Top 5 Free Milwaukee Winter Activities

Visit Milwaukee

Milwaukee in winter may be cold and snowy but it's far from boring. Put on your boots (or bathing suit, in the case of the Polar Bear Plunge) and get outside for some free winter fun. These 5 activities will ensure you'll have fun, keep fit, and stick to your budget this winter.

  • 01 of 05

    Go Sledding at Water Tower Hill

     Gloriamex (CC BY-SA 4.0)/Wikimedia Commons

    Also known as St. Mary's Hill, this is a great winter spot for sledders. On any given snow day you can see kids flocking to this hill for miles around. It doesn't hurt that Water Tower Hill overlooks Lake Michigan and that there's a Colectivo Coffee conveniently nestled at the bottom of the hill. Not in your neighborhood? There are other sledding hills in the Milwaukee area that are fun. 

  • 02 of 05

    Take the Polar Bear Plunge at Bradford Beach

    Polar Bear Plunge Milwaukee 

    The Polar Bear Plunge at Bradford Beach draws a crowd on the beach New Year's morning. Ring in the new year by stripping down to your skivvies and plunging into Lake Michigan at noon on January 1. It's a free, unsponsored event. 

    If it's your first time, you might be a bit apprehensive. But take deep breaths, and walk slowly into the water. Expect a little ice in the water, and know that the bottom tends to be rocky. Prepare yourself and keep moving. The Milwaukee Fire Department Paramedics are in the water waiting in case you need assistance.

  • 03 of 05

    Go Ice Skating at Red Arrow Park

     Rebecca Chatfield (CC BY-ND 2.0)/Flickr

    Slice of Ice at Red Arrow Park is a refrigerated skating rink along Milwaukee's main downtown drag, Water Street, and is open through March if weather permits. Skating is free if you have your own equipment, but there is a marginal charge for renting skates. Slice of Ice is located at 920 N. Water Street. Not in your neighborhood? Find other outdoor skating rinks in the Milwaukee area.

  • 04 of 05

    Check Out Cedarburg's Winter Festival

     Festivals of Cedarburg

    Summer festivals are nothing when compared to the creativity of the Cedarburg Winter Festival. This year's theme is "National Lampoon Vacation Movies" and will feature an Ice-Burg Open Golf Tournament in Cedar Creek Park (with tennis "golf" balls), an ice carving contest, chili cook-off, and more. The Cedarburg Winter Festival will take place on February 16 and 17, 2019, in downtown Cedarburg.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Shovel Your Neighbors Walkway and Build a Snowman

    Take a moment to appreciate the good you can do when winter becomes not-so-fun by helping someone shovel their walk or driveway, then do more by brightening up the barren landscape with a fun snowman. Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday is observed on Monday, January 21, 2019. You can take the opportunity to participate in an MLK Day of Service event and find a year-round volunteer opportunity with a local non-profit