Free Summer Family Fun in Waukesha County
Are you on the hunt for free fun this summer? Summer 2023 is looking more like summers of the past as we move forward. Most of our favorite community events are coming back and new ones, too, and we are so excited! Luckily, Lake Country Family Fun is an expert at finding free fun for your family, after all that is why we started this website! As long as your family is feeling well and acting responsibly, there are loads of ways to have free fun this summer. Make sure you save and pin this guide for future reference when the dog days of summer arrive!
A few things to note about summer 2023:
- Constructions has returned, because summer in WI 🤪
- Slow down, drive safe and soon we’ll have smooth roads.
- Delafield Street in Waukesha is under construction spring 2023-summer 2023.
- CTH I between STH 164 and Big Bend Road in the Village of Waukesha will be under construction from April to June 15th.
- Oakwood Avenue in Oconomowoc will be CLOSED to through traffic from Fowler Lake Bridge north to Lisbon Road from April 17th to late June, depending on weather.
Please say thank you to the 2023 Free Summer Fun Guide Sponsor
Splash into a summer of reading and discovery with the Summer Library Program! Your library makes reading fun for the whole family. From musical performances and animal ambassadors to reading challenges and prize coupons from the Wisconsin State Fair, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and more, the Summer Library Program checks every box on your summer bucket list. You can even go virtual with the free Beanstack reading app! The Summer Library Program launches in June at your local library, so get ready to get reading.
Sign up at your local library or visit https://bridgeslibrarysystem.org/summer for
Free indoor summer fun
We love the summer reading programs! Reading is a great way to fill time on a rainy day or hot, hot afternoon inside in the air conditioning. It’s also a great way to keep up all the reading skills learned throughout the year and earn summer fun along the way! In 2021, we scored free tickets to Little Amerikka as well as free books from the Oconomowoc Public Library. See all the information above for how to participate this year.
See our fun from years past HERE.
Every child that you register, receives 2 FREE games of bowling all summer long!! The Kids Bowl Free is a nationwide program. Its purpose is to support communities and give children a fun way to spend their time throughout the summer. Wahoo!! This is perfect for rainy days or to escape the heat.
For summer 2023, please see the details through the link below. The program is being offered, but it it is up to individual centers to open or not open. The following are open:
Village Bowl in Menomonee Falls
Alpine Lanes in Muskego
Free outdoor summer fun
Hartland Kids Day 2023 will be returning to its classic booth form with bounce houses, a rock wall, and of course the splash pad! We’ll be spread out at Nixon Park like in 2022.
The event will be at Nixon Park on Wednesday, July 26th from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm to preview local family businesses, kids activities, and entertainment throughout the day. Lake Country Family Fun will have a fun-filled day planned for you!
See this from HKD 2020
See this from HKD 2021
See this from HKD 2022
Come in person to see HKD 2023!
Free Summer Fun to Watch Outside
I don’t know about you, but I love being outside in summer (minus any bugs). I love looking forward to all the seasons, but summer is my favorite! Outdoor concerts are a great way to enjoy warm summer nights with your family and friends.
WATERFRONT WEDNESDAYS IN PEWAUKEE– Lakefront Park in Pewaukee is the perfect location for a picnic dinner with the family. Grab your blankets and chairs and enjoy the scenic view and sounds every Wednesday through the summer. *Positively Pewaukee is a partner of Lake Country Family Fun.
NIXON PARK CONCERT SERIES – The Nixon Park Concert Series is held at the Fine Arts Center at Nixon Park in Hartland WI every Thursday May through August 2023!
WAUKESHA FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE– Every Friday night downtown Waukesha comes alive with 9 stages placed through the downtown business district. This is a kid friendly event; also, it can easily be used for a date night, guys night or girls night out. BACK in 2023!
TRIBUTE TUESDAY CONCERTS – Come and enjoy all your favorite songs as we pay tribute to legendary music performers of the past this summer at Tribute Tuesday Concerts in Waukesha in June, July, August, and September 2023.
CIVIC BAND CONCERTS IN WAUKESHA – Come to Cutler Park to enjoy Civic Band Concerts on Thursdays throughout the summer! June, July and August concerts are on in 2023!
TUNES ON TUESDAYS – Bring your family to Elm Grove Village Park on select Tuesdays for their Tunes on Tuesday series. 2023 concerts are happening!
BROOKFIELD NOON CONCERTS – Don’t miss this midday concert series in Brookfield all summer long! These are happening in 2023!
BROOKFIELD EVENING CONCERTS – These only happen once a month! These are happening in 2023!
STARRY NIGHTS at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts – Select Friday nights in July and August. Back in 2023!
FALLS SUNSET CONCERT SERIES, MENOMONEE FALLS – The Village of Menomonee Falls has built the new Village Park Amphitheater in downtown. The Sunset Concert Series is the premier, FREE, family friendly, live music event held on Thursday nights during the summer. BACK in 2022!
CONCERTS AT THE BEER GARDEN, MENOMONEE FALLS – Bring your family to these free concerts at Village Park that will have food and beverages during the summer (weather permitting). 2023 concerts are happening.
RIVERSIDE RHYTHMS – Take in some musical selections every Wednesday during lunch right on the riverwalk in downtown Waukesha. 2023 concerts are BACK!
TOSA CONCERT SERIES – Bring your family out for the Tosa Tonight Concert Series! Free Family-Friendly Music starts at 6:00 pm. 2023 Concerts are BACK!
MUSIC ON THE HILL SERIES – June kicks off Music on the Hill concert series outside the Delafield Hotel. Get outside this summer to enjoy live music and great eats at Music on the Hill. Featuring food and drink options from Chef Joe at I.d. and a music lineup that’s sure to please, this al fresco concert series makes a perfect outing for the family, a date or an outing with friends. 2023 concerts are back!
Our Fun at Bands at the Beach
This is another family favorite of ours!! Watching a MOVIE OUTSIDE surrounded by friends, snacking on kettle corn, and snuggling up with my little ones, is a favorite memory of summers past! In 2023, most if not all community outdoor movie events are back+ new ones!
- MOONLIT MOVIES IN OCONOMOWOC –
**These events are returning to their home at Fowler Park in 2023 with a ski show to kick them off! This is a family favorite for Lake Country Family Fun!
- MOVIES IN THE PARK IN ELM GROVE –
Join the community and your family and friends to watch a movie under the stars in Elm Grove’s Village Park. Movies are happening in 2023!
- OUTDOOR MOVIE IN VILLAGE PARK IN SUSSEX –
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Bring the whole family for a free, fun family event. Concessions will be available including free popcorn.
- FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT IN HARTLAND –
Bring your family to Nixon Park for a full summer of outdoor movies in 2023! TBD for exact dates and movie titles.
- OUTDOOR MOVIES IN NEW BERLIN –
Returning the fun to Malone Park in 2023!
- Monday Night at the Movies in Waukesha –
Returning the fun to Cutler Park in 2023!
- OUTDOOR MOVIES IN THE PARK HARTFORD –
Check out the 2023 lineup of movies at Willowbrook Park in Hartford!
- NEW in 2023: Town of Ixonia Movie in the Park!
While not “free summer fun”, outdoor movie drive-in theater experiences are popping up! These are ticketed events. You can read about them HERE.
One of our fun experiences at Moonlit Movie Night!
Watching a WATER SKI SHOW is a family favorite of ours! My little ones are amazed at all the tricks and lifts of the skiers, and by the three motors on the back of the boat 😉
- BADGERLAND SKI SHOWS –
*In summer 2023, the Badgerland Ski Team can be found on the road, mostly performing at Fowler Park/Fowler Lake and Okauchee Lake by Foolery’s.
- WATERBUG SKI SHOWS –
They will be skiing every Wednesday and of course their big July 3rd event!
- PEWAUKEE LAKE SKI SHOWS –
Their season kicks off on Memorial Day! Then bring your family to watch the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Show every Thursday.
Our fun watching Badgerland on Fowler Lake HERE.
What says summer like classic cars on a warm night? Find more car shows HERE.
CLASSIC CAR CRUISE NIGHT IN SUSSEX – June 15, 2023
Cars and Coffee Waukesha – At Black Canyon Coffee in Wales, this event meets the third Sunday of the month. Happening in 2023!
Okauchee American Legion Car show – TBD in 2023!
BALD EAGLE ANNUAL CAR SHOW – Happening on June 17, 2023!
CRUISIN’ THE GROVE – Elm Grove’s Own Classic Car and Motorcycle event. August 6, 2023
Enjoy the Active Outdoors with your Family
Nature is OPEN!
One of our favorite walks in the Fowler Lake Walk in Oconomowoc. Take a stroll with the family around Fowler Lake in Oconomowoc. It is about a 2 mile walk to get around. We always seem to stop at the bridge at the dam between Fowler Lake and Lac La Belle and watch people fish. And now we are watching the new John and Lavinia Rockwell Park come to life. We also stop for a little bit of extra fun at Fowler Park and take full advantage of the park, tennis courts and the restrooms (if needed). We park downtown and follow Wisconsin Ave west, then north onto Main St., then right onto Lisbon Rd., then right again onto Greenland Ave, then right onto Oakwood Ave., then right again on Pleasant St. and that takes you back to downtown in the municipal parking lot by the boardwalk.
There are blue rain drops painted on the sidewalk to guide you around the lake. They are fading a bit, but still there.
Also, be sure to listen for the Clock Tower Tunes as you walk past by City Hall in summer 2023.
Our fun enjoying the Lake Walk.
Another fun walk is the Storybook Trail at Brandt-Quirk Park in Watertown. We tried it out in early June 2020 and again in April 2021. The Watertown Public Library switches out the story seasonally, so keep going back! The trail is located in Brandt-Quirk Park. Park in the baseball diamond lot, and head straight back towards the railroad tracks.
PRO TIP – it’s buggy when you walk through the woods – so arrive well clothed or bring bug spray.
Other story trails are outside the Hartland Library all year round and seasonally in Sussex at Sussex Village Park and Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha. Oconomowoc is getting a storybook trail as we at Roosevelt Park in 2023!
The New Berlin Public Library is excited to invite you to the launch of the new Community Storybook Trail at ProHealth Care Park. Similar to an interactive trail, the Library staff has worked with Parks, Streets and Recreation Departments to select an accessible loop at ProHealth Care Park to add signage to share a storybook with park visitors. Each sign will have pages to a story and librarians will rotate these stories seasonally (or more often) for readers to enjoy while they stroll. Special thanks to the Friends of the New Berlin Public Library for supporting our ideas and funding this new community destination.
Hiking also really resurfaced as a family fun activity in summers since 2020 and is a great time to hit the trails as well. Some free hiking trails are:
- Ledge Park in Horicon
- Nature Hill in Oconomowoc
- Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha
- Find more hikes and tips in our Hiking Guide.
Free Summer Fun Just Outside Waukesha County
- The North Point Lighthouse in Milwaukee is an awesome historic landmark and kids 4 and under are FREE.
- Visit Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, a book themed fairyland for kids. (Free if you are a Sheboygan County resident or a Bookworm Member, also children under 2. No longer free adult admission for outside residents with a suggested donation; tickets range from $8 pending when ticket is purchased.) Open May 2023.
- Check out Cedar Creek Park in Cedarburg Friday nights during the summer for Summer Sounds, their free summer concert series.
- Enjoy summer sounds with Music in the Glen, which is free and open to everyone located in Glendale (schedule here).
- A little road trip, but the Madison Zoo is FREE.
- Hit up a Beach – Milwaukee County beaches are FREE!!!
- Top FREE Splash pads outside of Waukesha County include:
- Kinderberg Park in Germantown
- Hickory Park in Jackson
- Bayshore Town Center’s Splash Pad
- Hart Park Splash Pad in Wauwatosa
- Oak Creek Splash Pad
- Riverside Park Splash Pad in Janesville
- Milwaukee County Splash Pads and Wading Pool list
Explore MILWAUKEE WITH KIDS