Despite Milwaukee’s founding by beer barons who emigrated from Germany, it wasn’t until seven years ago that beer gardens popped up again in Milwaukee County. Typically open in late May through early October (check each beer garden for specifics), each one features a unique twist, like music, food, lawn games, trivia nights and guest beer taps from other breweries.

Or for a pop-up experience, The Traveling Beer Garden is two simultaneously-running tours traveling to 12 Milwaukee County Parks between May and September on specific dates. (Check this handy map or visit learn when and where.)

So raise a glass and say “prost!” at these outdoor Milwaukee-area beer havens.

Estabrook Park Beer Garden, Glendale

Dubbed the U.S.’s first public beer garden since Prohibition when it opened in 2012, this beer garden serves Usinger’s brats, Miller Bakery pretzels and landjaeger (smoked sausage). Munich’s Hofbräuhaus beer comes in a half- or full-liter glass mug. Got a dog? The adjacent dog park is just for them.

The Landing at Hoyt Park, Wauwatosa

Right next to Hoyt Park (which also has a water park), Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights welcome live music, while trivia nuts flock here Wednesday evenings. Local craft beers are on tap, as well as wine. Bring in your own food for a DIY picnic, too.

South Shore Terrace, Milwaukee

A stunning Lake Michigan view is included with your beer when you sit down at this historic 1930s former bathhouse in South Shore Park. Live music is every Wednesday and beers are from hometown brewer Miller. Of all the beer gardens, food here is the most extensive, with cheese and charcuterie boards, 13 different burgers (including the Impossible Burger) and sandwiches, a Friday fish fry and salads.

The Vine Humboldt Wine & Beer Garden, Milwaukee

Want more selection of suds? The Vine’s taps this summer include an expansion of brews including Lakefront Brewery and Sprecher Brewery (both Milwaukee favorites), and Terrapin Beer Co. Also new: Peruvian empanadas to pair with those pints. Four wines are also on tap at this garden, within Humboldt Park in Bay View.

Whitnall Park Beer Garden, Greendale

Located along the Root River under a canopy of trees that provide refreshing shade, 24 beers are on tap (from local breweries that include Good City, City Lights and Third Space). Live music fills the open-air space on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Wine and soda are also served, as are grilled meats.

Photo courtesy of VISIT Milwaukee.


Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer who calls Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood home.