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Summer Sun, Fun, and Safety

Bradford Beach

Summertime Guide

Your guide to enjoying a fun and safe summer! Find resources and helpful information from the City of Milwaukee.

Enjoy the Sun. Get outdoors and explore the city. Beat the heat with hot weather safety tips, cooling centers, and public water areas.

Have Fun. Milwaukee offers events and programming for all ages. Explore Fourth of July gatherings, event permitting, and green event planning.

Stay Safe. Avoid dangerous situations. Take precaution when handling fireworks and stay tuned to beach water quality.

Cooling Sites in Milwaukee

Individuals in need of public space to cool off can visit any of these sites.

Cooling off:

Save Water and Money:

Water use:

Always run the cold tap for 2-3 minutes to reduce the risk of lead in your water. Only cook and drink using cold water from the tap that has been flushed for several minutes.


Only the Milwaukee Water Works, Milwaukee Fire Department, authorized construction contractors, and others with a permit may open hydrants.

Opening a fire hydrant may seem like a good way to cool off, but it is dangerous and illegal. When hydrants are opened improperly:

  • Water pressure drops and firefighters may not have enough pressure to put out a fire.
  • The heavy, uncontrolled spray impairs the ability of drivers to see, placing young children at risk of serious injury.
  • Improperly opened hydrants waste millions of gallons of clean drinking water.
  • Smashing hydrants damages them and can makes them unusable for extended periods of time, impairing fire fighters’ ability to put out fires. It can cost over $2,000 to repair or replace a hydrant.
  • The sudden pressure drop can cause water mains to break, interrupting drinking water service for everyone on the block, including seniors, young children, and other vulnerable groups.

The penalty for tampering with a hydrant is a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail.

Please report improper hydrant openings so they can be repaired quickly by calling the Milwaukee Water Works Control Center at (414) 286-3710.

Hello Summer - Fun for Youth

Explore our Hello Summer website for internships, jobs, events, youth programming, summer child care, summer camps, and more!

Find plenty of youth activities to keep busy and have fun all summer long.

Hello Summer

Planning Green Events

Milwaukee is proud to be the City of Festivals but public events can leave streets and waterways littered with plastic and debris, posing serious threats to a healthy environment. Take the first steps towards a conscious community event that protects the environment. Community resources include:

Healing Spaces Initiative

In the following months NIDC, Groundwork Milwaukee, and Garden Leaders will work together to engage residents and partners in designing and implementing a Healing Space in their respective neighborhoods. 

Your input will help us create a space that is reflective of the needs and wants of your neighborhood. 

July 4th 2022

Fourth of July Celebrations

The City of Milwaukee's Fourth of July festivities are scheduled for Tuesday, July 4, 2023. A tradition dating back to 1911, Milwaukee has long celebrated the Fourth of July with community events in parks around the city. Activities are returning to parks throughout Milwaukee this summer, including parades, picnics, games, talent contests, and fireworks, in celebrating this great American holiday.

Summer Programming at the Library 

The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) offers lots of great summer programming and information, including our annual summer reading program for all ages, super reader squad for youth, and teen summer challenge. Lots of prizes and fun! 

Sign up for the library’s weekly newsletter and get connected to news and updates.

Block Party & Special Event Permits

Permits for special events in the public right-of-way are issued by the Department of Public Works Special Event Permit Office. The permit system ensures public safety by coordinating street closures with the Milwaukee Police Department, DPW's Traffic Division, and Milwaukee County Transit System.  

If your special event will include food, music, large tent, or alcohol please see, additional permits you may need. 

Active Streets 

Find an Active Street - a residential street limiting vehicle traffic using barricades and signage to allow for more walking, biking, and being physically active.

Neighborhood Services & Resources

Explore Outdoors

Get outdoors, go exercise, and explore the city. Enjoy the warm weather by walking, biking or hiking with the following resources: 

  • Find an Active Street a residential street limiting vehicle traffic using barricades and signage to allow for more walking, biking, and being physically active.
  • Use the Interactive Bike Map to find biking directions using only streets that are comfortable to bike. 
  • Explore Milwaukee area trails like the Beerline, KK River, and Oak Leaf Trail.
  • Learn more about Shared Mobility Programs like Bublr, adaptive bikes and dockless scooters

Bublr bicycles lined up on a Milwaukee sidewalk

Bublr Bikes, the city’s official bike share not-for-profit, added electric assist (E-bikes) throughout its system. Look for more Bublr stations as they continue to expand citywide this summer.

Fireworks are illegal and dangerous! signFireworks Safety Tips

A firework is any item that emits smoke, a bang or sparkle and all fireworks are considered illegal to purchase and discharge within the city of Milwaukee. If fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:

  • Always read and follow all warnings and label instructions.
  • Always have an adult present, and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • The adult igniting the fireworks should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
  • Buy from reliable sellers.
  • Use fireworks only outdoors.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people or animals. Keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they will run loose and get injured. Animals have very sensitive ears and can be stressed or frightened due to the igniting of fireworks.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trash can.
  • If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Stay away from illegal explosives.

It is best and safest to enjoy the Fourth of July be visiting your local parks that have public displays, rather than risk getting a ticket or getting injured or setting something on fire.

Hot Weather Safety

To prevent heat-related illness or death, the Milwaukee Health Department advises citizens to take the following precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stay Cool

  • Slow down. Limit physical activity, and try to spend part of your day in air-conditioned spaces such as shopping malls, movie theaters, or libraries.
  • Never leave children or pets in a parked car. Temperatures can become life-threatening within minutes.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers and use wet towels on your skin to help you cool down.
  • Do not rely on fans as a primary cooling device.
  • Check in on those most-at-risk twice a day.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, regardless of thirst.
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as these can increase heat effects.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.

Stay Informed

  • Check local news and weather reports for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
  • Be aware of symptoms of heat-related illness
    • Heat exhaustion symptoms include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, or fainting
    • Heat stroke symptoms include: extremely high body temperature, hot and dry skin (no sweating), rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness
  • Check on relatives, friends, or neighbors, especially those most susceptible to heat-related illness, which includes the very young, the elderly, and those on certain medications (especially certain medications related to blood pressure, heart disease, and mental health).

Additional guidance on hot weather safety can be found at Milwaukee.gov/HotWeatherSafety.

City of Milwaukee Beach Water Quality

The City of Milwaukee Health Department, along with the UW-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, conducts water sampling and analysis from Memorial Day to Labor Day at each of the city's three public beaches in order to issue beach water quality updates daily. These updates are issued daily for Bradford, McKinley, and South Shore beaches. Testing is done on samples from each beach to determine levels of E. coli, a micro-organism which is persistent in many parts of the environment.

While E. coli is normally found in bodies of water, elevated levels can raise health concerns. Symptoms such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, headache and fever can result from exposure to disease causing organisms in lake water. Infections of the eye, ear, and throat, as well as more serious illnesses may also occur. 

Elevated levels of E. coli can develop due to many circumstances: human or animal activity in or near the water, rain water washing waste or debris into the water, or discharges of incompletely treated wastewaters from nearby water treatment plants.


 City Beaches Water Report


Bradford OPEN 
Watercraft / "Jet Ski" OPEN
McKinley OPEN
South Shore Rocky OPEN


Posted 06/21/2024



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