A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Detroit vs. Milwaukee for Nightlife, Attractions, Food, and Families

Should you visit Detroit or Milwaukee?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Detroit or Milwaukee, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Detroit

Detroit is a hardworking, overlooked , and under-rated city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the nightlife, live music, and food.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a welcoming, undiscovered, and friendly city. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Detroit and Milwaukee: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Detroit or Milwaukee?

You'll generally find more things to do in Detroit than Milwaukee. Detroit is bigger than Milwaukee, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Detroit is well known for its Motown music, blue collar atmosphere, and influential auto industry. Also, Detroit is famous for the Henry Ford Experience. Milwaukee is well known for its many breweries and its baseball culture.

How is Detroit different from Milwaukee?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Milwaukee and Detroit. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Detroit or Milwaukee?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Detroit and Milwaukee.

Detroit offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Popular museums around town include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Michigan Science Center.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Milwaukee. There are several unique museums like the Harley-Davidson Museum, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Milwaukee Public Museum. There's also the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Grohmann Museum as well as outdoor sculpture parks and other cultural and historic museums.


Is the Food Better in Detroit or Milwaukee? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Detroit is a city with good options for its restaurants. However, Milwaukee is lacking in options for its restaurant scene.

Detroit has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There's a local flavor to the food with a number of classic dishes that are popular like square pizza, Coney dogs, and corned beef egg rolls.

Milwaukee may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. The Midwest is known for its artery clogging comfort foods, and Milwaukee is no exception. Cheese curds, fried fish, fruit dumplings, and frozen custard are all popular.

Is Detroit or Milwaukee Better for Nightlife?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Detroit is an excellent place to visit for nightlife and partying. Also, Milwaukee is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

Detroit has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. It's long history in music still influences the nightlife scene. You'll find bars, clubs, and other activities around town. Greektown and Midtown are both popular neighborhoods during the evening.

Milwaukee has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. You'll find a decent number of breweries around town. There are also wine bars, nightclubs, and live music venues that are worth checking out.

Is Detroit or Milwaukee Better for Music?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Detroit is terrific for its live music scene. However, Milwaukee is not a live music destination.

With so many music venues, you're guaranteed a show any night of the week in Detroit. Few cities have such an influential music industry. It's home to Motown and is well known for its soul music, jazz, blues, and rap.

Milwaukee is not a live music destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Detroit or Milwaukee?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Shoppers can find a variety of notable stores in both Detroit and Milwaukee.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Detroit. There are several shopping streets like Woodward Avenue. There are also outlet malls, shopping centers, and Eastern Market.

Many visitors go to Milwaukee to go shopping. You'll find the standard shopping centers and shopping malls around town, but if you want some more local vendors, check out the areas around the Historic Third Ward and The Village in Wauwatosa.

Is Detroit or Milwaukee Better for Families?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Detroit and Milwaukee are both notable destinations for the whole family.

Detroit is a family-friendly city. Head to the Detroit Zoo or check out one of the amusement parks in the area. Kids will enjoy a visit to Legoland and there's also the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium. You could also spend some time visiting the unique museums in the area.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Milwaukee. Kids will enjoy a visit to Discovery World, which is a science center with hands-on exhibits. There's also the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Milwaukee Public Museum. Younger kids will also enjoy a stop at Betty Brinn Children's Museum.

Is Detroit or Milwaukee Better for Couples?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Neither Detroit or Milwaukee is generally regarded as a top spot for a couple to visit.

Most people don't think of Detroit as a couple's destination. It's not a city that usually brings to mind romance, but if you find yourself here for a couple of days, there's a RiverWalk area and some interesting local neighborhoods.

Milwaukee is not always the best place to visit for a couple. Take a walk or visit a local restaurant. There are also museums and performances that make for a nice outing.


Is Detroit or Milwaukee Better for Students?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a nice place to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Detroit is not popular with students.

Plenty of students visit Milwaukee. It's home to a number of colleges and universities, so there is a bit of a college town vibe.

Detroit is not popular with students.

Is Detroit or Milwaukee Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Visitors will find respectable public transit in both Detroit and Milwaukee.

Public transit is mostly limited in Detroit. There's a streetcar and bus system, but the car is still king in Motor City.

Public transit is generally limited in Milwaukee. There are buses that travel around town.

Is Detroit or Milwaukee a more walkable city?

Detroit
Milwaukee

Detroit and Milwaukee are notable when it comes to walkability.

Detroit is a somewhat walkable place. There are parts of downtown Detroit that are walkable, but most people need a car to get around.

Milwaukee is a somewhat walkable city. Parts of the city are relatively compact and walkable. The most walkable neighborhoods are East Side, Riverwest, Brewers Hill, Downtown, Avenues West/Marquette, Third Ward, Walker's Point, and Bay View.


For even more information, also check out Is Detroit Worth Visiting? and Is Milwaukee Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Milwaukee or Detroit?

How long in Detroit or Milwaukee?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Detroit or Milwaukee to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Detroit than Milwaukee because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Detroit, and 1-2 days is enough time in Milwaukee.

Families should spend more time in Detroit than Milwaukee. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Detroit, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Detroit than Milwaukee. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Detroit that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Detroit than Milwaukee if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Detroit.


  • How many days in Detroit or Milwaukee? Ideal Length of Stay
    Detroit 1-3 
    Milwaukee 1-2

One day in Detroit or Milwaukee?

You'll find nightlife and live music around the city of Detroit. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Detroit has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

In Milwaukee, you'll find museums and nightlife. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A weekend in Detroit or Milwaukee?

You'll find live music and food around the hardworking destination of Detroit. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

In Milwaukee, you'll find nightlife and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Milwaukee has to offer.

Five days in Detroit or Milwaukee?

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the overlooked city of Detroit. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Most people head to the area for the live music. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Milwaukee is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Detroit or Milwaukee?

Detroit is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Milwaukee. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Milwaukee. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, and The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Milwaukee or Detroit?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Detroit is $133, while the average daily cost in Milwaukee is $176. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Detroit and Milwaukee in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Detroit $64
    Milwaukee $99
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Detroit $128
    Milwaukee $198
Compare Hotels in Detroit and Milwaukee

Looking for a hotel in Detroit or Milwaukee? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Detroit


Hotels in Milwaukee


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Detroit Hotel Prices and Milwaukee Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Detroit $37
    Milwaukee $38

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Detroit

Also for Detroit, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Detroit City to Detroit (DTW) Airport: $142
  • Private Transfer from Detroit (DTW) Airport to Detroit City: $142
  • Private Departure Transfer to Detroit Airport DTW: $61
  • Private Departure Transfer - to Detroit Airport (DTW) by SUV: $90
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Detroit Airport (DTW) by SUV: $90
  • Detroit City to Detroit Airport (DTW) - Departure Private Transfer: $94
  • Detroit Airport (DTW) to Detroit City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $188
  • Detroit Airport (DTW) to Detroit City - Arrival Private Transfer: $94
  • Departure Private Transfer: Detroit to Detroit Airport DTW in Luxury SUV: $130
  • Departure Private Transfer: Detroit to Detroit Airport DTW in Business Car: $99

Is it cheaper to fly into Detroit or Milwaukee?

Prices for flights to both Milwaukee and Detroit change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Detroit $44
    Milwaukee $52

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Detroit

For Detroit, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Fresh Mediterranean Inspired Cooking Class in a Unique Detroit Home: $104

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Milwaukee

For Milwaukee, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Family Fun Food Tour: $80
  • Milwaukee Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $99
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Milwaukee: $103
  • Original Milwaukee Guided Brewery Tour with Lunch or Dinner: $139

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Detroit $21
    Milwaukee $26

Tours and Activities in Detroit

For Detroit, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Ann Arbor Scavenger Hunt: Ann Arbor Adventure: $12
  • Detroit Tigers Baseball Game Ticket at Comerica Park: $11
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Ann Arbor with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan Admission Ticket: $26
  • Motor City Ghosts Tour: $26
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience in Ann Arbor MI: $15
  • SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium Admission Ticket: $25
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Ann Arbor by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Ann Arbor by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Windsor by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Self Guided "Detroit's Spirit and History" Solo Walking Tour: $7.75

Tours and Activities in Milwaukee

For Milwaukee, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2 Hour Sailing Adventure in Lake Michigan (up to 6 people): $126
  • 2 Hours Private Tour of Milwaukee Marvels: $247
  • 2-Hour Bus Tour in Milwaukee City: $40
  • Brew City Ghosts: Macabre Milwaukee By US Ghost Adventures: $24
  • Cream City Cannibal: Jeffery Dahmer Walking Tour: $53
  • Discover Iconic Milwaukee Tour : $67
  • Downtown Kenosha Urban Art and Photography Walking Tour: $30
  • Geneva Lake Shore Path: Uncover 21 miles of stories on a self-guided audio tour: $10
  • Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Game Ticket at American Family Field: $11
  • Milwaukee Cheese Curd Kayak Tour: $175
  • Milwaukee Downtown Ghost Tour - The Shadow of City Hall: $29
  • Milwaukee Private Ghost Tour: $90

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Detroit $20
    Milwaukee $33

Sample the Local Flavors in Milwaukee

Also in Milwaukee, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Sip of Milwaukee Guided Brewery Tour with Snack: $99


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Detroit and Milwaukee, we can see that Milwaukee is more expensive. And not only is Detroit much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Detroit would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Detroit and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Milwaukee would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Milwaukee than you might in Detroit.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Detroit Expensive? and Is Milwaukee Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Detroit or Milwaukee?

Detroit has a larger population, and is about 64% larger than the population of Milwaukee. When comparing the sizes of Detroit and Milwaukee, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Detroit or Milwaukee?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Detroit or Milwaukee in the Summer?

Both Milwaukee and Detroit are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Detroit this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Milwaukee for the family-friendly experiences.

Detroit is around the same temperature as Milwaukee in the summer. The daily temperature in Detroit averages around 74°F (24°C) in July, and Milwaukee fluctuates around 74°F (23°C).

It's quite sunny in Milwaukee. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Detroit. Detroit usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Milwaukee during summer. Detroit gets 319 hours of sunny skies, while Milwaukee receives 321 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Detroit usually receives around the same amount of rain as Milwaukee. Detroit gets 3.4 inches (85 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Detroit 74°F (24°C) 
    Milwaukee 74°F (23°C)

Should I visit Detroit or Milwaukee in the Autumn?

Both Milwaukee and Detroit during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Detroit for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Milwaukee in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Detroit is around the same temperature as Milwaukee. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Detroit in October average around 54°F (12°C), and Milwaukee averages at about 53°F (12°C).

In the autumn, Detroit often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Milwaukee. Detroit gets 172 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Milwaukee receives 174 hours of full sun.

Detroit usually gets more rain in October than Milwaukee. Detroit gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 2 inches (50 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Detroit 54°F (12°C) 
    Milwaukee 53°F (12°C)

Should I visit Detroit or Milwaukee in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Detroit and Milwaukee. Many visitors come to Detroit in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Milwaukee for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Milwaukee can be very cold during winter. Detroit can get quite cold in the winter. In January, Detroit is generally much warmer than Milwaukee. Daily temperatures in Detroit average around 25°F (-4°C), and Milwaukee fluctuates around 21°F (-6°C).

Detroit usually receives less sunshine than Milwaukee during winter. Detroit gets 120 hours of sunny skies, while Milwaukee receives 138 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Detroit usually receives more rain than Milwaukee. Detroit gets 2 inches (50 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 1.6 inches (41 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Detroit 25°F (-4°C) 
    Milwaukee 21°F (-6°C)

Should I visit Detroit or Milwaukee in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Detroit as well as Milwaukee. Most visitors come to Detroit for the activities around the city during these months.

Detroit is a little warmer than Milwaukee in the spring. The daily temperature in Detroit averages around 49°F (9°C) in April, and Milwaukee fluctuates around 47°F (8°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Milwaukee. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Detroit this time of the year. In the spring, Detroit often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Milwaukee. Detroit gets 223 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Milwaukee receives 211 hours of full sun.

Detroit usually gets more rain in April than Milwaukee. Detroit gets 3.2 inches (80 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 2.8 inches (70 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Detroit 49°F (9°C) 
    Milwaukee 47°F (8°C)

Typical Weather for Milwaukee and Detroit

Detroit Milwaukee
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 25°F (-4°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 21°F (-6°C) 1.6 inches (41 mm)
Feb 27°F (-3°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 26°F (-4°C) 1.1 inches (29 mm)
Mar 37°F (3°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 36°F (2°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm)
Apr 49°F (9°C) 3.2 inches (80 mm) 47°F (8°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm)
May 60°F (16°C) 3 inches (76 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Jun 70°F (21°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Jul 74°F (24°C) 3.4 inches (85 mm) 74°F (23°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Aug 73°F (23°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 72°F (22°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Sep 65°F (19°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 65°F (18°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Oct 54°F (12°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Nov 43°F (6°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 41°F (5°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Dec 31°F (-1°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 27°F (-3°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)