Penguin Exhibit

8 Free Things to do in Milwaukee Before Winter Ends

The skies are still cold and gray, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep your spirits warm and bright!

Winter doesn’t officially end until Mar. 20, and it’s not unusual to see snow in Milwaukee even in April. If you’re like us, though, you’re starting to get a case of cold-weather cabin fever.

Why not throw aside that pile of blankets and venture outside to check out one (or all) of these free events before spring officially arrives?

The UWM Annual Festival of Films in French

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Through Feb. 25

The university’s celebrated French Film festival turns 21 this year, which is reason enough to raise a glass of champagne (or sparkling grape juice) and spend an evening oh la la-ing over the latest and greatest films from the country that brought us Audrey Tautou. A complete schedule is available online.

Katheryn Corbin: Migrant Opening Reception

Lynden Sculpture Garden
Feb. 25

Katheryn Corbin sculpts life-sized ceramic works of art that comment upon our current political and cultural climate. See some of her most recent works before almost anyone else at the opening of her Lynden exhibition, which will remain on view through May 27.

Free Class Day

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
Feb. 25

First Stage is holding a day-long open house, and students in grades 5-12 are invited to join the acclaimed children’s theater company for free acting classes – at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. The lessons, which are broken down by age level, end with a Q&A session led by First Stage Teaching Artists. Visit the company’s website to learn more or RSVP online.

Kohl’s Thank You Thursday

The Milwaukee Public Museum
Mar. 1

Travel through time without spending a dime. The first Thursday of every month, Milwaukee residents get into the Public Museum for free, gaining access to many of its most popular exhibits – including The Streets of Old Milwaukee, a series of sprawling dioramas that give visitors a sense of what life would have been like in the Cream City around 1900.

Family Free Day

Milwaukee County Zoo
Mar. 3

Toss on a scarf and spend the afternoon perfecting your penguin walk while strolling through the scenic grounds of the Milwaukee County Zoo – admission is free for all visitors today. Some of animals will still be in their cold-weather quarters (you may think you hibernate for the winter, but you’ve got nothing on these guys) but many more will be visible.

Drink and Draw

Var Gallery
Mar. 5

On the first Monday of every month, the Var Gallery invites arty inebriates to let their creative, and alcoholic, juices flow, during a laid-back drawing session with a live model. The event isn’t technically free, but it only costs a dollar to attend.

The Pfister Book Club

The Rouge Ballroom
Mar. 8

Did you know that the Pfister Hotel’s current narrator in residence, Nicole Mattke, hosts a free, monthly book club? Welp, now you do. This month the club will be discussing Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. And pastry chef Travis Martinez is preparing a complimentary (and complementary) dessert inspired by the book.

St Patrick’s Day Parade

Downtown Milwaukee
Mar. 10

Believe it or not, Patrick isn’t the patron saint of parades or beer. But you’ll have a chance to enjoy both today, while cheering alongside thousands of other Wisconsinites. There’ll be live music and dancing too.



Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.