Things to Do in Milwaukee During Winter

Cream City Hostel

Milwaukee Events,
travel guide

November 16, 2019

Winters in Milwaukee are chilly, but with the right winter coat you can have a lot of fun. From snowshoeing in fresh powdery snow to ice skating downtown, there’s lots to do outside year round. With rates starting at $28 for a dorm bed, you will have plenty of money left to explore!

Snowshoe in the Park

The Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park is close to Cream City Hostel and rents equipment for winter activities. Become a member and gain access to a large equipment lending library with snowshoes, sleds, cross country skis, poles and boots and hockey and figure skates available. Membership rates are $50 for individuals (including one guest) and $60 for a family (all adults, children and grandchildren in the household under the age of 18 plus one guest).

Watch Winter Surfers

During winter, the waves on Lake Michigan are at their strongest. Surfers hop in the icy waters fully covered in neoprene material from head to toe. Lake Effect Surf Shop outfits surfers in the area who surf the swells at Atwater Beach in Shorewood.

See a Bucks Game

See the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team in action at the Fiserv Forum a mere two miles from the hostel. In 2019, the Bucks made it to the playoffs and the games were shown on a large screen outside the arena. Cheer on the Bucks in hopes they can make it to the playoffs again!

Skate at Red Arrow Park

Beginning in January, the ice skating rink at Red Arrow Park downtown opens. If you bring your own skates, the rink is free to use. Otherwise, it is $9 for adults and $7 for kids including skate rental.

Visit an Ice Bar

We’re crossing our fingers ice bars will come back to the Third Ward neighborhood! In 2019, three ice bars were located outside St. Paul Fish Company in the Public Market, Cafe Benelux and The Wicked Hop. What a cool way to enjoy the weather!

Dive in at the Polar Bear Plunge

The Polar Bear Plunge, an unofficial event, happens every New Year’s Day at Bradford Beach and has been a tradition for decades. Hundreds of Milwaukeeans gather to jump in Lake Michigan’s chilly waters and ring in the New Year.

Get Cozy at Burnhearts Mitten Fest

This outdoor block party in early February is a chance to get outside and socialize during the cooler months. One of Milwaukee’s best craft beer bars, Burnhearts works with breweries to get special beers on tap as well as brandy cocktails. There’s always a long lineup of music and catering from local restaurants. The event collects clothing and food and raises money for Hunger Task Force.

Go Skiing

Aside from lots of local cross country skiing, use us as your base for your downhill ski adventures. We are a 40-45 minute drive from Little Switzerland and Alpine Valley Resort. We are a good stopover on your way to or from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan or northern Wisconsin.

Feel Tropical Vibes at the Domes

During the chilly season, a visit to The Domes horticultural conservatory in Mitchell Park will have you feeling like you are in another country. In the tropical dome, warm, humid air is where tropical trees and flowers grow. The desert dome boasts plants from as far away as Africa, Madagascar and the Canary Islands. The Domes have an annual holiday garden show from November 23 until January 5 and a train show from January 18 until March 29.

Ride a Fat Bike

Ever ridden a fat bike? These snow bikes will have you grinning from ear to ear! Wheel & Sprocket bike shop hosts a race series called Hugh Jass beginning in the end of November until the end of February. Although “race” is a loose term because participants, sometimes dressed in costumes, often come for fun and the party. The event ends with a party with food, drinks and a DJ.

South Shore Cyclery is putting on a fat bike relay on Sunday, January 26 at Humboldt Park. The Frosty Hog is a day of fun with friends and includes food and beverages in the registration fee.

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