3 Nights in Milwaukee

Miller Park

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.

Menomonee River in Milwaukee


Third Ward

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.

Third Ward, Miluwakee

 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.
Milwaukee Public Market


Milwaukee Public Market

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.
Harley Davidson 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.
Milwaukee Art Museum
Downtown Milwaukee

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.


Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Downtown Miluwakee


  •  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
Pin it for Later

Pin it for Later

Have you ever visited a place that completely surprised you? Have you been to Milwaukee? 

28 thoughts on “3 Nights in Milwaukee

  1. Wow, those old historic buildings are so gorgeous! It looks like there’s tons of great stuff to do in Milwaukee, and it looks totally different from the image I had of it. I never would have guessed it had a similar vibe to Portland! To me, they seem like two polar opposites. Good post!

    1. Oh, it totally had a Portland vibe! The brewery/beer culture, farm-to-table restaurants, farmers markets, etc. Milwaukee had prettier historic buildings I think though, with all the brick work.

  2. Excellent and informative post! I didn’t know much about Milwaukee apart from what I have seen on a few sitcoms that were set there back in the 80s and 90s (I think) but now I know that it’s a place I should add to my US road trip one day. There certainly seems to be plenty to see and I am a sucker for a waterfront.

    1. We didn’t know much about Milwaukee before we went, as it doesn’t seem to be on many peoples “must see” list. It was really close to Chicago though and a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

  3. This sounds such fun. I would especially love to catch a baseball game! I have a friend from Madison, so if we ever get over there, we could combine the two, as you suggest.

  4. I have been close to but not actually to Milwaukee. It is a place I should definitely visit. Per your tip, I would definitely stay downtown and walk around. That is the best way to see cities.

  5. Sometimes these off-the-beaten path cities are some of the most interesting. I’ve never been to Milwaukee but this has me considering it. Looks like a cool city!

  6. Because the states are 3 hours away, I am leaving all of them for last. When I’m going to be a pensioner, and don’t have the job to fly clear across the globe, I will do a road-trip in a rented RV, yep, that’s the plan – beautiful city.

  7. In Europe, when we think of the States, we usually think of the obvious: NY, San Francisco, LA, … but this proves that there are so many other places to discover. Love the market!

    1. We have never been to NYC, but we prefer smaller cities rather than then big ones such as LA, Seattle, San Fran, etc. The big ones are nice to visit for short, but there is so much more than to see 🙂

  8. Sometimes its the non-obvious places that turn out to be great places to visit and not just a simple stop-over. I’d love to live in a country so huge I need no excuse to stop someone new on my travels, alas England doesn’t really warrant it. But next time I’m in the States it’ll make me think. Thanks for being so informative.

    1. I LOVE exploring new countries, but I find exploring my own country to be just as exciting! It is so massive and diverse that there are always new places to see.

  9. When people ask why about visiting a place, I think that’s just silly. I firmly believe that you can find something fun to do/see in ANY city, as long as you have a good disposition about it all. 🙂

    1. Totally agree! The only places I don’t want to travel are the ones I don’t know about yet 😉 I think that you can find something unique and interesting any where you’re at.

  10. Milwaukee had never been on my travel radar until fairly recently. My partner is in love with Harley Davidson (so much he went out and bought one!) and we attended the biggest European HD Bike rally last year in Rome when we learnt that this is where they are actually manufactured. So if we ever make it to Milwaukee you’ll find him at the HD Museum and me gaining weight at that cheese aisle in the market 🙂

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