By Mira Temkin
On the glistening shores of Lake Michigan and at the confluence of three rivers, Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a destination that blends rich history with modern architecture and sophisticated flair. There’s a sense of excitement in the air that evokes a warm, Midwest welcome. And from the northern suburbs of Chicago, Milwaukee is only an hour away.
Beer Made Milwaukee Famous
German immigrants Schlitz, Blatz, Miller and Captain Pabst found their way to Milwaukee in the 1800s and created their own unique brands of beer. While only Miller-Coors continues to brew today, the others left an indelible mark on the cultural and civic aspects of the city with parks, theatres and stately homes. In its place, craft brewers have sprung up, taking the reins of home-grown beer.
Milwaukee Brew Tours are very popular and offer a variety of options. From macro to micro, fruit beers to gourmet sodas, you’ll have a great time seeing how these frothy brews are made.
Check out the Lakefront Brewery Daily Tour with facts, lore and two 16 oz. pours. Cost is $11 per person, Monday – Thursday, $12 Saturday – Sunday. Get a pint glass as a souvenir. For home brewers and beer aficionados, try their Sunday morning Tech Tours and Food Pairing Immersion. This in-depth lesson showcases their brewing equipment and techniques along with Lakefront beer and the chef’s selection of cheeses, meats, fruits, chocolates and coffee, $40. Advance reservations are required. Lakefrontbrewery.com
Roll out the barrel with the Milwaukee Brewery Tour. Stop at four microbreweries and discover hand-crafted, small batch beers. Sample 8 different beers, while you get around in the comfort of an open-air cruiser. citytoursmke.com
Drink Up with the Brew City Beer Pass
Have your craft beer and drink it too with the new 2021 Brew City Beer Pass from VISIT Milwaukee. This free digital pass allows visitors and locals to redeem buy one, get one (BOGO) beer from more than 20 of the best local breweries in the greater Milwaukee area. Get rewards such as a free Koozie or free T-Shirt when you visit five or 10 participating breweries. Visitmilwaukee.org
It’s a Festival of Festivals!
There’s good reason why Milwaukee is called the “City of Festivals.” You name it, they celebrate it…Irish Fest, German Fest, Brew Fest, Mexican Fiesta, Bastille Day, Italian Fest, Harvest Fair and they end the year with Milwaukee Holiday Lights. Granddaddy of them all is Summerfest, an 11-day celebration on the lake with live music, good food and the cold beer that put Milwaukee on the map.
Milwaukee Art Museum Spreads its Wings
The MAM, as it’s called, remains the icon of the city. Designed by world renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, this stunning building is in itself a work of art, filled with more than 30,000 pieces from classic to modern. Works by Andy Warhol, Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe and others grace the white walls. Special exhibits bring in the best collections from across the globe. Look for the Burk Brise Soleil on the top of the structure; a moveable, wing-like sunscreen that welcomes the world. Come watch as the wings flap open and close throughout the day. http://mam.org/
Go Hog Wild!
Motorcycle fan or not, everyone loves the 20-acre campus of the Harley-Davidson Museum, where history roars to life with exhibits that celebrate the story of this Milwaukee-based company. What I found really interesting was how the cycles were used during the world wars, both behind the scenes and on the front lines of freedom. When the soldiers came home from war, they all wanted, you guessed it, a Harley. With an unrivaled collection of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles, memorabilia and a calendar full of activities, the H-D Museum is one of Milwaukee’s top tourist destinations for visitors from around the globe. Be sure to grab a burger at MOTOR where they serve All-American classics that celebrate the taste of life on the road. www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/museum
Tour the Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright
The Burnham Block is a collection of six Frank Lloyd Wright designed and constructed by American System-Built Homes in 1916. On the National Register of Historic Places, the homes were meant to be mass-produced and affordable for the traditional American worker and his family.
The Model B1 at 2714 West Burnham is open for public, group and private tours. Tours are led by trained docents. Guests have travelled from every state and more than 34 countries to visit. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Burnham Block tours are by reservation only. The six homes on the Burnham Block are visible from the street. Most are occupied by tenants – please respect their privacy.
Stay at Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel
If you’re looking for Milwaukee’s coolest hotel, Saint Kate will more than deliver. The hotel combines modern luxury with the unexpected and a prime location in the entertainment district. Saint Kate serves as a creative hub for the city, where you’ll walk through galleries of painting, sculpture, and design. Rooms are comfortable with premium bedding, a kitschy record player with records to play and ukulele. The bar is the hippest place in the city. Saintkatearts.com
Year round, Milwaukee invites you to indulge in life worth celebrating … bottoms up!
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