WELCOME TO WISCONSIN! If you clicked on this article, you’re probably new here. You went to Whistling Straits for the Ryder Cup, and now you’re looking to see what else this state has to offer. Well, take it from the magazine that has the city’s name on the cover – Milwaukee has a lot for you to enjoy. Here are the must-sees:
100 E. WELLS ST.
Let’s start with a bang. Milwaukee, if you didn’t know, has a life-size bronze statue of Henry Winkler as his classic “Happy Days” character, Fonzie. It’s strange, a little kitsch, and also the best thing ever. It’s a popular selfie destination, plus its right in the heart of Downtown, so you’re a short walk from plenty of restaurants, museums and other attractions.
If you’re at the Bronze Fonz, you’re right on top of this next attraction. The RiverWalk winds through three of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods – the Third Ward, Downtown and Beerline B, alongside the Milwaukee River. The 3.7-mile walk passes shops, galleries and restaurants, and you’ll get a good feel for the historic and revitalized neighborhoods.
700 N. ART MUSEUM DR.
This winged wonder is arguably the coolest building in the city. Built in 1997 and designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the lakeside museum is a work of art in itself, and inside you can easily spend an afternoon wandering the galleries. But currently, it’s only open Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m (8 p.m. on Thursday).
524 S. LAYTON BLVD.
Another one of the city’s architectural high points, the Mitchell Park Domes are three conoidal glass domes protecting gardens. There’s the Show dome, the Tropical Dome and the Jungle Dome, each one maintaining the climate of the plants it houses. They are open to visitors every week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
1 BREWERS WAY
For a long time we couldn’t say this, but – knock on wood – the Brewers are pretty good this season. They’re playing the Cardinals this whole week, the Mets this weekend, and then the Cardinals again next week at the newly named American Family Field. It’s a great ballpark, and if you’re not all sported-out by the Ryder Cup, you should stop by. (Bonus: on Sunday, Sept 26, the Brew Crew is giving away talking Bob Uecker Bobbleheads, which is the perfect souvenir of a Milwaukee trip).
3536 W. FOND DU LAC AVE.
This hall in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood, which was built in 2016, is home to 27 small businesses. There’s Lush Popcorn, offering delicious handcrafted popcorn (there are also liquor-infused options, FYI), plus delicious treats at Purple Door Ice Cream, and more savory options at Sauce and Spice Pizza and Buffalo Boss, home to organic buffalo wings. There’s also a lineup of shops and boutiques in the space as well.
1872 N. COMMERCE ST.
Lakefront is one of Milwaukee’s best breweries. They have a wide lineup of quality brews (Riverwest Stein is a local favorite), plus the brewery is right on the Milwaukee River. Lakefront offers daily tours of the facilities, which come with free beers you can enjoy in the spacious tap room. We also highly recommend the brewery tour.
2230 N. FARWELL AVE.
This East Side theatre opened in 1927 and its ornate interior is fascinatingly unique. There’s even a pipe organ. Plus, the theatre just spent over a million dollars on a restoration that added new seats, lighting, a better sound system and more. It was impressive to begin with, but now it’s even better.
400 W. CANAL ST.
Milwaukee is the birthplace of the original gangster of motorcycles. Stop by the Harley-Davidson Museum to see how the iconic brand got its start. This week, you can check out two special exhibits – “Off-Road Harley-Davidson” and Building a Milwaukee Icon.” “Off-Road” explores the motorcycle company’s century-long history of gritty bikes that take on wild terrain, and “Building a Milwaukee Icon” explores a newly discovered trove of plans for the company’s original Juneau Avenue factory. That’s not to mention all the permanent exhibits like “The Harley-Davidson Journey,” which takes you through the company’s history, the “Build-a-Bike” interactive station, the motorcycle galleries, and the experience gallery, which lets you sit on and touch different bikes.
400 N. WATER ST.
Our city has many phenomenal dining options that this magazine has covered extensively. Check out the best burgers, pizza, brunch spots, food trucks and more. But if you’re looking for one stop with plenty of options (plus Milwaukee souvenirs and T-shirts), head to the Public Market, where multiple local vendors sell their wares at the border of the Third Ward and Downtown. Try a unique square donut at Sugar Cube Donuts or a popsicle at Milwaukee favorite, Pete’s Pops, which has a temporary pop-up at the Market right now. And not to be too stereotypical, but if you’re looking for some Wisconsin cheese, there’s no better stop than the West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shoppe.
11. Deer District
1111 VEL R. PHILLIPS AVE.
It may be the offseason for a championship-winning Bucks, but the new Deer District is still awesome. The neighborhood surrounding Fiserv Forum is packed with places to eat and drink. There’s public art and murals all over the place, and the Forum itself is quite the sight.
12. Go to the Beach
Lake Michigan is one of Milwaukee’s greatest assets, and the city has plenty of beaches where you can enjoy it. Bradford Beach is one of the biggest and is often crowded. It has the best outdoor volleyball setups in town, plus space to lounge. South Shore Beach is in the trendy Bay View neighborhood south of Downtown. From here, you can get a great look at the city skyline, plus afterward you can explore Bay View’s hipster collection of quirky shops. And Grant Park Beach is the spt to choose for top-notch views, plus miles of woodland trails if you head inland.