If you’re planning a trip to Milwaukee and want to discover more about this city’s history, you’re in the right place! Beyond its renowned brewing heritage and Happy Days, Milwaukee is famous for much more — including motorcycles, baseball, and frozen custard! So keep reading our blog as we walk you through Milwaukee’s most famous things to enjoy on your trip.
At City Tours MKE, we love showing visitors and locals hidden gems in Milwaukee beyond the guidebooks. Take a look at our array of Milwaukee day tours to choose tours centered on history, art, breweries, and more. Or get in touch with our local team to find the perfect experience for you and your travel party.
1. Milwaukee is Famous for Beer and Breweries
Ok, we know we said that Milwaukee is more than a hotspot for a good brewski, but did you know that our city has been home to over 70 breweries and over 100 brewing companies in its history? There are now over 20 breweries in the city, ranging from brewing giants like Molson Coors to independent breweries.
2. Ayyyy! Happy Days is a Famous Milwaukee TV Classic
Set in Milwaukee in the 1950s, Happy Days was a lighthearted sitcom featuring a classic Midwest family and the greaser who lives above their garage, Fonzie. This leather jacket-clad smooth talker quickly became an audience favorite.
Today, the show remains so popular in Milwaukee that there’s even a statue of Fonzie downtown! If you want a photo with the ‘Bronze Fonz’ as he’s known locally, be sure to stop by Milwaukee’s RiverWalk at E. Wells St. The statue is life-sized, but you may find that you’re a little taller than this big personality!
3. Milwaukee is Famous for Having an Annual Alice Cooper Day
Headed to Milwaukee around October 1st? Prepare to hear this rock and roll icon’s songs blasting around the city because October 1st is none other than Alice Cooper Day! This celebration was declared by former Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett in 2021, who was clearly a big fan of Wayne’s World.
In the movie, Cooper gives the humorous heroes an impromptu history lesson on the etymology of ‘Mil-ee-wau-kay’, which comes from the Algonquian word ‘Millioke’ meaning ‘the Good Land’ in Ojibwa, Potawatomi, and Menominee languages. This cameo put our city on the map for thousands of moviegoers.
4. Milwaukee is Famous for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company was founded in Milwaukee more than 100 years ago. Since then, its motorcycles have become one of the most iconic brands worldwide. Located on 400 West Canal Street, this Harley hub has a museum, a store, a factory outlet, and Motor Bar and Restaurant! A perfect day out for motorcycle enthusiasts and people who enjoy the chilled-out vibes of Harley-Davidson.
5. Yum! Milwaukee is Famous for Frozen Custard
As the unofficial frozen custard capital of the world, Milwaukee is home to several dessert shops that serve this tasty treat. While this dish is pretty self-explanatory, the taste is out of this world! With different flavors like chocolate, strawberry, pecan, Oreo, and more, there’s a scoop for everyone to enjoy. Gilles is one of the city’s oldest shops, currently run by the third generation of this family business, so be sure to check it out.
6. Milwaukee is Famous for its Baseball Team — the Brewers
Batter up! The Milwaukee Brewers are a Major League baseball team and a source of hometown pride every time they play. With eight Brewers initiated into the Baseball Hall of Fame and 70 Brewers selected to play in the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game, there is plenty to love about the Brewers and their history. Visit the team’s home and catch a game at American Family Field.
7. Milwaukee is Famous for Summerfest and Other Epic Festivals
Not content with being known as the Brew City, Milwaukee is also called the City of Festivals, hosting more than 100 festivals a year! One of its most iconic is Summerfest, which has been hosted in the city since 1968 and features more than 800 bands and 900,000 music lovers each year.
Located in Henry Maier Festival Park, overlooking Lake Michigan, the festival lasts for three weekends and artists across genres. Check out the lineup at Summerfest’s website. There are also a bunch more festivals, including Polish, Irish, and Mexican festivals plus celebrations of Black culture and LGBTIA Pride.
That brings our list of famous Milwaukee things to an end, but there is plenty more to discover when you visit. The brave-hearted may want to learn more about Milwaukee’s haunted history or, if you want to get the skinny on all things Milwaukee, you could enjoy our Iconic Milwaukee Tour.
Whatever you’re looking for, the expert team at City Tours MKE will find the perfect experience for you. Just get in touch with us to find out more.