Ahh… summer. School is almost out for those lucky kiddos, the days are getting longer (and hotter!) and that sun… well it’s just so nice to see it almost every single day. Since summer is a season made for celebrating the great outdoors, we put together a list of fun (and mostly free!) things-to-do near our neighborhoods in Madison and Milwaukee. Cheers to some fun in the sun!

10 Madison Area Things-To-Do

Festa Italia

Put on by the Italian Workmen’s Club, this event is a celebration of Italian heritage with food, music and family fun held in McKee Farms Park. The Veridian Foundation is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

Verona Hometown Days

An annual festival held in the city of Verona, Verona Hometown Days is a true celebration of community. Enjoy live bands, food, a petting zoo, parade and many more events.

Isthmus Jazz Fest

What could be better than a city-wide celebration of jazz? Take in the sweet sounds of varying jazz musicians performing across the city from June 1-10.

Shake the Lake

Put on by Festival Foods along John Nolen Drive, this free event includes live music, a human cannonball and a kids zone complete with an inflatable zipline and a petting zoo! End the evening with a gorgeous showcase of fireworks above Lake Monona.

Blues, Brews & Food Truck Festival

Bring a chair, grab a beverage and enjoy local food from a selection of Madison area gourmet food trucks while you listen to local music. 

Art Fair on the Square

One of the Midwest’s most popular and highly regarded outdoor celebration of the arts will be back on the Capitol Square this July. Enjoy a mix of music, entertainment and outdoor dining, while scoping out paintings, prints, photographs, jewelry and more! 

Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival

This is a great family event located in Angell Park with live entertainment, animal tents, food vendors, a craft fair, carnival and of course, fresh corn sales!

Taste of Madison

Held since 1983, the Taste of Madison is a flagship event, with over 80 restaurants, 3 entertainment stages and 26 beverage stands drawing over 250,000 people to the Capitol Square Labor Day weekend. Even better, there is no charge for admission or entertainment. 

McFarland Family Festival

For over 25 years, the McFarland Family Festival has been a magical weekend of fun and memories for the community. The festival is alcohol-free, encouraging parents to have fun, spending time with their kids. 


This iconic event offers up many activities and events in downtown New Glarus featuring live music, great food, wagon rides, chainsaw carving and plenty of family fun!


10 Milwaukee Area Things-To-Do


Enjoy the 54th annual Lionfest, located in the Thiensville Village Park in Mequon featuring a famous rotisserie chicken dinner, bingo, live music, a men’s softball tournament and carnival rides all weekend long.


No matter what you’re taste in music is, the World’s Largest Music Festival has a little something for everyone.

Bastille Days

Milwaukee’s popular French festival features live music, an international marketplace, chef and wine demos, French and Cajun cuisine, roaming busker entertainment and a signature 43 foot Eiffel Tower replica that offers hourly light shows.

Waterford Balloonfest

Enjoy live music, an Arts & Crafts Market, food vendors, helicopter rides and a spectacular evening hot air balloon night glow!

Croatian Days

Celebrate Croatian heritage in Franklin with food, drinks, music, ethnic dancing and delicious, authentic Croatian cuisine right off the spit!

Wisconsin State Fair

Ten straight days of fun, food, animals and shopping at the Wisconsin State Fair. How many items on a stick can you try?

Kids Fest

Rally up the whole family for Oconomowoc’s Kids Fest for games, entertainment, music, inflatables, arts & crafts, food and more.

Zoo a la Carte

“Feast with the beasts” at the Milwaukee Zoo as you enjoy a variety of flavors from local eateries that will leave you craving more. Animals will be on display as popular local and national live bands perform.

Third Ward Art Festival

Take in the art scene in Milwaukee’s popular third ward. This upscale area boasts the city’s most dynamic array of restaurants, spas, theatres, galleries and unique shopping. Wide sidewalks are home to numerous cafes and are well situated to look at art along the way.

Doors Open Milwaukee

Celebrate Milwaukee’s art, architecture, culture and history as you scope out over 150 historical Milwaukee buildings open to the public, free of charge.

Did we miss anything? Be sure to let us know in the comments!