Milwaukee cross-country skiing

Milwaukee Cheap & Free: Get Outside This Winter

When cabin fever strikes, make like a true Wisconsinite and take advantage of the crisp winter air and snowy landscape (while spending next to nothing).

As tempting as it may be to cozy up on the couch with your favorite Netflix series when the temperatures drop, there is plenty of fun to be had outside in Wisconsin’s winter wonderland. Beyond the benefits of fresh air and physical exercise, outdoor activities also cost little to nothing. So bundle up, lace up your skates or grab your sled and get ready to make the most of our state’s cold weather.

Winter sunset in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Photo by Getty Images

$20 and under:

Take a Dog Sled Ride at Whitnall Park

Address: 5879 S. 92nd St., Franklin
Estimated Price: $15-$20

Let this recreational sled dog team take you for a ride around Whitnall Park. The team of rescue dogs, led by mushers Rick Desotelle and Bonnie Ulrich, includes seven purebred Siberian Huskies, five Alaskan Huskies and a Collie/Husky mix. Each Sunday from January through mid-February from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Rick and Bonnie offer dog sled rides, photo opportunities, Q&A time and visits with the dogs. Adults pay $20; children pay $15.

Photo courtesy of Door County Sled Dogs

$10 and under:

Ice Skate at Red Arrow Park

Address: 920 N. Water St.
Estimated Price: $0-$8

Red Arrow Park’s refrigerated ice rink, Slice of Ice, accommodates up to 100 people and is open through February (or March, if the weather permits). If you get too chilly, head into the warming house for some coffee or hot cocoa from Starbucks. Skating is free if you bring your own skates, and you can have your blades sharpened for $6. Ages 18 and up pay $8 for skate rentals while ages 17 and under pay $7. Get more information on hours and skate rentals.

$5 and under:

Pick Up Holey Moley Doughnuts and Watch the Sun Rise

Address: 316 N. Milwaukee St. (Holey Moley Coffee + Doughnuts), 2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. (Bradford Beach)
Estimated price: $2.25-$5

Before the sun rises, bundle up, pack a blanket and thermos of coffee, and head to Holey Moley to pick up a heavenly doughnut (or two) on your way to Bradford Beach. Park your car in the parking lot outside Northpoint Custard, grab your blanket and your treats and set up a comfortable viewing spot to watch the sun come up over icy Lake Michigan. 

Holes in one? Selections from Holey Moley. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.


Go sledding at Humboldt Park

Address: 3000 S. Howell Ave.
Estimated price: $0

Whether you choose a sled, snow tube or toboggan as your vehicle of choice, flying down on a snow-covered hill on a crisp winter day is never overrated – no matter how old you are. Humboldt Park offers both day and night sledding, with the hill lighted from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Father and son sledding down hill
Photo courtesy of Pixabay



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.