10 Things To Do In Milwaukee With Kids

Milwaukee, Wisconsin may not top your list of family vacation spots, but how about rethinking that list? Milwaukee has tons to offer kids and families, starting with these…

Milwaukee is known for its green: parks, that is. There is a park for every day of the week in the Milwaukee area. As the mother of three boys, we have tried them all. Top star ratings go to these:

1. Possibility Playground in Port Washington. Located on an Upper Lake Bluff, the view is spectacular and worth the 40 minute drive from Milwaukee. Your children will never see a larger park than this one. Eye-popping and the size of a football field, they’ll be busy for hours. Named Possibility Park since all equipment is wheelchair accessible, which makes the extra ramps safe for the little ones, and even more fun for the bigger kids. There is equipment for children who use sign language, there is braille, there are hand rails along the timber walks for those that need it. This is not just a park, but an experience. This is an amazing, one-of-a-kind playground you just have to visit to believe.

2. All Children’s Park in Cedarburg. Only 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, and named All Children’s since its all-timber playground equipment is wheel chair accessible–making it double the fun for everyone. Clean, spacious, green, and expansive, plenty of shade, large restrooms readily available, with picnic benches amidst. Absolutely incredible park set alongside the Cedarburg Community Pool with a zero-depth area in the pool for infants. Toddler swings, regular swings, plenty of bridges and tube slides, as well as climbing inclines matted with tires. A lagoon nearby creates a whisper of a wind on warm summer days.

3. Carver Park in Milwaukee. Whoa–an eyeful of playground equipment as huge as an alien spaceship. My children almost didn’t wait for me to park the car when they first caught sight of this park. Gargantuan play gym–minutes from downtown and right off the freeway. Picnic shelters, tables and a colorful splash pad. There is a kiddie pool, baseball diamond, a soccer field, and a large pavilion with clean rest rooms nearby. In the summer, the water park is free! I have to say it again: This park is enormous.

4. One of my favorite restaurants is the German Mader’s Restaurant. As much as for the gastronomical proportions (not for the dainty eater) as well as the comfort food quality. You can eat to your heart and stomach’s content with hardy dishes like sauerbraten, schnitzel, and rouladen. This restaurant is first on everyone’s list. The 106-year-old Mader’s Restaurant has been visited by Presidents Kennedy, Ford, and Reagan. Dining in this old world architectural delight will leave you with an evening to remember. With flavor and atmosphere of Old World Europe, the menu offerings transport you to Germany instantly. You’ll dine amid a stunning $3 million dollar collection of art, suits of medieval armor and antiques dating back to the 14th century. Mader’s has been voted the most famous German restaurant in North America and houses the world’s largest Hummel collection.

5. The best kids’ restaurant in Milwaukee is Bravo! Cucina Italiana! Your child can make his own pizza! The waitstaff walks the mound of dough over, and your child shapes it, then adds his own toppings. Then they get to go to the kitchen and watch them put their very own pizza in the authentic pizza oven from Italy! Oh my gosh… sensational sophisticated menu for kids, too. Like breaded grilled salmon with dill sauce, spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, mac and cheese, and make your own pizza. Such a memory maker!

6. Take a tour at the nationally famous Palermo’s Pizza factory. For just $5 per person, you will receive a tour of the facility, a slice of Palermo’s pizza in the café and a Palermo’s souvenir. Yum!

7. The Art Museum designed by Spain’s Calatrava, where 1500 works of art are on display. It has a kid-loving gift shop sure to please and a cafe with plenty of kid-friendly (and healthy!) options.

8. The Milwaukee Public Museum has something for everyone. Take a small step back in time to the turn-of-the-century Streets of Old Milwaukee and European Village and to ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Or, take a giant leap back more than 65 million years to The Third Planet, see the world’s largest-known dinosaur skull and a life-sized replica of Tyrannosaurus rex. Stroll amid free-flying butterflies from around the world in The Puelicher Butterfly Wing.

9. The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, is a Milwaukee landmark and treasured educational organization for locals and visitors alike. Especially great for kids ten and under.

10. For the serious diner, (if you can ditch the kids!) you can’t beat Sanford’s. Chef Sanford D’Amato, yes – the national award winning Sanford D’amato, treats you as if you are the most important customer in the world. Quaint as quaint can be, this restaurant is housed in what once was Sanford’s family’s grocery store. This is the very Sanford that cooked for Julia Child’s 80th birthday party. Hard to beat credentials like that. Simply one of the best restaurants in the state of Wisconsin. Come only if you’re serious about food and wine. Dining here is a once in a lifetime chance.

Got some favorite spots in Milwaukee? Share them in the comments!

About the writer


Alexandra Rosas is a published author, storyteller with the nationally acclaimed The Moth, local NPR station WUWM, and producer for Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, Purple Clover, Brain, Child, mamalode, and several online websites. You can follow her on her personal blog, Good Day, Regular People.


aw 2 years ago

Link not working #1 really not interested in that app. Please fix ASAP! Other than that love the suggestions.

aw 2 years ago

Possibility park link not working. Please fix ASAP!

Di 3 years ago

Great list! I agree with everything except Mader’s. Yes, it’s a glorious restaurant, but much too expensive and authentic for the average child. Save Mader’s for a date night without the kids.

Lady Jennie 3 years ago

You have, not only a great city, but a great state.

Jamie@SouthMainMuse 3 years ago

I’m sure it’s quite lovely. The only thing I might not be able to do for too long is the cold. But never say never. And anyplace with water to watch, swim in and boat on is really all I need to be happy.

    Alexandra 3 years ago

    Oh, it gets cold. That’s why we love our summers so much.

    Because of the winter, be sure you buy a house with a fireplace. xo

Naptimewriting 3 years ago

I can’t imagine saying no to any travel adventure. Any.

I’ve always figured: if people live there, they have a good reason. Of anywhere. Costa Rica, Kansas City, Duluth, Window Rock. And I figure if there are people living there, they can tell me why and show me something wonderful. Good to know that if I ever go to Milwaukee, I’ll know whom to ask!

    Secret Agent Woman 3 years ago

    I’d be happy to win tickets to just about any where (with the possible exception of Las Vegas). I’ve never been to a city I couldn’t find plenty to do. Anywhere with a body of water – lake, ocean, river – would be high on my list.

      Alexandra 3 years ago

      The lake here is beautiful. We never tire of it.

    Alexandra 3 years ago

    See? I’m with you. ANywhere they’ll send me for free? I’ll go.
    Pretty sure, or are those like famous last words?


Shannon 3 years ago

Thanks, Alexandra! We live about 90 minutes from Milwaukee and have been once since we moved here. We loved the Irish Fest, the lakefront, and the Third Ward. Can’t wait to return armed with your suggestions!

    Alexandra 3 years ago

    90 minutes away? THAT”S NOTHING. If you ever want to see a beautiful zoo, let me know. Ours is one of the finest.

Alexandra 3 years ago

Thanks so much for having me, Jill.

As you can see, I love Milwaukee. And you gave me your place to gush about my great town: Thank you.


cheesehead4ever 4 years ago

I grew up about 20 minutes west of Milwaukee and have taken my kids into Milwaukee when we go visit my Mom. Definitely agree with the Children’s Museum and the zoo! I would say that Summerfest is not as family friendly as the ethnic festivals.
My other suggestions:
1. Mitchell Park Domes
2. Milwaukee County Museum
3. Restaurant idea: When there isn’t a Brewer game going on, try TGI Fridays at Miller Park. You can sit on the balcony overlooking the field. Plus there is a great playground outside the park.
4. The Petit Ice Center – Olympic Speed Skating Rink in West Allis at State Fair Park. They have public skating times.
5. Fly a kite at one of the lakefront parks
6. Milwaukee Art Museum. There is a lot of art that would appeal to kids.
7. Safehouse
8. Up for a 30 minute drive? Old World Wisconsin
9. East Troy Electric Railroad
10. Another drive – Holy HIll in Hubertus
11. Leons or Kopps for frozen custard! Although I prefer LeDucs in Wales.

    Alexandra 3 years ago

    There is so much to do, right?

    People mumblegrumble about Milwaukee, and we run out of TIME to do everything there is to do.

    It’s a wonderful place to live … winters can be rough, but if you tough it out, it’s great and offers so much.

    Thanks for stopping by!


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