So you’re heading to Milwaukee – but you might want to explore the city beyond the beer, brats, and cheese that made it famous.
Fortunately, this lakeside town has more to offer than hiding in beer gardens and pubs: take a short 90-minute road trip to (yes) cutting-edge art galleries, eclectic cuisine, and great opportunities to soak up the summer sun.
What to Do: Milwaukee RiverWalk and Lakefront Trail
The Milwaukee RiverWalk meanders through three-quarters with three miles of landmarks and vistas along the Milwaukee River. Marvel at the historic Third Ward, Downtown, and Beerline B communities as you sip beer, dine al fresco, and pose with the bronze fonz. The calming sound of the waves is a highlight of the paved Lakefront Trail. Meanwhile, look for the 19th century mansions, the sailboat-littered McKinley Marina, and the beach and red lighthouse in Lakeshore State Park.
101 W. Pleasant St., 500 N. Port Dr.
Where to Shop: Bronzeville Collective MKE
Milwaukee has a legendary reputation as a center for skilled crafts, from woodworking to the Milwaukee Handicraft Project during the Great Depression. Discover contemporary handcrafted work at the Bronzeville Collective, a retail showcase for black, brown, and queer artists in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. Expect Milwaukee-style t-shirts, embroidered trucker hats, and more – we especially liked the Mr. Bloom lapel pins.
339 W. Nordallee.
Where to Eat (Part I): Milwaukee Public Market
Forget about diners and beer halls – if you want to try the freshest, most imaginative Milwaukee dishes, head to downtown Milwaukee Public Market. Artisanal dishes and products such as wine, olive oil, chocolates, pizza, soups, salads, pastries, favorite Middle Eastern dishes and, yes, brats and cheese burst from every corner. Stroll the maze and pick up your selection of food, then head upstairs to the Palm Garden on the second floor to meddle. On Saturdays from June through Labor Day, the market turns into a bustling outdoor experience with growers, manufacturers and artists from around the region.
400 N. Wasserstr.
Accommodation: St. Kate: The Arts Hotel
As the name suggests, this boutique hotel really leans on the art thing. Multimedia works of art are scattered throughout the lobby, from a bronze horse that appears to be made of twigs to a dangling mobile installation of found art and fabrics. In addition to its six galleries, St. Kate also hosts live music, a performance theater space, a bespoke pizza restaurant, an elegant, artisanal American restaurant, and a champagne bar. Each of the 219 rooms is filled with contemporary art, as well as a ukelele, a coloring book with crayons, a record player, and vinyl albums that you can play and swap at the front desk. Unsurprisingly, the lobby bar is a popular hangout for drinks and music.
139 E. Kilbourn Ave.
Where to Eat (Part II): Jewels Caribbean
Milwaukee may be known for its freezing weather, but this restaurant / bar delivers enough tropical heat to melt the frostiest days. Jewels Caribbean is a stylish place with Caribbean blue walls and a long bar with shells, sand and starfish. There is live R&B and jazz on the weekends and the menu includes Caribbean classics such as curry shrimp, jerk chicken and a tangy mango salad. (There are even CBD dessert treats like chocolate chip cookies or brownies.) The cocktail menu features fruity island specialties like drunken coconut water (gin, coconut water and coconut jelly) and banana cabana (with coconut cream, Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish cream), white rum and Banana).
2230 N. King Dr.
Where to drink: Spokesman Brewing Company
Milwaukee’s original craft brewery gives an insight into a different kind of brew: Spokesperson Brewing Company launched Milwaukee’s neighboring suburb of Glendale as the âRoot Beer Capital of the Universeâ. The tour includes four samples of fire brewed beer and unlimited tastes of root beer and sodas. If you’re around in August, don’t miss the city’s Root Beer Bash, which takes place on August 28th this year. Root beer recipes like chicken with root beer glaze and root beer-fried fish will be presented, as well as a classic car show and live music.
701 W. Glendale Ave.
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