4 Ways to Get Active in Milwaukee This Summer

Why not burn a few calories while having fun in the sun?


1. Bocce Time


The game is simple – roll the ball as close as possible to the other ball – but on a warm summer afternoon, drink in hand, it’s bellissimo. The heavy Italian influx into Milwaukee, especially on the East Side, brought bocce to our shores in the early 20th century. Festa Italiana has always been the prime summer spot for bocce, but unfortunately, it’s canceled again for 2021. Fret not, there are other options available. The Italian Community Center hosts eight-week leagues throughout the year, each culminating with a tournament to crown a champion. And the Cue Club of Wisconsin in Waukesha hosts indoor bocce, including a seasonal nine-week league. Last but not least, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the forthcoming Ope! Brewing in West Allis (A+ name). The taproom plans to open late this summer with outdoor bocce courts ready to roll.

Photo by Getty Images


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2. Bumpin’ Around Town


Sand volleyball is the name of the game here in Milwaukee, and it’s a popular one. You can find courts at local parks, beaches and even bars. Here are our top picks for where to play. 

FOR CASUAL SETS ON THE BEACH: There’s no need for commitment at Bradford Beach during open play. And because of the “share the net” policy, you can show up solo or with a buddy and tap into a game. Keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid league times – 6-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 3-7 p.m. Sunday. Keep apprised of tournaments and other events including camps and group or private lessons at volley-life.com.

IF YOU’RE BRINGING THE BLOCK PARTY: Take your group to one of Milwaukee’s volley-bars. Our top recommendation goes to Fat Daddy’s (120 W. National Ave.) and its three sandy volleyball courts. Grab a pitcher (or two) and get your team on the list for open play. Pickup is not as much of a thing here, so you’ll want to bring your own players. Again, league nights, which vary week to week (fatdaddyball.com), are no-fly zones.

Bradford Beach; Photo by Visit Milwaukee

3. Skateboarding for Groups


When Nick Lewis got back into skateboarding in 2020 after about eight years, at the relatively ripe age of 30, he found a new but familiar community. While looser pants and rap have replaced skinny jeans and metal, and electric skateboards are a thing now, the beef between scooter riders and skaters is apparently eternal. Lewis’ regular trips to the Tosa Skate Park have led him to new friends – other graybeards in their 30s, 40s and 50s who now skate together all the time. And the younger kids remind him of himself in his earlier years. That’s the one thing about skating, Lewis says: While the stuff around the edges might change, the love for the sport stays the same. 


DELAFIELD SKATE PARK: Silvernail Road next to town hall
HART PARK: Wauwatosa

Photo courtesy of Bradford Bishop
Photo courtesy of Bradford Bishop

4. Try Something New: Spikeball


Invented in 1989, this sport has come into its own in the last decade, growing to the point that multiple spikeball tournaments are now held around the country. It works like this: Two teams of two stand around a circular net on the ground. The goal is the same as volleyball – hit it to the other team and make them miss – except instead of passing it over a net, you have to spike it onto a ground net kind of like a small trampoline. You’ll soon be bounding around after spikes and sets for an unmatched good time. A standard set costs $60, and the game is perfect for the beach, where you can dive dramatically for long-shot hits, but it’s entirely suitable at any park. If you want to go beyond casual, Brewtown Rec (brewtownrecreation.com) often offers seasonal spikeball leagues for some healthy competition.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s June issue.

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