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These are some of the best ways to kill some free time in the Milwaukee suburbs.

Fun Stuff

Photo by Moriah Bame

Just Kiln’ Time

Menomonee Falls
This ain’t your basic pottery studio. In fact, it’s hard to classify Just Kiln’ Time as anything other than an all-around DIY art haven. Here you can paint, sculpt, “slump” glass bottles, fuse glass pieces together and a whole lot more, even without an appointment. You can, of course, make an appointment with your friends and turn that creative energy into a full-blown party.


 

The Little Read Book

The Little Read Book

Wauwatosa
Wauwatosa bookworms are passionate about this State Street bookstore that’s been around for over 30 years. It’s easy to see why. Owner Linda Burg and her booksellers bring knowledge and advice, and have been doling it out to multiple generations of readers.


Marcus Majestic Cinema of Brookfield

Brookfield
This Marcus Corp.-owned movie house packs in a lot more than cinema, and we appreciate that they keeps a lot of the local love. Here you can dine on Zaffiro’s pizza, perk up with Stone Creek Coffee brews, and sate your sweet tooth with ice cream from the Chocolate Shoppe. Oh, and, the $5 Tuesday night ticket deal doesn’t hurt either.


Erin Hills

Town of Erin
At 11 years young, Erin Hills is just a pup among its mature golf-course brothers and sisters. But the kid has grown up fast, and in mid-June will become Wisconsin’s first-ever course to host the U.S. Open. Prepare for an onslaught of plaid pants, Titleist hats and unapologetic talk about Big Bertha (she’s a club used to drive the ball) as golf’s big swingers and fan armies descend.

The course sits 45 minutes’ drive from Downtown Milwaukee, close to Holy Hill, but when you get there you’ll swear you took a wrong turn into Ireland. It’s lush, with manicured green fairways framed by golden patches of meadow and rounded stretches of beach, er, sand traps.

US Open Facts

When: Pros will play Erin Hills every day from June 12-18. The first three days are just practice. The last four count.

Where: Erin Hills, 7169 County Road O, Erin

Tickets: $50-$60 for practice rounds; $110-$125 for Open rounds. usopen.com

Can I play it? Yes. Erin Hills is a public course. Tee times are being taken after the Open, starting July 1. Call 866-772-4769.

Swag: Oh yeah. Visit the U.S. Open Merchandise Tent June 8-11 for your chance at half a million tees, balls, bags and spikes, all bearing the U.S. Open logo. Father’s Day shopping, done. Browse the selection at usgashop.com


Golf Around the ‘Burbs

108 holes of options beyond the bounds of the city

Course
Number of Holes
Cost (Weekend)
Driving Range
Duffer Friendly?
Built In
Notably...
Greenfield Park
12035 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis
18
$30
No
Yes (2015 renovations included larger, easier-to-hit greens)
1923
Renovations in 2015 cost $3.1 million and removed a signature feature, the 15th hole periscope.
Currie Park
3535 N. Mayfair Rd., Wauwatosa
18
$30
No (indoor range is under renovation)
Yes
1927
On the site of Milwaukee's first airport, opened in 1919
Mee-Kwon Park
6333 W. Bonniwell Rd., Mequon
18
$39
Yes
Yes
1971
At 7,074 yards, it's Milwaukee County's longest course.
Oakwood
3600 W. Oakwood Rd., Franklin
18
$50
No
Yes
1972
Once a fox and mink farm, the course still holds storage sheds that were originally used to construct pens for the animals
Silver Spring Falls Course
N56 W21318 Silver Spring Dr., Menomonee Falls
18
$39.50
No
-ish
1986
Hole No. 8 is on an island, the only naturally occurring island green in Wisconsin
Silver Spring Island Course
N56 W21318 Silver Spring Dr., Menomonee Falls
18
$29.50
Yes
Yes
1995
The shorter, more user-friendly sibling to the island course on the same site


Festivals

West Allis A La Carte

Once a year (June 4), six blocks of Greenfi eld Avenue’s quaintest strip shut down for West Allis’ biggest bash (outside of State Fair). It’s where you’ll find tons of beer (craft and otherwise), live music, a special vendor section for your furry friends, and entertainment, from Irish dancers jigging to gymnasts twirling.


Strawberry Festival

Cedarburg
The 32nd festival (June 24-25), a “berry” beloved Cedarburgian tradition, is probably the only event in the area where you’ll find a strawberry brat and a strawberry pancake breakfast at the same venue as goblets of local beer and copious local art. Proof that sometimes unlikely pairings can bear fruitful results.


BluesFest

Waukesha
This ode to the blues has featured some impressive acts (like Son Little in 2016) that offer modern interpretations of the genre, along with performers with expertise in the soul-searing classics. Aug. 11-12


Oktoberfest

Waukesha
How can you reinvent the Oktoberfest wheel? Head to Waukesha. From Sept. 22-23, you won’t take in the usual beer, brats and Gemütlichkeit. No, the ‘Sha has cranked it up to 11 so that you can experience a “Wurst Beer Biathlon,” kid-friendly hammerschlagen, and brats cooked by Waukesha’s mayor, Shawn Riley.


Parks

Photo by Valo Photography

Boerner Botanical Gardens

Hales Corners
Don’t have a Green thumb but wish you did? Live vicariously amid these sprawling acres, where paths weave in and outof lush flowers and trees. Where else are you going to see a fragrant Solomon’s seal or a Diabolo ninebark?


Lapham Peak

Delafield
Seventeen miles of trails make this state park one of the best natural locales in this part of the state. But you’ve likely already considered this while standing atop the tower, gazing across miles and miles of glacier-shaped Wisconsin.


Retzer Nature Center

Waukesha
Seventeen miles of trails make this state park one of the best natural loca

A reader favorite, these 335 acres of land and scenic walking trails originally belonged to John and Florence Retzer and served as the couple’s retirement home roughly 80 years ago. They now belong to Waukesha County and serve the public as a spot for walking, stargazing (in the ultra sweet planetarium) and taking in the flora and fauna, some of which came from the pre-World War II Wisconsin Conservation Department.


Holy Hill

Hubertus
Whether the hillside complex’s religious significance means anything to you, it’s hard to argue with its chapels’ milieu of peace and clarity. In the largest of them, look for the rack of crutches reportedly cast aside by pilgrims who were healed. And be sure to hike its grounds in fall, where the landscape is carpeted in leaves.


St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy

Delafield
The motto at this Episcopalian boarding school for boys in Delafield is “Work hard, play hard, pray hard,” and it must be working, because several St. John’s graduates have gone on to play in the NFL or achieve fame in Hollywood (Spencer Tracy) or diplomacy (Cold War architect George Kennan). An added bonus: The 250-or-so middle and high school-aged boys enrolled at the school can use its nine-hole golf course.


Historic Downtown Greendale

The heart of this “Greenbelt” town, one of three constructed during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, is a strip reminiscent of small-town New England. At one end is a high-tech statue of Norman Rockwell, whose electronic canvas changes to match whatever direction he’s turned in.


The Stahl-Conrad Homestead

Hales Corners
A small farmhouse on the western side of West Forest Home Avenue, the Stahl-Conrad Homestead in Hales Corners, built during the 1870s, is a relic of what life used to be like in the southern ’burbs. The Hales Corners Historical Society occasionally holds educational events at the two-story brick building.

Photo by Moriah Bame


Hindu Temple of Wisconsin

Pewaukee
This elegant cluster of white buildings serves as a hub for the local Hindu community and also offers free yoga classes and, occasionally, a course in mindfulness meditation.


Main Street in Pewaukee

Where Main Street turns into Wisconsin Avenue in cozy Pewaukee and brushes against the long lake of the same name is one of the cheeriest parts of Southeastern Wisconsin, with pastel-hued storefronts and a wide variety of sweets and more savory eats (try Artisan 179). Breathe the air. That’s the taste of relaxation and satisfaction you’re sensing.


We Salute …

Photo by Max Thomsen

Photo by Max Thomsen

Wildlife in Need Center

Oconomowoc
For injured wildlife of nearly all species, the donation-funded Wildlife in Need Center near Oconomowoc is like falling into the arms of angels. The center admits about 3,000 animals a year, all delivered by local residents (it is not otherwise open to the public) and attempts to nurse them back to health. So if you encounter a critter with a bum beak, crooked wing or out-of-whack cornea, you know where to go get ’em back in the wild where they belong.

 

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