Last weekend, the hubby and I ventured north for a day in Milwaukee. Being the awesome wife that I am, I bought him tickets to see Patton Oswalt at the Riverside Theater for Christmas because he loves stand up comedy and we both like any excuse to get to Milwaukee. It’s a fun, easily digestible city with lots to see and do. Milwaukee’s infamous blue-collar roots are still there, but they are nestled alongside a burgeoning restaurant scene, lots of local shops and fun neighborhood nooks and crannies to explore. There’s also beer. Lots and lots of beer. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s easy to get around by car, and the downtown area, including the Historic Third Ward, is very walkable.
While we have only been to the city a handful of times, each time we go we find something new to try as well as returning to old favorites. With that said, this is by no means a comprehensive city guide – but rather our experience of a city we’re getting to like more and more. Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below!
Areas to Explore:
//Historic Third Ward – Very trendy area nested along the river just south of downtown Milwaukee. There’s lots to do and numerous restaurants, bars, and shops to choose from.
//Brady Street – Located in the East Side neighborhood, Brady Street is a fun, funky street to spend an afternoon exploring. There’s a great nightlife here as well, with lots of bars and restaurants.
//Murray Hill – Also located within the East Side neighborhood, Murray Hill is mostly residential, with rows of pretty bungalows, but there is a commercial area and a very lovely path that will lead you right along the lake.
//The Milwaukee Art Museum is worth a visit if only to see the incredible, nautical inspired architecture of the building itself. The collections inside are pretty stellar as well, with an interesting mix of modern and more traditional art, in addition to an entire section dedicated to folk art from different cultures around the globe.
//The lakefront is absolutely stunning to behold. Dare I say, I like it even better than Chicago’s. While both cities border the same great lake, Milwaukee knew better than to muck it up with too much traffic. Instead you can enjoy the lovely walking trails that run along the East side of the city, as well as numerous festivals and farmers markets in the warmer months.
//A show at any one of Milwaukee’s awesome theaters: Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater or Turner Hall Ballroom. We saw Patton Oswalt just this past weekend at the Riverside Theater and it was so much fun!
//Take in a movie at the Oriental Theater. This gilded movie palace shows both mainstream and indie movies and has been operating in the East Side neighborhood since the 1920’s.
Eat & Drink
//Milwaukee Ale House (Third Ward) – We met up with some friends at the Milwaukee Ale House and loved it. Awesome burgers, yummy sweet potato fries and what we hear is great beer (we’re not drinkers). There’s tons of seating, including by the river for a nice view when the weather is warm.
//Cafe Hollander (Murray Hill) – We ventured here last summer and really enjoyed ourselves. The space almost has the feel of a European cafe, decked out in vintage bicycles and other funky decor. The menu was full of delicious comfort food and, in true Milwaukee fashion, lots and lots of cheese.
//Milwaukee Public Market (Third Ward) – Part food court, part shopping center, there are dozens of kiosks and counters with varied menus to choose from, including sea food places, a spice shop, and several vendors that will help you satisfy your sweet tooth.
//County Clare Inn (East Side) – Wonderful atmosphere and very hearty, traditional Irish breakfast/brunch spot. Though we’ve never stayed here overnight, room rates seem reasonable.
Explore & Shop
//Broadway Paper (Third Ward) – I’m a little obsessed with stationary and paper products, and this store is bursting with little goodies. I held Eric hostage here for quite the length of time as I bought way too many cards and poured over the Rifle Paper Co. table.
//Hot Pop Shop (Third Ward) – Really fun, and somewhat random, collection of brightly colored accessories, housewares and other things you didn’t realize you needed until you got there.
//The Home Market (Third Ward) – Very stylish yet simple collection of home goods, furniture, and décor with a flea market feel.
//Boswell Book Company (Murray Hill) – Great locally owned bookstore brimming with awesome finds and staff recommendations.
//Red Elephant Chocolate (Third Ward) – I will admit, it was my love of Elephants that first drew me to this little shop, but the delicious chocolate truffles are what keep me coming back.
Next time we’re in town, the hubby and I are really looking forward to checking out the Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design and enjoying a festival or two in some warmer Wisconsin weather.
What else should we see/do in Milwaukee?