How to Spend the Best Weekend in Milwaukee, WI

Advisor - Katie Spoden
Curated By

Katie Spoden

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  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Solo Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Downtown

  • Outdoors

  • Local Food

  • Entertainment

  • Sightseeing

  • budget-friendly

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, downtown streets and buildings.
Curator’s statement

I have a soft spot for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, since half of my family is from there. It's a destination with great-tasting beer, budget-friendly things to do and an easily accessible Lake Michigan as its front yard. Milwaukee will definitely show you why Midwest is best!

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Where to stay

Saint Kate - The Arts Hotel

Vibrant, artsy hotel with psychedelic interiors for a fun stay.

The Pfister Hotel

Historic Victorian hotel in a building from 1893 with sophisticated rooms and suites.

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Day 1: Cheers to Your First Day in Milwaukee

A beach with lifeguard signs.

For a weekend trip, you are likely to arrive at your hotel at early evening. Check into your hotel, and then talk a walk along the Milwaukee RiverWalk that covers more than 20 blocks along the Milwaukee River.

Make sure to stop at the statue for a selfie with the "Bronze Fonz," aka Arthur Fonzarelli from the 50's sitcom Happy Days that was set in Milwaukee. When you've worked up an appetite, have dinner at Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen, where you can sample their locally distilled spirits during your meal. Ready for a nightcap? There are several beer gardens owned by the city's park district that pay homage to the city's German heritage. When you're drinking at a beer garden, you're also supporting future projects for the parks, so it's a win-win. Cheers!

Day 2: Explore the City

Milwaukee beachfront and skyline.

Rise and shine, it's Day 2 of your weekend in Milwaukee.

When you're ready for breakfast, head to the Milwaukee Public Market, where dozens of local vendors offer coffee, sandwiches, cheese, spirits and specialty food products all in one location. After you've sampled to your heart's content, take a walk over to the Milwaukee Art Museum, where not only can you view art from all across the world, but you can also witness the infamous wings of the bird structure that makes up the museum's outside structure open and close. Once it's time for lunch, head over to the neighborhood of Murray Hill for sandwiches at Beans & Barley, where you can browse the goods in the general store while you wait for a table. Looking for something unique to do after lunch that also supports a good cause? Take a stroll down the street to Sip & Purr, where you can play with the adoptable cats that roam around the cafe.

After a busy morning, it's time to take a catnap (no pun intended) at your hotel. When you're refreshed, head in the car and drive ten minutes outside the city to Wauwatosa to visit Buckatabon Tavern & Supper Club for dinner. Buckatabon brings the Northwoods of Wisconsin to Milwaukee's front door where you can snack on cheese curds and sip on several variations of the Wisconsin Old Fashioned.

Ready to keep the party going? Head back to the city and stop at Shaker's Cigar Bar, a historic (and possibly haunted? You decide!) bar that sits on top of a former cemetery and was owned by the Capone brothers during prohibition. Take one of the tours offered by the bar and see if you can see any spirits yourself (aside from the one you're drinking, that is.)

Day 3: Mitchell Park Domes and Holler House

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, skyline at night.

It's your final day in Milwaukee! Take a stroll along the lakefront walking path and head to Colectivo Coffee that is housed within the historic Milwaukee River Flushing Station that was built in 1888. If you're looking for even more nature, visit the Mitchell Park Domes, which are 3 domes that house garden conservatories right outside downtown. After you've had your fill of flowers and fauna, it's time for lunch at the Zócalo Food Park which houses a variety of food vendors all under one roof. Have some time to kill before you leave? Stop by Holler House on your way out of town, where you can bowl at the oldest sanctioned tenpin bowling alley in the nation. I hope this bar and Milwaukee overall can show you truly why Midwest is best!

Advisor - Katie Spoden

Travel Advisor

Katie Spoden

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