How Safe Is Milwaukee for Travel?

Milwaukee, United States
Safety Index:

Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin, United States.

The city is probably best known from TV as the settings of the 1970’s sitcoms “Laverne and Shirley” and “Happy Days”.

It has also served as the backdrop for numerous Hollywood films.

The summer is packed full of water sports on Lake Michigan or at lake houses elsewhere in the state.

People flock to Summerfest, the biggest music festival in the world in late June/early July as well as other festivals that run through the whole season.

One of the biggest fireworks companies, Bartolottas is based near Milwaukee so the 4th of July fireworks are incredible.

Warnings & Dangers in Milwaukee

Overall Risk


Milwaukee isn't a safe city, both during day or night. Some areas are poorer and are very very dangerous, while the other ones are safer. Still, apply caution everywhere.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Transportation is most reliable in Milwaukee, but since the streets of it are pretty dangerous, there is the risk of running into pickpockets in bus stations and while on public transport.

Pickpockets Risk


Both petty and violent crime exists in Milwaukee. Make sure you don't flash your valuables and be particularly careful in crowded areas. Don't even think about roaming around the dangerous areas of the city.

Natural Disasters Risk


Milwaukee is susceptible to various natural disasters like the threats of tornadoes, floods, severe storms, and extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Mugging Risk


Petty crime is not the only problem in Milwaukee - violent crime rates are high throughout the country, and you can expect muggings, burglaries, and carjackings. These occurrences are common and the risk increases after dark, so avoid going anywhere after nightfall.

Terrorism Risk


Excluding isolated mass shootings, Milwaukee hasn't been the target of any terrorist attacks recently, but the attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk


There aren't many scams in Milwaukee. Still, be wary of people trying to distract you to steal from you and of people overcharging you for various services. We advise you to be extremely careful when handling money and around ATMs.

Women Travelers Risk


Women are not safe in Milwaukee, not because there are threats for women specifically, but because the city is ridden with a crime in general. Be sure to avoid remote streets, both during day and night, and do not flash your belongings or handle money in public.

So... How Safe Is Milwaukee Really?

Milwaukee definitely cannot be considered a safe city as it has a high crime rate when compared to the American national average.

This means that if you have to go out after 10 pm, go with someone else.

Luckily, most of the crime in Milwaukee occurs in a small area of the city.

Outside of that area, you can walk the streets at night without fear, park your car without concern, etc.

Unfortunately, Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in the United States.

But, with that being said, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to live – it still has safe areas for everyone.

If you’re walking around, I would say that Downtown Milwaukee, The East Side: Upper and Lower is pretty safe for the most part, as long as it’s lighted up at night.

Shorewood seems like a pretty safe area, and Whitefish Bay is covered with cops all the time.

The Northside has pretty dangerous areas.

This part of the city very poor and poverty-stricken, and very much considered the ghetto.

Always know where you’re going, don’t look passerby in the eye, but always be considerate of their presence.

Never let yourself be stopped by a stranger – unless they need your help.

How Does Milwaukee Compare?

CitySafety Index
San Diego67
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, contact your local US embassy for further information.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in Milwaukee. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - The climate in Milwaukee is cold and temperate. It snows a lot from November to April so you have to be ready to scrape ice off your windshield, shovel your sidewalk, and even dig your car out of snowdrifts at times. The is a great deal of rainfall in Milwaukee, even in the driest month.
  • Airports - Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is a shared civil-military airport located some 8 km south of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Milwaukee, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Milwaukee Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -8° C
Feb -5° C
Mar 1° C
Apr 8° C
May 14° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 21° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 11° C
Nov 4° C
Dec -4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

13 Reviews on Milwaukee

  1. H
    Heather says:

    Who wrote this review?!

    Where did this review come from?! Lived here my entire life, live in the city, feel safe. People are friendly and helpful. Lots to do. Public transportation is just fine and the downtown area couldn’t be nicer. Like other big cities, there are some unfortunate neighborhoods with higher crime, but they’re not places a visitor would go anyway. Visit us- it’s beautiful here with beaches, Lake Michigan, and a vibrant restaurant and art scene!

  2. C
    Coach Bud says:

    Milwaukee is the best

    Giannis please don’t leave Milwaukee. I swear it’s safer than Los Angeles.

  3. A
    ANONYMUS says:



  4. D
    DaddyOMKE says:

    Milwaukee is Awesome

    Milwaukee is not dangerous for travelers. Nowhere you’d go as a tourist is any more dangerous than other American cities. Crime is isolated to a few neighborhoods you’ll never get near. You can certainly walk in any tourist area at any time and not be afraid, just be aware of your surroundings like you would be in Nashville or Austin or Boston. Pickpocketing and mugging are not widespread. Milwaukee is a beautiful, fun, laid-back, friendly, artistic and easy to get around in. It’s a perfect place to spend a weekend or come for a festival or concert. Many great restaurants and bars and other attractions. (disclaimer: I live near downtown Milwaukee and have a young child, and I do not feel unsafe anywhere.)

    1. S
      Suburban Milwaukee resident says:

      Milwaukee went downhill

      Telling readers that “Milwaukee is not dangerous for travelers” is putting unsuspecting travelers at risk, and is a very irresponsible comment to make on this forum. Most all areas of Milwaukee’s city limits are beset with thefts, robberies, and carjackings. That includes the Third Ward, which until a few years ago was one of the nicer areas in the city.

      The city does have some nice attractions, such as Art Museum. But even during the day people need to be very careful

  5. R
    Real Resident says:

    Milwaukee's sad reality

    The author is correct. Most of Milwaukee is quite dangerous and police are retiring/quitting in droves. I live in a small pocket of sanity near Shorewood on the upper east side and we still get carjackings. The third ward is alright for dinner or drinks. The entire north side is very dangerous from Riverwest on the east to the 124th and Good Hope. The lake front (Lincoln Memorial Drive) is probably ok in daylight. I wouldn’t meander alone at night. Why do you want to do anything in Milwaukee anyway? Mayor doofas has the sheeple here wearing masks when walking solo down the sidewalk and museums, concert venues and festivals have also been shanked.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Someone’s mad that Milwaukee booted Scott Walker out of office

    2. M
      Milwaukee used to be nice says:

      A friend of mine lives in the “nice” lakefront area (Lincoln Memorial Drive) you mention, and you are correct. Cars are constantly being broke into and muggings in the area. Milwaukee used to be considered safer than Chicago… not the case anymore.

  6. T
    This is a native speaking says:

    Milwaukee’s northern (e.g. Whitefish Bay) and western suburbs (Brookfield, Elm Grove) etc) are fine, but the city of Milwaukee itself is crime-ridden.

  7. Not true it's unsafe for women

    I disagree it is generally unsafe for women. Walking in the day in the Third ward,
    Walker’s Point, Bayview, East Side, UWM area, Downtown, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, most of the south side, Greenfield, Greendale, St Francis, West Allis, Tosa area you are fine; and most areas at night.

    But as a woman, I don’t go walking around any city by myself at night. I grew up there, now live in Madison, but I spent a day at the art museum and went to the third ward by myself and I was fine.

    There are definitely pockets I would stay away from day and night. It is segregated. There is a lot of violent crime in those areas. Gun violence is fairly common. The homes are run down and there isn’t much to see, so I don’t think a tourist would be wandering in those neighborhoods anyway.

  8. Enjoy the city

    Milwaukee is by and large safe for tourists in any of the popular areas — downtown, Third Ward, Walker’s Point, Bayside, Lower, and Upper East Sides. Downtown has long been considered the safest neighborhood in the city. Like any big city, you need to use common sense. Yes, some areas are not great, and yes, car thefts are a thing right now. But you’ll find that anywhere.

    Homicides are up, like in other cities, but they usually occur in specific areas against specific targets. Chicago is worse in most crime categories, yet it receives a 65 rating here versus Milwaukee’s 34. It’s nonsensical.

  9. L
    Lives in Milwaukee says:

    Not so good like the other reviewers say

    I’ve lived in Milwaukee for 29 years. I’ve lived in each part of it and I’d have to say only a sliver of it is safe.

    It’s unkept and not cared for. There are a lot of homeless people and scammers. It is a sex trafficking hub that seems to be missing from these city reviews. That’s what makes being a female or child unsafe, anywhere in the city and yes anyone can fall victim to any of the dangers especially when you think you are being nice and as a tourist.

    Shorewood, Greenfield, Greendale, West Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, Whitefish Bay, are not Milwaukee, they are suburbs of Milwaukee. The lakefront should not represent all of Milwaukee as Milwaukee is 98 sq miles.

  10. T
    Tim Cooper says:

    Okay to Visit but Think Twice Before Moving Here

    I agree with most of the comments here. Hyping Milwaukee up to be more than it actually makes absolutely no sense.

    I’ve been all around the world thanks to the military, and I’ve also lived in Milwaukee for 15 years. I’m going to be honest because there’s nothing for me to gain by doing otherwise. Compared to other cities around the world, this city is one of the most segregated, prejudiced, poorly funded, and crime-ridden places I’ve ever seen.

    The police treat you like a criminal even when you’re actually the victim. Milwaukee isn’t ALL bad otherwise I wouldn’t have lived there for so long, but keep in mind that a lot of people who live there call it a “mini Chicago.”

    Look at how small Milwaukee is compared to Chicago and then take note of how often the crime is compared between the two. Anytime such a squirt of a city is being compared to a major metropolis in terms of crime, that should be an automatic red flag right there in itself.

    Milwaukee is the first place I’ve ever seen someone shot to death in the street, the first place I’ve ever been shot at, first place I’ve ever been jumped, first place I’ve ever been held up at gunpoint, first place I’ve ever had my car stolen and the first place I’ve ever had several family members and military buddies tell me they would never come back to visit me ever again unless I moved to another city or state.

    The crazy part is I was actually trying to show off the better parts of the city because I wanted my visitors to enjoy coming to see me and not regret it, but they saw right through my Vanna White impression. Go figure.

Rated 2.85 / 5 based on 13 user reviews.

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