15 Fun Things to Do in Milwaukee This October

Have yourself a ghoulishly good time this Halloween, and the rest of the month too.

Milwaukee: A City Built on Water

Oct. 1

Centennial Hall

Listen to local historian and author (of 21 books!) John Gurda read from his latest work, Milwaukee: A City Built on Water. The book expands on the work Gurda did with PBS for the 2015 TV program of the same name.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls

Oct. 3
Fiserv Forum

If you haven’t scoped out the Bucks’ new arena yet, your first chance to see it in basketball action comes tonight as our fearsome deer open the preseason against their Windy City rivals.

photo courtesy of Milwaukee Bucks, by Eric Bledsoe


Oct. 6-Jan. 6
Milwaukee Public Museum

Cozy up to brilliantly colored tree frogs, fearsome-looking horned frogs and even deadly poisonous dart frogs. This traveling exhibition boasts lots of live amphibians hopping through habitats painstakingly created to replicate their natural environments. It’s also chock-full of hands-on activities and special programming for visitors of all ages.

Milwaukee Cider and Nano Beer Fest

Oct. 6
Schlitz Park

Don’t just pick apples this season – drink them! At this celebration of small-batch craft beers and hard ciders, you can sample more than 40 selections while listening to a DJ blast upbeat music.

Autism Speaks Walk

Oct. 7
Wisconsin State Fair Park

Lace up your favorite pair of walking shoes and get ready to raise some money for autism-focused research and care. This event – which includes sensory activities, a quiet tent and soothing music – is the largest fundraiser of its kind.

Autism Speaks Walk

Lecture Series – Graeme Reed

Oct. 10

Hilton Milwaukee City Center

The Austrian artist Erwin Wurm – whose work is featured in Sculpture Milwaukee’s 2018 Wisconsin Avenue installation – creates colorful surrealist sculptures that seem to revel in humor and horror in equal measure. Tonight, Graeme Reed, from the Museum of Wisconsin Art, talks about the artist’s unique approach to figuration.

Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare

Oct. 12-Feb. 10
Jewish Museum Milwaukee

Experience the tumult of our country’s McCarthy years, when anyone deemed “un-American” faced public scrutiny and scorn. Even A-list Hollywood celebrities, including several from Wisconsin, feared being blacklisted for real or imagined communist sympathies.

Battle of the Chefs

Oct. 14
The Chef’s Table

Consider this evening event kind of like a real-life version of “Top Chef.” You can taste nine sample-sized dishes from some of the best chefs in the city over the course of the friendly competition, and clear your palate with a swig of champagne between bites.

Battle of the Chefs; photo by Amanda Evans Photography

Milwaukee Empty Bowls

Oct. 14
Kern Center

The culinary and ceramic arts collide at this popular fundraiser benefiting food pantries and meal programs around Milwaukee. Local chefs dish hearty soups into beautifully hand-crafted ceramic bowls, which patrons take home with them at the end of the evening – to remind them that many in the city go hungry.

Hunting Moon Pow Wow

Oct. 19-21

Wisconsin Center

Picture hundreds of colorfully attired dancers stomping and spinning and leaping across a crowded convention hall, with singers and drummers keeping the beat. This powwow, now in its 14th year, awards over $100,000 in prizes.

Gallery Night and Day

Oct. 19-20

Multiple Locations

The leaves are a riot of color, and so are the walls of many Milwaukee galleries. Over this event, which begins Friday evening and ends Saturday afternoon, you can chat up local artists while admiring their latest masterpieces.

The Milwaukee Beer Run

Oct. 20
Veterans Park

Struggling to motivate yourself to start up a running regime? Well, if you sign up for this popular 5k, now in its fifth year, you can reward yourself with a post-workout beer (plus a sweatshirt and commemorative pint glass). Reason enough to hit the gym. 

Food Fright

Oct. 25
Lakefront Brewery

At this annual fundraiser for Local First, you can sample dishes from Milwaukee vendors – like Purple Door Ice Cream and Saz’s State House – and vote for your favorites. Everyone who purchases a ticket also receives four free Lakefront pours, a haunted brewery tour and a chance to compete in a costume contest with a cash prize.

Food Fright

Halloween on Brady Street

Oct. 27
Multiple venues

Fourteen bars and restaurants along Brady will be holding coordinated costume contests, with frightfully good drink specials and prize packages offered to lure costume-clad revelers to their premises. And at midnight, the 14 winners will battle it out for top honors and bragging rights.

Craig Ferguson

Oct. 30
The Pabst Theater

It’s hard to say what funny man Craig Ferguson is best known for. His 10-year stint hosting “The Late Late Show”? His scene-stealing turn on “The Drew Carey Show”? Tonight you can catch the Scotsman’s side-splitting stand-up routine.

“October’s must-see arts and cultural events” appears in the October 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning Oct. 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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