Milwaukee, WI Travel Guide

Goodmorning & ALMOST happy Friday!! I am back (after a long debacle with some WordPress issues) with my travel guide to Milwaukee! I grew up right outside of Milwaukee, so it really holds a special place in my heart and I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite things to do if you ever find yourself in the land of cheese!

Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and ranks #31 in the US. It’s located right along Lake Michigan, the largest lake in the US and the 2nd largest great lake.  One of my favorite things about Milwaukee is that it’s super easy to get to by train, car or even plane.  Living in Chicago, it’s about an hour and a half Amtrak ride back and forth, which makes it a great idea for a quick weekend away (from all the hustle and bustle of Chicago) or even a quick day trip.  I would have to say that Milwaukee comes in very underrated, as I always like to think of it as a “small Chicago.”  There have been so many new hotels & restaurants popping up all over (and even a new arena- where concerts and games are played.)

where to stay

HYATT PLACE MILWAUKEE/ DOWNTOWN: This is a new(ish) hotel located in the heart of Milwaukee’s business & entertainment district and walking distance to breweries and the new Fiserv Forum. The rooms are spacious, clean, & cozy… and they even have a complimentary breakfast every morning (which is actually really good!)  When we stayed here we got drinks at the hotel bar each night, where you can order some bites to go along with it.  I would definitely recommend staying here as it’s affordable, easy to get to, and convenient for exploring all areas of the city.

THE PFISTER HOTEL: This iconic hotel, built in 1893 just celebrated its 125th birthday! The Pfister Hotel continues to be a hotel icon and is centrally located in the 3rd Ward area of Milwaukee, making it super easy to shop all the cute boutiques and eat at the trendy restaurants.  Make sure to check out the gorgeous lobby ceiling mural & afternoon tea!

where to eat

FUEL CAFE: This eclectic coffee shop/restaurant is located in the Walker’s Point neighborhood and serves up a fun menu for lunch, dinner & even weekend brunch.  I have been to Fuel Cafe a few times, and always get their Avocado toast- it’s delicious!  If you’re into good coffee, they have a coffee bar at the front of the restaurant where you can take to go or hang out on a coffee date with friends.

PIZZA MAN: This is my husband and I’s favorite spot and we ALWAYS make sure to stop here for Pizza when in Milwaukee.  Living in Chicago, there are tons of amazing pizza restaurants (duh, Chicago is known for their deep dish!) but nothing compares to Pizza man, at least in our minds.  We always order this pizza that is topped with cream cheese and it’s SO creamy & delicious.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!! If you love pizza- make sure to try it next time… it’s so good, there are now 3 locations!

SWEET DINER: Sweet Diner is a modern “trendy” diner located in the 3rd ward neighborhood.  It’s a newer addition to Milwaukee and is always super busy.  I’m a big fan of both the decor and the food, but be prepared to wait for a table- you won’t be disappointed.  What to order: Belgium waffles or the veggie omelet!

SOBELMANS: Sobelmans has been made famous thanks to their delicious burgers, however, their Bloody Mary is what really steals the show.  These aren’t just your typical vodka/ tomato juice concoctions (if that’s what you like- you can still get that!), these are full meals in a jar.  You can get everything from your typical garnishes (celery, pickles, olives) to cheeseburger sliders, to a WHOLE fried chicken!  Sobelmans does not mess around, and if you want something in true Wisconsin fashion… make sure to put this on your list!

what to do

SHOP THE THIRD WARD:  There are so many cute boutique shops located in the third ward neighborhood, including SOHO By Stephanie Horne (fun fact, I worked there right after high school!), Lela and Mainstream Boutique as well as chain retail stores like Francesca’s,  Anthropologie and Lululemon.  It’s also home to a West Elm and Restoration Hardware outlet.  If you want to take a break from shopping, there are a plethora of coffee shops and trendy restaurants all within walking distance.  One of my all time favorite places in the third ward is the Milwaukee Public Market.  It’s such a fun place to spend some time walking around and shopping the local vendors.  It’s really the most unique food destination in the city bursting with unique, high-quality selections of artisan and ethnic products.  My favorites are St. Paul Fish Company (you can even buy fresh fish to take home) and Kehr’s Candies.

SUMMERFEST: Milwaukee is home to more than 50 festivals including a variety of ethnic and street festivals- and Summerfest. Summerfest is the world’s largest music festival (certified by the Guinness Book) located along Lake Michigan. The 11-day music festival that usually attracts between 800,000 and 900,000 people each year, brings in all types of musical talents and fun activities for the whole family.  When you buy a ticket to Summerfest, it grants you access to all the stages on the grounds except for the American Family Insurance Amphitheater (usually where top name headliners perform.)  If you buy a ticket for the headlining show, it includes access to the rest of the grounds which is a win-win!  Click HERE to see a preview of this years lineup.

FISERV FORUM: The Fiserv Forum is a brand new multi-purpose arena located in Downtown Milwaukee.  It’s home to the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette Basketball as well as concerts and other events.  I grew up going to Bucks games at the Bradley Center, so I was sad to see it go… however, the new arena is top notch and has some great food & drink spots as well! (ahem Chick-fil-a!) If you visit over Christmas, they even have a Christkindlmarket located outside the arena. Click HERE to see a lineup of 2019 events.

VISIT A BREWERY:  There are tons of breweries throughout Milwaukee and is home to Miller & Pabst.  Brewery tours are a must when visiting Milwaukee as it’s fun to drink beer and listen to the history on how these breweries were started… some of them date back into the 1800’s! Lakefront Brewery is a great one to check out if you love a good fish fry.  Every Friday they put on an amazing fish-fry, however, it is first-come-first-serve after 5:30, so make sure to plan ahead! Check out a list of Brewery tours HERE.

There are so many amazing things to see & do in Milwaukee and I could go on and on for days, but unfortunately- I don’t have the time for that, haha.  I would highly recommend visiting if you have the chance, and as always if you have any other questions or need additional recommendations I am more than happy to help!  Summer in Milwaukee is one of my favorite times of the year, as there are always people cruising down the lakefront or brewery hopping.  There are so many outdoor patios to hang out at, and I even think Lake Michigan looks like the ocean in the summer. 🙂

This post is sponsored by Visit Milwaukee, as always all opinions are my own.

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