Conceived in the 1990s to increase public access to the waterway, the Milwaukee Riverwalk has grown to include art displays called RiverSculpture!, the RiverSplash! festival (which ended a 20-year run in 2009), Riverwalk Park, water taxi landings, and other venues such as cafés, and brewpubs.
The Milwaukee Riverwalk extends from the Historic Third Ward district to Caesars Park near Brady Street. It also links to the Henry Aaron State Trail, Lakeshore State Park, and Erie Street Plaza. There are three segments of the Milwaukee Riverwalk: the Beerline B, East Town (Juneautown) & Westown (Kilbourntown), and the 3rd & 5th Ward. The Beerline B runs from McKinley Avenue to Caesars Park, the East Town (Juneautown) & Westown (Kilbourntown) section from Juneau Avenue to I-794, and the 3rd & 5th Ward section from I-794 to Lake Michigan.
Cemented in to the walkways are 18 bronze medallions drawn by elementary school children, depicting how they see the Milwaukee River. In 1995, students were invited to examine artifacts from the Milwaukee County Historical Society and walk the river. Among drawings submitted by over 200 students from Milwaukee Public Schools, 18 were selected to be cast by artist Peter Flanary. Imagery varies from whimsical fish and downtown buildings to ducks and Native Americans.
The Bronze Fonz, a bronze statue of the character Fonzie from the Happy Days television program is on the east side of the Milwaukee Riverwalk just south of Wells Street. It was sponsored by the TV Land cable television network and local organizations, but attracted considerable controversy.