Summerfest - The Only Way to Kick off Summer in Milwaukee

Milwaukee has mastered the art of putting twelve months of fun into a three month span, packing in event after event that will keep your head spinning the entire summer, kicking off with Summerfest. The "World's Largest Music Festival" Summerfest kicks off June 29th this year, but that is just the start of the fun this summer in Milwaukee.

View of Lake Michigan from the Summerfest grounds

The jewel of the summer season for Milwaukee is without question Summerfest. The world’s largest music festival is truly unmatched as you will find eleven days of music from every corner of the world. Acts that you probably have never heard of to the biggest acts in the world and everything in between, 11 days and 11 stages, you do the math, it is like having a live IPOD and you just allow your feet to change what you are listening to. The main stage, the Marcus Amphitheater, holds 23,000 fans and every year brings in some of the biggest names in music. This year they have once again topped themselves as they brought in some of the biggest acts in the world including; Katy Perry, the Black Keys, Maroon 5, Kid Rock and Toby Keith just to name a few. The real fun takes place on some of the other stages where the acts are just as big and by the time the sun starts to set over Lake Michigan you might find yourself packed in with a standing room only crowd of 10,000 plus people watching the likes of Styx, Neon Trees, Kansas, the Goo Goo Dolls, 311 and local favorite the BoDeans. Not bad for side stage acts. If you love music this is the place to be, there might be other music festivals but this is “The Music Festival.”

Puddle of Mudd on the Harley Davidson Stage

The city with a number of nicknames, the most fitting one for Milwaukee would have to be the “ City of Festivals.” The summer is one continuous festival in Milwaukee, allowing you to celebrate whatever background you are from or if you just want to partake in a cultural experience that you certainly won’t find everyday. Other festivals include; Irish Fest, German Fest, Polish Fest, Bastille Days, Festa Italiana, Mexicana Fiesta and Indian Summer Festival. If you are looking for the most bang for you buck you are not going to do any better than Summerfest or any of these other festivals.

In addition to all of the festivals, Milwaukee has so much to offer in terms of outdoor activities  that you will surely put your feet to good use. If you are staying downtown a run along the beach is a great way to start the day, then you can stay at the beach and play some beach volleyball or take part of some of the many water activities. One of hidden gems of Milwaukee and something to include in your vacation plans are the parks. If you are driving around your head will be spinning as you will notice one beautiful park after another. This is no accident, there are 15,000 acres of park in Milwaukee County and they received the 2009 National Gold Medal for Excellence for their park and Recreation Management Program. The parks are great spots to relax, they offer up great activities and if you love music you will find a number of parks offer free music throughout the summer.

One of the many amazing parks in Milwaukee

Venturing out into the warm evening air of Milwaukee you certainly can find plenty to occupy your time into the early hours of the morning. Milwaukee is one city that you just have to venture down any street and you will find a welcoming bar that will make you feel as if you have been a resident all of your life. While bars are aplenty, there is only one iconic bar that will make you want to scour the streets of Milwaukee to find it. The Safe House is not going to be on a map or in a phone book, you are going to have to do your homework or bribe someone to find it. Once you get in, if you can get in, it is worth it. A bar loaded with history, ambiance and fun, you will enjoy yourself from the moment you enter until you leave at last call.

Downtown Milwaukee you will find the ever growing Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Ever growing, because it is so popular that a 500,000 square foot addition was needed to keep its customers happy. The gaming increased as the number of slot machines more than doubled to 3,100 and they also added more than 100 table games. A great place to take care of that Las Vegas, but even if you don’t gamble the Dream Dance Steak House is a must visit while you are in Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Root Beer Venison Rossini is one of the most decadent dishes in the entire country. The tender and flavorful venison is perfectly complimented by the foie grois, this is the type of dish you finish and you just want to sit back with a glass of red wine and reminiscence about all those flavors you just enjoyed.

Milwaukee lives up equally well to one of its other nicknames “Brew City,” with a history that is tied to the brewery industry. The Miller Brewery tour, now known as MillerCoors, is on most lists of places to visit when you come to Milwaukee, one not quite well known spot but I would highly recommend is Lakefront Brewery. Home to award-winning beer, you will be treated to an entertaining tour, four six ounce beers and you will walk about with a souvenir pint glass all for only seven dollars, this is one of the best deals in the city. If you enjoy some great spirtis, you will love the Great Lakes Distillery. Wisconsin's first distillery since the Prohibition era, you will get the chance to sample some award-winning handcrafted vodka, gin and absinthe. The creations from Great Lakes Distillery are so highly thought of that as soon as they are put out for sale, they are usually gone that same day.

When it comes to finding a place to recover from your day and night of adventures, Milwaukee provides a number of great hotels that are right in the heart of the city which allows you to enjoy lakefront and parks by foot. A prime spot if you are doing a little longer stay would be the Astor Hotel. A very classic and historic hotel, the rooms are almost more like a small apartment than your typical hotel room. The Iron Horse Hotel opened in 2008 and has quickly gained the reputation as the luxurious spot in Milwaukee. As with many of the older buildings in Milwaukee, to keep the history and all the great style the Iron Horse was created through the transformation of a 100-year old warehouse that became a 102-room boutique hotel. You get the historical look with the exposed beams, brick walls and iron details while also giving you all the style and luxury of the finest hotels.

Award-Winning Bourbon from Great Lakes Distillery

You can’t think of Milwaukee without thinking of Harley Davidson and with the creation of the Harley Davidson Museum in 2008, you are given the chance to live the history of the iconic motorcycle. The museum gives you a glimpse at the history behind Harley and you will get to view motorcycles from every era as well as getting the chance to learn about their historical impact. From June 11 through August 21 this summer you will get the chance to visit the latest Harley exhibit, Collection X: Weird Wild Wonders of the Harley Davidson Museum. This will give you a chance to view some oddities, secret prototypes and an assortment of rare and bizarre pieces that you might never come across again.

Classic Harley Davidson

If you want to find out why people endure the frigid winters of Wisconsin, all you have to do is visit Milwaukee for those few glorious summer months when there is not enough sunlight in the day to fit in all this historic city has to offer.

Lakefront Brewery

For more information on Summerfest, visit:

For more information on the Harley-Davidson Museum, visit:

For more information on Potowatomi Bingo and Casino, visit:

For more information on the Harley-Davidson Museum, visit:

For more information on festivals, visit:

For more information on Milwaukee, visit:

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