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Milwaukee RiverWalk

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Riverwalk, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Be sure to explore the Milwaukee RiverWalk during the week when it's less crowded; you'll have a better chance to appreciate the local artwork and the 'Fonz' statue without the weekend bustle. Also, look out for the discreet entrance to the 'SafeHouse', a spy-themed restaurant on Front St.; it's a local favorite hidden in plain sight, providing a quirky dining experience along your walk."

What is Milwaukee RiverWalk?

The Milwaukee RiverWalk is a pedestrian path that stretches for approximately three miles along the banks of the Milwaukee River, winding through the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It’s a place where you can leisurely stroll while soaking in the urban vibe along with views of the river and the city’s skyline. This pathway connects three of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods: the Historic Third Ward, Downtown, and Beerline B.

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Along the RiverWalk, one can discover a blend of industrial architecture mingled with modern design, which showcases Milwaukee's rich history while also promoting its contemporary culture. It's fringed with art installations, café terraces, brewpubs, and landmarks that tell tales of a city that grew from a brewing and manufacturing powerhouse to a modern cultural hub.

History of Milwaukee RiverWalk

The Milwaukee RiverWalk is rooted in the city's revitalization efforts that began in the 1980s. The river, which was once dominated by industrial buildings and warehouses, became the focal point for urban redevelopment, transforming into a vibrant public space. Construction of the RiverWalk as we know it today started in the early 1990s with an aim to breathe new life along the riverfront and to provide public access and enjoyment.

The collaboration between the City of Milwaukee, private businesses, and local residents was crucial in turning this vision into reality. The RiverWalk system has been developed in phases over the years and strategically incorporates public art and RiverWalk Commons—areas with widened walkways for community events and gathering spaces.

One of the key historical and artistic highlights of the RiverWalk is the "Bronze Fonz" statue, a nod to the classic television series "Happy Days," which was set in Milwaukee. The bronze sculpture depicts Arthur Fonzarelli, the iconic character played by Henry Winkler, and has become a beloved selfie spot.

Why is Milwaukee RiverWalk Important?

The Milwaukee RiverWalk is not just a pathway, but a living testament to Milwaukee’s commitment to urban redevelopment and public space enhancement. It is important because it reflects how the city values its river as a natural asset, fostering community and business growth around it. The RiverWalk has redefined the city's connection to the river, turning it from a back alley dominated by industry to a front porch inviting leisure and interaction.

Moreover, it serves as a linchpin for the integration of Milwaukee's distinct neighborhoods, stitching together the urban fabric of the city and providing a common ground for both residents and visitors. It is an ongoing project that continues to evolve, reflecting the city's growth, and has received national recognition for its innovation in design and public space utilization.

Economically, the RiverWalk has catalyzed significant private investment in adjacent properties, contributing to a boom in residential, commercial, and entertainment developments. It's a symbol of pride for locals and a destination within the city that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, urban energy, and Midwestern charm.

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Things to Do & See at Milwaukee RiverWalk

The Milwaukee RiverWalk offers a plethora of activities and sights that appeal to a wide audience. Whether it's reveling in the city’s architectural marvels, unpacking the area’s brewing legacy, or simply enjoying a peaceful sunset, there is much to be experienced here. You can partake in guided historic tours, enjoy a leisurely kayak outing on the river, or visit the many art galleries and theaters that pepper the route.

You might also be fascinated by the "RiverSculpture!" series, which includes both permanent and changing sculptures that add an artistic dimension to the natural landscape. Foodies can explore the diverse culinary options along the RiverWalk, including seafood eateries, European-style bistros, and, of course, classic Wisconsin cheese and beer offerings.

Seasonal events are plenty, with the Summerfest music festival being one of the highlights, held nearby at the Henry Maier Festival Park. The River Rhythms concert series, outdoor art markets, and various community festivals throughout the year ensure that the RiverWalk is not just a summer destination but a year-round hub of activity. It’s a place where memories are made, whether you’re passing by on a crisp autumn day or enjoying a warm summer evening with the city lights reflecting off the river.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Milwaukee RiverWalk?

The Milwaukee RiverWalk is a pedestrian walkway that winds along the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee, offering access to dining, breweries, shopping, and public art displays.

How long is the Milwaukee RiverWalk?

The Milwaukee RiverWalk spans approximately 3 miles, connecting the Historic Third Ward, Downtown, and the Beerline B neighborhood.

Are there any restaurants on the Milwaukee RiverWalk?

Yes, there are several restaurants and cafes located along the Milwaukee RiverWalk, providing a variety of dining options with scenic river views.

Is there any public art on the Milwaukee RiverWalk?

Yes, the Milwaukee RiverWalk features an array of public art installations, including the famous 'Bronze Fonz' statue, which pays homage to the character from the television show 'Happy Days.'

Can I take a boat tour from the Milwaukee RiverWalk?

Yes, you can embark on boat tours from various points along the Milwaukee RiverWalk, offering a unique perspective of the city from the water.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Riverwalk, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps