Guided tastings with Central Standard allow guests to taste craft spirits right in front of the still where they’re made.
Where: 613 S. Second St.
Tickets: from $8
Sample and learn about Great Lakes’ award-winning spirits in Wisconsin’s first distillery since Prohibition. Including a free cocktail in the tasting room and a flight of six different products to try, tours run Sunday through Thursday every two hours from 1-5 p.m., Fridays at 1, 3, 5 and 6 p.m. and Saturday on the hour from 1-5 p.m. Great Lakes Distillery is Travel Green Wisconsin-certified.
Where: 616 W. Virginia St.
Learn the basics of making cheese and get an answer to the question every Wisconsinite has been asking: what makes a cheese curd squeaky? Tours take place in the factory’s observation room every half hour from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Book a tour online or by calling 414-273-9711.
Where: 138 W. Bruce St.
Watch real people “channel their pride and expertise into machines that capture the imagination” by getting up close with assembly lines at the Pilgrim Road location. The factory offers its “Steel Toe Tour” at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday through Friday and the Original Factory Tour at regular intervals between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Where: W156 N9000 Pilgrim Rd., Menomonee Falls
Thirty minutes south of Milwaukee, the Jelly Belly Express Train runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, taking visitor center guests on a ride throughout the warehouse. Guests learn about the process of producing a gourmet jelly bean on this 25-30 minute tour.
Where: 10100 Jelly Belly Ln., Pleasant Prairie
Home to the “first frozen pizza with a crust that rises while it bakes,” Palermo’s offers a bird’s eye view of their pizza production floor along with some samples included in tour packages. From the “Bambino” package, for ages two to four, to the “Hungry” package, for ages five and up, guests can take home a variety of souvenirs and try Palermo’s hand-stretched pizza.
Where: 3301 W. Canal St.
Milwaukee Food and Drink Tours
This three-hour bus tour highlights Milwaukee’s variety of pizzerias – from old-school joints to newer, upscale establishments, the sample portions make for a filling tour.
Guests make their way around the Third Ward and Walker’s Point areas, choosing from over 25 bars with drink specials – by 16-person bike. Guests must be 5’3” or taller to pedal, but there are seats without pedals for those with less in the height department. Tours given daily between the hours of 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Where: 800 S. Second St.
Visit some of the bars that have quenched Milwaukeeans’ thirst since 1847 over the course of a three-hour bus tour.
Departing from Walker’s Point, this three-hour bus-driven tour takes guests to three different restaurants to enjoy Latin food as well as a half-sized margarita or tequila-infused drink at each stop. Although the food portions are substantial, churros are served at the last stop, a local Hispanic bakery, for dessert.
What’s brunch without a few bloodys? This tour reveals the origins behind the Third Ward’s reputation as the “Bloody Third Ward” and the history of Milwaukee’s relationship with the bloody Mary. Tours are offered 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.
This tour showcases many of Milwaukee’s ethnic and holiday traditions, bringing guests to bakeries throughout the area to sample various holiday cookies, candies and pastries. Christmas attire is not required, but encouraged.
Experience Milwaukee’s holiday traditions and treats with this combination of history and holiday spirit. Caroling on the bus from stop to stop and Christmas attire encouraged. Tours given Fridays and Saturdays throughout December.
A variation of Historic Milwaukee’s German Heritage Tour, this tour takes guests around Old World Third St. to stop in various buildings and shops for holiday goodies while tour guide Bob Giese explains German Christmas traditions. The last stop along the way is the Old German Beer Hall for assorted meats and cheese and giant pretzels, to celebrate German heritage in Milwaukee. Offered one time only at 4 p.m. Dec. 16.
Where: 225 E. Michigan St.
Tickets: $30 for non-members and $25 for members
This tour, starting at the Mackie Building, explores Milwaukee’s historic downtown architecture, including the Wells Building, Federal Courthouse, Pfister Hotel and Milwaukee Art Museum. Tour offered one time only at 10 a.m. Nov. 25.
Where: 225 E. Michigan St.
Tickets: $20 for non-members and $10 for members
Take Shaker’s Original Ghost Tour, Shaker’s 2.0 or the Cream City Cannibal tour at “Milwaukee’s Haunted Bar. The bar even offers overnight stays in its haunted penthouse. Original tours given Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Where: 422 S. Second St.
History and Architecture Tours
This Milwaukee historical landmark is decked out every year for A Grand Avenue Christmas. The public can tour three floors of the mansion and experience the holiday magnificence. Doors open for self-guided tours only from Nov. 17-Jan. 7, 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 3:15 p.m. Sundays.
Where: 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave.
See a variety of downtown landmarks from the comfort of Milwaukee’s indoor skywalk system. Starts at the Plankinton Arcade in the Grand Avenue Mall and takes about one and a half hours. Given Saturdays at 1 p.m.
Where: 161 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Tickets: $10 for non-members and free for Historic Milwaukee members
1901, St. Josaphat Basilica became a beacon of Polish heritage in Milwaukee. In 1929 it was named the third basilica in the United States. Come see the iconic dome in a self-guided tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or take a formal tour at 11 a.m. Sundays.
Where: 2333 S. Sixth St.
Tickets: contact for more info
Since 1898, this spacious limestone building has served as a hub for the Milwaukee Public Library system. See inside this block-long landmark for free Saturdays at 11 a.m.
Where: 814 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Observe the Grand Dome and Foyer, Humphrey Hall Ballroom and the Melham Parlor in a guided tour of the Tripoli Shrine Center. Dates, times and tickets are available online or call 414-933-4700.
Where: 3000 W. Wisconsin Ave.
This Beer History Tour re-tells the story of the Best and Pabst families and the Pabst brands. Kicking off with a Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz or Sprecher Root Beer in Blue Ribbon Hall and rounding out at the original Guest Center, this tour celebrates the interwoven history of Pabst and Milwaukee. Tours are given year-round every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1 and 3 p.m.; Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.
Where: 901 W. Juneau Ave.
Lakefront Brewery offers several variations of their tour, including tours in Spanish, Saturday “mini” tours, and “technical tours” aimed for home-brewers and others interested in the process of making and pairing beers, including the equipment used. Guides lead guests through the entire brewery on weekend tours (Friday through Sunday), when production is usually not underway. Tours given every day of the week. Lakefront Brewery is Travel Green Wisconsin-certified.
Where: 1872 N. Commerce St.
Tickets: vary by tour and date
Here, guides lead guests through the 155-plus years since Frederick Miller’s arrival in Milwaukee. The free, one-hour tour focuses on the evolution of brewing technology and the Miller Brewing Company itself. Tours run every thirty minutes from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays seasonally. Miller Brewery Tours are Travel Green Wisconsin-certified.
Where: 4251 W. State St.
The Milwaukee Brewing Company hasn’t been around as long as Pabst or Sprecher – it produced its first beer in October 1997 – but it does offer a glimpse into the world of crafting and creating beers with local ingredients. Samples are available at check-in and the tour is given “beer-in-hand” every thirty minutes 4- 6:30 p.m. Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and 2-3:30 p.m. Sundays. Half of all available slots are reserved to reinforce the brewery’s belief that “a spontaneous brewery tour in your day aligns your attitude with the bold creative passion of craft brewing.”
Where: 613 S. Second St.
See how Sprecher brings Old World brewing traditions to modern-day beer production on this tour of the Sprecher Brewery and beer garden, including four beer samples and a take-home beer tasting glass. Tours given Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday on the hour from noon-3 p.m.
Where: 701 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale