The Autumnal Equinox is on September 22. But there’s plenty to do before summer is over. And, if you follow this list, you won’t have to spend much to do it all.
Music and festivals
Brady Street (duh)
With stages sponsored by 88Nine, Absolut, Bud Light, David “One Call, That’s All!” Gruber and Wisconsin Dairy Farmers, this street fest is going to bring a diversity of acts to the Lower East Side. There’s also going to be can’t-miss tricks from Division BMX throughout the day, pro wrestling matches at 4 p.m., and a nighttime performance from the The Milwaukee Flyers tumbling team.
There’s a mess of festivals across the metro area, not just in Henry W. Maier Festival Park. Lionsfests across the county nail that neighborhood festival vibe, from classic cars and dinners in South Milwaukee at the end of July, to the polka mass and carnival rides over Labor Day weekend in Oak Creek.
Kinnickinnic Avenue, between Potter and Clement
Rock music? Check. Performers for kids? Got ’em. Food trucks? Of course! Hipsters? Without a doubt.
Milwaukee Bucks arena grand opening and block party
901 N. Fourth St.
It’s not up for debate anymore. The Milwaukee Bucks are on the up. And the christening of the team’s new arena, newly dubbed Fiserv Forum, will be celebrated with a block-wide party. Attendees can get a sneak peek of the stadium two months before the team’s 51st season tips off, and two weeks before superstar comedian Kevin Hart performs.
Get in the know. Below we’ve listed some of the tricks for getting into MKE locales without costing a cent, even though they usually have a fee.
On the first Thursday of every month, everyone gets in for free, courtesy of Kohl’s. The only dates remaining this summer are Aug. 2 and Sept. 6.
Wander the gardens free of charge on the first Tuesday of the month for county residents.
Every Monday, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is open to the public, but only if you have a Milwaukee County ID.
Okay, so all of the zoo’s free days are technically over for the summer, but there are three more remaining in 2018: Oct. 6, Nov. 3 and Dec. 1.
Milwaukee may not be awash with murals and sculptures like some American cities, but you can enter a world of color if you know where to look. Sculpture Milwaukee is back for its second year, with 21 sculptures on display along Wisconsin Ave. through Oct. 21. Black Cat Alley features a constantly-changing collection of street art between the Oriental Theatre and Colectivo in the Northpoint neighborhood. For a wider look of the city, check out MKEMuralMap.com.
530 N. 13th St
Since 1984, Marquette University has housed one of the few free fine arts galleries in Milwaukee. From now until August, exhibitions will be done display featuring Wisconsin artist Elsa Ulbricht and work from Nohl fellows. And starting Aug. 17, Sable Elyse Smith’s “Ordinary Violence” and Kirsten Leenaars’ “(Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles” will fill the space.
There’s something free going on in Milwaukee almost every weeknight in the summertime.
Thursdays until Aug. 30
Cathedral Square Park
It’s been going on since May, but Jazz in the Park is a staple of Thursdays in Milwaukee, and it’s absolutely free. Of course, if you want to spend some dollars on food trucks or drinks you’re welcome, but we find music from the likes of Cache MKE (Aug. 2) and the Chicago Tribute Anthology (Aug. 30) is best enjoyed with a homemade picnic on the grass of Cathedral Square.
1900 E. Kenwood Blvd.
There are five dates left to see the stars up close. Stargazing will be held on Friday, July 27 and Wednesday Aug. 29, and there are three more free AstroBreaks planetarium shows on three Wednesdays: Aug. 15, Sept. 12 and Sept. 19 — the last two AstroBreaks will focus on the always puzzling topic of “Space Weather.”
Mondays until Aug. 27
Music in the Park is finally of drinking age. The weekly concert series turned 21 in 2018, and its musical tastes fit that bill, offering more refined acts like the Chicago Samba Quartet (July 30) and Bernstein covers from Racine’s Wendy Hill & Kurt Ollman (Aug. 27). For kid-friendly events, stop by Lake Park on Wednesdays until Aug. 8.
1721 W. Canal St.
You don’t need to spend big to enjoy the amenities at Potawatomi. Almost every day there will be a free concert, with twice-weekly performances from the multitalented cover-man Al White.