9 Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Milwaukee and Beyond

Independence Day is here! And there’s so many ways to celebrate!

Downtown Fireworks and Kite Festival 

Photo by John Quinnies

Before fireworks flutter through the sky, see ornate kites dancing elegantly in the wind above at Veteran’s Park (1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.) July 3 before the biggest fireworks show in the city commences at 9:30 p.m. 

Independence Day Celebration at Old World Wisconsin

If you’re up for a drive and you want to get colonial, Old World Wisconsin’s Independence Day Celebration (W. 372 S. 9727, Hwy. 67, Eagle, WI) provides a rustic, fun get-away for the whole family. Festivities include a greased pole contest and an old-fashioned parade. Plus, you can make your own ice cream. 


Photo courtesy of Summerfest

The Big Gig (200 N. Harbor Dr.) will be open for the holiday, so go see some live music and soak in the sun by the lake. Check our Summerfest daily coverage for more details on activities at the world’s largest music festival. It’s also a great place to see some fireworks.

Milwaukee Parks

aerial view of the Mitchell Park Domes
Photo courtesy of The Park People of Milwaukee County

The city’s best gathering places will be hosting outdoor fun all day leading up to fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Here are a few highlights:

Mitchell Park

If you want to see some sweet and sour bedlam, there’s a pie-eating contest at 11:45 a.m., with games and other activities for the family followed by DJ Dan’s Music of the Years from 6 to 9 p.m. (524 S. Layton Blvd.)

Humboldt Park

Humboldt (3000 S. Howell Ave.) is a one-stop shop for all of the glorious Americana of the holiday. There will be a parade starting at 9 a.m., followed by a decorated vehicle contest for kids from noon to 1:45 p.m. and a donut hole eating contest at 12:15 p.m. A talent show will be on the grounds from 2 to 5 p.m., and a free concert by Kids from Wisconsin will feature 36 kids showcasing their talents from 7:15 to 9 p.m. 

Wilson Park

Among a deluge of bike and buggy contests and arts and crafts in the morning, the Milwaukee Flyers will perform at 10 a.m. If you’re unfamiliar, the Flyers are a non-profit that teaches kids how to tumble in the inner city. (1601 W. Howard Ave.)

Enderis Playfield

Start off the day with an Americana Trivia Game at 9:30 a.m. and stick around for an Americana sing-a-long at 10 a.m. Later on at 11 a.m. there will be a watermelon eating contest. (2978 N. 72nd St.)

Museum Musings 

If you want to see a color palette besides red, white and blue, the Milwaukee Art Museum (700 N. Art Museum Dr.) will be fully operational and continuing that most vaunted tradition of free admission on the first Thursday of the month. 

For an orange and black selection, head to the Harley-Davidson Museum ( 400 W. Canal St.), which will be open and celebrating its weekly Bike Night at the MOTOR Bar and Restaurant. Radio Wranglers will perform live; plus there will be giveaways and 3 dollar koozie specials from 5 to 9 p.m.