Milwaukee is a magnificent blend of arts, culture, entertainment, celebration and fun set alongside Lake Michigan's sparkling shoreline. Exciting new developments, one-of-a-kind experiences, a lively arts and culinary scene and a progressive attitude combine with our warm brand of hospitality to create an unbeatable, gay-friendly destination.

Selected as a "Surprising Gay-Friendly Destination" by PlanetOut in its 2008 Travel Awards, Milwaukee is home to a number of organizations and annual events that celebrate the LGBT community. Among the highlights are Pridefest, the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival and The Gay Arts Center.

For three days each June along the shores of Lake Michigan, in the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park, the nation's biggest Pride entertainment lineup assembles for Pridefest. Here, thousands of festival-goers gather to enjoy world-class entertainment, sample some of the best food the city has to offer and stroll through the marketplace.

In the fall the city welcomes the LGBT Film/Video Festival. This 11-day annual event showcases work from around the world by, about and for the LGBT community.

The Milwaukee Gay Arts Center opened in 2005 in the city's Walker's Point neighborhood and provides a venue for LGBT relevant visual and performing arts. The Center also provides arts-related educational opportunities.


Where to Stay: Gay Friendly Milwaukee Hotels

A little bit of Milwaukee's history and a lot of its progressive attitude can be found in the wide variety of gay-friendly accommodations offered throughout the city. From the elegance and style of a century-old Victorian masterpiece to the unique amenities of boutique hotels and the convenience of cosmopolitan facilities, you will find the perfect place to match your preferences and budget.

Boutique hotels in the city include a premier art deco hotel, an eco-friendly property with a spa and carbon-footprint free bicycles for guests to use while making their way around town, and the industry's first modern luxury boutique hotel geared toward business and leisure travelers along with the growing segment of motorcycle enthusiasts. Unique amenities offered by this property include covered motorcycle parking and an on-site bike wash.

Bed and breakfast enthusiasts have their pick of several different areas in which to stay and those more comfortable with national names will find an abundance of choices. Visitors staying in the downtown area will find the city very walkable. The city's streets are laid out in a grid pattern, making navigating them a breeze. Additional help comes as part of the City's Downtown Pedestrian Streetscape Project with signage placed at intersections pointing the direction to major landmarks.

With 4 TAG approved hotels and new projects and renovations continually popping up, Milwaukee's spectrum of gay-friendly hotel choices is impressive. Be sure to check out PCG's list for more information.


What to See/What to Do in Gay Friendly Milwaukee

A multi-billion dollar investment in its tourism product has provided Milwaukee with a number of must-see destinations. Riding into town last summer to join this line-up was the Harley-Davidson Museum. Here you can see the famous "Serial Number One," the oldest bike in the Harley-Davidson collection, dating back to 1903. Find out where that "potato, potato" sound comes from with a stop in the engine room. Practically feel the wind in your hair as you climb on several different motorcycle models and watch scenery roll by on a big screen in the museum's Experience Gallery. Be sure to spend some time in the outdoor public spaces that are a destination unto themselves. Messages from around the world, some guaranteed to make you laugh out loud, can be found on the rivet walls. Even if you're not a motorcycle enthusiast (or a Bear or Daddy enthusiast), this place is a can't-miss.

The city has over two dozen other museums with something for any area of interest. The Milwaukee Art Museum, with its magnificent brise soleil "taking flight" against the panoramic backdrop of Lake Michigan, is as stunning on the outside as it is inside. More than 20,000 permanent holdings span antiquity to the present and include works by renowned artists such as Degas, Monet, Picasso, O'Keeffe and Warhol. The Milwaukee Public Museum, one of the best natural history museums in the country, boasts the world's largest dinosaur skull. Discovery World features experiential learning through interactive exhibits and gives you the opportunity to rock out in the Les Paul House of Sound. And The Eisner-American Museum of Advertising and Design offers the opportunity to delve into pop culture.

Try your hand at lady luck with a stop by Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Visitors can expect to find not only a world-class gaming facility, but award-winning dining options and Vegas-style entertainment.

Ranked as one of the top cities in the United States for donations to the arts, Milwaukee's deep-rooted dedication allows it to offer audiences the world's most acclaimed performers and visual artists. Two thriving theater districts offer everything from the classics to experimental music and theater.

Located downtown, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts is the heart and soul of Milwaukee's theater and home to the renowned Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, considered to be one of the top symphonies in the country and a national leader in arts education; the Florentine Opera Company, the fifth oldest opera company in the United States and the oldest performing arts organization in Wisconsin; and the Milwaukee Ballet, ranked among one of the top 12 ballet companies in the country.

Milwaukee also boasts the Milwaukee Repertory Theater with its main house, studio and cabaret theaters and the splendid century-old Pabst Theater. Designed in the style of the great European opera houses, "Milwaukee's jewel box" was built in 1895 by brewing magnate Captain Frederick Pabst.

The second theater district is in the Historic Third Ward neighborhood, Milwaukee's converted warehouse district. This area has become the off-Broadway of Milwaukee's art scene. Here you will find the popular Skylight Opera Theatre, nationally acclaimed for vivid productions and adventuresome repertoire. Next Act Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, and the Sunset Playhouse, Inc. are among the many smaller professional groups offering cutting-edge theater to appreciative audiences.

Milwaukee is home to a shopping mix that's sure to please. History combines with sophistication while vogue and vintage fuse to create a unique retail scene reflecting the cultures and trends of this incredible city. One-of-a-kind specialty stores in easy-to-get-to neighborhoods near the heart of the city are sure to charm even the most discriminating of patrons while a number of malls gives new meaning to the saying "shop 'til you drop!"

Turn-of-the-century buildings in the Historic Third Ward are home to sassy stores that add a unique twist to shopping. For more than 100 years, this area served as a hub for a bustling procession of grocery commission houses that provided the bulk of the city's fruit and vegetable produce. Today, the wholesalers of "Commission Row" have given way to an intriguing mix of upscale shops, art galleries and sidewalk bistros.

The city's avant-guard mecca, Brady Street, anchors the Lower East Side. Its eclectic collection of boutiques and coffeehouses mirror the street's bohemian background while savory eateries and ethnic grocery stores reflect Italian heritage. After dark, the street revels as a vibrant nightlife hotspot.

The county is home to one of the nation's best park systems and is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Over 150 parks and parkways combine into nearly 15,000 acres of recreational enjoyment, much of which is situated along the lakefront. Among the system's jewels are three parks designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead,