Milwaukee has plenty to offer ghost enthusiasts. Whether it’s looking for a scare around Halloween or exploring haunted sites and the darker parts of the city’s past, there are plenty of options in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. While some places don’t advertise their supposed hauntings, there are plenty of local legends and ghost tours that can challenge even the most skeptical of ghost hunters. Read below to learn about some of the most popular sites for exploring haunted houses in Milwaukee.
Drink at a Haunted Bar
Shaker’s Cigar Bar is one of Milwaukee’s most popular destinations for all things haunted. Well, regardless of whether it’s haunted or not, Shaker’s is a pretty cool bar. The building dates back to 1894, and it has been everything from a brothel and speakeasy, to present day restaurant, bar, and cigar lounge. The building itself features plenty of seating, really cool decor, and two long and comfortable bars. They feature a really extensive list of craft cocktails, specialty spirits, wines and beers.
As the name implies, they also allow cigar smoking, which you can purchase on site if you don’t come prepared. Shaker’s also offers food, with dishes like crostini tapenade ($8.50), cajus dishes like jambalaya ($24.50), and really good pizzas ($14.50/$22.50). During summer, they transform the front into a pleasant patio, and every first Thursday of each month Shaker’s hosts live music.
As one might expect with the building’s age and sordid history, Shaker’s claims to be haunted. Employees attest to hearing and seeing all sorts of mysterious hauntings, and quite a few customers claim to have experienced an unusual presence lurking in the building. The bar offers a full tour of the building with possible haunted experiences along the way. An hour-long tour is $15 on Mondays and Tuesdays, $20 on Wednesdays through Saturday, or if booking ahead, can go on the 2.0 tour which gets you a 90-minute tour for $25. For the true haunted experience, you can talk to the bar staff about staying overnight in the penthouse above the bar. Check out Shaker’s Cigar Bar for Milwaukee’s best-haunted joint that comes paired with fine drinks.
Open all year round!
- Address: 422 S. 2nd St.
- Bar Hours:
- Monday-Friday, 5pm-2am
- Saturday, 12pm-12am
- Sunday, 5pm-10pm
- Kitchen Hours:
- Tuesday-Saturday, 5pm-12am
Explore a Milwaukee Haunted Mansion
The Pabst Mansion in downtown Milwaukee is worth checking out whether ghost hunting or not. The mansion is right next to the Marquette University campus, and provides a perfect look into how Milwaukee’s elite got to live at the Victorian turn of the century. Captain Frederick Pabst owned the house, the guy who’s name brands one of the country’s favorite beers, Pabst Blue Ribbon.
The house was purchased in 1892 by the Pabst family, was renovated a few times, and eventually became a museum. The mansion has been stunningly preserved for guests to visit. While they may not advertise it, many former employees, guests, and even a few of the tour guides claim the mansion is haunted, with odd noises coming from empty rooms, chandeliers and objects that move on their own, and occasional lights flickering. Take the tour to check out Milwaukee’s past, but keep your eyes peeled for ghosts while exploring the mansions many rooms.
- Address:2000 W. Wisconsin Ave.
- Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm
- Sunday, 12pm-4pm
- Closed on Wednesday during January and February
- Tours held every hour
- Ticket pricing
- Adults, $12
- Seniors (62+), College Students, Veterans, ($11)
- Children (6-17), $7
- Children (5 and under), free
- Members, free
Stay at a Haunted Hotel in Milwaukee
A number of Milwaukee area hotels are said to be haunted. From televisions turning on and off on their own, doors swinging open by themselves, and weird lighting issues, these hotels certainly don’t advertise that they may have a few ghosts in permanent residence. However, the local legend about these hotels have been affirmed by former employees, tons of guests, and even prominent guests like professional athletes.
1. The Pfister Hotel
Milwaukee’s most prominent and luxurious hotels is said to be haunted. Apparently, the ghosts avoid the lobby or hotels bars and instead like to hang around various rooms. Rumor has it that many baseball players refuse to stay at the Pfister after having one too many creepy experiences, including televisions turning on in the middle of the night, and doors opening and closing on their own. Stay at the Pfister to test the haunting for yourself.
2. Hilton Garden Inn
The Hilton Garden Inn is a relatively new hotel located downtown, making it a great place to stay when in town. Although the hotel is pretty new, it is located in a historic building that dates back over one hundred years. The site is thought to be haunted since the current building replaced the Newhall House, which burned down in 1883 and killing around one hundred people.
Numerous employees at the Hilton Garden Inn claim they have seen and experienced all sorts of signs of hauntings, including a cleaning lady that even had her hair pulled while in a room. Legend has it that rooms 201 and 326 are especially haunted.
3. The Brumder Mansion
Built in 1910, the Brumder Mansion once housed a prominent German newspaper magnate. Once the family no longer owned it, the mansion has gone through all sorts of owners and has been used for a bunch of things, including having a basement speakeasy during the high era of the mob. Apparently, a few mobsters were even killed in the speakeasy, leading to some haunted experiences ever since.
Most recently, the mansion was renovated, updated, and turned into a really nice bed and breakfast on the west side of downtown. In fact, this place is one of the best bed and breakfast experiences you are going to find in Milwaukee, along with a few other places like County Clare. Don’t let the ghosts deter you from staying at the Brumder Mansion, but if you are a ghost hunting enthusiast, then be sure to book a room.
Go on a Haunted Brewery Tour
The MillerCoors brewery tour is definitely worth doing even when not hunting out Milwaukee’s most haunted spots. The tour gives a rare glimpse into the history of Miller brewing and insight into how a small brewery in Milwaukee transformed into one of the largest breweries in the world.
The coolest part of the entire tour, well, besides the free samples along the way, is getting to check out The Miller Inn and Caves. The Miller Inn is this awesome wood-paneled tasting room, and the caves are where barrels of beer used to be kept in order to keep them at the right temperature.
Many employees and visitors to the Inn and caves will tell you that they are haunted. Legend has it that a romance went awry and a young couple passed away in the Inn, and that they have haunted the building ever since. Stopover to MillerCoors for an awesome tour, and stick around for what could be a haunted tale of Milwaukee’s past.
Check out a Haunted Concert Venue
The Rave and Eagles Ballroom is one of Milwaukee’s most popular destinations for live music, along with The Turner Ballroom, and the Pabst and Riverside theaters. The building actually boasts four distinct venues, from the small and intimate concert venue in the basement, to the grandiose Eagle Ballroom on the top floor. The ballroom gets its name from the building’s past.
Built in 1927, the Eagles Club was once a social club for the city’s most prominent residents, including a pool, gym, dance floor, and dining halls. Eventually the building was abandoned and fell into disrepair, until it was purchased and transformed into a concert venue.
Musicians that have played there, and many of its employees, will tell you that the building is super haunted, especially the basement pool where some people drowned at one point. While they don’t offer tours or advertise the hauntings, it is still worth catching a show and looking around at a really interesting and historic building in Milwaukee that may also be haunted. Check online for a full list of concerts coming to the Rave and Eagles Ballroom.
Stroll Through a Milwaukee Haunted Park
There are tons of parks in Milwaukee county, and no doubt plenty of them have a legend of some kind of haunting. However, two of them have a greater reputation for the paranormal than the rest, so for a great ghost hunting adventure, head to one of these parks after dark. For those not looking to encounter a ghost, these parks make for a great destination on any beautiful day in Milwaukee.
1. Lake Park
Lake Park on Milwaukee’s east side is a gorgeous park with scenic lake views. It also boasts one of the best restaurants in the city, Lake Park Bistro. After dark, many area residents would claim the park is haunted, especially the area around the North Point Lighthouse that was built in 1855. Late night explorers have heard all sorts of weird noises, seen abnormal lights, and have even seen ghostly figures. Stroll through Lake Park near the lighthouse for a one of a kind haunted experience.
2. Grant Park
Grant Park is also thought to be haunted. Some legends claim that a mysterious human-sized insect creature roams the park at night, others claim it is a more traditional type of haunting with ghosts and ghouls roaming around after dark. The Seven Bridges Trail in particular is thought to host some pretty odd paranormal activity, so consider taking a walk on it after dark. It should be mentioned that this trail is really awesome during the day as well, especially if you would prefer to avoid running into a ghost.
Enjoy a Haunted Ghost Tour in Milwaukee
There are a few city tours that will take you around and show you haunted spots. Most of them can be found online, and the majority are walking tours that stick to the downtown area. Some are not recommended, especially those that highlight where the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer once lived. While one’s like that are in poor taste, there are others that are lots of fun, really affordable, and also educational by talking about the city’s history and architectural achievements, in addition to some haunted stories that may give you goosebumps.
The best is hosted by Gothic Milwaukee, which offers a regular architectural tour and a ghost tour. The ghost tour provides a leisurely walk through East Town and Yankee Hill and observes some pretty haunted places. The tour starts at the intersection of Jackson Street and Wells Street, and lasts about ninety minutes. Tours are $20 and can be booked in advance (recommended since the tours only happen with enough bookings), or can be purchased in person with cash. Check online for a full schedule of tours.
Milwaukee Haunted Houses on Halloween
You don’t have to believe in ghosts to enjoy Halloween. In Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, there are numerous fright filled haunted houses to check out. The best haunted houses are reasonably priced, have plenty of thrills and entertainment, and can make for a great family or group activity. Here is a list of the best in the Milwaukee area:
1. The Hill Has Eyes
Located about twenty minutes from downtown, the Hill Has Eyes is one of those great walk-through adventures that starts with guests being hooded and led into an alternate, and fright filled reality. Tickets are $35-$49, and the price is definitely worth it.
open Friday-Sunday through the month of October
- Address: 7900 W. Crystal Ridge Dr., Franklin
2. Meadowbrook Haunted Cornfield
Looking for a kid friendly but extremely scary cornfield ride? Then head out to West Bend around Halloween for a thrilling experience that is certain to make you scream. The drive from downtown Milwaukee is a bit far, at about thirty minutes, but it is the best cornfield ride haunted house in the region. Tickets range from $11 to $27.
- Address: 2970 Mile View Rd., West Bend
3. Terror on Rural Street
Terror on Rural Street is also about thirty minutes from downtown Milwaukee, but is another great option for a haunted house. The cast always has creative outfits, each room gets scarier than the last, and there are always plenty of both screams and laughs to be had. Check out Terror on Rural Street in Hartford. Tickets run from $15-$25.
- Address: 147 N. Rural St., Hartford
4. Twisted Realms Haunted House
Twisted Realms is the closest haunted house during Halloween to downtown Milwaukee. Located in Glendale about fifteen minutes from downtown, this haunted house admittedly has a reputation for being the least scary. As a result, it is probably best for kids. However, there is also entertainment to be had on location since it is located right next to the Bavarian Bierhaus. The haunted tour lasts about thirty minutes, but you can feel good about the $20 admission price since proceeds benefit an area high school’s theater program.
- Address: 700 W. Lexington Blvd., Glendale
5. Wisconsin Fear Grounds