The Top 10 Things to Do in Milwaukee in July

As summer heats up, events bring booms, beats and burnouts.





July 3

FREE —They’re back, baby. And with a literal bang. After months of worrying about whether anyone would step forward to sponsor Milwaukee’s annual fireworks display, we learned that American Family Insurance, T&M Partners and the Milwaukee Brewers Foundation have teamed up to foot the bill for the 2019 show. So now we have another reason to root for the home team.

The July 3 fireworks over O’Donnell Park in 2015. Photo by Eddee Daniel.




Billie Eilish

July 6
American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest

Billie Eilish performing two years ago in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Justin Higuchi.

You wouldn’t expect a silver-haired teenager who wears oversized sweat suits and accessorizes with spiders to become a chart-topping pop star. But 17-year-old Billie Eilish already has seven gold and two platinum singles under her (spiked) belt. And she’s sure to be one of the most-talked-about headliners at Summerfest this year.




Beatriz Williams

July 14
Lynden Sculpture Garden

Listening to a New York Times bestseller read from her latest book is good. Chatting her up beforehand – in an idyllic sculpture garden dotted with trees and ponds – is even better. The $31 ticket for this author reading includes an autographed copy of Williams’ new novel, The Golden Hour, plus refreshments and admission to the gardens.




Sunday Funday

July 14
Brady Street

Neighborhood festivals and farmers markets are both summer staples. So it makes sense that the Brady Street BID would want to combine the two and create a monthly “Sunday Funday,” where farmers and artisans can sell locally grown produce and art.




Street Drags

July 16
Wisconsin State Fair Park

The Milwaukee Mile – a racetrack that first opened in 1903 and had once been known as the oldest continuously operating track in the country – quietly closed in 2015. But, thanks to the efforts of local fans, it’s up and running again this year, for a series of drag races and car shows open to amateurs. In other words, this is your chance to finally see how fast your car really can speed through Stallis – legally.

The Milwaukee Mile. Photo by Bruce Nuttleman.




Waukesha County Fair

July 17-21
Waukesha County Fairgrounds

Wisconsin’s oldest fair has all the attractions you’d expect – livestock auctions, pig races, a demolition derby – plus some you wouldn’t. Count the Nerveless Nocks, Swiss acrobats and stunt artists who jump through hoops at high speeds, in that second group. And don’t leave without catching at least one of the on-site concerts, such as closing-night headliner Jefferson Starship.




Garfield Avenue Festival

July 20
Garfield Avenue between Fourth and Seventh streets

FREE — At this long-running block party, which got its start as a blues festival, musicians take center stage. In past years, local jazz and R&B legends such as Harvey Scales have received tributes. And event organizers have begun to incorporate hip-hop acts and DJs into the lineup, too.

Get caught up with MilMag’s 2019 Milwaukee Festival Guide




5k Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk

July 27
Miller Park

In Spain, they run with the bulls; in Milwaukee, we run with the brats. This is your chance to jog alongside the Famous Racing Sausages. The course winds through and around Miller Park and is open to athletes of all ability levels. Plus, participants receive a Brewers ticket and get to enjoy a post-5k tailgate party.

Illustration by Allison Beilke




True Skool Block Party

July 27
Marcus Center

FREE — Since it was founded in 2004, True Skool has been creating arts and social justice programs for young people. Today, the programming takes the form of a massive party open to the city, complete with an impromptu skate park, maker market and break-dancing battles.




De La Buena at Musical Mondays

July 29
Lake Park

A moment at Musical Mondays in May 2017. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks.

FREE — De La Buena – a 10-piece band with an Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz sound – has become a fixture of Milwaukee’s festival circuit over the last decade. And for good reason. The band’s members are continuously adding to and improving on their repertoire. And regardless of how many times you’ve seen them play, you never know quite what to expect from one of their live performances.

“The Top 10: July” appears in the July 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning July 1, or buy a copy at

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