Top 8 Romantic Things to Do in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Skyline, WI

Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee's picturesque backdrop makes it a perfect destination for couples. Take a hand-in-hand stroll on the city's famous lakeshore or riverwalk. Or, check out the artisan restaurant scene before attending a performance by one of Milwaukee's vibrant performing arts troupes. Active couples can go ice skating in Red Arrow Park in the wintertime, or rent their own riverboat for a Milwaukee River cruise. If you're looking to spend a romantic stay in Cream City, our list of ideas will complete your couples-only retreat.

01 of 08

Go Skating in Red Arrow Park

Couple ice skating in the city

Kyle Kuhlman / Getty Images

920 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202-3265, USA
Phone +1 414-289-8791

Slice of Ice in Red Arrow Park is open from mid-December through February and offers 60-minute skating slots for active couples and families. Skating is free (if you have your own skates), and an on-site warming hut allows you to pop in and snuggle up during breaks. Here, you can also rent a "polar pal" (a penguin or a bear) to skate with and also provide photobombs for impromptu selfies. This park is located in the heart of downtown, making it the perfect stop after dinner and in between drinks. During the holidays, the park comes alive with twinkling lights and a Christmas tree.

02 of 08

Eat Lunch at the Milwaukee Public Market

Couple eating at public market

davidf / GEtty Images

400 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA
Phone +1 414-336-1111

There's no better way to get to know your date's tastes than with a stroll through a public market. And, an afternoon outing at the Milwaukee Public Market will put you face to face with fresh food and local specialties. Grab lunch from vendors offering options like Thai food, fresh salads, barbecue ribs, and Mexican fare, and then pop into the shops for specialty olive oils, artisanal cheeses, and local coffee. You can even take a cooking class, to see if your partner is good in the kitchen, or to learn new recipes you can cook together at home.

03 of 08

Take a Riverboat Tour on the Milwaukee River

Boats on the Milwaukee River in downtown

Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

Milwaukee River, Wisconsin, USA

Cap the night off with a sunset cruise on the Milwaukee River. From this vantage point, you can take in the majestic skyline and unwind after a day of seeing the city's sights. Cruises offered by Riverwalk Boat Tours include a trip on a pontoon boat, complete with food and drink, and can be booked around holidays, like the Fourth of July, providing the perfect vantage point from which to view the city's fireworks. Adventurous couples can book their own private boat, too, and self-captain their way downriver and back to the dock. Renting your own boat gives you complete privacy and lets you navigate the waterway on your own terms.

04 of 08

Stroll Along the Lakefront

A few people walking down a white sand beach

TripSavvy / Chris Bacarella

N Lincoln Memorial Dr, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Walking hand in hand along the lakefront on Milwaukee's Lincoln Memorial Drive is a quintessential way to pass the time. On a warm July evening, sink your toes into the sand as you stroll along Lake Michigan's beaches. Take pit stops at trendy spots, like Colectivo Coffee’s shoreside café, or grab a custard cone at NorthPoint Custard. Bradford Beach’s revitalization includes places where you can sip a Tiki drink under a thatched-roof hut and watch pro volleyball players spike their way to a win. Less-crowded beaches, like South Shore Park in Bay View, hug the lake with a wooded waterfront path. On the North Shore, you’ll find serene nature escapes, like Doctor’s Park, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, and Klode Park in Whitefish Bay. 

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Dine at an Intimate Eatery

Lake Park Bistro
The Bartolotta Restaurants

Milwaukee is filled to the brim with cozy dinner spots. The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar, on the East Side, has been there for several decades and is a favorite spot for couples wanting to dine on traditional Italian cuisine. Chef-owner Suzette Metcalfe sources ingredients from local farms, and there are rotating nightly specials. Another romantic restaurant on the city’s East Side, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, serves classic French cuisine and the ambiance is stunning. Grab a table near its wall of windows overlooking the park and the Lake Michigan shoreline. Expect royal treatment from the wait staff in one of the private dining rooms at Mason Street Grill, a popular steak joint on the ground floor of The Pfister Hotel. Arrive early for live jazz in the adjacent bar. 

06 of 08

Attend a Performing Arts Show

Florentine Opera
Visit Milwaukee

Milwaukee is home to the Florentine Opera Company, the Milwaukee Ballet Company, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, hosting elegant events nearly every month of the year. The opera company's Al Fresco opera series combines dinner and mingling options centered around an outdoor performance. A showing of the Nutcracker by the Milwaukee Ballet makes for an unforgettable holiday date night out. And, the orchestra holds performances nearly every weekend year-round at the Bradley Symphony Center, and will soon call the Warner Grand Theater on West Wisconsin Avenue its permanent, and historic, home, once ongoing renovations are complete.

07 of 08

Gaze at the Night Sky

UW-Milwaukee's Manfred Olson Planetarium


You don't need to leave the city to take in all the night sky has to offer. Stargazing opportunities, like the ones offered by the Milwaukee Public Museum's Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium, allow you to connect with planets and constellations during your city stay. This six-story hemispheric dome offers awe-inspiring planetarium programs and 3D shows. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee hosts free stargazing shows on the Skydeck of the Physics Building, as well. You can rub shoulders with students while using the provided telescopes to view the night sky. Lastly, the UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium hosts night sky shows that are perfect for rounding out a date night, after dinner and drinks.

08 of 08

Sip Cocktails at a Vintage Bar

Bryant's Cocktail Lounge
Bryant's Cocktail Lounge

Milwaukee has its share of vintage bars—haunts that date back as far as 1938 and haven't changed a bit. If you're a couple who likes a little history (complete with plush velvet walls) to go with your after-dinner drink, try Bryant's Cocktail Lounge on the Near South Side. Bryant's mixologists are so skilled that no menu is provided, however, the drinks skew into the classic territory, and include the Pink Squirrel, the Volcano, and the Old Fashioned. At Random in Bay View calls themselves a "time capsule," serving mid-century ice cream drinks and classic cocktails among Naugahyde booths and swag lights. Here you can order a Tiki Love Bowl, a perfect drink for a first date or a milestone anniversary.

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Top 8 Romantic Things to Do in Milwaukee