Milwaukee County Parks

Host a Special Event

How to Host a Special Event in Milwaukee County Parks

Some of Milwaukee’s most popular annual events, including Barktoberfest, Bastille Days, Chill on the Hill, Lakefront Marathon, UPAF Ride for the Arts, Walk to Defeat ALS and WMSE Backyard BBQ are held in Milwaukee County Parks. New special event applications are welcome. A Special Event Permit is required to reserve any Milwaukee County Parks property for any of the following reasons:

  • Public event, outreach, rally, promotional event or religious event
  • Bike race, bike ride, cross-country meet, walk or run
  • Outdoor event with amplified sound or speaker system
  • Outdoor wedding receptions in any area not designated as a reservable picnic area
  • Lakefront or downtown park space
  • Outdoor park space that is not designated as a reservable and permitted area
  • Venues
  • Fees
  • Required Documents / Permits
  • 5k Routes

Milwaukee Lakefront

Premium Lakefront Venues

Hundreds of thousands of visitors head to the Milwaukee Lakefront each summer to visit our Premium Lakefront Venues:

  • Bradford Beach
  • Veterans Park
  • McKinley Marina
  • Lincoln Memorial Drive

NOTE: All Lincoln Memorial Drive closure requests must be submitted by November 20th of the year prior to the requested closure.

Lake park lion

Premium Downtown Venues

Milwaukee County Parks manages some of the most popular outdoor event venues in downtown Milwaukee. These event spaces include:

  • Lake Park
  • Cathedral Square
  • Juneau Park
  • Pere Marquette Park
  • Red Arrow Park
  • Zeidler Union Square


Auditoriums & Stages

Several parks in Milwaukee County have built-in stages, ideal for open-air concerts or movie nights. Indoor auditoriums and stages are also available in community centers and some park pavilions.  

farmers market

Parks & Facilities

To host an event in a Milwaukee County park or facility, you'll need to apply for a Special Event Permit. This includes tickted events, raffles, 5k runs, concerts, farmers markets and festivals.

Special Event Permit Fees

For any special event hosted in a Milwaukee County parks location, the permit fee will include the base fee for the location, plus a fee based on estimated attendence. Additional fees for add-ons, such as a raffle permit, may also apply.

Special Event Fees

Note: Separate applications and fee structures are used at Boerner Botanical Gardens, Mitchell Park Domes and Wehr Nature Center



Up to 200 expected attendance


201-400 expected attendance


400+ expected attendance






Cathedral Square




Pere Marquette


Red Arrow


Zeidler Union Square






Bradford Beach


Lake Park 


Lincoln Memorial Drive (Closure)


Veterans Park (four sectors available, base fee per section)

$1,100 - $2,700





Bandshell Outside Stage (up to 6 hours)


Bandshell Outside Stage & Indoor Dressing Room (up to 6 hours)


Bandshell Per Additional Hour



Fees do not include sales tax
Other permit fees may apply

Additional Required Documents or Permits

Depending on the type and location of the special event you plan to host, you may be required to provide additional documents or acquire additional permits from us or the municipality.

Examples include:

5k Routes

Planning a 5k run? Several popular routes in Milwaukee are pre-measured.

Greenfield Park 5k Route

Veterans Park 5k Route Section D

Veterans Park 5k Route Section E

How to Apply

  • Submit your application at least 30 days prior to your requested event date.
  • Note that submission of an application is separate from the decision to award a permit.
  • If your application is approved, fulfill any additional requirements and make full payment at least 14 days prior to your event.

Initial Review

Within three business days of your submission, we will notify you of the results of the initial review, which checks availability of your requested location and date/time. If there is no conflict, your application will continue through the review process. If there is a conflict, we will suggest available dates/times or nearby locations.

Special Events Office Contact: [email protected]

Parks Special Events Permit Request


9480 W. Watertown Plank Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
(414) 257-PARK (7275)

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