Things to do in Milwaukee?
August 25, 2017 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! I'm going to end up with a couple days in Milwaukee next month. I like everything. What should I be doing?
posted by Cosine to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Do you know specific dates or days of the week? We have all sorts of music and festivals going on just about daily while we can still pretend it's summer :)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:31 PM on August 25, 2017

Response by poster: It will be the last Sunday/Monday in Sept.
posted by Cosine at 2:51 PM on August 25, 2017

Watch the roof open at the art museum
3rd Ward - historic district with shops and restaurants, also a public market (kind of like a giant food court, but much better than a mall)
Bloody Mary at Sobelman's. You'll only need one. Don't bother ordering food.
Hofbrauhaus, in a neighborhood with a few other interesting stores, like a cheese shop and sausage maker.

And then there's baseball and stuff.
posted by LionIndex at 2:53 PM on August 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

There's also kind of a hipsterish neighborhood around North/Farwell/Prospect a bit north of downtown that looked like it would have interesting places to eat, but I didn't have a chance to try any of them.
posted by LionIndex at 2:56 PM on August 25, 2017

On Sunday go to Doors Open Milwaukee! It's free open house tours of interesting buildings all over the city.
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 4:38 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd also recommend the Milwaukee Art Museum, and not just because MeFi's own Gucky works there.
posted by stannate at 4:44 PM on August 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

If you're a beer person the tour at Lakefront Brewery (not actually on the lakefront) is suuuuper fun, and their outdoor space is a really good spot to kill a few hours/beers. The actual lakefront is beautiful and good for walking. I love the MKE Public Museum especially if the weather's bad; the art museum is amazing. I always feel like the Third Ward is weirdly dead, but Brady St and the aforementioned cluster around North/Farwell are fun places to walk around.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 4:47 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Seconding Doors Open Milwaukee and the Art Museum.

There's a Maker Faire at the state fairgrounds that weekend.

Take a tour of Lakefront or Sprecher brewery (there are others, plus distilleries if that's more your thing).

If the weather's nice, have brunch on the rooftop at Cafe Benelux.

But really, you should do Doors Open Milwaukee. The Central Library is gorgeous.
posted by AFABulous at 4:58 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sprecher, if you like either beer or, especially, pop.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:35 PM on August 25, 2017

Estabrook Park Biergarten - I think they stay open for the season until October!

Also I totally agree that Lakefront Brewery is fun and also has the BEST fried cheese curds ever anywhere.
posted by augustimagination at 8:38 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lakeshore State Park is a nice place to get a walk in, with good views....

(Also, I live just an hour-ish north, and never knew about Doors Open! So cool!)
posted by TheFantasticNumberFour at 9:37 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Go to the Roadfood places and take a picture of the Fonzie statue. RIP Watts Tea Room.
posted by brujita at 10:06 PM on August 25, 2017

Bay View has a lot of new restaurants. Check to see if there are any festivals going on....3rd Ward is great.
posted by irish01 at 7:13 AM on August 26, 2017

I just moved to this town and it's awesome. Don't just look at the building of the art museum -- there are also over 15,000 reasons inside to like it (lots of classic and contemporary stuff, the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition should be still open and a new street photography show should be open when you're here). I do indeed work there so message me if you have any questions or issues art museum-wise.

The Milwaukee Film Fest will be going on while you're here. Which is great, because there are always amazing films. And bad, because you'll have to plan ahead to get into the extremely gorgeous Oriental Theater (lions! elephants! Buddhas! decent popcorn with beer!) Tickets sell out but you can get individual tickets.

The amazing old school Von Trier German hunting lodge bar is just across the street from the Oriental and is about to get renovated to be a shmancy cocktail lounge, so get thee there while you still can. There's also a bowling alley with arcade games next to the Oriental, so, yes, a good time within steps of each other.

Lakefront Brewing really is all that -- and since I think you're not legally allowed to be in Milwaukee on a Friday without going to a fish fry, I STRONGLY recommend going to Lakefront on a Friday night for a pretzel, fish, amazing beer and very likely a polka band covering Johnny Cash and the chicken dance. It's amazingly fun, even in a non-ironic way. There are lots of other fish frys, but I enjoyed Lakefront so much I can't attest to any others yet.

The Safe House is great if you haven't been - expensive (for Milwaukee) and a bit corny, but awesome and fun as a theme restaurant.

Speaking of themes, Foundation is one of this country's better tiki bars. If that's your thing, don't miss it.

Most people will take a selfie with the Bronze Fonz while in town and should you be so inclined, it's also a great excuse to get to the river. A river boat cruise normally will show you the city and take you for a bit on the lake. Good times.

I personally also like the Milwaukee Public Museum - it's a natural history/history museum, but I like dead stuffed animals and "streets of old Milwaukee" - an outdoors inside quaint downtown.

Corazon is in Riverwest - hipster Mexican, really great with good brunch too and it's right on a bike path.

Oh, and there are so many great bike paths. If you're up for it, rent a Bubblr (it's our rental bike system) and cruise through Lake Park along the water. Lake Park was designed by the designer of Central Park and, well, we have views of Lake Michigan to go with it.

Frozen custard is also a must while you're here, but I'm new enough to not have a favorite place and been here just long enough to know that everyone feels deeply and passionately that their favorite place is the best and everyone else is wrong. But seriously, get the custard.

The Historic Third Ward is where the small galleries and gift stores and fancier brew pubs are and there's good shopping to be had if that's your deal.

Apparently the fall is lovely here, so I don't think you'll regret the trip.
posted by Gucky at 9:39 AM on August 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

Maxie's for Southern food. Jing's for Chinese food, Hue for Vietnamese, Izumi for sushi. Cafe Corazon is good but El Senorial is where actual Mexicans go for dinner. La Merenda for tapas. I don't do BBQ but Speed Queen seems to be the most popular. Normally I would suggest Le Reve for French food, but it's terrible to drive there due to construction. Vegan: Beerline Cafe or Beans and Barley

Brunch: Honeypie, Comet, Story Hill BKC. Prepare for a long wait.

Coffee: Colectivo (various locations, but I like the lakefront or Bay View), Fuel Cafe in Riverwest or Sven's in Bay View.

The previously-mentioned Foundation for tiki drinks, Bryant's Cocktail Lounge for fancy cocktails, Von Trier for beer, Riverwest Public House if you're a pinko commie (said with love), Kruz if you're a gay man, Walker's Pint if you're a lesbian. I have no idea where straight people dance, but it's going to be dead on Sunday night anyway.
posted by AFABulous at 12:56 PM on August 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if it's still open, but At Random in Bayview is the coolest and weirdest place to get a drink in Milwaukee.

Atwater Beach in Shorewood is a very pretty spot.
posted by Fister Roboto at 4:03 PM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mader's is among the best German food I've ever eaten, and the ambience is fantastic.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:47 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

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