10 Best Performing Arts Venues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Enjoy a drink and some laughs in the city that invented this interactive, improvisational "sport." Competitors solicit suggestions from the audience and often pull spectators onstage as they compete in games such as Oscar-Winning Moment, Extreme Three, and 185. The infamous Brown-Bag Foul keeps shows family-friendly, but the nightclub atmosphere makes it a popular spot for adults too.

Festa Italiana

Italian food, music, entertainment, and fireworks enrich this festival, held on the third weekend of July.

German Fest

The city's German heritage is celebrated with music, dancing, and food, plus fireworks and a parade draw. It's held on the last full weekend of July.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Holiday Folk Fair International

Peruse authentic crafts from around the world and learn to say "hello" in dozens of languages at this multicultural festival. Booths at the fair are run by citizens from countries all over the world. You can sample delicious homemade specialties at numerous food stands, munching your way around the globe.

Irish Fest

Milwaukee raises a glass to all things Irish with traditional food, music, and dancing at this annual event on the third weekend of August.

Mexican Fiesta

Embrace the city's Mexican spirit on the fourth weekend of August. Mexican food, music, and dancing, plus fireworks and a run, are all part of the experience.

Oriental Theatre

Little has changed at this theater, named one of the 10 best in America by Entertainment Weekly, since it opened in 1927. Rich red carpeting, gold wall decorations, and keyhole-shaped entryways takes you back to the golden age of the silver screen; the theater also has six Buddha statues. Flicks screened in the two small auditoriums and gigantic main auditorium are mostly independent films. The Oriental holds the Guinness World Record for the longest run of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Fans of the cult classic gather at midnight the second Saturday of the month—many in costume—to shout lines and throw popcorn at the screen at the appropriate moments.

Polish Fest

Polish music, food, dancing, and a cultural village comprise this festival, held on the third full weekend of June.


The self-styled "World's Largest Music Festival" headlines the season of fests at Henry Maier Festival Park. The festival showcases more than 700 national, regional, and local acts on 10 stages, and also includes a sports area, a kids' play area, face-painting, arts, ethnic foods, and vendors. The event begins on the last Thursday in June and runs 10 days. Visit July 3 for a perfect view of the huge U.S. Bank fireworks display.

Wisconsin State Fair

A carnival, live entertainment, food booths, arts, crafts, farm animals, kids' activities, and body-building and weight-lifting competitions round out this annual fair, held at the beginning of August. Don't miss the cream puffs.