Milwaukee is a gay friendly under the radar destination
Milwaukee is the most populated city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Today, Milwaukee is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the U.S however it is one of the most racially segregated. It continues to be a centre for German-American culture, specifically becoming well known for its brewing industry.
The gay rights movement in Milwaukee has been a struggle. Early efforts to organize gay men and women in Milwaukee included the formation of the Gay Liberation Organization (GLO). In 1971 Gay People’s Union (GPU) was formed which was the renaming of GLO.
While GPU looked to the political process to end discriminatory practices against gay men, calling for the repeal of Wisconsin’s sex laws. In summer 1978, GPU vigorously protested when the police conducted a series of raids on gay baths; patrons were charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour.
Into the 1980s, gay bars in Milwaukee were secretive operations. Gay Milwaukee is one of those under-the-radar destinations. Milwaukeeans will not be seen holding hands on the street so be discreet with public displays of affection.
With Milwaukee being one of the most gay-friendly cities in the U.S.A., you would expect an incredible gay nightlife scene. From sports fans and leather daddies to dance floor freaks and lovers of fierce drag queens – there is something for everyone.
There are a few neighbourhoods that stand out as particular hubs for LGBT folk, the foremost of which is 2nd Street in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighbourhood (by night, anyway).
Here you can find a mixture of drag joints, dive bars, mega-clubs, and quiet spots for cocktails – all proudly flying the rainbow flag every night of the week. The historic Third Ward warehouse district, gentrifying Riverwest, and quirky Brady Street are also popular for gay residents to live, work and play.
The Hop Streetcar is the easiest, and most affordable, way to navigate downtown, connecting you to major attractions.
Hop Streetcar is fun way to see the city as it runs right through downtown Milwaukee. Best of all, the service is completely free, and streetcars run every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes at weekends and off-peak times. The service runs from 5am to midnight Monday to Friday, from 7am to midnight Saturday, and from 7am to 10pm Sunday.
The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has dozens of bus routes running right across the city. If you’re planning a short visit to Milwaukee there is a Ride MCTS app where you can buy cheap e-tickets for single trips or 24-hour unlimited ride tickets.
Milwaukee Mitchell International airport is located just over 13 kilometres from downtown Milwaukee.
A bus to downtown is the cheapest way to reach downtown and the takes around 30 minutes. The buses run almost 20/7 with no service between 1.30 am and 4.00 am.
The bus stops are located outside baggage claim exit 1 and there are two options.
Green Line service operates between Mitchell International Airport and Bayshore Town Centre, traveling through downtown Milwaukee along the way. The service connects Milwaukee Mitchell International airport with Bayshore, Whitefish Bay area Milwaukee's east side, Walker's Point and south side.
Route 80 connects Mitchell International Airport to downtown Milwaukee and the downtown MATC campus in Oak Creek.
Milwaukee taxis charge based on metered rate and will cost around $40 depending on where is your final destination taking between 15-30 minutes.
Places to stay
Milwaukee’s Gayborhood of Walker’s Points, found on 2nd Street, is at the forefront of LGBTQ inclusiveness. Thanks to the diverse community with queer nightlife and gay-owned businesses, this is the place to stay. Its proximity to all of the main attractions in Milwaukee, and withing walking distance to many of the cities surrounding neighbourhoods.
Bars, Clubs & Parties
Milwaukee is considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the U.S.A and offers a diverse gay nightlife scene. A city for sports fans, leather daddies, to dance floor freaks and drag show lovers there is something for everyone.
The main LGBTQ neighbourhood area is around the 2nd Street Walker’s Point area.
D.I.X is a gay cornerstone bar that packs something extra as the best place to experience Milwaukee’s drag scene. After the drag shows, dance the night away with D.J. spinning tunes. If you’re looking to unwind being yourself with no judgment, D.I.X. is the place for go.
Fluid is a straight-friendly gay bar with friendly great bartenders, fashionable decor, and comfortable seating indoor and outdoor for socializing on the long summer nights. Hosting plenty of events that draw in the crowds with everything from packer games to drag shows. There martini menu which one of the bars house specialities.
Kruz is a cute gay bar with no signage that opened in 2006 for those ‘in the know’. Kruz draw a diverse queer crowd of bears, Levi lovers, lesbians, and more. A few minutes’ walk, from the main Milwaukee gay scene in Harbour View in a hidden warehouse old industrial building. Kruz is a fabulous place to socialize and meet new friends.
LaCage Nightclub is a three-level queer club open since 1984. It was briefly rebranded as LVL Dance but re-opened as LaCage again in 2017. LaCage today has several dance floors, as well as plenty of happy hour specials and strong cocktails.
Woody’s is Milwaukee’s only gay sports bar on the southern edge of the Walker’s Point gay area, this is a classic gay dive bar with decor that hasn’t been updated in half a century.
There bar offers a large selection of beers on tap with daily happy hour specials, including a popular 2-4-1 Thursdays. If there is a Packers game on you want to watch the Woody’s is the place to be.
This Is It as the name implies is one of the original queer venues in the city dating back to 1968. There are multiple bars, high ceilings, carpeted walls, extravagant projectors, fabulous vintage lighting. A safe space that draws in a diverse crowd of old and young thanks to its decades-old reputation.
Walker’s Pint located on 2nd Street is Milwaukee’s oldest lesbian bar. This is lesbian spot in a vintage-style tavern with an easy going and relaxed vibe with everybody welcome. Offering an excellent beer selection and outdoor beer garden. One of the few lesbian bars left in the U.S.A.
Cafes & Restaurants
Hamburger Marys is the location of this fabulously gay American burger, bar and grill chain. It has an old-school diner vibe, the nightly queer iconic drag, and cute arcade bar which pulls in the LGBTQ community.
Harbour Room is a classic gay man’s bar, and the closest thing to an Eagle Bar where you will find the Levi and leather crowd enjoying the fetish-fest. They host frequent pop-up events with friendly bartenders with a jukebox, darts, and a pool table. Harbour Room, close to the Harbourside.
While there is no official gay beach in Milwaukee, the Bradford public beach is popular with LGBTQ community to spend the day. Lie in the sand and just enjoy watching the boys playing on the beach volleyball courts and hang out with the guys.
Milwaukee an under-the-radar destination sadly you will not find a gay sauna anywhere in Wisconsin. The nearest gay sauna is a drive of 1.5 hours to Chicago.
Main LGBT Events
Milwaukee biggest LGBTQ event is PrideFest which is a three-day event in June.
PrideFest is the U.S.A.’s only pride festival held on permanent festival grounds with thousands of festival-goers converging to experience world-class queer entertainment, enjoy delicious food, wander the marketplace, and celebrate Pride.
During the day, around 100 artists and performers are featured on eight stages, showcasing local music and promoting the works of LGBTQ non-profit organizations. There is also a dance party at the Dance Pavilion all day.
Currency – United States Dollar (USD)
Language – English
Visas – Most visitors from Europe do not need a visa. ESTA permits citizens of 40 countries to enter the US without a visa.
Best Time To Visit – March - November
Timezone – Varies per state. Check per destination.
Homosexual Activity – Legal but attitudes vary per state
Sexy Men's Wear
Fetish Men's Wear
What's Your Fetish?
Safe Flying With A Smile
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