A Stay-Up-All-Night Milwaukee Itinerary

Make the most of the waning summer by seeing the night all the way through until dawn. While you’re waiting for the sunrise, we’ve got plenty of ideas to keep you busy.

8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

On Aug. 25th, Milwaukee Astronomical Society’s public viewing at its New Berlin observatory starts with a presentation in the Quonset Hut, followed by peeks through the telescopes. “You’ll see a fingernail moon – not quite a half moon,” says the society’s Paul Borchardt, plus Jupiter and Saturn. BYO bug repellant!

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Astronomical Society
Photo by Moriah Bame
10:45 p.m. to 11:55 p.m.

Cruise into Jazz Estate – cocktail king John Dye’s authentic dip back into the 1920s – to hear the second set. Kick back with a refreshing “Heart Leaf” (banana, walnut and pineapple with mezcal).

Midnight to 2 a.m.

It’s Cosmic Bowling (with disco and laser lights) at Landmark Lanes – two blocks from Jazz Estate – until 1 a.m. Check out live music (also until 1 a.m.) before tapping into your inner teen with foosball in the old-school arcade. The bar stays open until 2 a.m.

2:15 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Dine on eggs and bacon at Ma Fischer’s, an East Side staple since the late ’40s, before cruising down to the beach, via Lincoln Memorial Drive, for the sunrise.

4:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Lake Michigan’s shoreline – at Bradford Beach or McKinley Marina – on Milwaukee’s East Side is the perfect spot to take in the sunrise, which will happen shortly after 6 a.m. Arrive early, as the beauty “starts an hour and a half before the sunrise,” says Christopher Stockdale, associate professor of physics at Marquette University. That’s thanks to three gradated stages of twilight – civil, nautical and astronomical – before sunrise. Hope for overnight showers, because “rain usually washes the sky out,” Stockdale says. “If there’s dust in the air, it will mute the colors.”


5 More Things to Do in the Middle of the Night

1  Stand outside of Troubadour Bakery (inside the Bay View Colectivo Coffee) to smell the bread rising, starting around 2 a.m.

2  Work out at a 24-hour gym, such as Planet Fitness’ location Downtown, on Wisconsin Avenue. (Day passes available)

3  Sip a latte at Mitchell International Airport’s Starbucks, the area’s only 24-hour location.

4  Play a game of Texas Hold ’em, seven-card stud or Omaha at the 24-hour Poker Room inside Potawatomi Bingo & Casino.

5  Dine on pizza at Ian’s Pizza by the Slice – both the East Side and Downtown locations are open until 3 a.m.


See all 14 Weekends of Summer Fun

14 Weekends of Summer Fun: Milwaukee


‘Stay Up All Night’ 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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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.