Living in Milwaukee
Milwaukee is a diverse city on the rise that was named a top global travel destination by National Geographic. In recent years, the city has seen a $5 billion surge in investment in the downtown area, urban revitalization projects, and the construction of unique new buildings, like the Fiserv Forum.
Milwaukee isn’t just a great city to visit—it’s also a wonderful place to live and work. From fun summer festivals to a variety of vibrant neighborhoods, Milwaukee has something for everyone. We’re excited to share our city with you!
The cost of living in Milwaukee is on par with the national average, coming in at just 0.3% lower. Living in Milwaukee is 26% less expensive than living in New York City.
- No sales tax on grocery store-purchased food
- Sales tax: 5.5%
- Average monthly rent: $1,600
- Average home: $180,000
- Average gallon of gas: $3.55
- Average monthly utilities: $250.00
- Average monthly cost of internet: $70.00
Living in the city of Milwaukee is great for people who want to be in the middle of all the action. The metropolitan Milwaukee area also boasts a number of cities that are great to live in and raise a family.
Top cities to live in the metropolitan Milwaukee area:
- Whitefish Bay
- Elm Grove
- River Hills
- Fox Point
Top school districts in the metro Milwaukee area:
- Elmbrook School District
- Mequon-Thiensville School District
- Whitefish Bay School District
- Muskego-Norway School District
- Cedarburg School District
- Pewaukee School District
- Shorewood School District
- Greendale School District
- Hamilton School District
- Menomonee Falls School District
- New Berlin School District
- Franklin Public Schools
Milwaukee is a “little” big city that is easy to navigate, whether you’re driving out to the suburbs or making your way around downtown.
- Airport: Mitchell International Airport connects Milwaukee with other U.S. cities and services Southwest, Delta, and other major airlines. O’Hare International Airport in the Chicagoland area is approximately a 1-hour drive away. Drive yourself or sit back and relax in the Wisconsin Coach Lines Airport Express.
- Driving: Several major interstates meet in Milwaukee and connect you to neighboring cities and states.
- Biking: Milwaukee hosts Bublr bicycle sharing and scooter sharing programs, making it easy to get from point A to point B. Enjoy a ride along the lakefront; on the Ozaukee Interurban, a 30-mile trail that runs from Sheboygan’s Plank Road Trail to Milwaukee County’s Oak Leaf Trail; or on the Hank Aaron Trail, a 14-mile paved path that runs from the lakefront to the Milwaukee/Waukesha county line.
- Walking: Downtown Milwaukee is a very walkable city and includes a 3-mile RiverWalk that connects several of Milwaukee’s vibrant neighborhoods.
- Public transportation: Buses run through the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. Download the Ride MCTS app to view route information and timetables. All Milwaukee city buses are wheelchair accessible.
- Streetcar: The Hop streetcar connects some of Milwaukee’s most popular neighborhoods on a 2-mile loop.
- Taxis: TaxiMKE is the city’s largest taxi company and operates 24/7, 365.
- Ride sharing: Uber and Lyft both operate in Milwaukee.
- Trains: The newly renovated Milwaukee Intermodal Station includes 14 daily departures to Chicago and daily direct departures to Minneapolis/St. Paul via Amtrak. Pro tip: Catch the Metra from Kenosha to downtown Chicago for just $10!
- Electric vehicles: Charging stations are available throughout the city. Check Plugshare, ChargeFinder, and Chargehub to find the station nearest you.
- Ferry: A 2-hour ride on the Lake Express Ferry connects Milwaukee with Muskegon, Michigan.
- Private transportation: Milwaukee has a number of private transportation companies that accommodate large and small groups.
- RV: Wisconsin State Fair Park is the only RV park in the Milwaukee area however plenty of public and private campgrounds are available in surrounding counties.
Milwaukeeans are no strangers to snow in the winter and humidity in the summer but are blessed with a beautiful spring and fall. No matter what the weather, you’ll always see people outside. Milwaukee gets an average of 50 inches of snow a year, which is offset by the warmer summer months. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and downhill skiing, all within 30 minutes of downtown Milwaukee. In the fall, enjoy watching the leaves change colors and visit some of the area’s harvest festivals. During the warmer months, take advantage of bar and restaurant patios, blooming gardens, and farmer’s markets.
Average temperatures by month in Fahrenheit (high/low):
- January: 30°/17°
- February: 34°/20°
- March: 44°/28°
- April: 55°/38°
- May: 67°/48°
- June: 76°/58°
- July: 82°/65°
- August: 80°/64°
- September: 74°/56°
- October: 61°/45°
- November: 48°/33°
- December: 36°/23°
Milwaukee has a vibrant community full of people who take pride in our city, the history, and the future.
The greater Milwaukee area is a fun place to shop with indoor and outdoor malls, boutiques, and specialty stores.
Summerfest, held each year along the Milwaukee lakefront, is one of the largest music festivals in the United States.
Every year, Milwaukee hosts a variety of festivals, from Summerfest—the world’s largest music festival—to cultural festivals that celebrate the city’s diverse population.
- Summerfest: Held over several weekends on Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront, Summerfest welcomes musicians from a range of genres, from country to classic rock.
- Cultural festivals: Milwaukee is proud to celebrate its diverse residents, from Pridefest to Mexican Fiesta, Irish Fest to Indian Summer. Celebrate your own heritage and learn more about your neighbors’!
- Wisconsin State Fair: Explore the midway, try new fried foods, and spend time making friends with farm animals.
Milwaukee boasts several professional and amateur sports teams, including:
- Milwaukee Bucks, 2021 NBA champions who play in the beautiful new Fiserv Forum
- Milwaukee Brewers, 1982 World Series finalists who play at American Family Field
- Milwaukee Admirals, AHL team associated with the NHL’s Nashville Predators
- Green Bay Packers, NFL team based in Green Bay, WI, that has won more championships (13) than any other team in the NFL
- Milwaukee Wave, seven-time Major Arena Soccer League champions
- Pettit National Ice Center, an Official Training Site for U.S. Speedskating that offers public skating, hockey, lessons, and much more
In addition to Summerfest, Milwaukee regularly welcomes world-renowned performers, from comedians like Jim Gaffigan to musical acts like Lizzo. The Marcus Performing Arts Center also hosts a Broadway series featuring fan-favorites like Hamilton, Mamma Mia!, and more. Favorite local entertainment venues include:
- Milwaukee Art Museum: The Milwaukee Art Museum’s exterior features an iconic, moving sculpture by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The museum is home to more than 20,000 works, including paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.
- Milwaukee County Zoo: Families and animal lovers will all enjoy the Milwaukee County Zoo, which was founded in 1892 and is home to more than 2,000 animals.
- Milwaukee Public Museum: The Milwaukee Public Museum features a variety of exhibits, from Streets of Old Milwaukee and European Village, the Puelicher Butterfly Wing, and the world’s largest-known dinosaur skull.
- Harley-Davidson Museum: Milwaukee is home to Harley-Davidson and regularly hosts reunion events that see motorcycles dominate the city. Visitors to the museum can explore H-D’s history and celebrate motorcycling culture.
- Discovery World: Discovery World is a hands-on museum where children can enjoy learning more about technology, visit an aquarium and try their hand at a flight simulator.
- Betty Brinn Children’s Museum: Another hands-on museum, Betty Brinn caters to families with children under age 10 and encourages them to learn through play.
- America’s Black Holocaust Museum: The ABHM is a historical and memorial museum with a goal to shed a light about the Black Holocaust in America, from pre-captivity in Africa to the present day.
- Mitchell Park Domes: The Floral Show Dome, Desert Dome and Tropical Dome make up this living museum that features plants from around the world.
Milwaukee sits right on Lake Michigan and boasts miles of beautiful lakefront parks, beaches, beer gardens, and marinas. Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum, take a walk around Veterans Park Lagoon, rent kayaks and paddle boats, play a game of volleyball at Bradford Beach, and enjoy a nice meal at Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro.
Milwaukee is located near a variety of other exciting destinations, including:
- Wisconsin Dells, the Waterpark Capital of the World
- Lake Geneva, a small tourist town on a picturesque lake
- Door County, a beautiful summer destination full of shopping, restaurants and opportunities for camping and other outdoorsy activities
- Kohler, home to stellar spas, world-class golf courses, and more
- Chicago, the third-largest city in the country and a hub of entertainment
While you are at Summerfest, take a relaxing glide on the Skyglider where you can get a perfect view of over 1,000 performances on 12 stages.
There are beautiful walking trails, shops, and a beach along Milwaukee's beautiful lakefront.
Milwaukee Public Market, a unique collection of artisian, ethnic, fresh, and prepared foods that will suite any taste.
Milwaukee is a beer city, once home to four of the largest breweries in the world: Miller, Pabst, Schlitz and Blatz. These days, it’s also home to a variety of microbreweries and beer halls. But we’re so much more than beer and cheese! The city boasts a number of James Beard Foundation Award-winning chefs, restaurants and bars featuring cuisines from around the country and world.
Grab a delicious bite at the Harbor House.
Visit the tasting room at Pilcrow Coffee for a specialty coffee flight.