romance, nostalgia and rich Italian delicacies fill the air at Festa Italiana, America’s premier Italian cultural event. Enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the Sicilian brass marching band, browse the cultural exhibits or be a part of the colorful religious procession following Sunday mass. Every night offers explosive fun with a dazzling Italian-style fireworks show.

The Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival celebrates the brews of Milwaukee’s past and present. Explore exhibits on Milwaukee’s brewing history and sample more than 100 craft beers from Milwaukee area brewers as well as guest beers from around the country.

Grab a stein and cool off with your favorite brew at North America’s largest, annually-held German festival, German Fest. Indulge in German cuisine from bratwurst to potato pancakes and sauerkraut. Enjoy a colorful brass band or stroll through the marketplace for authentic German gifts.

The annual Brady Street Festival showcases one of Milwaukee’s most unique neighborhoods. Rock out to live music on three live stages featuring favorite local artists and check out the variety of vendors selling everything from food to jewelry!

The Fifth Annual Milwaukee Brewfest takes place at the Old Coast Guard Pavilion Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Sample craft beers, micro brews and ciders from around the world and enjoy live music, the crowning of the Milwaukee Brewfest Queen, local restaurant vendors and a silent auction.

AUGUST

The Wisconsin State Fair is an 11-day experience of family fun! Enjoy the SpinCity amusement area, 30 free entertainment stages, more than 1,000 animals and don’t forget to indulge in its famous cream puffs.

The Malibu Open Festival makes a splash in Milwaukee’s lakefront Veteran’s Park Lagoon. Free-style jumping, barefoot skiing, show ski and trick flip demonstrations round out the exciting two-day event, which also features family activities such as a Kids Zone Water Park, face painting, bouncy houses and more.

Irish Fest, North America’s largest Irish cultural festival, brings the Emerald Isle to Milwaukee’s lakefront. The music line up is filled with fiddles and bagpipes and the Celtic dancers keep toes tapping along. For more action, see the daily Tug-o-War matches, Currach Races on the lagoon or try your hand at hurling. Get a taste of Ireland at the Jameson Lounge or the marketplace with Irish craft vendors.

Andretti Sports Marketing brings the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series back to the Milwaukee Mile, the longest continually operating speedway in the nation, at Milwaukee IndyFest. Race fans will love getting up close with drivers as they work on their cars pre-race, families will enjoy the free Ferris wheel and game area and the beer garden with local bands will rock the grounds after the checkered flag is waved.

Come “feast with the beasts” as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hosts the Milwaukee County Zoo’s a la Carte. Enjoy local restaurants and live music stages.

Spice up your life at Mexican Fiesta, a south-of-the-border extravaganza featuring mouth-watering tacos, rare tequilas, colorful mariachi bands, foot stomping rhythms and an elaborate mix of traditional dancers. Learn the culture and heritage of Mexico and other Latin countries through exhibits on Indigenous Mexico and the Ancient Mayans and shop at the Mexican craft showcase.

The Milwaukee Rally rolls into Milwaukee Labor Day Weekend. Activities include bike shows, special exhibits at the Harley-Davidson Museum, street parties, organized rides, live music, poker runs and more.

FALL FESTIVALS

TosaFest celebrates the Wauwatosa community with music, food, and family fun. Local bands and food vendors line the streets along with activities for the kids including arts and crafts and a movie time.

The Indian Summer Festival explores diversity of both traditional and contemporary Native American culture. The festival celebrates with authentic tribal villages, storytellers, traditional handcrafts, dance troupes and lacrosse. Other highlights include a Pow Wow competition, fireworks, canoe rides and Native American cuisine.

Visit the Cedarburg Wine & Harvest Festival and experience the creations of the award-winning Cedar Creek Winery. Transformed from an 1860’s wool mill, the winery hosts the Grape Stomp, a festival favorite. Explore 200 booths displaying artistic treasures all along historic Washington Avenue.

The Milwaukee Film Festival showcases the best contemporary American and International cinema. The festival is held at several historic venues in Milwaukee, including the Landmark Oriental Theatre and the Landmark Downer Theatre.

Harvest Fair at the Wisconsin State Fair Park is a fun and free family event featuring pumpkin bowling, hayrides, scarecrowmaking and cookie decorating.

WINTER FESTIVALS

The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival transforms downtown Milwaukee into a sparkling winter wonderland with more than 500,000 twinkling lights. Visit city parks to see larger-than-life holiday displays – from a steam locomotive to Santa’s reindeer – and more. Ride the Jingle Bus for a warm and comfortable tour, complete with hot cocoa and cookies for the ride.

Explore more than 50 international cultures through music, dance, food and art at the Holiday Folk Fair International at the Wisconsin State Fair Park’s Exposition Center. See dancers from Bulgarian, Polynesian, Turkish and Irish tradition, Polka bands, European folk groups, sample dishes from global vendors at the World Café and shop in the International Bazaar for handmade goods such as beadwork and woodcarvings.

As the "City of Festivals," Milwaukee showcases its rich heritage with ethnic and cultural celebrations throughout the summer. The Henry W. Maier Festival Park, along the shores of Lake Michigan, becomes a portal to the world as guests are invited to explore the arts, cuisine, history and entertainment of a new culture nearly every weekend.

While Milwaukee’s most predominant festivals are yearly, such as Summerfest, the city does play host to a number of weekly music attractions: Jazz in the Park, River Rhythms, Chill on the Hill, Musical Mondays in Lake Park.

JUNE

The festival season kicks off with color during PrideFest, the largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender pride festival in Wisconsin. Join the festivities with food, entertainment and shopping in the marketplace.

The parade of world cultures begins with one of America’s largest Polish festivals, Polish Fest. See historic exhibits, folk art demonstrations and old-world crafts. Enjoy colorful dance groups and traditional dishes such as pierogis and polish sausages.

Watch jets zoom in perfect formation along Milwaukee’s lakefront at the annual Air & Water Show. Then, turn your focus to the waters of Lake Michigan when the race boats, water ski teams and jet ski stunt shows take over.

The Lakefront Festival of the Arts showcases more than 170 jury-selected artists. Works include paintings, jewelry, sculptures and ceramics. Wander through the sculpture garden, sip wine under the famous Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava-designed wings, and enjoy local food and live music throughout the day.

The Cedarburg Strawberry Festival celebrates the fruit of the season at its summer prime. Enjoy summer’s sweet treat by the quart or in crepes and even a strawberry bratwurst. Stick around for live music, fine arts on display and to cheer on the brave participating in the Strawberry Shortcake Eating and Bubblegum Blowing Contests in this charming, 19th-century village, voted by Forbes as “one of the prettiest towns in America.”

Say goodbye to June at the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest. The 11-day event features national headliners and upcoming indie artists on 10 ground stages and a 23,000-seat amphitheater. Smorgasbords of the area’s finest restaurants serve mouth-watering fare and entertainment abounds with four shopping marketplaces, a children’s play area, daily sports demonstrations from pro athletes and more.

JULY

Bastille Days, located in Cathedral Square Park, celebrates French culture with an eclectic mix of entertainment, including strolling musicians, mimes, chef demos, stilt walkers and street performers. Kick off the celebration with the Storm the Bastille 5k Run/Walk on the opening Thursday of the festival.

Romance, nostalgia and rich Italian delicacies fill the air at Festa Italiana, America’s premier Italian cultural event. Enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the Sicilian brass marching band, browse the cultural exhibits or be a part of the colorful religious procession following Sunday mass. Every night offers explosive fun with a dazzling Italian-style fireworks show.

The Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival celebrates the brews of Milwaukee’s past and present. Explore exhibits on Milwaukee’s brewing history and sample more than 100 craft beers from Milwaukee area brewers as well as guest beers from around the country.

Grab a stein and cool off with your favorite brew at North America’s largest, annually-held German festival, German Fest. Indulge in German cuisine from bratwurst to potato pancakes and sauerkraut. Enjoy a colorful brass band or stroll through the marketplace for authentic German gifts.

The annual Brady Street Festival showcases one of Milwaukee’s most unique neighborhoods. Rock out to live music on three live stages featuring favorite local artists and check out the variety of vendors selling everything from food to jewelry!

The Fifth Annual Milwaukee Brewfest takes place at the Old Coast Guard Pavilion Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Sample craft beers, micro brews and ciders from around the world and enjoy live music, the crowning of the Milwaukee Brewfest Queen, local restaurant vendors and a silent auction.

AUGUST

The Wisconsin State Fair is an 11-day experience of family fun! Enjoy the SpinCity amusement area, 30 free entertainment stages, more than 1,000 animals and don’t forget to indulge in its famous cream puffs.

The Malibu Open Festival makes a splash in Milwaukee’s lakefront Veteran’s Park Lagoon. Free-style jumping, barefoot skiing, show ski and trick flip demonstrations round out the exciting two-day event, which also features family activities such as a Kids Zone Water Park, face painting, bouncy houses and more.

Irish Fest, North America’s largest Irish cultural festival, brings the Emerald Isle to Milwaukee’s lakefront. The music line up is filled with fiddles and bagpipes and the Celtic dancers keep toes tapping along. For more action, see the daily Tug-o-War matches, Currach Races on the lagoon or try your hand at hurling. Get a taste of Ireland at the Jameson Lounge or the marketplace with Irish craft vendors.

Andretti Sports Marketing brings the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series back to the Milwaukee Mile, the longest continually operating speedway in the nation, at Milwaukee IndyFest. Race fans will love getting up close with drivers as they work on their cars pre-race, families will enjoy the free Ferris wheel and game area and the beer garden with local bands will rock the grounds after the checkered flag is waved.

Come “feast with the beasts” as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hosts the Milwaukee County Zoo’s a la Carte. Enjoy local restaurants and live music stages.

Spice up your life at Mexican Fiesta, a south-of-the-border extravaganza featuring mouth-watering tacos, rare tequilas, colorful mariachi bands, foot stomping rhythms and an elaborate mix of traditional dancers. Learn the culture and heritage of Mexico and other Latin countries through exhibits on Indigenous Mexico and the Ancient Mayans and shop at the Mexican craft showcase.

The Milwaukee Rally rolls into Milwaukee Labor Day Weekend. Activities include bike shows, special exhibits at the Harley-Davidson Museum, street parties, organized rides, live music, poker runs and more.

FALL FESTIVALS

TosaFest celebrates the Wauwatosa community with music, food, and family fun. Local bands and food vendors line the streets along with activities for the kids including arts and crafts and a movie time.

 

The Indian Summer Festival explores diversity of both traditional and contemporary Native American culture. The festival celebrates with authentic tribal villages, storytellers, traditional handcrafts, dance troupes and lacrosse. Other highlights include a Pow Wow competition, fireworks, canoe rides and Native American cuisine.

Visit the Cedarburg Wine & Harvest Festival and experience the creations of the award-winning Cedar Creek Winery. Transformed from an 1860’s wool mill, the winery hosts the Grape Stomp, a festival favorite. Explore 200 booths displaying artistic treasures all along historic Washington Avenue.

The Milwaukee Film Festival showcases the best contemporary American and International cinema. The festival is held at several historic venues in Milwaukee, including the Landmark Oriental Theatre and the Landmark Downer Theatre.

Harvest Fair at the Wisconsin State Fair Park is a fun and free family event featuring pumpkin bowling, hayrides, scarecrowmaking and cookie decorating.

WINTER FESTIVALS

The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival transforms downtown Milwaukee into a sparkling winter wonderland with more than 500,000 twinkling lights. Visit city parks to see larger-than-life holiday displays – from a steam locomotive to Santa’s reindeer – and more. Ride the Jingle Bus for a warm and comfortable tour, complete with hot cocoa and cookies for the ride.

Explore more than 50 international cultures through music, dance, food and art at the Holiday Folk Fair International at the Wisconsin State Fair Park’s Exposition Center. See dancers from Bulgarian, Polynesian, Turkish and Irish tradition, Polka bands, European folk groups, sample dishes from global vendors at the World Café and shop in the International Bazaar for handmade goods such as beadwork and woodcarvings.

Major Events Calendar

Visit our Major Events Calendar to keep up-to-date on exciting summer festivals and holiday celebrations around Milwaukee.

 

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