We have an exciting season of events in store for 2019.

Join our Community Science excursions. In partnership with Urban Ecology Center, we will be learning about and taking inventory of bats, birds, dragonflies, butterflies, and other critters that call Milwaukee’s harbor home.

Every second Sunday from June to September meet at 600 E. Greenfield Avenue for a fun-filled day of games. A new to Milwaukee series of events called Play Streets invites families to enjoy canoeing, fishing, boating and street games like volleyball, street hockey, and 4 square. The last event in the series is Harbor Fest; Sunday, September 8th.

Harbor Fest 2019

September 8, 2019

11 am – 4 pm

Outside the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences (600 E. Greenfield Ave)

Harbor Fest reintroduces Milwaukee to its harbor. For a long time, this area has been seen as “off limits” or unwelcoming, but we want to show Milwaukee its true potential.  Our recent planning process calls for a Riverwalk and new public parks along the water. This festival is the first step in bringing people back to this area.

Activities at Harbor Fest  —  All events are FREE! 

Milwaukee Boat Parade by Milwaukee Riverkeeper
Decorated boat floats pass Harbor Fest at 12pm. Viewing available from Harbor Fest grounds.

Tour the harbor on a pontoon boat
Every half hour from 11:30am – 3pm.  Sign up at the Info booth.

Butterfly Walk with Milwaukee Public Museum
All ages walk along the KK River Trail, 1:45pm, 2:45pm.  Sign up at the info booth.

UWM School of Freshwater Sciences Tour
All ages, capacity of 30 for short tours, 11:30am, 12:45pm, 2:15pm, 2:45pm, 3:15pm
Capacity of 20 for long tour, 1:15pm
Sign up at the info booth.

Build a boat with All Hands Boat Works

Meet the fish that live in the Harbor

Pet a baby sturgeon with Riveredge Nature Center

Count bugs with Milwaukee Riverkeeper

Fillet a fish with the DNR

Paddle a canoe with Urban Ecology Center
Age limit 6(children must be accompanied by an adult), capacity of 12,  12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm.  Sign up at the info booth.

Take a bike tour with Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers
Age limit 10, capacity of 20, bikes provided by Wisconsin Bike Fed, 12:45pm & 2:30pm.  Sign up at the info booth.

Test your speed through an inflatable obstacle course

Explore the Harbor District on a scavenger hunt

Enjoy Sprecher beer and soda from the Sprecher Ambulance

Enjoy Enlightened beer on top of a shipping container from Containers Up

RSVP on Facebook

If you have any questions or would like to be a vendor or activity please email or call (414) 643-1266 x3.

Above photos by William Archer Photography

Getting To and Around Harbor Fest

Harbor Fest is taking place at the east end of Greenfield Avenue in front of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS) along Milwaukee’s harbor waterfront.

Via Car
If coming from I-43/I-94, the nearest exit is at Lapham Boulevard/Mitchell Street (Exit 312A).  Parking is available on city streets west of the Harbor Fest grounds or in several parking lots provided by Rockwell Automation and shown on the map below.  All vehicles must park to the west of the railroad bridge on Greenfield Avenue and walk to the Harbor Fest grounds via Greenfield Avenue.

Via Public Transit
Harbor Fest is served by several Milwaukee County Transit System bus lines including the Green Line, route #15, and route #56 which all stop at 1st & Greenfield.  Routes #17, #52, and #54 stop 3 blocks further south at 1st & Mitchell. Routes #19, #23, and the Blue Line stop several blocks to the north at 2nd & National.  For current information visit

Via Bicycle or On Foot
South 2nd St is the closest street with an on-street bicycle lane.  The KK River Trail is an off-street paved bicycle path that will leave you at the corner of E Washington St and S Barclay, a few blocks north of the SFS.  From 1st & Greenfield go east under the railroad tracks and Harbor Fest is in front of you.

See the map below for the location of all booths, vendors, and food and beverage options.  All Harbor Fest attendees will be arriving from the west via Greenfield Avenue.

By Land and By Sea – Harbor District Species Survey

By Land: Butterfly Survey of the Kinnickinnic River Trail

Saturday, September 8th during Harbor Fest

1 pm – 3 pm

Kinnickinnic River Trail entrance at E. Washington Street, between S. Barclay Street and S. Water Street. (220 E. Washington Street is closest address)

Together with butterfly experts from Milwaukee Public Museum, Harbor District is hosting it’s first butterfly survey along the Kinnickinnc River Trail, and you are invited!

Join us as we learn about the types of species which once called this place home, learn about identifying butterflies, and take part in a guided walk with great views of the Harbor District as we count butterflies along our very own Kinnickinnic River Trail.

This family-friendly event is open house style – please come any time between 1-3PM to take part in the butterfly walk and other activities, including the naming of Harbor District’s “research kayaks.” We are asking the public to help us name our two new kayaks which helps us complete our species surveys “By Sea.”

This program is funded by a grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. If you have questions, please contact Lindsay at or call (414) 643-1266 X4. Please also visit our event page on Facebook.