Milwaukee Lakefront Trail
Milwaukee Lakefront Trail

Milwaukee Lakefront Trail

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The basics

Milwaukee's Lakefront Trail—which contains portions of the Oak Leaf Trail—can keep you on or near the water while you jump from attraction to attraction. Start south at the fabulous Milwaukee Art Museum, and wind your way north; you’ll be heading toward the War Memorial Beer Garden, Veterans Park, McKinley Marina, the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, McKinley Beach, and Bradford Beach, just to name a few. The path is paved and rated easy, so it's a good one for the whole family.

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Things to know before you go

  • Technically, a whole trail network winds along and near the lake. If you’d like a longer jaunt, that’s certainly an option.

  • Facilities can be found at several spots along the lakefront, like at Veterans Park.

  • Though dogs are welcome, they need to be kept on a leash.

  • Though the trail is open year-round, expect possible snow or ice cover from November to March.

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How to get there

Milwaukee’s Lakefront Trail runs for much of the city’s eastern border. If you’re anywhere near the water, there’s probably a trail you can hop on. If you need parking, you can find that at McKinley Park and in between McKinley and Bradford beaches. Alternatively, the Milwaukee Streetcar runs to Burns Commons, a few blocks away, or you can hail a taxi or rideshare, or rent a bike.

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When to get there

Milwaukee’s Lakefront Trail is busiest on weekends and warm, sunny days. If you’d like to avoid the crowds, hit up the trail early in the morning—just after sunrise—or mid-afternoon on weekdays. Spring and fall (April and May; September and October) are also great times to avoid peak crowds (and peak summer temperatures).

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Where to find history on the lake

Toward the northern end of the Milwaukee Lakefront Trail, don’t miss the North Point Lighthouse in Lake Park. It’s a restored 19th-century beauty, and—weather permitting—you can climb to the top. Guided tours are available of the lighthouse, or you can take a tour of the lakefront at large to help you get more out of this historic waterfront spot.

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