There’s nothing quite like summer in Milwaukee. The festivals! The outdoor activity! The tasty treats and refreshing drinks! The multi-month break from the bitter, soul-crushing cold! There are countless things that help make the summertime in the city so great, but only one of them can be the best part of Milwaukee’s summer.

From June 1 through July 6, readers are encouraged to cast their votes in a six-round Milwaukee summer throwdown. We’ve rounded up a total of 64 Milwaukee summer standbys, doing our best to find things that symbolize the season. Did we leave out something you think is deserving of a spot? Probably!

The competitors have been separated into the following regions: Festivals, Food & Drink, Parks & Beaches, and Other. Round 1 of this tournament—which is graciously sponsored by Gruber Law Offices—started June 1 and runs through June 7. Subsequent rounds will take place June 8-14, June 15-21, June 22-28, June 29-July 5, and the winner will be determined at 11:59 p.m. on July 6. Round 1 of our Milwaukee Summer Bracket (and a JPG of the bracket itself) can be found below!


Summerfest vs. German Fest

Polish Fest vs. Summer Soulstice Music Festival

PrideFest vs. Bay View Bash

Chill On The Hill vs. Jazz In The Park

Brady Street Festival vs. Washington Park Wednesdays

Locust Street Festival vs. Black Arts MKE

Milwaukee Irish Fest vs. Bastille Days

Wisconsin State Fair vs. Mexican Fiesta


Beer Gardens vs. Milwaukee Air & Water Show

Sculpture Milwaukee vs. Kayaking On The Milwaukee River

Trails vs. RiverWalk

Brewers Games vs. Goth Rocks

Farmers Markets vs. Boat Cruises

Riverwest 24 vs. Milorganite Smell

Juneteenth vs. Random Fireworks

Uecker On The Radio vs. Motorcycles


Custard vs. Church Burgers

Corn On The Cob vs. Taco Trucks

Cream Puffs vs. Food In A Plastic Helmet

Food On A Stick vs. Local Cold Brew Coffee

Patio Drinking vs. Roasted Nuts/Almonds

Brats vs. Milk House Flavored Milk

Saz's Sampler Platter vs. Picnic At A Music Series

Beer In A Plastic Cup vs. Taped Music


Bradford Beach vs. Kaszube's Park

Mitchell Park vs. Kilbourn Reservoir Park

Humboldt Park vs. Pere Marquette Park

Veterans Park vs. Gordon Park

Lake Park vs. Estabrook Park

Washington Park vs. Riverside Park

Dretzka Park vs. Cathedral Square Park

South Shore Park vs. Lakeshore State Park

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Milwaukee Record’s 2022 guide to summer festivals, fairs, music series, more