LivingTravelA Gay Guide to Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A Gay Guide to Milwaukee, Wisconsin

An old world, much of a working-class city that has always been overshadowed as a tourist destination by its neighbor in relation to the south, Chicago, Up-and-Coming Milwaukee has enjoyed an excellent resurgence in the 2000s, with revitalized urban neighborhoods, handsome new condos, and a burgeoning shopping and dining scene. This friendly and fairly affordable city that hugs the shores of Lake Michigan has a sizeable gay population and a vibrant corridor of gay nightlife south of downtown. Host of the largest Gay Pride festival in the country, it is a city that gay travelers are often pleasantly surprised, come see for yourself.


Milwaukee has a fairly pleasant climate most of the year, although winters can see periods of extremely cold weather, and summers sometimes bring sweltering heat waves. Fall and spring are when the odds favor moderate temperatures and pleasant days. Milwaukee, which is famous for its festivals, has many events from spring to fall.

Average high-low temperatures are 27F / 13F in January, 54F / 38F in April, 82F / 66F in July, and 61F / 44F in October. Average rainfall is 2 to 4 inches / month. all year round, with sometimes very heavy snowfalls in winter.

The location

Milwaukee arguably enjoys an even more scenic position on Lake Michigan than its cousin 90 miles south of Chicago. This gently mountainous city sits 85 miles across the lake from western Michigan, and much of the city sits high above the lake, offering particularly spectacular views. Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and is located in the southeastern corner of the state, surrounded primarily by flat suburbs and prairies. It is connected to both Chicago (to the south) and Madison (to the west) via I-94.

Driving distances

Driving distances to Milwaukee from highlights and points of interest are:

  • Chicago, IL: 90 miles (90 min)
  • Cincinnati, OH: 390 miles (6 to 6.5 hours)
  • Cleveland, OH: 435 miles (6.5 to 7 hours)
  • Columbus, OH: 445 miles (7 to 8 hours)
  • Des Moines, IA: 375 miles (5 to 5.5 hours)
  • Detroit, MI: 375 miles (5.5 to 6 hours)
  • Indianapolis, IN: 275 mi (4.5 hrs)
  • Kansas City, MO: 570 mi (8 a.m. to 9 a.m.)
  • Louisville, KY: 390 miles (6 to 6.5 hours)
  • Madison, WI: 80 mi (75 min)
  • Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN: 340 mi (4.5 to 5 hrs)
  • Nashville, TN: 600 miles (8.5 to 9.5 hrs)
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 550 mi (8 a.m. to 9 a.m.)
  • St. Louis, MO: 385 miles (5.5 hours)
  • Saugatuck, MI: 230 mi (4 hours)

Traveling to Milwaukee

Milwaukee is served by one of the most beautiful and user-friendly airports in the country, General Mitchell International Airport, which is just a 15-minute drive south of downtown. Another option is to fly to one of Chicago’s two airports, which are about 90 minutes south (shuttle service is available from them to Milwaukee), O’Hare (a hub for the United States and the United States) and Midway Airport (a hub for the airline discount, Southwest). However, both are comparatively less pleasant airports.

Milwaukee is also widely served by Amtrak and Greyhound trains, which connect to numerous cities in the Midwest.

Milwaukee Events and festivals

  • June to early September: Jazz in the Park (free jazz concerts downtown on Thursday nights).
  • Early June: Gay Milwaukee PrideFest (one of the largest GLBT Pride festivals in the country).
  • Mid-June: Lakefront Festival of the Arts.
  • End of June: Polish Fest.
  • End of June: Summerfest.
  • Mid July: Italian Festa.
  • End of July: German Festival.
  • Early August: Wisconsin State Fair.
  • Beginning of August: World Festival of Africa.
  • Mid August: Irish Fest.
  • End of August: Mexican Fiesta.
  • Early September: Indian Summer Festival.
  • End of September: Milwaukee AIDS Walk.
  • End of September to beginning of October: Oktoberfest.

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