Sat beside Lake Michigan’s western shore is one of the beer capitals of the world: Milwaukee. As well as being known for its abundance of breweries, many might also remember it as the location of the hit 70s sitcom, Happy Days. Surprisingly, Wisconsin’s most populous city also does its part to keep the friendly, everybody-knows-your-name vibe of small towns while also providing the anonymity of a big city. Of course, there are far more things to do in Milwaukee than just drinking beer and socializing.
Milwaukee's most famous summer music festival, Jazz in the Park, has been a staple of Wisconsin summers for nearly 30 years. The festival strives to bring the best of an eclectic bunch of artists together for concerts that take place every Thursday from the end of May to the end of August. Jazz in the Park doesn't just provide excellent jazz, either. You'll find funk performers, R&B, reggae, blues, and more, taking to the stage to ensure a dang good time.
Another common festival in Milwaukee is in a different ballpark. Church festivals happen across the city every summer. Parish festivals are, strangely, a part of the fabric of the Milwaukeean summer season. Whether you have faith, are of a different faith, or don't at all, you can visit any one of these fun, community-driven festivals that crop up every weekend. There are so many church festivals in Milwaukee, even, that you'll have your choice of which to attend for fun, games, music, and laughter.
Milwaukee's creative hub is the Historic Third Ward; it's where many theaters, art galleries, and music studios call home. The Third Ward is arguably also one of the best destinations to take the time to go shopping - or even window shopping! Shopping trips shouldn't have to be about buying things; they should be about seeing what's in store. In the Third Ward, you never know what items are there waiting to catch your eye. The area is the beating heart for all artists, fashionistas, and music connoisseurs. And that's with us not even mentioning the Milwaukee Public Market.
There are a lot of markets across the country that can state their claim as one of the best, but the Milwaukee Public Market has the receipts. This is the prime place to pick up fresh produce from meat to fish to vegetables. If you're on the hunt for your 5-a-day, this is definitely the place to go. As well as serving produce, there's space to dine on your wares in the Palm Garden. On top of all of this, you can even take cooking lessons there for a better rate than anywhere else in the country.
Did you know that if you visit Milwaukee, there's the option to see a tropical paradise, desert oasis, or stunning English gardens? Well, now, you do. Mitchell Park Horticultural Society, which most Wisconsinites know better as "The Domes," is a huge conservatory in Milwaukee's biggest park. From the outside, The Domes dominate the skyline, and when you step inside, there's a whole new world awaiting. For several years, the future of the domes has lain in the hands of locals, and it would be a true shame if they were to disappear. After all, where else in Milwaukee will you find palm trees?
All things considered, beer and biking shouldn't really go together for safety reasons. However, there's one bar in Milwaukee that's found a way to circumvent this truth. Its name is the Pedal & Paddle Tavern, and it's a lot different to the bar you might be picturing. For one, it's on wheels. The Pedal Tavern is a 16-person bicycle that will take you and your friends on a unique tour of the Third Ward. Locals and tourists alike love it, and now, the tavern is offering the same at sea. We suppose, if you're running a bar in "Brew City," you're gonna have to need to stand (or pedal) out.
Visiting a new place is always exciting, but it's in a city's art gallery that the real adventure sometimes lies. Milwaukee Art Museum is a piece of art in itself. It's one of the largest museums in the country and stands out in the Milwaukee skyline thanks to its unique buildings designed by three different architects. Inside of the museum lies 25,000 pieces of art from the oil paintings of Claude Monet to the watercolors of Georgia O'Keeffe. Andy Warhol's infamous Campbell's Soup Cans also reside here, meaning there's art for everyone. That, and you should take a couple of days if you want to see everything.
Shaker's Cigar Bar is Milwaukee's only licensed cigar bar. Not just that, but this retro watering hole was once a speakeasy that was owned and operated by the one and only Al Capone. Although the decor has remained largely unchanged, visitors can now tuck into any one of dozens of pizzas as well as Cajun food to enliven the senses. Fans of the paranormal might also find other things to do here, like taking one of Milwaukee's ghost tours that will inevitably take you to the United States' most haunted bar. Who knows, maybe you'll see Al himself.
Did you know that Milwaukee is home to the oldest tenpin bowling alley in the country? At least, the oldest sanctioned one. Located in the basement of the Holler House tavern are two lanes that look exactly the way they did more than 110 years ago. If you're looking for something unique to do on your trip to Milwaukee and don't mind drinking bottled beer, this tavern is absolutely worth the weight of its name.
Whether you're a biker, a motorcycle aficionado, or just appreciate interesting days out, the Harley-Davidson Museum has something for you. There's no way to miss Milwaukee's premier tourist destination that was more than 100 years in the making. Harley-Davidson is the true standard of excellence when it comes to motorcycles; it's the name everybody knows and the bike every biker strives for. Inside of the museum, you'll get a taster of modern American history, interactive exhibits, and a seemingly neverending display of memorabilia. This is something for every member of the family, mom included.