The Best Things to Do in Milwaukee This May

Get outside with stunning gardens, a wacky race and more spring fun.


Boerner Botanical Gardens


Flower fans rejoice, it’s finally open! Watch for wildflowers, forsythias and tulips – lots and lots of tulips! – which are in peak season this month only. Check out Art in the Gardens on May 1 to shop items from local makers and peruse what’s in bloom.

Photo via Boerner Botanical Gardens’ Facebook


Lynden Sculpture Garden by Night

MAY 15

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the sculptures under the light of the full blood moon on May 15. After the guided tour, stick around for treats and a bonfire.

Photo courtesy of Lynden Sculpture Garden



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Milwaukee Farmers Markets


It’s the big switch from indoor to outdoor markets this month. Some dates to jot down: Opening day for Brookfield and West Allis is May 7; Oak Creek kicks off May 14; the Tosa sneak peek is May 28.

Plants and flowers are early spring draws at the West Allis Farmers Market; Photo courtesy of West Allis Farmers Market


Bubble Run

MAY 21

This 5K is littered with “Bubble Bogs,” which are mountains of bubbles you can run through. The course is flat, making it suitable for runners of all ages and fitness levels – even stroller pushers are welcome. Run, walk or dance your way through the course, or just show up at Wisconsin State Fair Park on May 21 to watch the festivities.

Photo via Bubble Run website


Maifest Germantown

MAY 21-22

Can’t wait until German Fest? Celebrate the arrival of spring in the traditional German way at this festival, which takes place May 21-22. Expect Bavarian pretzels, dancing and more.

Photo by Getty Images


Bradford Beach Volleyball

MAY 31

It’s sand volleyball season, and Bradford Beach is where the action is. Sign up for league play with options for beginners (pick the C league) and experienced players (A or Open leagues). Create teams for doubles or sixes and pick the weekday that suits your schedule Sunday-Thursday. Team registration is open through May 24 and league play kicks off May 31.

Bradford Beach volleyball; Photo by Visit Mlwaukee


Tulip Festival


This unique festival is in Spring Grove, Illinois, is less than an hour’s drive from Milwaukee, and definitely worth a trip. Go for the headliner – 300,000 bulbs of 30 varieties of tulips – and stay for the food trucks and to snip your own bouquet. Dates depend on bloom season, but are typically early- to mid-May.

Richardson Adventure Farm Tulip Festival; Photo by Evan Watters


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s May issue.

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Alli Watters is the digital and culture editor at Milwaukee Magazine. That means that in addition to running this website, she covers art, entertainment, style, home and more for the magazine. It also means she doesn't sleep much.