Milwaukee is not known for great weather in the Winter. We can’t disagree. However, if you find yourself visiting as a family, do not fret! There are still a lot of great things to do. And if you like the cold, then you’ll be right at home.
Here are our Winter Favorites for the entire family. Visiting Milwaukee in the Summer? Check out our summer favorites here.
Theater: First Stage Children’s Theatre
Depending on the timing of your visit we highly recommend going to see a production by First Stage Children’s Theater, recognized as one of the country’s most acclaimed children’s theater. There isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Do: Ice Skating
Have your kids ever tried ice skating? If the weather isn’t too unbearable there is a great rink located right in downtown Milwaukee, Red Arrow Park. You can rent skates here and warm up with some hot chocolate at the Starbucks.
If the weather is just too darn cold, head out to the Petit Ice Skating center, an Olympic Training Facility. This is an opportunity to talk with your kids about the Olympics — discussing your favorite sports to watch and the hard work it takes to make it there.
Stay: The Pfister
Family trips are all about accommodating everybody. The Pfister is the oldest hotel in Wisconsin, showcasing incredibly cool architecture, a top-floor pool for the kids, and sweet ambiance for mom and dad. You might even be surprised with a sighting of the occasional celebrity or professional athlete!
Explore: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, open year-round, is a short 20-minute drive from downtown Milwaukee along Lake Michigan. The highlight of the winter is Icecanos, which form when waves higher than three feet tall hit against the shoreline of Lake Michigan ice shelves, this breaks them up and creates a blowhole. It’s quite the site to see in nature. Inside the Audubon offers a cozy fireplace, an exhibit area, and a few resident animals the kids can say hi to.
Learn: Take in a Museum
- Milwaukee Public Museum for any age. The highlight includes the butterfly room.
- Betty Brinn is great for younger kids (10 and younger).
- Discovery World for kids 10 and older especially any child that is interested in STEM activities.
- Milwaukee Art Museum has activities for the kids on Sundays.
- Harley Davidson Museum has a kids area and offers kids the chance to sit on a Harley or two.
Eat: Fish Fry
While you’re in Milwaukee embrace the Friday night tradition. Several places like the Bavarian Bierhaus have a polka band and serve beer of course.
Milwaukee is known for its custard which is similar to ice cream but much more soft and creamy. Our personal favorite is Kopp’s Frozen Custard, located right around the corner from the Bavarian Bierhaus. They change their flavors daily, and we drool every time we drive by the flashing sign that alerts you that strawberry cheesecake is the custard of the day.
Here is a three-day itinerary that incorporates our Milwaukee family favorites in the winter.
Friday: Head to a museum for the morning. Eat lunch at the museum or if it’s summer pack a picnic lunch and head up to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. End the day with a fish fry at the Bavarian Inn. Followed by dessert at Kopp’s.
Saturday: Head out ice skating at either Red Arrow Park, which you can walk to from the Pfister or drive out to the Petit Ice Skating Rink. Round the day out with some pool time and a play at First Stage.
Sunday: Finish the weekend with another museum before heading home. All of the museums have restaurants in them. The two best cafes are found at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Harley Davidson Museum.
What’s the coldest place you’ve been to?
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