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Experience winter in Milwaukee with a clarified and vibrant perspective – sans alcohol.

Let’s face it: the holiday season is a time of revelry and celebration, which often means copious alcohol consumption. Nasty hangovers, excess calories and an empty wallet are just a few of the ailments we’re often left with after a night (or many nights) of imbibing. While drinking is ingrained in Milwaukee’s culture, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the city without wearing the hazy, rose-colored glasses of booze.

Tour a cheese factory

Forget brewery tours. How many of your friends have toured a cheese factory? Clock Shadow Creamery offers Milwaukee’s only cheese factory tour, where you’ll learn about about cheese and its history while sampling fresh cheeses. Or take one of Milwaukee’s many other amazing tours.

Photo by Bo Willls

Catch a film at the Avalon Theater

The Avalon Theater‘s star-studded ceiling and charming atmosphere makes for the perfect locale to get lost in a film (old or new). Plus, with a unique menu that includes cheese curds, crab Rangoon and fried pork chops, who needs an adult beverage?

Bay View’s Avalon Theater. Photo by Erin Gosch

Enjoy afternoon tea at The Pfister Hotel

Sit down for tableside tea blending and silver service while you take in spectacular views of the city and the lake from The Pfister Hotel‘s elegant 23rd floor lounge. Fresh scones, pastries and sandwiches are included in the afternoon tea menu. 

Go sledding

How does spending zero dollars while having a blast in the fresh winter air sound? Grab your toboggan and head to one of the many sledding hills around the city. (Just don’t forget to wear extra layers while the temps are still bone-chilling!)

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Ice-skate at Red Arrow Park

If you haven’t yet skated Red Arrow Park’s Slice of Ice this winter, you’re missing out on a Milwaukee winter must-do. Bring your own skates and skate for free or rent a pair for $7 (kids) or $8 (adults). You can grab a coffee or hot cocoa at the Starbucks in the warming house. (And trust us: drinking and skating do not pair well.) Want something a little more extreme? Milwaukee has lots more outdoor winter activities to choose from.

Photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Treat yourself to a massage

After the stress of the holidays, almost nothing beats the relaxation of a massage. The luxurious WELL Spa + Salon at The Pfister offers deep-tissue, hot stone, reflexology massages and more. 

Visit The Domes

The Domes at Mitchell Park Conservatory are the perfect place to warm up during a chilly Milwaukee January. The Naughty or Nice Holiday Floral Show will be on display through Sunday, January 7. Every Saturday, the Domes Annex hosts the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market, where over 50 vendors sell farm-raised dairy, fruit, meat and veggies and fresh baked goods, cider, jams, soups and more. 

Photo by Paul John Higgins

Warm up with a bowl of soup

When it comes to comfort food, nothing warms the soul quite like a bowl of hot soup. Topping our 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards is The Soup Market (multiple locations), followed by Soup Bros. (212 W. Florida St.) and Benji’s Deli (4156 N. Oakland Ave.).

Check out a fascinating museum exhibition

Winter is the perfect time of year to explore the halls of Milwaukee’s many museums, and there are plenty of interesting exhibitions on display this January. Don’t miss Member Swap Day on Sunday, January 28, when members of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Charles Allis Art Museum, Grohmann Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Public Museum, Pabst Mansion or Villa Terrace Art Museum can get into the other six museums for free. 

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"Degas to Picasso"

Try a new fitness class

While it’s not uncommon for New Year resolution-ers to fall off the fitness train come February, you can avoid growing bored of a monotonous workout regime by trying out a new class. Whether you’re interested in circuit training, hot yoga or spinning, Milwaukee has it all.

Photo by Jen O’Hara

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