Visiting Milwaukee, Wis.

A few weekends ago E. and I went to Milwaukee, which is about an hour away from where we live. We’ve been there before since my sister and her husband live near the city, but decided to spend the weekend in a hotel and do the “tourist thing.”

We were told you must do three things during a short stay in Milwaukee: a tour of the Pabst Mansion; a brewery tour (there are a few to choose from); and the Milwaukee Art Museum. We did all those things and more, and here’s an overview and my thoughts for anyone who is planning a future trip to Milwaukee.

Things to Do

Pabst Mansion tour: we were told the Pabst Mansion was a great historical tour and it didn’t disappoint. It was inexpensive, and if you love historical architecture and city history, you have to do this tour.

Milwaukee Art Museum: we heard the MAM was great, but we thought their collection not nearly as good as the the Art Museum in nearby Chicago. The architecture of the building is unbelievable, but you can view the lobby that juts out over Lake Michigan for free. The cost for both of us to park and see the museum was $35…not really worth the price in my opinion.

Usinger’s: Located on the downtown shopping district on Old World Third, the Usinger’s shop is renowned for it’s awesome brats and sausages. They are chemical-free, which is the only way I’ll eat a sausage (try the Chicken Cordon Bleu brats if you don’t like pork). The products in the shop are much cheaper than the store, and the locals will ask for imperfect sausages (which are only slightly misshapen) and save you about 50%.

A brewery tour: we did the Miller tour, which was free. Having done the Sprecher brewery tour in the past – which is a cool microbrewery tour – we thought the Miller one was mediocre. But you get three free beers at the end of the tour…so it’s worth the price. If you have non-beer drinkers in your party, the Sprecher tour is better because they also brew root beer, orange & creme sodas. You get to sample all of Sprecher’s products at the end of the tour.

Places to Eat

Alterra @ the Lake: Alterra is where the locals get their coffee (forget Starbucks!). There are locations all around the city, but you need to check out the one across from Lake Michigan. It’s in an old 1880’s building and you can sit outside on the massive patio and view the lake. Oh, and their food is homemade and completely yummy.

Wicked Hop: my sister recommended the Wicked Hop, located in a cool shopping area, Historic Third Ward (stop by the Public Market if you go to the area), and all I can say is that it was GREAT. E. had the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Florentine Opera. They’re also known for the best Bloody Mary’s on the planet…or at least in Milwaukee. Delish!

Milwaukee Brat House: We heard the Brat House on Old World Third serves the best brats in Milwaukee. Well, we confess we didn’t eat them anywhere else the weekend we were there, but these brats were INCREDIBLE. They’re Usinger brats, but what they do to them makes them heavenly. Order a Leinie Berry Weiss to go with it and enjoy!

Solly’s Grille: If you want a massive, greasy burger and a great malt, go to Solly’s. It’s small, you sit at a bar to eat, but the shakes, malts and homemade pies are really good and it’s a nice, cheap meal. Solly’s is a Milwaukee institution, so go for at least that reason.

Friday fish fry: Another thing you must do in Milwaukee is a Friday fish fry, which are held many places year round, every day (the Friday fish fry started during Lent, when some Christians opt not to eat meat on Fridays). There are supposedly lots of good ones, but we picked the Historic Turner Restaurant because we heard it was good and it’s in a cool historic building on Old World Third. Get the potoato pancakes instead of fries (wherever you go).


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: 7 post challenge « Kathan Ink.
  2. MilwazukeeFishFryList
    Apr 17, 2010 @ 08:23:28

    Great tour suggestions for someone visiting Milwaukee. If you do want the full Milwaukee experience you do have to have a Friday Fish Fry. The easiest way to find a fish fry is to go to which lists every fish fry in the Milwaukee and surrounding area. You can sort by location, the type of fish or the REAL Milwaukee tradition All-You-Can-Eat.


  3. Kirsten Lesko
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 12:17:12

    Yum – that sloppy, goopy sandwich looks delicious.

    Your pics look like you were in Europe! (minus the very American-looking sandwich, of course)


  4. Natasha
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 20:30:18

    Sounds like a fun week-end! Since it’s spring you might not need it — but I know what kept me sane (okay, maybe not sane…) during two Wisconsin winters was going to those neat botanic garden domes in Milwaukee a couple of times.

    And I clicked on the Solly’s link — home of the ‘butter burger!’

    I haven’t had a brat since leaving WI but this post brought back the memories. Thanks!


    • kathanink
      Apr 07, 2010 @ 07:20:48

      Glad to treat you to some great memories! I’ve been the botanic garden in Milw – it’s nice – of course, the one in Chicago is far superior ;-)! We didn’t go this time b/c we’d been there before and it’s kind of outside the city.

      Another great place north of Milwaukee is Cedarburg. Going there in June, maybe I’ll post about that, too!


  5. darksculptures
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 13:47:18

    Before reading your post the only thing I knew about Milwaukee was Old Milwaukee Beer. Now I want to visit so I can take in all these sites. It sounds so rich with it’s own unique culture.


    • kathanink
      Apr 06, 2010 @ 14:39:51

      LOL – do they still make Old Milwaukee? It’s true, the beer culture is huge in Milwaukee, but there’s a lot of cool history, which I find interesting.


  6. dayner
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 12:45:46

    You’re making me hungry with all this food. My nephew lives in WI. I’ve thought about visiting. Thanks for the suggestions.


    • kathanink
      Apr 06, 2010 @ 14:38:48

      Being from Chicago, which is sooo large and spread out, I enjoyed going to Milwaukee and getting to do and see a bunch of things in one weekend. You should go!


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