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  • Writer's pictureChris Muellenbach

A Local's Guide on Things to Do in Milwaukee

Wisconsin is renowned for its scenic beauty, welcoming energy, and an array of indoor and outdoor activities–and nowhere is this more apparent than in its biggest metropolis, Milwaukee. From craft breweries and art museums to listening to the symphony and partaking in lively festivals, the nation’s official “Brew City” has an abundance of delights from which to choose. Read on for a list of experiences beloved by locals.

Go on a brew cruise

Milwaukee once held the title of the beer capital of the world–meaning, a trip to this fine city wouldn’t be complete without sipping an ice-cold, locally-made beer from one of its many acclaimed breweries. Stop in at Third Space’s tap room for a taste of their heavenly haze IPA or a frog Weiss fruited sour before hopping over to Lakefront Brewery for a 45-minute tour of their brewing process–an excursion that includes two 16-ounce pours and an in-depth look at their awesome machinery.

Next, strengthen your knowledge of the city’s storied past by visiting the historic and extravagant Pabst Brewery and mansion, where the hipster-favorite PBR all started. Top off your cruise with a leisurely pause at Good City Brewing, where you can choose between a pineapple and yuzu hard seltzer and a full-bodied pale ale (among other delectable flavors).

Hit up historic Third Ward

Located in Milwaukee’s former warehouse district, this historic stretch of the city boasts a wonderful range of boutiques, galleries, and eateries. Dine on hand-tossed woodfire pizzas while peering at the water at the Riverfront Pizzeria Bar & Grill, shop to your heart’s content at shops ranging from West Elm to Lululemon Athletica, peruse fine art at Safi Studios or the Timo Gallery, and sample artisan eats at the ever-bustling Public Market.

Planning your journey to Milwaukee in advance? Be sure to check out Historic Third Ward’s calendar: The culturally rich region frequently features excellent special events, including art festivals, an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, live music, and the “World’s Largest Coffee Break.”

Delight in all that Milwaukee Lakefront has to offer

Home to the much-loved Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, this booming but romantic slice of Brew City features seasonal and perennial pleasures. Come spring and you can participate in kite flying or choose to simply ride your bike down the lovely Oak Leaf Trail.

Summertime sees visitors and locals alike paddleboarding on the lake, engaging in sailing lessons at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, or watching a movie under the stars. Autumn and winter brim with just as many activities, no matter the drop in temperature, including surfing (yes, surfing!), watching a salmon run, or jumping–literally–into Milwaukee’s annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge.

Spend an afternoon at the historic Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM)

Countless people have heard of Georgia O’Keefe; few know the iconic painter was a Wisconsin native. Her work, as well as 25,000 other pieces, are on full, gorgeous display at the Milwaukee Art Museum–a treasure trove of beauty and skill that originated in 1872.

As one of the largest art museums in the nation, MAM features works by luminaries ranging from Frank Llyod Wright and Rodin to Degas and Monet. The architecturally striking museum provides additional treats for the eyes with splendid views of Lake Michigan.

Indulge in Wisconsin’s second most famous product

Wisconsin is practically synonymous with some of the most sumptuous cheese in the States–and Milwaukee honors this with numerous eateries offering it in spades. Fresh Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds–served with zesty chipotle ranch dressing, no less–are utterly delightful at AJ Bombers, while snacking on a basket full of them evokes nostalgia (and euphoria) at the Miller Time Pub & Grill.

The Wisconsin Cheese Mart–an institution that has been around since the early 20th century–presents 150 types of cheese, including cheddar which has been aged for five years, and coffee stout-flavored beer cheese.

Stroll through the North Point Lighthouse

Constructed in 1888 in Milwaukee’s Lake Park, this mesmerizing museum and lighthouse were inducted into the National Register of Historic Places nearly two decades ago. Understandably so, the landmark features a fascinating tower, exhibits of artifacts and original ledgers, and a Lyle gun that was once used to save mariners.

Spot a camel at the Milwaukee County Zoo

Sprawling across 200 acres and thriving with a spectrum of animals–including spotted hyenas, giraffes, and mandrills–this enthralling zoo is one of the most comprehensive in the Midwest. Special exhibits are presented throughout the year, such as Dino Don’s Dragon Kingdom and Milwaukee locals’ favorite family Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo.

Prepare to be amazed at The Domes

The Domes–or, technically, the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory–is a sight to genuinely behold. “Starring” the first conoidal domes in the world, each conservatory in this Milwaukee attraction mimics a climate. The tropic dome features over a thousand sultry-weather plants, including orchids, guavas, and avocados, while the arid dome flourishes with succulents from Madagascar and shrubs and plants typically found in the Sonoran Desert. The show dome presents seasonal exhibits, including an annual, enchanting revival of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Examine mammoth bones at Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is a mainstay for Milwaukee residents and their families. Live butterflies, the biggest dinosaur skull on the planet, a replica of a T-Rex–all can be found at this absolutely captivating museum. Boasting over 150,000 square feet of wonders from around the world–including several of Wisconsin’s rarest birds–this is a place so riveting you’ll likely require a whole day to see it all.

Explore Milwaukee real estate

From stunning houses in Whitefish Bay to Third Ward houses for sale, Milwaukee’s real estate scene runs the gamut from historically significant to pure modern elegance. Chris Muellenbach is the broker to call if your interest has been sparked upon visiting Wisconsin’s biggest and most happening city. Knowledgable and trustworthy, Chris is a certified divorce real estate expert who takes particular pride in helping people shift into the next–and exciting–stage of their lives. Book a consultation with him today and learn even more about what it means to be a Milwaukee local.

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