Visiting Milwaukee - What to See and Do
(Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport MKE, USA)
is famous for its beer and Harley Davidson motorcycles, but there's a lot more going on in Wisconsin's largest city. For one thing, it sits right on Lake Michigan, so there are oodles of ways to enjoy the water during the warm months.
There are also several impressive museums and cultural attractions showcasing motorcycles, art and technology, amongst other exhibits. Milwaukee's beer pedigree is impressive as well, and fans can tour most of the big label breweries in the city, like Pabst and Miller. Its historic downtown area is filled with stylish brick warehouses and other industrial buildings that are constantly being reinvented as art galleries, music venues and craft breweries.
The 3-mile / 5 km Milwaukee Riverwalk is the ideal way to slowly experience the old downtown core and historic Third Ward. Water Street is another strip to zero in on if you want to enjoy the city's best and newest restaurants and bars. Though usually overlooked as a travel destination, the city has a solid two or three day's worth of fun things to see and do.
Ten things you must do in Milwaukee
- For many, perhaps the most noteworthy legacy of Milwaukee is its role as the home town of the Harley Davidson Motor Company. These iconic road warriors are all-American and the secret desire of many men. The new Harley Davidson Museum showcases more than 400 vintage models of its motorcycles, all the way back to the original 1903 Serial 1. Die-hard fans can then tour the company's powertrain production line on a slick one-hour free tour.
- Milwaukee and beer go hand in hand. The city has been one of America's main producers since the earliest days, and classic brands like Miller, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schlitz were all born here. Touring a brewery like Miller is one of the top activities in the city. Miller's free hour-long tour is quite interesting, and ends with a tasting in the brewery's lovely outdoor beer garden.
- Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin is one of the city's newest attractions. Focused on science and technology, this interactive museum sits right on the lake shore. Besides its many fun science exhibits, visitors can tour the S / V Denis Sullivan, a 19th-century tall ship moored outside. Even better is to take the two-hour cruise aboard this classic Great Lakes schooner when the weather is warm.
- If you have the kids along, or simply love checking out wild animals, the Milwaukee County Zoo is a decent attraction. All the big name animals are onsite like elephants, gorillas and lions. There are also some unusual activities such as camel rides, the raptor show and the sea lion performance.
- Downtown Milwaukee is a checkerboard of diverse and interesting neighborhoods. Some of the oldest are real highlights of this city's urban scene, such as the Third Ward, a fashionable warehouse district converted into trendy shops, bars and restaurants. Bay View (alongside the lake) and Walker's Point are two other fun districts that are enjoying a transformation.
- Milwaukee has some of the country's finest public parks, ensuring that you are never far from a quiet green space to escape the bustle of the city streets. Cathedral Square Park is one of the best, especially during the summer months, when Jazz in the Park kicks off with free outdoor jazz concerts every Thursday evening.
- Take a boat tour of the Milwaukee River or Lake Michigan. There are many boat charter companies operating along the waterfront. The Milwaukee Boat Line is one of the better outfits, offering informational cruises around the harbor, the river and Lake Michigan itself. Historical cruises, sunset cocktail cruises and even live music trips are all great ways to get out on the water and see the city from a fresh perspective.
- The region comes with a number of beaches, though you probably won't want to venture out until late May or June. Bradford Beach is one of the city's largest and is always a very popular spot in summer. The McKinley Marina and Beach is another great choice, with a lively scene that includes fishermen on the pier, boat rentals and a fun beach.
- It may be a rather modest venue compared to other urban art galleries, but the Milwaukee Art Museum can hold its own. This top attraction boasts a collection that spans the ages, from ancient Greek to modern American. Equally impressive is the building itself, with an amazing sunscreen on the roof that can open and close, resembling a seagull's wings.
- Baseball fans will be pleased to know that the city has a professional NBL team, the Brewers. They play their home games at the beautiful Miller Park, a classic red brick baseball stadium with a striking modern design. The baseball season runs from April through October, and this city loves their Brewers, meaning that any game day is always a lively event in bars throughout Milwaukee.