MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin – Milwaukee is known for two very distinct museums: the MAM, a museum of contemporary art; and the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Visiting Milwaukee, for many, means motorcycle culture. Here’s what to do in Milwaukee if you aren’t thinking about motorcycles.
What comes to mind when we think about the biggest city in Wisconsin? There’s cheese, sports teams, beer, and Lake Michigan. What else?
…Well, I don’t know what else! So when I was offered to visit Milwaukee with the Visit Milwaukee team, I could not resist. What would I find there?
What to Do in Milwaukee: Fun on the Water
Here’s one thing you should know when visiting Milwaukee: many of the interesting things to do are related to water. Lake Michigan is obviously a huge amount of water, but the city is also built on three different rivers. You can go sailing, can spend a day at the beach, can kayak downtown…
I had the chance to sail on Lake Michigan with Sea Dog Sailing. It was a great experience during a great day.
I also had the opportunity to kayak downtown Milwaukee with the people of Milwaukee Kayak Company. Being in the river, looking straight up to the sky and seeing the huge buildings is a unique experience!
In fact, even the beer industry – the city’s pride – is directly linked to water: the first ingredient used to make it!
What to Do in Milwaukee: Drink (What? Don’t look at me like that!)
Speaking of beer …
Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, Milwaukee’s Best, Old Milwaukee … If not high-quality beer, these are names that everyone knows. The geography of the city has always been very favorable to brewing beers: barley grassland, the clear water of the rivers, Lake Michigan to facilitate transport… it is, therefore, natural to see so much beer.
It is just as natural that the artisanal brewery fad, so popular in the United States, has wind in its sails in Milwaukee.
And if we can make beer, why not distill, too?
Lakefront Brewery offers a tour of its brewery, which is directly on the Milwaukee River, which I enjoyed. I had the chance to taste a few of their beers. My favorite? The Eastside Dark, a dark beer reminiscent of the classic Czech cerne.
Also, one of the city’s microdistilleries, Great Lakes Distillery, offers a variety of liquors made in town. They even have a bar. I liked their vodka flavored with honey and citrus fruits.
Obviously, who says drink, says bars, and the largest city in Wisconsin has plenty of watering holes!
Those who do not like to do research before going to a bar but who like to pedal should register at the Pedal Tavern! A huge bicycle for 10 people has to be pedaled by the “drinkers-guests” in the Third Ward (bar area) from bar to bar. And the bar hopping’s interesting too. It’s honestly not my style, but I have to admit, shamefully, to have had way too much fun on our little adventure.
Is it a bit too “college kids on a rampage” for your liking? The total opposite of Pedal Tavern is Bryant’s, a unique cocktail lounge. The bartender who welcomed us says that the bar has remained completely unchanged since 1971. The lighting in the bar is so low that it is difficult to see your neighbor. There is no menu: the waiter suggests cocktails that go with the guests’ tastes. The lounge is in a residential area, relatively far from the city center.
One last suggestion: The Safe House is a bar full of gadgets that revolves around the theme of espionage. The cocktails are all named after spies, games and gimmicks can be found throughout the bar, there is a rotating table that hides the people who are sitting and having their drink, and there is even a hidden exit!
Visit Milwaukee And Eat!
While Milwaukee is known for its beer, on the other hand, its food has no particular reputation.
The Wisconsin slogan is “America’s Dairyland”. So there’s cheese! One of their most famous productions is cheese curd. In Milwaukee, they bread it and fry it. (Surprised?)
If I had to suggest a single restaurant among all those visited, I would offer Wolf Peach without hesitation. The terrace is superb, and the dishes as well. The beef tartare and bone marrow were outstanding!
Oh, and there’s a horrible food concoction that’s catching steam out of Milwaukee… The peanut butter burger. Don’t touch that with a ten foot pole, that’s my suggestion.
Visit Milwaukee: All that, and baseball, too!
The Brewers might not be the best team in baseball at the moment, but that also means that it’s quite easy to get tickets! Miller Park is one of the most beautiful stadiums of all of the major leagues. Guaranteed fun for the sports enthusiast!
Visiting Milwaukee: Of course, museums
With all that, it would be easy to forget the classics, that is to say, the museums…
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Milwaukee has a superb collection, but it is the building itself that turns heads. A work by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, it includes two huge mechanical wings that make a complete wing flap at noon each day.
And finally: the Harley-Davidson museum. For lovers of motorcycles, this is a place where it is possible to get lost for a whole day …