10 things to do on your trip to Milwaukee


At the time, Milwaukee was best known for beer, cheese and Happy Days, but the city has recently experienced a kind of renaissance. Between its thriving arts and music scene and its culinary credo, you’ll find plenty to do when visiting Milwaukee.

Mitchell Park domes

Officially known as the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, the Domes are a local favorite. Each of the three massive domes – which are 140 feet wide, 85 feet high, and 750,000 cubic feet – features a different climate: desert and tropical plus an exhibition dome. Species of birds, frogs, fish and lizards live in the desert and tropical domes, which are permanent exhibits, while the exhibit dome rotates exhibits ranging from formal Japanese gardens to suite scenes Nutcracker.

Visit Milwaukee for its natural wonders, brewery scene and world-class art © Varman Fotographie / 500px

Milwaukee Art Museum

Santiago Calatrava – who went on to design New York’s World Trade Center transportation hub – is one of the famous architects behind the Milwaukee Art Museum, which has become a staple of the city it now serves. logo at the Milwaukee tourism board. website and appears on welcome signs at the city airport. The museum is certainly home to impressive permanent and rotating collections, but what makes it so special is the glass atrium with retractable wings that open each morning and close each evening. It’s also a great photo op on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Downtown riverwalk

The city’s charming Riverwalk is fun to visit any time of the year, but if you’re in Milwaukee in the summer, you can try your hand at paddling or kayaking on the river. Either way, don’t miss the Riverwalk’s most famous resident, the Bronze Fonz, a glittering statue of Arthur Fonzarelli, whose show Happy Days made Milwaukee famous in the 1970s and 1980s. The Riverwalk is located in the middle of downtown, so you can walk to other local attractions like the Milwaukee Public Market and historic Old World 3rd Street. Quick Note: Old World 3rd Street was recently renamed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, but most people still call it by its old name.

Beer tasting in Milwaukee
Milwaukee is famous for its brewing history © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

The history of Milwaukee brewing

If Milwaukee is known for one thing, it’s the city’s brewing history. Even the Milwaukee Major League Baseball team is called the Brewers. Beer lovers will have their choice of craft breweries and breweries, but for more context, take a tour of the historic Pabst Brewery and plan a visit to the elegant Pabst Mansion, home of the brewer Frederick Pabst, the namesake. of the company. The downtown Pabst Theater dates from 1895 and showcases the grandeur of the era. Nowadays the theater puts on shows and concerts, so check who’s playing while you’re in town.

Explore Milwaukee’s German Roots

While Milwaukee is a diverse city with sizable Hmong and Hispanic communities, a large percentage of the population is of German descent, which you will find in restaurants and food vendors around the city. Numerous German restaurants, sausage shops, and breweries have served the city and its visitors for generations, and several are conveniently located along downtown Old World 3rd Street. A few places to visit are Usinger Sausage Shop, Mader Restaurant, Milwaukee Brat House, and Old German Beer Hall.

Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee
At the Harley-Davidson Museum, a collection of motorcycles and memorabilia spans 20 acres © Erik Tanghe / Shutterstock

Harley-Davidson Museum

No visit to Milwaukee is complete without a visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum, where the company was born. Hundreds of motorcycles show how styles have changed over the decades, and you can even sit on the saddles of various bikes and take photos. The collection of motorcycles and memorabilia is spread across a sprawling 20-acre park-like campus in an industrial building south of downtown.

Milwaukee Public Market

When you’re hungry, it’s time to check out a downtown food-filled attraction, the Milwaukee Public Market. Restaurants serving everything from Mexican to Middle Eastern offer fantastic food to eat indoors or on the large outdoor patio. The market is also a great place to shop for groceries and souvenirs, and you’ll find well-stocked cheese shops, delis, and olive oil suppliers. Don’t forget to head to one of the restaurants and bars serving one of the city’s Bloody Mary cocktails, which could be topped with fried cheese curds, sliders, sausage sticks, or maybe even cheese. ‘a whole fried chicken.

Summer party in Milwaukee
Summerfest is the world’s largest outdoor music festival © Tony Savino / Shutterstock

Summer festival grounds

Although the area is officially called Henry Maier Festival Park, everyone knows it simply as Summerfest grounds. The nickname comes from Milwaukee’s biggest festival, Summerfest, which is said to be the largest outdoor music festival in the world. But Summerfest isn’t the only big event held here. Throughout the summer and fall, the grounds host events celebrating the city’s cultural and ethnic diversity, including festivities for the Irish, African, German, Mexican and LGBTQI + communities.

American Black Holocaust Museum

Started as a virtual museum, the Black Holocaust Museum of America is now an in-person experience founded by James Cameron, who survived a lynching at the age of 16. The museum tells the story of what it calls the “Black Holocaust”, beginning with the transatlantic slave trade and continuing through the civil war and the civil rights movement. The American Black Holocaust Museum is currently closed for renovation, but is expected to open in early 2022.

Milwaukee Public Beach
Take a dip in Lake Michigan, which borders Milwaukee to the east © Aaron of LA Photography / Shutterstock

Milwaukee’s public beaches

Wisconsin is known for its cold winters, but in the summer you’ll find half the population on one of the city’s fantastic beaches. Since the entire city of Milwaukee is bordered on the east by Lake Michigan, fantastic swimming spots can be found all over the city. The Bay View neighborhood and the suburbs of Cudahy, South Milwaukee, and Oak Creek have smaller, quieter beaches, but if you’re looking for a lively beach experience with volleyball, kites, and food vendors, go to get yourself to Bradford Beach, which is accessible and offers free beach wheelchairs.

About Marc Womack

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