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Milwaukee, Wisconsin is known for cheese curds, Friday fish fry, and lots of craft beer – for good reason. You probably won’t lose weight when you’re here, but if you make a concerted effort, you can enjoy Milwaukee’s plentiful public parks and large, landscaped spaces.
Breweries are definitely the #1 thing to do in Milwaukee. We’ve provided a few favorites below, but one key to Milwaukee is the quantity and variety of craft breweries here. Depending on where you’re staying, you’re almost certain to be a stone’s throw from 2-3 breweries. Each has its own specialty – milkshake IPAs, stouts, porters, juices, etc. – and they’re all very distinct. So check out multiple breweries, or even walk into a big liquor store to see the breadth of the local variety.
How to Get to Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport is convenient to downtown, but it’s also rather small. If you can fly into Milwaukee, great. But if not, Milwaukee is only a little over an hour away from Chicago’s O’Hare airport by car. (Chicago’s Midway Airport and the downtown area of Chicago is a solid 90+ minutes away.)
It will save you time to rent a car in Milwaukee, unless you’re staying and working in the middle of the downtown area or the historic third ward. Ride-share services are readily available, but Milwaukee is rather spread-out as a city, so being able to drive yourself around makes things easier.
Where to Eat Dinner in Milwaukee, WI
Crafty Cow and Hot Head Fried Chicken // This is your quintessential Milwaukee restaurant. It specializes in thick, juicy burgers and some of the best cheese curds I’ve ever had. Most of the menu is very cheese-focused, for good reason. Crafty Cow also curates a robust craft beer menu and even serves draft cocktails, such as the Spiced Cranberry Gin Fizz. Available for dine-in or carry-out (as pictured).
Odd Duck // Odd Duck has earned its spot on the Eater 38 list of essential Milwaukee restaurants due to its charcuterie-focused, local menu. Order the charcuterie board and the lamb shawarma. The crispy oyster mushrooms are delicious; as with many vegetables in Milwaukee, they come extra-deep-fried.
Lakefront Brewery // A Milwaukee staple. Outside of the coronavirus pandemic, it hosts daily brewery tours and lots of events in its beer hall. Even in 2020, you can still order its top-notch beer and excellent beer hall-inspired food for carry-out. Lakefront is known for its Hazy Rabbit IPA, its fall Oktoberfest, and their all-around beer variety. Order their fish fry basket to pair with the beer, and you’ll have another quintessential Milwaukee experience.
Kopp’s Frozen Custard // Kopp’s Frozen Custard is known for both its namesake custard, which is featured in many interesting shakes and desserts, and also for its burgers. The patties are thin and smothered in cheese (what isn’t in Milwaukee?), and fried fish sandwiches are a big deal here too. Try their seasonal Eggnog Shake if you’re here near the holidays.
Good City Brewing // A downtown brewery featuring a big variety of beers and a fun taproom with solid bar food. Their Scarcity series of beers are different varieties of IPA, but they also serve porters, amber ales, and bourbon barrel-aged stouts, for people interested in something a little different.
Things to Do in Milwaukee, WI at Night
Check out an evening farmer’s market or one of Milwaukee’s many parks // When the weather is nice, outdoor farmer’s markets are a big thing in Milwaukee, such as Hartung Park on Wednesday evenings from 4-7 pm. Farmer’s markets generally stop operating in the winter, but Milwaukee prides itself on its large, landscaped, beautiful parks. Burn off your cheese curds on a nice hike and enjoy the very dog-friendly atmosphere.
Go on an evening ghost tour // These are surprisingly popular activities and represent another way to walk off your cheese- and beer-related calories. Learn about Milwaukee’s history and see some exciting architecture. Dress in layers and you’ll be able to handle any weather for 90 minutes.
Take your own walking tour of the downtown district and architecture // Milwaukee Mag provides a curated, self-guided walking tour for you to see much of downtown Milwaukee and learn about its significant buildings.
Milwaukee Public Market is a huge building downtown with dozens of local vendors // Pick up ready-made food or souvenirs to take home with you, such as specialty candy, spices, and obviously cheese and sausage. Open til 8p on weekdays. Outside of the coronavirus pandemic, the Milwaukee Public Market often hosts a number of events and cooking classes during the week.
Take yourself on a beer tour in the historic Third Ward // Milwaukee’s third ward is full of shops, restaurants, breweries, and history. Wander around on your own, or even better, create your own walking beer tour. Mob Craft, Broken Bat, and Indeed Brewing are all within easy walking distance of each other and give you a great view of the neighborhood.
Also check out:
- Huntsville, Alabama After 5:00 pm
- Walnut Creek, CA After 5:00 pm
- Culver City, Los Angeles After 5:00 pm
- Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles After 5:00 pm
- Duluth, Minnesota After 5:00 pm
- Manhattan, New York After 5:00 pm