Milwaukee Family Friendly Fun

Regardless of the time of year or your road-trip budget, Family Friendly options in Milwaukee are plentiful. One of the safest, big cities in the country, Milwaukee is a wonderful place to live and to visit. Known as the “City of Festivals,” it seems like the celebrations there never end (from Bastille Days to Summerfest and even the Wisconsin State Fair).

Bed of Nails at the Discovery Museum

Bed of Nails at the Discovery Museum

Known for its architecture, safety, and urban revitalization, Milwaukee is a city bustling on the weekends almost as much as any given work day. Explore, eat, sleep, and play—here are some kid-friendly ideas when planning your next Milwaukee adventure.

Discovery World, literally jutting out from the lakefront atop Pier Wisconsin, connects innovation, science, technology, and the environment (embodying the persona of Milwaukee many ways). A “hands on” environment, kids are encouraged to compare simple machines, “pet” a sturgeon, or watch the harmonic oscillation of a guitar string. Be sure to ride the glass-wall elevator to the lower level (and don’t tell your kids descending into a fresh-water aquarium is the last stop).

If you visit Discovery World in the summer, be sure to look for the S/V Dennis Sullivan, a 137-foot recreation of a three-masted Great Lakes schooner that doubles as a floating classroom. Different admission packages are described on the  website, and the museum can also be home to summer camp for school-age kids.

Where to Stay

Find family-friendly accommodations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from traditional hotels to private vacation rentals through

Betty Brinn

Weaving at Betty Brinn.

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is a wonderful, magical, place for young kids (say, ages ten and under).  Chartered by a mission to help children establish their self-esteem, work well with others, and develop fundamental skills, these transformations occur under the guise of fun.

With a gallery for every direction (North, South, East, and West), plan to spend at least half a day exploring the different-themes. Betty’s Busy Backyard, located in the South Gallery, is a safe area designed for infants and toddlers under age three. Tables are available in the lobby for picnic lunches and be sure to check the website for information on special exhibits, events, and the date of the next Neighborhood Night (offering free-admission for the entire family).

The Milwaukee Public Market, a hip-and-trendy indoor public market is located three blocks west of the Summerfest grounds and hugs the northern border of the Historic Third Ward. Occupied by Wisconsin vendors including bakers, roasters, confectioners, florists, cheese producers, the market is sustainable and a friend of the local business economy.

Near the Milwaukee Public Market

Near the Milwaukee Public Market

It’s hard not to wander up and down and around the market perimeter, perhaps sipping a latte or nibbling on a fresh-baked cookie. If your family is comprised of picky eaters, shop from different vendors and carry your meal up to the second-floor eating area. This birds-eye-view of the market will keep you people watching and planning another spin around the floor. Dates, times, and cost for special events and cooking classes are easily found on the front page of the Milwaukee Public Market website. With free WiFi and a pleasant, open atmosphere, the market is a great find any time of year.

Pin for Later:

Milwaukee Trolley

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at