When we announced that we were going to spend 3 nights in Milwaukee, Wisconsin we were frequently met with the same questions; Why? Honestly, the main reason was because it was the only obvious location between Chicago and Green Bay, Wisconsin. Chicago was my choice and as an avid Packers fan, Green Bay was a must for Jake.
Strangely, we both immediately felt at home in Milwaukee. Perhaps it was because the hipster/beer-loving vibe of the city reminded us of home (Portland, Oregon is 45 minutes from where we live). Or maybe it was because Wisconsinites are the friendliest people we have met. Milwaukee is a large city with 600,000 people but it is so spread out that it feels smaller and less crowded. And despite the road construction going on everywhere, we found Milwaukee to be the easiest city to navigate in our rental Jeep.
Park East Hotel. For less than $100/night we got to experience downtown Milwaukee and had a great view of Lake Michigan. It was great value for your money considering it came with cheap parking, a continental breakfast and ideal location.
We had a nice Sunday afternoon exploring the Third Ward, which is the arts and fashion district in Downtown Milwaukee. We didn’t have much room in our backpacks (or money) so we primarily did window shopping. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from, unfortunately though I can’t recommend one because we were disappointed with the one we chose after our order was messed up twice.
Milwaukee Public Market
I loved the Milwaukee Public Market! It is located in the same area as the Third Ward, so find a place to park and just explore. This market is like a miniature version of Pikes Place Market in Seattle, which we both love. There are many booths selling Wisconsin cheeses, meats, fresh produce, etc. We didn’t spend a lot of time here because of 2 festivals going on in Milwaukee that weekend it was rather crowded. On that note, know that Milwaukee is also known as the City of Festivals. If you are visiting, especially in summer, be on the lookout for cool festivals to see. We missed one of their biggest festivals, Summer Fest, by a couple weeks unfortunately.
Harley Davidson Museum
I will write more another time at the phenomenal Harley Davidson Museum. I am not a fan of motorcycles but my husband is, so I went on along with him. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this place! If you are a history fan like me, you will love exploring this museum.
The Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum was closed on the only day we could have visited it, so we never made it inside. But we heard great things about it from the locals, and the location of it was incredible as it was overlooking Lake Michigan.
We found Milwaukee to be a walkable city, and a pretty one at that. There was an abundance of old brick buildings and beautiful churches that created a really cozy Midwestern feel. There is a plethora of bars and restaurants to choose from. We stumbled across a couple of nice parks as well, including the one near the Milwaukee Art Museum right by Lake Michigan.
IF YOU GO
- Stay Downtown. There is no point staying anywhere else.
- Check out Colectivo Coffee. They gave us our caffeine fix at least once a day, and they come recommended whole heartedly from these Washingtonians!
- Make time to see the Harley Davidson Museum if you love motorcycles or history
- Check out the breweries on Lakefront. Don’t be fools like us and miss out! (Miller Brewery is also in here)
- If you have time, catch a baseball game at Miller Park
- Check out the Third Ward and Milwaukee Public Market
- You probably only need 2 full days to get a good sense of Milwaukee. Consider checking out the capital city Madison as well.
- Milwaukee loves their festivals, so plan your stay around one of them!
- If you have an extra day (as we spent our 3rd day) head on over to the capital city of Madison