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Gather by the river


June 2014

Milwaukee, according to the language of its original Native American inhabitants, means gathering place by the water. The downtown Riverwalk has become a very popular place for all sorts of gatherings. Here are seven activities to enjoy along the Riverwalk this summer.

Run or walk and see it all. The Riverwalk spans three miles, most of it on both sides of the river. Get your cardio workout and stroll past the theater district, Pere Marquette Park, the Harley-Davidson Museum grounds and countless other local attractions.

Rent a kayak and follow Milwaukee’s Urban Water Trail. View the city from a new perspective as you experience the idyllic combination of downtown and nature together.

Take a boat cruise. Enjoy sightseeing, dinner or nightlife cruises or a family friendly Caribbean Pirates Cruise from one of Milwaukee’s boat tour companies. The Milwaukee River Cruise line — featuring the iconic Edelweiss — and the Milwaukee Boat Line, which can get you out to open water and travel to Green Bay or Chicago, are popular options.

Rent a pontoon boat. Riverwalk Boat tours and rentals, which docks at Pere Marquette Park, has lots of options, from a 21-foot pontoon boat to a 45-footer with a bathroom and private captain.

Pub crawl by boat. Enjoy a sampling of beverages from taverns along the water, such as Molly Cool’s, Milwaukee Sail Loft and the Twisted Fisherman. Boats such as the Brew City Queen II or Milwaukee Maiden II will pilot you from pub to pub.

Check out the river sculptures. More than 20 sculptures adorn the Riverwalk, including fish, ducks, a mermaid, a cow, a ballerina and, of course, the most selfie-inducing piece of them all, The Bronze Fonz. has a handy map identifying the names and locations of all the sculptures.

Cheer on the Milwaukee River Challenge. Billing itself as the most accessible rowing race in the United States, the 2014 challenge hits the river Sept. 20. From several vantage points along the water — including many outdoor seating areas at riverside restaurants ­— you can see the more than 700 competitors on 140 boats dash and splash their way to the finish line.


This story ran in the June  2014 issue of: