Where to Eat
1. Cloud Red
4488 N. OAKLAND AVE., SHOREWOOD
Standard bar fare is not how this 6-year-old rolls. Cloud Red is cloud nine for fresh, from-scratch food, some of which leans veg-heavy and healthyish, while some goes full-on comfort. Diners – who place their orders at the buzzing bar – hit the jackpot with plates ranging from pulled pork nachos to the Indian potato-cucumber bhel bowl. And the weekly specials, including seasonal soups and flatbreads, are often outstanding.
W61 N480 WASHINGTON AVE., CEDARBURG
Named after a type of heirloom tomato, this chef-owned enterprise is particularly deft with its handmade pastas, but you really can’t go wrong with a seasonal small or large plate, especially if it’s beef carpaccio or seared fresh fish. The restored 1862 storefront oozes with historic Cedarburg charm, while the plates have big-city panache.
3. Crave Cafe
3592 N. OAKLAND AVE., SHOREWOOD
This little counter-service eatery is mostly focused on burgers – and what burgers they are. Weighing in at a respectable one-third pound, the patty is perhaps at its best slathered in Korean BBQ glaze, American cheese, spicy mayo, kimchi and cabbage slaw. But then there’s the Crave burger, which slays with its toppings of melted Swiss cheese, caramelized onion, arugula and white truffle aioli. The crispy seasoned fries are excellent, too.
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105 W. FREISTADT RD., THIENSVILLE
The owners of (currently shuttered) Nepalese restaurant The Cheel opened this terrific homage to the tortilla in late 2020. Whether you order a taco, burrito, bowl, etc., it’s the protein choices that give it gusto, particularly the lamb birria (stew) served with dipping consommé. They also offer five kinds of salsa – which makes eating chips and salsa a real treat – along with deliciously tart, fresh margaritas.
5. Café 1505
1505 W. MEQUON RD., MEQUON
Tucked inside the East Towne Square Mall, this longstanding breakfast-lunch spot offers great omelets, quiche and specialty pancakes, plus ace sandwiches and soup of the day. Don’t miss baked goods such as ooey gooey cinnamon rolls and sunshine buns.
W204 N8525 LANNON RD., MENOMONEE FALLS
Here’s a feel-good pilgrimage to make this summer: Head to Lannon Sunflower Farm for sunflowers you pick yourself. Simply strolling through the sea of towering Helianthuses is therapeutic. Customers can pick up to a dozen for $20, cash only, and must bring their own clippers and container. The season usually runs from late July/early August to early fall.
Where to Shop
8737 N. DEERWOOD DR., BROWN DEER
Sure, many supermarkets are putting more effort into their cheese sections, but there’s still no place quite like Larry’s. It’s not just that the artisan cheese counter in this intimate, friendly shop is stocked with wheels of small-batch dairy divinities from near and far, but everything is so meticulously labeled (with sampling encouraged!), you know it was created by someone whose love and knowledge of cheeses is at the expert level. And you’ll find everything else you need to create an outstanding charcuterie board that will please even the most discriminating gourmand.
EAST TOWNE SQUARE MALL, 1505 W. MEQUON RD., MEQUON
Faye’s has been around 31 years, but it is always current. The inventory is curated with a very discerning eye, meaning that every piece is on-trend. Plus, the sales team is so helpful, it’s like having your own private stylist.
400 E. BROWN DEER RD., BAYSIDE
Need a vacation? Wander the greenhouses at Bayside Garden Center, where the houseplant selection is unmatched. Whether you’re looking for familiar favorites or exotic species, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better array of greenery in the Milwaukee area. Plus, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable.
174 S. MAIN ST., THIENSVILLE
For pre-owned designer capital-L luxury apparel, Fifth-Main is the place. The prices are steep, but these are collectibles, not plain old used clothes! (Think Oscar De La Renta, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy.) The items are so beautiful that it’s worth a visit even if only to look and dream.
629 E. SILVER SPRING DR., WHITEFISH BAY
A big-box store may have a larger selection, but the whimsy and nostalgia of Winkie’s in downtown Whitefish Bay are enough to make a trip. Downstairs, parse the aisles of toys, games, sports equipment, school and art supplies for kids of all ages (gift-wrapping is always free). Upstairs at the Hallmark, you’ll find a large selection of greeting cards and keepsakes.
More Reasons to Go
RUNS FROM MILWAUKEE TO SHEBOYGAN
From 1907 to 1951, the Interurban Electric Railway route zipped from Milwaukee to Sheboygan. Now a portion of it is a blissful, car-free 30-mile paved bicycle trail whose pit stops include Inventors Brewpub in Port Washington, with its poutine, burgers and house-brewed beer.
1111 E. BROWN DEER RD., BAYSIDE
Hugging Lake Michigan’s shoreline in a residential neighborhood, this 185-acre park boasts 6 miles of hiking trails through wetlands, forests and prairies. Birders flock here – pun intended – with binoculars, on the hunt for the 238 species documented on the grounds since 1974.
2145 W. BROWN DEER RD., RIVER HILLS
If an outdoor art museum’s your utopia, lace up your hiking boots for a jaunt through this 40-acre garden – Peg and Harry Bradley’s former home – with 50 works by sculptors like Mark di Suvero and Alexander Archipenko. The first Sunday of each month (excluding winter) features guided tours.
16. The Hounds & Tap
W175 N5645 TECHNOLOGY DR., MENOMONEE FALLS
Pups and people roam freely at this indoor/outdoor dog park and tavern. It breeds community, pampering humans with bar service, TVs, wifi and food trucks and the pooches with pools, play equipment, fresh water and 5,500 square feet of open air. The business also offers daycare, boarding and grooming for dogs.
17. Mary Nohl House
7328 N. BEACH DR., FOX POINT
Making a pilgrimage to see the Mary Nohl house on Fox Point’s quiet Beach Road has long been a rite of passage for Milwaukee-area art aficionados. The reclusive, prolific artist created a striking world of art (some sculptures figural and life-sized) in her lakeside yard and home – a world of concrete and found objects so otherworldly that Nohl was dubbed “the Witch of Fox Point.” The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center continues to work to preserve the important site, but the property is not open to the public. A better way to view Nohl’s work is to pay a visit to Art Preserve of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan.
7040 N. SANTA MONICA BLVD., FOX POINT
Looking for a place to cool down on a hot summer day? Grab your folding chair and head to the Fox Point pool. There are lap lanes available for those wanting some exercise, and plenty of space to just relax and enjoy the water. For just $10, you get a whole day of chillaxation.
19. The Garcade
N85 W15920 APPLETON AVE., MENOMONEE FALLS
There’s no better way to burn a rainy afternoon with a couple of 10-year-olds than plunking down for the all-day, come-and-go access to Gar Nelson’s Menomonee Falls arcade. At your free-play disposal are more than 175 games, from Galaga to Dance Dance Revolution to an awesome array of ultramodern and super-vintage pinball tables. When you and the kids need a break, plenty of dining options are just a quick jaunt away before you stop back for a nightcap. Game on!
Academy Award-winning British actor (2015’s Bridge of Spies) Mark Rylance – then known as Mark Waters – attended University School of Milwaukee in River Hills during his father’s tenure as English teacher.
In 1944, the then-rural community of Germantown hosted Camp Rockfield, a two-year home for 500 German prisoners of war.
Beat of the Burbs
20. Three Cellars
The best beer selection out here.
Just try not to cry at this dog park’s Rainbow Bridge.
22. The Workroom
Fabric stars at this home decor shop.
Belly up to the bar for a snack board.
22. Ally’s Bistro
Those frosted cinnamon rolls – yow!
A short hike magically transports you to the Oregon coast.
24. The Creamy Pig
Homemade sausage and frozen custard, a holy alliance.
Snails and cassoulet, ooh la la.
26. Olson House
Scandi home decor goods you won’t find elsewhere.
A stunning view of Friess Lake, a big puddle left by a receding glacier.
28. Foxtown Brewing
Don’t miss the beer cave tour.
29. Kletzsch Park
Waterfall = natural photo opp.
It’s all about the steaks.
Rock the lobster roll.
Thin-crust pizzas distinguished by cheese applied under the sauce.
The wood-roasted pizza with garlic cream sauce is buono.
Salted. Caramel. Bonbons.