9 Things to Do Before it Gets Cold, Milwaukee Style

With Wisconsin winter closing in, Milwaukeeans will soon be forced indoors to survive the cold. But there’s still time to close out the summer with a few Cream City must-dos.

Paddle or Picnic in Veterans Park

Unless you’re one of those polar plunge radicals, days at the beach are in short supply. But there are still ways to get out on the water without freezing your summer-loving butt off. Paddle boating on Veterans Lagoon in Veterans Park remains open through October. The park is open year-round, but picnic season closes on Oct. 15 if you want to grill out or have an otherwise significant event. However, if January brings one of those inexplicably warm weeks, it’s still a nice spot to spend one of your first weekends of next year.

Peruse a Farmers Market

Perhaps the greatest casualty of the cold is the end of the growing season for Wisconsin’s farms and gardeners. That also means that (most) farmers markets will be shutting down for the season sometime in October. But even after it gets cold, there are several indoor, year-round markets to check out, such as the one at Mitchell Park Conservatory, another in Oconomowoc and there’s always the Milwaukee Public Market.

Photo by Meghan Quadracci.

Hit up Your Favorite Beer Garden One Last Time

You can’t spell Milwaukee without beer. Okay, that might not work English-wise, but it might as well be true. Wisconsin brews more than almost every other state, and part of that comes in thanks to the cultural love for bars and beer gardens. The Americanized biergartens have only grown in Milwaukee in recent years, a trend that can be expected to become a city tradition. Better yet, most of them are going to be open through October, some of them saving last call for November.

Thank God it’s TGI Friday’s at Miller Park

Prepare for the end of the Brew Crew’s season by actually getting dinner at the TGI Friday’s Front Row restaurant like you always say you’re going to, but never actually do. It’s a full restaurant open 365 days a year within one of the MLB’s grandest ballparks. And it’s not often you get to hang out inside an empty, 41,900-seat coliseum.

Visit the Wisconsin Dells

There’s still time to escape for a weekend up to the Dells. Of course, indoor parks at the Kalahari, Chula Vista and Great Wolf Lodge are great and all, but many of their outdoor parks won’t be open much longer. Noah’s Ark may be closed for the year, but attractions like the Wisconsin Duck Tours and Mt. Olympus Theme Park are still open through October. With summer’s warmth fading, it’s now or never to get yourself to the Dells this year.

Dine al Fresco

So simple, yet you’ll miss it once it’s gone: the opportunities to eat under the sun are running short. Luckily, Milwaukee has oodles of restaurants with superb outdoor eating experiences. Start with our indispensable outdoor drinking and dining guide.  Then check out our readers’ favorite outdoor dining spots.

If you’re looking for a quicker bite, Milwaukee’s food trucks will be cooking their way through the end of the year. Check out some of our new favorite truck-grub options, all of which we hope will return next year.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.

I Scream for Ice Cream Custard!

Custard has a long history in this city. Delicious all year long, custard is best when it’s slowly melting in 70-degree weather. Some of the nation’s most famous custard stands are here in town (not to mention ice cream, fro yo, etc.), and they’re all worth a visit.

Boozing Across MKE

Although an icy pub crawl in winter may be more eventful (or catastrophic), making it from bar to bar is a lot easier pre-frost. Purchasing a pint at mainstays like Wolski’s or Landmark 1850 is a necessity for any true Milwaukeean, but hitting up eight bars back-to-back is just as authentic.

Take One Last Ride

Harley-Davidson has become so Milwaukee that its logo occupies Bucks’ jerseys starting this year. Wisconsinites love their bikes more than most every other state, behind only South Dakota, New Hampshire and Iowa, but weather is going to imprison your chopper soon. Giving your hog one last spin is going to be compulsory this fall, especially if summer weather holds out for just a little longer.

Photo courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Museum.



Adam is a journalist who recently returned to his Wisconsin home after graduating from Drake University in December 2017. He interned with MilMag in the summer of 2015 and has been a continual contributor ever since. Follow him on social media @Could_Be_Rogan