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10 Amazing Things to Do in Milwaukee This Vacation

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I’m Veronica Brown, I’ve been traveling for more than 10 years, traveled to more than 100 countries of the world, sharing with you the most useful and important information on the pages

Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s most populated city and the largest port on Lake Michigan. Not only is this a great place for lovers of sailing and yachting. Milwaukee is also surprisingly rich in terms of cultural activities. You may not be particularly impressed by its architectural beauties, but if you wish, you can spend several busy days exploring the numerous and rich city museums. You can get even more fun: spend time at one of the many-day festivals, concerts, music or theater productions. Events on the lake shore are held here so often that in the summer season, whenever a traveler arrives in Milwaukee, he will certainly fall on not one, but the other.



Thing to do number 1: Visit Harley-Davidson Museum

One of Milwaukee’s oldest industries is the city’s newest attraction – the Harley-Davidson Museum. Famous motorbikes appeared here in 1901 when William S. Harley, Arthur, and Walter Davidson and a German engineer launched their first motorcycle. All of this, this superb family attraction boasts over 450 motorcycles and artifacts, including “Serial Number One,” the oldest Harley. Other interesting points include:

  • interesting displays related to the people behind the cars,
  • the shop,
  • and the restaurant.

In addition to the fantastic collection of motorcycles, you can follow the story through a variety of media, including photographs, videos, clothes, rare documents and other interesting exhibits. Take a look at archives that have never before been open to the public, and a database of more than 450 motorcycles, as well as take a look at the hundreds of thousands of exhibits that the archivist team has collected from all museum exhibitions. The entrance ticket costs $ 16, for children – $ 10, for pensioners – $ 12.

Interesting: Mass production followed in 1903, and the rest, as they say, is the story that is now on display at the beautiful Harley-Davidson Museum.

Thing to do number 2: Go to Milwaukee Art Museum Matthew Usenas

The building itself on the lake is a work of art and resembles a cross between a smooth ship and an airplane with a high retractable structure resembling wings located on the roof. Highlights include numerous:

  • European,
  • American,
  • contemporary works, including small prints, drawings and photographs,
  • as well as collections from Asia and Africa.

Other notable cities are the Charles Allis Art Museum, with 19th and 20th century American and European art, housed in a luxurious Tudor-style villa built in 1911; Museum of Decorative Arts Villa Terrace, built in 1923 in the style of an Italian Renaissance villa with decorative art from the 15th to the 18th century; and the Haggerty Art Museum with a collection of more than 2,000 pieces, including many old masters.

The modern building of the Quadracci pavilion, the latest addition to the museum, is very interesting: the notorious Santiago Calatrava became its author. The construction cost 100 million USD, but it was probably worth it: today this snow-white futuristic wing has become one of the symbols of the city. The movable solar screen really opens like a bird’s wing several times during the day. The museum is adjacent to a war memorial designed by architect Eero Saarinen.

Interesting: Founded in 1888, the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum is home to more than 20,000 works of art from antiquity to the present day.


Thing to do number 3: Have great time at various festivals

Milwaukee is called the city of festivals. Here in August, firstly, the Wisconsin State Fair takes place, which lasts 11 days. Since 1852, it has been gathering many manufacturers of a wide variety of goods and services: farmers, restaurateurs, winemakers, pastoralists. The most popular treat at the fair is French custard cream cakes.

And even more popular is the annual Summerfest on the lake. This music festival is sometimes called the Big Gig. The festival also lasts 11 days. At this time in the Festival Park of Henry Mayer, there are 11 scenes, which have time to perform more than 700 teams. The festival takes place in late June – early July to capture Independence Day. Up to a million people visit it annually, and in 1999 the festival entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest music festival in the world.

Most public events in Milwaukee take place on the lake. Among them, there is the mass of summer ethnic festivals:

  • Polish in June;
  • French, Greek, Italian and German in July;
  • African, Arabic, Irish, Mexican and Native American in August.

Interesting: In addition, the city hosts the Pride minority festival and the November Trainfest, America’s largest guided railway model show.

Thing to do number 4: Visit Breweries

Breweries are directly associated with the city of Milwaukee. Although the number of large factories has declined over the past 10 years, the nickname “Beer City” is still relevant, as mini-breweries are developing at a tremendous pace. In several places in the city you can smell a rather strong smell of yeast. Once upon a time, 4 major breweries were located in Milwaukee at once: Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst, and Miller, but now only “Miller” remains.

For many years, Milwaukee was the main beer producing city in the world. Miller-Coors Brewing Company offers its guests excellent excursions. On the territory of a huge brewery complex, there is a center for visitors. The complex is located in the western part of Milwaukee. Not long ago, the merger of Miller and Coors took place, they currently manage the breweries together, however, the tour is based on the historical activities of Miller. The tour begins with the famous Miller commercial, then, the brewery demonstrates the growth and development of the company, and ends with a beer tasting in the pub.

  • Pabst Brewery is the best place at the historic Pabst brewery. While the plant itself has long been closed, a new tavern, a hall that can be reserved, and a souvenir shop have recently opened in this place. The brewery itself, the former head office and visitor center are certified historic buildings and are included in the US National Register of Historic Places.
  • Sprecher Brewery (which produces beer, root beer and carbonated drinks) is a respected local brewery located in the northern part of the city. Known for the widest assortment of beer compared to other local breweries. Tourists are also offered excursions and tastings. Carbonated drinks are also popular, so children and non-drinkers can learn a lot from this excursion. Be sure to try finding their root beer at local businesses.
  • The Lakefront Brewery Brewery is another small, local mini-brewery that specializes in home-brewed traditions from the early Milwaukee breweries. Located along the Milwaukee River north of the city center, at the foot of Brewers’ Hill. Excursions take place on Fridays in the evening, visitors are treated to fried fish.

Interesting: Milwaukee Brewing Company guides Fifth Ward’s guided tours of their growing operations on Fridays and Saturdays.

Thing to do number 5: Visit Popular Sports Events

There are unforgettable moments in the history of Milwaukee sports, and the games of the Brewers baseball team and the Bucks basketball team are likely to interest tourists. Slugger Henry Aaron made most of his home runs in Milwaukee (mainly when he played for the Milwaukee Braves team, although he ended his career at Milwaukee Brewers and then moved to Atlanta). In addition, Milwaukee Bucks is the youngest team to ever win the National Basketball Association title.

  • Milwaukee Brewers is a Major League Baseball team. Plays near the city center in Miller Park. Previously owned by Commissioner of the Major League Baseball Bad Selig.
  • Milwaukee Bucks, a member of the National Basketball Association, plays at BMO Harris Bradley Center.
  • Milwaukee Admirals, a hockey team that is part of the American Hockey League, is formally a member of the International Hockey League. Also plays at BMO Harris Bradley Center.
  • Milwaukee Wave is a professional football club in North America that operates longer than all other clubs. He is a member of the US Football Showball League. Home matches are in the U.S. arena Cellular Arena.
  • Milwaukee Mile. The main feature of the city is the oldest operating racing circuit in the world, where since 1903 at least every year car racing has been held. It’s located at the Wisconsin State Fair. Racing has been approved by the American Automobile Association, the United States Auto Club, the CART/Champ Car World Series, the NASCAR and IndyCar Series.

Interesting: A large number of series of regional races such as ARTGO were also held there.

Thing to do number 6: Go for a Walk in the Park

Milwaukee has one of the best urban park systems in the country. The area of ​​parks and beaches along the lake is a treasure of this system, and in good weather there are always a lot of people.

  • Cathedral Square Park is a city center square surrounded by Kilbourn in the north, Wells in the south, Jackson in the east and Jefferson in the west. Most of the park is famous for jazz music and free open-air jazz concerts, which take place on Thursday evening during the summer.
  • Veteran’s Park is located on the lakefront north of the Museum of Art and the War Memorial. The park has a bay where you can rent a boat, kite or bicycle.
  • McKinley Marina and Beach Park is a great place for those who want to go fishing or relax on the beach. Many people like to stroll along the giant breakwaters that go into Lake Michigan. In summer there are many fishermen. The easiest way to get to McKinley Park is to walk along the Brady Street bridge over the Lincoln Memorial Drive, or just head north from Veteran’s Park.
  • Bradford Beach is one of the largest beaches in Milwaukee. Thanks to recent financial investments, he was greatly improved, including the repair of a beautiful beach house in the art deco style.
  • Lake Park was designed and built by Frederick Low Olmstead, the same person who built Central Park in New York. It is one of the most picturesque parks in Milwaukee. You can get there if you go up from the northern edge of Bradford Beach.

Interesting: The Oak Leaf Trail is the pearl of the Milwaukee County park system and the best in Milwaukee (2012). Its length is 114 miles. It passes through the county’s main parks and park roads, as well as along the long shore of Lake Michigan. Paved paths, alleys and city streets (to ensure continuity) are also part of the Oak Leaf Trail network.

Thing to do number 7: Enjoy a Boat Tour

There are several boat tour operators who take tours of Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River.

  • The Edelweiss I and II offer gourmet cruises, including dinner, and nightly cruises along the Milwaukee River. Vessels depart from the intersection of 3rd St. and Highland.
  • Milwaukee Boat Line operates summer private cruises on the Vista King. These sightseeing tours pass through the Milwaukee River, Port, and Lake Michigan. Daily at 12,14,16 hours. In addition to historical cruises, the tour operator offers a Happy Hour cruise from Tuesday to Saturday and concert cruises every Friday.
  • Sea Dog Sailing offers sailing trips from McKinley Marina.

Interesting: Charter a boat with Captain Wally and enjoy salmon and trout fishing from Lake Michigan.


Thing to do number 8: Entertain Yourself in the Westown

On the other side of the river is Kilbourntown (or Westown) is the entertainment center of the city. Here, you will find attractions such as the Midwest Airlines Center and Milwaukee’s primary convention center. Grand Avenue Mall, Milwaukee Theater and Bradley Center are nearby.

  • There are many hotels in the city, as well as excellent restaurants and clubs.
  • And to the west, there is a huge neoclassical courthouse, a public museum and an ornate central library.

Interesting: Despite the fact that not one tall building has a public observation deck, you can enjoy stunning city views from the Polaris revolving restaurant, which is located at the very top of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the center of Kilbourntown.


Thing to do number 9: Go Shopping

Milwaukee is one of the best places to buy goods made in Wisconsin. Milwaukee boasts an amazing variety and quality of goods at affordable prices – from good food to Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Some shopping centers are located outside the city. There are several lively trading venues throughout the city, such as the Third Ward, the east side around Prospect, and North St. and Brady St., as well as other stores.

  • Downtown/Third Ward. Grand Avenue Mall (On Wisconsin Ave) is worth a visit. At your service is a large number of different stores that sell clothes and useful trinkets that can easily fit into your suitcase. Also, a lot of all kinds of stuff can be found in Milwaukee, especially in Brew City.
  • George Watt’s Store, Address: 761 N Jefferson St., Telephone 1 800 747-9288. It’s one of the remaining high-end stores in Milwaukee. Perfect for industrial tycoons, as well as a very interesting place to stop and have a cup of tea.
  • Bookstore Renaissance Books, address: 834 N Plankinton Ave, phone +1 414 271-6850. This is a legendary store. His huge warehouse of 5 floors holds half a million used books. The store looks wretched, and sometimes it seems that it is closed, although this is not so. Departments there are clearly marked, reasonable prices.

Interesting: Most tourists want to take some products with them when they leave. Wisconsin cheese, Alterra or Anodyne local roasted coffee, and microbreweries are the most popular. Ginseng and even Mexican El Rey products are common souvenirs.

Thing to do number 10: Visit Bay View

Bay View is a historic, vibrant middle-class neighborhood along Lake Michigan in southeastern Milwaukee. Kinnickinnic Avenue is the district’s main street through its center. There are shops, bars, restaurants and cafes.

  • Due to their long history in the Bay View area, bars and restaurants are very close to each other, they can rarely be seen further than a few houses.
  • Bay View’s South Shore Park offers skyline views and the most scenic lake views.

Interesting: Bus number 15 runs south from the city center to Bay View, and the GreenLine bus also runs to Bay View from Mitchell Airport.

Written By:

I’m Veronica Brown, I’ve been traveling for more than 10 years, traveled to more than 100 countries of the world, sharing with you the most useful and important information on the pages

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