Where: Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee (Bay View)
When: Every Tuesday night between 6 p.m. until dusk in Humboldt Park, from early June to late August. On stage are a variety of music styles, from rock to folk—all local acts. Food vendors and trucks sell food and Milwaukee County Parks sells beer, but you are free to bring your own picnics and alcoholic beverages.
Where: 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee (East Side)
When: Milwaukee’s most successful—and wildly popular—independent bookstore has managed to nab all the big-name authors while on tour. While some events are in partnership with local businesses and carry a fee, there are quite a few author appearances, which are announced on the bookstore’s website (http://www.boswellbooks.com).
Where: Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee (East Side); and 3700 W. Pierce, Milwaukee (Menomonee Valley)
When: Every Saturday between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., this family-friendly activity brings a wild side to this urban pocket of Milwaukee as you get to feed turtles, snakes, fish and more.
Create Art at A.W.E. Truck Studio
Where: Various spots around Milwaukee
When: Between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays for six weeks during the summer, this art-studio-on-wheels (four donated minivans crammed with creative supplies). Check the website for locations. Activities include painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture creation.
Square Tunes Concert Series + Yoga
Where: Bayshore Town Center, 5800 N. Bayshore Drive, Glendale
When: Tucked among national retailers, the mall’s “town square” hosts a variety of events throughout the summer, including the Square Tunes summer-concert series on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Yoga classes hosted by Neroli Salon & Spa, which is a mall tenant, are every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Where: 6141 N. Hopkins St., Milwaukee
When: There’s no entrance fee at this urban forest, spanning 237 acres, so you can either take a self-guided hike (of around 2.5 miles) or join up with others on an event, such as the Saturday hikes and bird walks for adults (held on occasional dates; check online calendar) and workshops. The family-friendly GO! Discover activities are on the second and third Saturdays of the month between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Where: 700 N. Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee (Downtown)
When: The first Thursday of the month means free admission (normally it’s $17) at this world-class art museum on Milwaukee’s lakefront. There’s an amazing gift shop filled with unique finds, a restaurant and two cafes, in addition to art collection that features one of the country’s most significant folk-art collections as well as pieces by such well-known Modern artists as Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keefe.
Where: 800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee (Downtown)
When: The $17 admission fee for adults ($12 for kids up to age 13) is waived on the first Thursday of each month, thanks to a partnership with Kohl’s. Another free day during the summer is Father’s Day. New this year is the reimagined “Streets of Old Milwaukee” exhibit. There’s also a café and coffee shop at the museum.
Where: 4500 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee (West Side)
When: Free tours of the shelter are offered during the weekends. Who knows, you might find a new furry friend to join your household? But even if you don’t, this is a great example to see the rehabilitation that must take place to get dogs and cats ready for adoption.
Where: 4251 W. State St., Milwaukee (West Side)
When: For the last 155 years, this brewery with national distribution has been making beer here. Tours last one hour and show you the bottling and packaging, shipping and distribution, and brewhouse. After, expect to taste the ice-cold beers at Miller Inn. (Soft drinks for kids and designated drivers.)
Where: Cathedral Square Park, 520 E. Wells St., Milwaukee (Downtown)
When: Every Thursday between June 2 and September 1, at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., this urban park in the thick of downtown Milwaukee hosts a free jazz concert. Genres also skew into funk, big band, reggae, blues and R & B. Plenty of food vendors sell their cuisine but you are also welcome to bring a picnic.