Four Things to do This 4th of July Weekend (That's Not Summerfest)

Jul. 1, 2016
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Photo via Urban Harvest Brewing Company Facebook

It's not that I have anything against Summerfest—on the contrary, I'll be going at least four days. But chances are you're already sick of reading Summerfest tips articles and already know which days you're going. Plus, it's a long holiday weekend, and just because Summerfest is going on doesn't mean the rest of the city sleeps. So, here's what you can do when you've had enough of the $8.50 beers.

Burnhearts/Pabst 9th Annual Street Party

It seems like just yesterday we were at Mittenfest, but that can't be because this Saturday, July 2 is the street party. It's sponsored by Pabst, so you know there's going to be a lot of PBR. But there's also the grown up version of snow cones, the Korbel brandy slushies.

As usual, the streets around Burnhearts in Bay View will be blocked off. Music this year is by DIRECT HIT!, WebsterX, Space Raft, Tigernite and New Boyz Club. Food will be available from vendors Goodkind, Classic Slice, Honeypie, Palomino and DanDan. There's also an arts and crafts area with curated vendors. This is a fun event with a great vibe that's gotten bigger every year. 

Take in some fireworks

Monday is the Fourth of July, so of course you should go out and find some fireworks! The main MKE fireworks take place at the lakefront Sunday night at 9:30. The crowds are enormous and people camp out all day for their spots on the grass, packing lunches and frisbees. There's also a kite festival going on that afternoon near the Gift of Wings store. 

Of course if you're not into fighting the crowds at the lake, there's plenty of neighborhood fireworks shows. The City of Milwaukee actually has a Fourth of July Commission that arranges the activities and fireworks at area parks around the city. More information about those events can be found on their website

Visit a brewery or distillery

Has it been a while since you went on a brewery tour in Milwaukee? Maybe you've never gotten up to Sprecher Brewery in Glendale before, or you haven't done the Great Lakes Distillery tour yet. Well, this seems like a fantastic weekend to get some friends together and hit those tours you haven't been on yet. 

And while they may not offer tours just yet, there's a couple brand new breweries you can check out. Good City Brewing on Farwell Ave. and Windsor has a large open concept tap room and brewery space. It's only been open for a couple weeks but it's already pouring a ton of its brew. Right now they offer seven different beers: Risk IPA, Motto mosaic pale ale, Clean Cut session IPA, Dapper British session ale, Detail porter, Reward double IPA and Pils pilsner.

Urban Harvest Brewing opened quietly this spring on 5th St. near Washington in Walker's Point. They brew beer in very small batches which you can try in their taproom. Currently, you can expect to see Wicket Summer Wheat, 414 golden ale, Black Puppy pale ale, Corkscrew IPA, Nookie Nookie citra pale ale or Old Town amber.

Soak up the sun at a beer garden

The weather's shaping up to be pretty nice this weekend, so make plans to soak up the sun—while drinking, of course. Milwaukee has seen an explosion of beer gardens in the last couple of years. My favorite is Estabrook Park, with its lovely setting overlooking the river. It's also really large, so it can accommodate the big crowds it gets. There's often live music (hope you like polka) and the beer is mostly from Hofbrau. You can pack a picnic or grab a brat or giant pretzel at the park. For more information about the other Milwaukee County Parks beer gardens, check their website

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