8 Ways to Entertain Out-of-Towners in Milwaukee This Summer

Impress visiting friends and family with the best that the Cream City has to offer. Here’s a cheat-sheet compiled with the help of a few local experts.

 1:  Bike around the Menomonee Valley, from Miller Park to the Harley-Davidson Museum. With the old railway right of way, now the Hank Aaron State Trail, the Potawatomi casino, representing the Valley’s earliest residents, “The Valley talks about our past, our present and our future,” says Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development. Meanwhile, the new Three Bridges State Park “speaks to the renaissance” of the city and the greening of our Valley. Grab some Bublrs and get going!

 2:  Get an up-close-and-personal experience with the waterways by renting a kayak from Milwaukee Kayak Co., 318 S. Water St.

 3:  As long as we’re on the subject of water, take your guests on a sail on the Denis Sullivan, the replica of a 19th century Great Lakes schooner. Built by nearly a thousand volunteers in the 1990s as the flagship both of Wisconsin and of the United Nations Environment Program, the ship’s purpose is to educate the public on the precious resources of the Great Lakes. The sunset cruises are particularly spectacular, not to mention relaxing, and include two drinks.

Choose from a variety of different types of adventures. Non-member prices start at $45/adults ($40/children) for a two-hour cruise.

 4:  Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Milwaukee Public Market for some shopping. “People go nuts over that,” says Jesse Klumb of the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel.

 5:  Explore the City Built on Water’s relationship with its main liquid thoroughfare with a visit to the RiverWalk. Along the way, stop to watch the different types of drawbridges in action.

 6:  There are plenty of restaurant options in Milwaukee, but if you’re trying to impress guests during the warm-weather months, then dining must be al fresco, and preferably with a view. For the upscale set, pay a visit to the patio of Harbor House restaurant, with sparkling Lake Michigan as a backdrop. For something a bit more funky, head down to Barnacle Bud’s. Perched along the Kinnickinnic River, this little restaurant/bar looks like something you’d find in the Florida Keys, complete with a boardwalk that surrounds it. Grab a beer and watch the boats dock.

 7:  Another visitor-pleaser is the Downtown Trolley, which makes a loop of Downtown and the Third Ward and is a way to get a quick take on the city’s history. Drivers are fonts of local information, and at just $1, it’s the best deal in town.

 8:  Make that the second best deal in town. First place goes to the free, one-hour tours of Miller Brewing Co., which include beer samples at the end. After all, no trip to Milwaukee is complete without an homage to the refreshment that made this city famous, is it?

See all 14 Weekends of Summer Fun

14 Weekends of Summer Fun: Milwaukee

‘Entertain Out-of-Towners’ appears in the June 2017 (City Guide) issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning May 29, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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Tom Tolan is managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine, where he's worked since January 2016. He spent 24 years at The Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a copy editor, assistant metro editor and reporter. He lives in Shorewood.