15 Things to Add to Your Milwaukee Bucket List for 2018

From the classic (closing Wolski’s) to the new (watching the Bucks play at the new arena), see how many of these items you can check off your MKE bucket list in 2018.

“Paddle” your way down the Milwaukee River.

While you may have pedaled your way through the Third Ward or Walker’s Point on a Pedal Tavern, 2018 is the second season you can see our beautiful city from the water on a Paddle Tavern. Bring your own beer (and food).

Attend one last Buck’s game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

The Bucks’ final season at their current digs is already underway, but you have through the beginning of ’18 to catch your last game before they move to the new arena. If sports aren’t your thing, catch one last concert or show before the Bradley Center is demolished, some time in the summer. Might we suggest Bon Iver on Feb. 17 or Lorde on Mar. 1?

Take a boozy art class at Bay View Printing Co.

Make your own antique wood poster at Bay View Printing Co. (2702 S. Howell Ave.), where you’re encouraged to imbibe during a BYO Drink & Ink class.

Bowl at Holler House.

Milwaukee is home to the oldest sanctioned bowling alley in the United States, with manual pinsetters on staff to reset the pins and the original floorboards still intact from 1908. Grab a drink at the tavern upstairs before heading down to Holler House‘s (2042 W. Lincoln Ave.) basement, where you’ll find the historical set of lanes.

Holler House. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Check out Milwaukee Film Fest.

This coming year is a special one for Milwaukee Film Fest, which has grown into one of the country’s top five most attended film festivals. So if you have yet to attend, here are a couple reasons to: 2018 marks the festival’s 10th anniversary and in July, Milwaukee Film will begin its ownership of The Oriental Theatre, one of the event’s main venues.

MKE Film at the Oriental

Shake Shack
An assortment of Shack burgers. Photo by Kelly Rippl

Eat a Shake Shack burger.

The wildly popular New York-based burger joint opened its first Wisconsin location this December in the Third Ward (220 E. Buffalo St.). Find out what all the buzz is about and sink your teeth into one of the resto’s famous ShackBurgers®. 

See a Bucks game at the new arena.

Set to open just in time for the 2018 NBA season, the new state-of-the-art Bucks arena will undoubtedly attract plenty of basketball fans. Check out the 2018 Bucks schedule here

Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks

Go rock climbing.

You don’t have to scale the Grand Canyon to learn how to rock climb. Adventure Rock‘s (2220 N. Commerce St.) climbing facility boasts 43-foot ceilings and 18,000 square feet of climbing walls. Adventure Rock

Taste something outlandish at Wisconsin State Fair.

You could stand in the ridiculously long line for a cream puff, or you could go out on a limb and try one of the crazy and unique food items State Fair is known for offering. May we suggest bacon ravioli, cricket nachos or a deep-fried Twinkie with cotton candy filling?

Road trip to Eau Claire for the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

You’ll want to check Eaux Claires (July 6 and 7) off your music festival bucket list while tickets are still (relatively) affordable. Curated by Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner, last year’s impressive and versatile lineup included Chance the Rapper, Sylvan Esso, Wilco and more.

Eaux Claires music festival
Photo by Zoe Prinds

Spend a night in Wisconsin’s first “tiny house village.”

Okay, so this isn’t in Milwaukee either, but the unique experience of spending a night in one of these scenic tiny cabins or houses-on-wheels at Canoe Bay Escape Village (W16065 Hogback Rd, Chetek) is well worth the four-hour drive. The tiny homes, which are modernized and often feature full-size appliances, are spread out over 100 acres of private lakes, rolling woodlands and wetlands.

Photo by ESCAPE RV/Steve Niedorf

Ride the Milwaukee streetcar.

Whether you supported the highly debated streetcar project or not, if you’re a Milwaukee resident you likely had to deal with the inconveniences of its construction. Expected to be up and running in late 2018, you’ll want to experience this paramount juncture in the city’s history.

Photo courtesy of the City of Milwaukee

Enjoy a fish fry at Fritz’s Pub.

Fritz’s Pub (3086 S. 20th St.), which opened in 1978, is highly regarded for its consistently tasty and affordable fish fry. Get in there and taste for yourself before its owners retire in September 2018. 

Just your average Friday – haddock and the fixings, coloring books and markers – at Fritz’s Pub. Photo by Chris Kessler

Tour one of MKE’s newest breweries.

Milwaukee has experienced a notable surge of new breweries since late 2015. Tour one of the brewing spots new within the last year, such as City Lights Brewing (2200 W. Mt. Vernon Ave.) or Explorium Brewpub (5300 S. 76th St.).

Brew kettles in a brewhouse

Close Wolski’s.

Can you really call yourself a Milwaukeean if you haven’t closed Wolski’s (1836 N. Pulaski St.)? Munch on popcorn or play darts as you imbibe and join the scores of residents (and non-residents) who boast an “I Closed Wolski’s” bumper sticker.

I Closed Wolski's Bumper Sticker



Elisabeth Wallock is a contributing digital editor at Milwaukee Magazine. She graduated from Colorado State University and has interned at Marie Claire in New York and Urban Outfitters in London.