Milwaukee, Wisconsin — travel guide

Earlier this month, I was craving a long weekend away from work to disconnect. After researching cheap flights, I ended up in Milwaukee. A little random, but I’d heard it’s a fun city. After a long weekend there I can confirm that, yes, Milwaukee is awesome (when it’s not freezing). Add it to your travel list and keep this post in mind to help plan your trip!

Milwaukee and beer go hand-in-hand.
Known as Brew City, Milwaukee takes beer seriously. There are dozens of breweries to tour, ranging from classic Miller and college favorite Pabst Blue Ribbon, to craft Milwaukee Brewing CompanyLakefront Brewery and more. Milwaukee Brewing Company was my favorite spot to have a beer (I didn’t do a tour). The building is sleek and contemporary, there’s a full service restaurant with bar, and their beers are made with local ingredients. No matter where you go, check the calendar — there’s often live music and other social events!

What about cheese curds?
Ok, full disclosure — I’m lactose intolerant so cheese curds and the other dairy delights Milwaukee is known for don’t appeal to me. But, I still had phenomenal meals. My favorite was at Strange Town, a plant-based bistro with an ever-evolving menu, fascinating cocktails, and small-production and natural wines. Also delicious — and a short walk away — is Celesta, a vegan restaurant where we enjoyed phenomenal dessert. Bonus: both these restaurants are in a fun part of town. (I also ate at non-veggie restaurants, but these were the standouts.) Another must: Milwaukee Public Market, filled with vendors selling food, artisan products and other local goodies!

Vegan food Milwaukee

Fresh veggies & tofu in an amazing peanut sauce at Strange Town.

Vegan dessert Milwaukee

S’mores bar & salted chocolate tart at Celesta.

Soak up the sun while you can.
The city is buzzing when the weather is warm, so naturally, I took part in the fun. One morning, I rented a kayak from Milwaukee Kayak Company and paddled up the river to Lakefront Brewery for a beer break. On another day, I drove 20 minutes north to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and spent a couple hours walking trails and birdwatching. There’s also Oak Leaf Trail, a 125-mile multi-use trail that runs through downtown, and dozens of other nearby parks, lakes and activities to enjoy.

Milwaukee-river-kayak

Harley-Davidson
Of course, I have to mention Harley-Davidson, which calls Milwaukee home. You don’t need to be an motorcycle enthusiast to enjoy the Harley-Davidson Museum. It’s fun to see past, present and future bikes and learn about the company’s history. Expect to spend 1-3 hours here, depending on your level of interest.

A few more thoughts:

  • The city seems sustainably focused, with emphasis on local ingredients, supporting small businesses and farmers, and lots of bike lanes. Loved it!
  • Coffee is a “thing” here, with many local roasters. I particularly enjoyed Stone Creek’s cold brew. Interval serves coffee, cocktails and more in a beautiful space.
  • I didn’t visit the Milwaukee Art Museum, but the outdoor design of it is unique and at least worth a drive-by.
  • Summer is the season of festivals, so check before you go!
  • AirBnBs were seriously lacking, so I stayed at Hyatt Place downtown, a relatively new hotel across the street from Pabst and Milwaukee Brewing. It was clean, comfortable and convenient.
  • The roads downtown are weird — curving all over the place and sometimes don’t make sense. Pay attention!

Tell me in the comments:
Have you been to Milwaukee? What did you like about it? Which breweries did you visit? Any coffee standouts?

Pilcrow-coffee-cold-brew-milwaukee

Nitro cold brew from Interval.

 

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About Stephanie @ Seeking Stephanie Travel Blog

Travel gives me an extra skip in my step to push through the workweek. Exploring new places through outdoor spaces, food, animals and music are just a few of my favorite things.