The lovely Marcus Amphitheater sits right on the shores of Lake Michigan in the heart of downtown Milwaukee on North Harbor Drive. Built in 1987, with the principal contribution coming from the Marcus Corporation Foundation, the Marcus is the best outdoor venue in Milwaukee to see a summertime concert. Famous for its lawn seating on a steep hill that overlooks the lake and 27 rows of reserved bleacher seats, the Marcus Amphitheater has become one of the Midwest’s most popular outdoor venues. The Marcus Amphitheater also offers spectacular nighttime views of down town Milwaukee’s exciting skyline.
The first concert at the Marcus Amphitheater was the opening night of Summerfest on Thursday June 25, 1987. The headliner on the newly finished Marcus stage that evening was the legendary Beach Boys, who were enjoying a renewed popularity in the late 80’s. The Marcus became an instant fan favorite as other popular acts of the day, including performers such as Peter Gabriel and The Bangles, played the Marcus during its inaugural year.
Each year the “World’s Biggest Music Festival,” know as Summerfest, brings some of the music industry’s heaviest hitters to the Marcus Amphitheater for an eleven day festival. The 23,000-seat Marcus also hosts acts throughout the summer. The state-of-art Marcus Amphitheater has accommodated some of the biggest names in popular music: Sting, The Eagles, Tom Petty, Prince, Paul Simon, Tim McGraw, Bob Dylan, The Dead, Fleetwood Mac, Bon Jovi, and Dave Matthews Band have all played the Marcus during the world renowned Summerfest festival.
The Marcus Amphitheater is located on the 90-acre Henry Maier Festival grounds, better known as the Summerfest grounds. From start to finish, it took just eight months to build, requiring 14,000 cubic yards of concrete and more than 600,000 cubic yards of fill. Thanks to another donation from the Marcus Foundation, the Marcus Amphitheater is currently in the midst of a five year refurbishment to include new dressing rooms, new interior and exterior paint, new signage and seat replacement. The Marcus Foundation’s generous grants have assured the people of Milwaukee that the summertime concert venue that bears their name will remain a local jewel for years to come.
200 N. Harbor Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53202