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Is Milwaukee Safe? | Travel Tips & Safety Concerns

Is Milwaukee Safe? | Travel Tips & Safety Concerns

The largest city in Wisconsin, Milwaukee, sits along the shorelines of Lake Michigan. A beautiful place to visit, Milwaukee is well known for numerous breweries and its major league baseball team, the Brewers.

Milwaukee also boasts many cultural and historical attractions, making it one of the most popular places in the states for visitors to visit. Although Milwaukee has a higher crime rate than the national rate, it is still a reasonably safe place to visit.

However, you should always be vigilant when traveling and err on the side of caution, no matter where you go. Here are some safety tips to consider before visiting the historical and cultural city of Milwaukee.

Is Milwaukee Safe to Visit in 2022?

Image of the skyline of the downtown area for a piece titled Is Milwaukee Safe to Visit

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Nestled along the panoramic waterways of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a popular destination for many travelers looking to spend some quality time touring the museums, taking in a baseball game, going on a beer tour, or hitting up the breathtaking beaches along Lake Michigan.

Even though Milwaukee has a high crime rate compared to other U.S. cities, it is still a safe place to visit as long as you follow safety precautions.

The top three safety concerns found in Milwaukee include petty theft, aggravated assault, and motor vehicle theft. When visiting any place that you are not familiar with, you should always be cautious and pay close attention to your surroundings to prevent crimes and stay safe.

Other most popular crimes that can be found in Milwaukee include:

  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Non-fatal shootings

Crime in Milwaukee

Just like any other vacation destination, you will always run into safety issues and crime from time to time, no matter where you travel.

According to 2021 statistics collected by the Milwaukee Police Department, some of the most common types of crimes occurring in the city of Milwaukee include:

  • Motor vehicle theft: 10,477
  • Theft: 10,184
  • Aggravated Assault: 7, 515
  • Burglary: 2,830
  • Robbery: 2,080
  • Non-fatal shootings: 873

Although there is a high crime rate in Milwaukee, you can still enjoy a safe trip when you practice safety precautions on your visit to the city. Here are some safety tips to follow on your next trip to Milwaukee to help reduce the chances of being mugged, assaulted, or burglarized.

Never Travel Alone

When visiting Milwaukee, travel with friends or family to avoid theft and assault. If you must travel alone, stick to high-traffic areas with several people around and avoid back streets or alleys. Avoid walking around the city after dark unless necessary. Always lock your car doors, even when driving to reduce car theft.

Leave Your Jewelry at Home

When traveling to any vacation destination, always leave your expensive jewelry at home to prevent theft. It is fine to wear your wedding bands. But, all other jewelry wear should be avoided to prevent beggars and muggers from attacking you.

Wear Casual Clothing

Leave your best clothing at home when walking around the city of Milwaukee. Avoid standing out in the crowd and try to blend in with the locals by sporting casual clothing that does not draw attention to you by thieves or beggars.

Travel Light

Traveling light is one of the easiest ways to stay safe when visiting Milwaukee. If you don’t have anything on you worth taking, your chances of being mugged will become greatly reduced.

When exploring the city, leave all your valuables in your hotel safe, including your bank cards, passport, driver’s license, and any other important documents. Only bring enough cash for the day. This way, if you do happen to get mugged, you won’t lose too much money. 

Stay Alert

Always pay attention to your surroundings and watch for muggers or beggars coming up to you. If you see a vagrant on the street, cross to the other side.

Or, go around him without making conversation. Sometimes, they can be very convincing when they are asking for money and don’t take no lightly for an answer.

Avoid High Crime Areas

Stick to the tourist areas of the city and avoid high-crime spots such as back streets, alleys, or low rental areas of the city. Tourist areas are generally pretty safe. However, it is still crucial to practice safety precautions at all times.

Carry Money in a Fanny Pack

Even though fanny packs aren’t the prettiest fashion accessory, keeping your money and belongings securely fastened around your waste is one of the safest solutions for avoiding theft in the city of Milwaukee.

However, if a fanny pack just isn’t your thing, you can strap a purse sideways across your chest to reduce the chances of being mugged or having your purse snatched.

Try Not to Look Like a Tourist

Avoid walking around snapping pictures of buildings and carrying your camera, selfie stick, or video camera around. Locals can easily spot tourists out of a crowd of people and tend to target them because they are often the easiest to take advantage of.

Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods

When visiting Milwaukee, the safest places in the city are well-populated tourist areas, such as the American Family Field, Milwaukee Brewery Tours, the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Milwaukee River Walk, or a visit to one of the many cultural museums in the city.

Staying within well-populated areas will help keep you safe and reduce the chances of being mugged.

However, staying vigilant and paying attention to your surroundings in the city at all times is your best bet for staying safe while visiting Milwaukee. 

Avoid Beaches After the Sun Goes Down

Thrill-seekers may think it’s exciting to explore the beach area after dark. However, it is also one of the most dangerous places in the city for theft, assault, and rape after dark. 

So, when visiting Milwaukee, make sure to save the beach for daylight hours when there are several other people around to reduce the chances of something dangerous happening to you.

Travel in Pairs

When exploring Milwaukee, travel in pairs to help prevent theft, mugging, and assault. Assailants are less likely to attack you if you are traveling within a group of people. If you must travel alone, practice caution and avoid less-populated areas on foot. Never walk on back streets or alleyways alone. 

Avoid Dangerous Areas

Some of the most dangerous areas in the city of Milwaukee include Metcalfe Park, North Division, and Franklin Heights. By avoiding these areas, you can reduce your chances of being assaulted or robbed.

If you absolutely must travel these areas, consider taking a trusted taxi service, or keep your car doors locked at all times, even when driving through these streets.

Safe Things to Do in Milwaukee

Photo of the Historic Third Ward pictured from the street to answer Is Milwaukee Safe

Brett Welcher/Shutterstock

Remembering to stick to the tourist areas of the city, Milwaukee offers plenty of safe attractions for the whole family to enjoy on your visit to the Brewing City. Here is a list of the top five fun yet safe things to do in Milwaukee.

1. Discovery World

Located on Harbor Drive in Milwaukee, Discovery World is an excellent spot to bring the family on your next trip to the city. Explore educational and interactive exhibits, the Reiman Aquarium, and other fun hands-on activities sure to please every member of the household.

2. Milwaukee Art Museum

Nestled along Art Museum Drive, enjoy a stroll through the Milwaukee Art Museum, featuring four floors of historical artwork from antiques to present-day memorabilia, paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, and more. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a safe and interesting place to visit on your next trip to Milwaukee.

3. Milwaukee County Zoo

Set on over 200 acres of land on Bluemound Road, the Milwaukee County Zoo is not only a safe way to spend the day in Milwaukee. But, it is also entertaining. 

Explore over 2,500 species of wildlife in their natural habitat, go for a ride on their 500-foot zipline, watch a show, or tour the grounds on a safari train ride. There is plenty to do at the Milwaukee County Zoo to entertain the entire family on your visit to Milwaukee.

Read Next: The Best Zoos in the United States in 2022

4. American Family Field

No matter the weather, you can always find shelter under the roof at Miller Park when you take in a ball game at the American Family Field. 

Home to the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Team, the American Family Field offers a safe place for the whole family to enjoy an entertaining day out in the city, including children. Kids can visit the KidsZone to explore interactive play or take a ride on Bernie Brewer’s slide. 

5. Sprecher Brewery

Located on Glendale Avenue, the Sprecher Brewery offers a safe and modern twist to the traditional beer crawl. Adults can take advantage of several flavors of beer to sample at the Sprecher Brewery.

But it’s not just beer; under-aged members of the household can enjoy the taste of gourmet sodas to sample. The Sprecher Brewery is a safe and entertaining attraction for anyone looking for something to do on their next visit to Milwaukee.

Things to Consider

Photo of the riverwalk in Milwaukee on a semi-cloudy day

Chris LaBasco/Shutterstock

Putting safety concerns on the back burner for a while, here are some tips to consider when visiting Milwaukee to help make your trip a more memorable experience for the entire family.

Plan Your Trip in Advance

Do your research to ensure you choose the safest hotel districts and attractions sure to please the entire family on your visit to Milwaukee. Read customer reviews, compare prices, and choose your activities wisely to make sure your trip is not only fun but also safe.

Invest in a Travel Plan on Your Cellphone 

To avoid outrageous roaming charges on your cellphone bill, invest in a travel plan that covers out-of-the-country roaming fees. Most phone companies offer travel plans to the U.S.A. for a reasonable price. It beats getting nasty roaming fees on your next phone bill.

Cost/Budget

Planning a vacation can sometimes be a costly experience. Take advantage of discounted offers to area attractions and consider visiting parks and beaches that are well-populated yet free of charge. This way you won’t break the bank on your visit to Milwaukee. 

Plan a vacation during low-peak travel times, such as September, October, and January — when the children go back to school and after the Christmas holidays when most people are low on extra cash. 

Keep the Entire Family in Mind

Find excursions and attractions the whole family will enjoy. Browse the internet, check out a travel agency for pamphlets on the area, or ask around to find the perfect attractions on your next visit to Milwaukee. 

By taking a little extra time to plan your trip in advance, you can help ensure you have the best trip possible when you visit the historical Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gorgeous Milwaukee skyline as seen from the walkway

Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

Planning a vacation that is not only safe but fun for the entire family can be a daunting task. If you are still on the fence about whether or not Milwaukee is the right place for your family to visit, here are some questions and answers to help you make the right choice.

Is Milwaukee safe to walk around?

If you stick to the tourist areas of Milwaukee, it is safe to walk around. Follow safety guidelines, such as walking in groups, keeping only small amounts of cash on you, wearing casual clothing and minimal jewelry, and keeping your belonging close to your body to decrease the chances of being mugged.

Which part of Milwaukee is safest?

Although you should practice safety while traveling anywhere in Milwaukee, the safest neighborhoods are ones that are popular tourist areas, such as:

  • Historic Third Ward
  • Lower East Side
  • Northpoint
  • Bay View
  • Juneau Town

Which areas should you avoid when searching for a hotel in Milwaukee?

When shopping around for a hotel in Milwaukee, it is wise to avoid the Metcalfe Park area because it is one of the most dangerous sections of the city. This area is full of beggars, prostitution, homeless people, drugs, gangs, and crime.

Is Milwaukee worth visiting?

Milwaukee is a beautiful city with plenty to offer visitors, such as taking in the scenic city views and skylines of Milwaukee’s many cultural buildings and visiting the booming industrial section of the city, scenic beaches, several bars and restaurants, and the most popular beer in the world. 

Which part of Milwaukee should you avoid altogether?

When visiting Milwaukee, it’s wise to avoid the area west of the Milwaukee River, such as Center Avenue, Capital Drive, and North Avenue because this area experiences high levels of crime.

When driving your car in this section of the city, keeps your car doors locked at all times, and never walk around alone. By following safety precautions, you can help stay safe during your visit to Milwaukee.

So, Is Milwaukee Safe to Visit?

Milwaukee is an excellent place to visit, with much to offer tourists from sandy beaches, baseball games, historical museums, the Milwaukee Zoo, and plenty of bars and restaurants to explore around the city. 

Whether you are traveling alone, with your family, or with friends, you can always find something fun to do in the “Cream City” of Milwaukee.

By following the safety tips outlined in this article, Milwaukee can be a perfectly safe place to visit on your next holiday with your friends or family. Happy travels!