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Total Guide to Your Trip in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By: Ashley Akridge

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 5, 2023

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Planning a trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin? Whether you are traveling on a family vacation, a business trip, or just want to take a weekend getaway, this travel guide will help you find and choose hotels, restaurants, tourist destinations, and more!

Best Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is a vibrant, beautiful city that should be on everyone's bucket list. Whether you're looking to relax with a stroll through the Milwaukee Art Museum or get your heart pumping at the Harley-Davidson Museum, you can't go wrong with a trip to this Midwestern gem. Here's our top 12 list of things every visitor to Milwaukee needs to see!

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) - Quadracci Pavilion on Lake Michigan's corniche, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

The Milwaukee Art Museum is a must-see! From the outside, it's an architectural wonder that can't be missed, but the beauty of this museum isn't just skin deep. There's so much to explore inside, you'll want to make sure you leave enough time to take everything in. The light filtering into Windhover Hall is enough to make anyone feel like they're walking on air.

Milwaukee County Zoo

A polar bear swims on its back at the Milwaukee Zoo

The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to more than 3,000 animals from all over the world. It's open year-round and has more than 1,800 different species—so if you're looking for something fun to do on a cold winter day (or if you want to beat the heat), it's a great option!

The zoo is divided into different regions of the world, so if you're interested in seeing certain types of animals, you can go straight there. There are also several different exhibits that feature nocturnal and endangered species, as well as a family farm with domestic animals like donkeys and goats. If you're looking for something fun for all ages, this is it!

Discovery World

Discovery World, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Discovery World is an interactive science and technology center, with two floors of exhibits centered around freshwater education and the environment. There are also a couple of aquariums, a 3D theater, and an indoor butterfly garden. The Milwaukee Art Museum is next door, so you can visit both in one trip.

Lakefront Brewery

View of the Milwaukee and the Milwaukee River near several breweries. Pictured from the Oak Leaf Trail underneath N. Van Buren and Holten Street.

The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is known for its breweries, and you can't leave the city without having a few pints at Lakefront Brewery. You'll find other breweries in Milwaukee too, including the Miller Brewing Company and the Sprecher Brewing Company, but Lakefront Brewery is the place to be if you want to drink like a local.

The Miller Brewery complex in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Miller Brewing Company is a well known American beer brewing company

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Milwaukee Domes, Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is the jewel of Milwaukee's thriving horticulture scene. The conservatory's collection of more than 1,000 varieties of plants and flowers bloom year-round in a scenic setting that's right in the heart of the city. And one of its most impressive features? A glass structure that lets you see the plants' underwater world.

The conservatory also offers a range of classes and tours tailored to teach you how to grow your own food, create beautiful floral displays, set up your own terrariums, or even help you start a business with gardening or floral design.

Milwaukee Public Market

Exterior of the Milwaukee Public Market in the historic Third Ward District, Downtown Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Public Market is a great place to get some of the best food in town. It's primarily an indoor market, but it has an open-air section, too. It houses a variety of vendors, many of which are award-winning.

In addition to the standard vendors, there's a cheese bar that sells over three dozen types of cheeses from all over the world, and a bakery that offers over 100 varieties of bread. There are also vendors who sell everything from fish to meat to spices.

Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee

The famous Harley Davidson Museum is located in downtown Milwaukee and has more than 450 motorcycles and artifacts on display. The museum has exhibits on the history of Harley Davidson motorcycles as well as many special exhibits that change throughout the year.

This fantastic museum opened in 1892 and houses over 30,000 works from American artists from the 20th century up until today. The museum has pieces from artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, John Steuart Curry, Andy Warhol and many others. The museum also offers workshops for both kids and adults if you are looking for something to do with your family or friends.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Portrait of a happy female casino player near slot machines

One of the best things to do in Milwaukee is gambling, and the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is Milwaukee's very own Vegas. This is a casino hotel that has everything you could ever want: slot machines, table games, poker tournaments, restaurants, a bar with live music performances. In addition to all that it has a spa as well as a fitness center to help you keep your health up while you're having fun.


Boerner Botanical Gardens

Two women and a young girl walking throughout Boerner Botanical garden.

If you're looking for a place to take a peaceful, relaxing stroll in Milwaukee, Boerner Botanical Gardens has what you need. The beauty of the gardens is not just skin deep, though. The history of this place goes back to the early 1900's when it was first developed by the Milwaukee County Parks Commission, where it has remained since. Visitors can enjoy a day trip to the gardens and walk through different themed areas, including the rose garden, herb garden, and more.

Atwater Park and Beach

Atwater Park Beach view from hill, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Atwater Park is located in the Milwaukee River Greenway, a strip of park and recreational space along the banks of the Milwaukee River. It's a great place to hike, bike, or go fishing. The park itself is divided into two main parts: Atwater Landing, which has a playground and picnic area, and Atwater Beach, which is ideal for sunbathing and swimming (though there are no lifeguards).

If you want to visit Atwater Park, it's best to plan your trip around the weather. The park is only open when it's dry enough that the sand won't get muddy.

American Family Field

American Family Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

If you're into baseball, this is a must-see. The field got its name in 2020 when the stadium's naming rights were bought by insurance company American Family Insurance. It's the home of Major League Baseball team the Milwaukee Brewers, who won the World Series in 1982. The stadium itself was built in 2001 at a cost of $400 million—no small feat! It can seat 50,000 people and has hosted many different types of events over its 20-year history.

Lake Michigan

Milwaukee Skyline from Lake

Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes, adds to the beauty of the city. You can go swimming in the summer, boating, fishing, or appreciate the views from the lakefront. There are parks surrounding the lake that you can visit and have a picnic. The lake is beautiful at sunset when the sun sets into the water.

4 Day trips and tours in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is a great city to visit! Whether you're taking a business trip, visiting family, or finally using that vacation time to do a little traveling, you'll find yourself in the heart of it all. While you're here, why not stop by and discover some of the best Milwaukee has to offer? We've put together a list of tours you don't want to miss!

Discover Iconic Milwaukee Tour

Skyline of the city of Milwaukee, WI.

The Discover Iconic Milwaukee Tour is a crowd-free experience on a five-seater electric vehicle tour of the most iconic places in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The tour begins at the corner of Water and Michigan, where you'll be picked up by your friendly tour guide and taken to the famous Fonzie Statue, which is just the beginning of your trip through Milwaukee's fascinating history.

After visiting Fonzie and the site of his water-skiing leap over a shark, you'll head over to Miller Park, home of the Brewers. There will be time for pictures before heading to Lake Michigan to visit the Discovery World museum. Next, you'll pass through the magnificent Milwaukee Art Museum before heading back to your starting point. If you're looking for a great way to see Milwaukee, then this is definitely an option for you.

Milwaukee Kayak Rental

Milwaukee river and downtown buildings, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is a city full of surprises. One of the best ways to see them all is by kayak—and there's no better place to rent out a kayak than Milwaukee Kayak Rental! They have the best prices and the best staff, which will make your experience on the water absolutely unforgettable.

The Milwaukee River has always been an important part of Milwaukee's history, and it's still one of the most important parts of Milwaukee culture today. It has many breweries and restaurants along its shores, but driving can be a bit of a hassle. Instead, why not take a kayak down the river with your friends and family? That way you can enjoy everything that the river has to offer without worrying about traffic!

Milwaukee Ghost Walks

Milwaukee Historic Third Ward riverwalk

Take a stroll down Milwaukee's Old World Third Street and learn about the city's haunted history from your guide, who will share stories of Milwaukee's most famous ghosts. You'll visit the sites of some of the city's most infamous murders, crimes and tragedies, including where Al Capone was believed to have lived and where mobster Frank Balestrieri was gunned down in front of his family. Don't be surprised if you get a chill down your spine as you hear about the supernatural occurrences that were rumored to have happened in these places!

Cream City Cannibal: Jeffery Dahmer Walking Tour

If you've ever wanted to see the places where a cannibalistic serial killer poached his victims, your chance has arrived.

Cream City Cannibal: Jeffery Dahmer Walking Tour takes you through the exact places of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Dahmer and his victims walked during the years he spent hunting in the city. He poached 7 of his 17 victims in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and now you can walk alongside them and hear about their stories. This tour is a great opportunity for anyone interested in true crime or local history.

10 restaurants to try in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is a great place to live and visit where you can find plenty of things to do. Here are the top 10 best things to do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

AJ Bombers

As the name suggests, this bar and grill is a champion of the burger. It has won numerous titles for its burgers at both local and statewide competitions. It also serves as a great place to enjoy a beer, as it offers over 100 different brews on tap. Try The Milwaukee Burger, with fried cheese curds and caramelized onions, or the Three Finger Jack (Jack Daniels BBQ sauce) if you're up for an adventurous combo of flavors. Pair one of their burgers with a local brew like Lakefront Brewery's Riverwest Stein Beer to fully experience this Wisconsin favorite.

Mader's Restaurant

If you decide to order some German food for dinner, there's no better place than Mader's. This 100-year-old restaurant has been serving up German dishes such as Wiener Schnitzel, Bratwurst, and Goulash since 1902. The restaurant even caters to people who don't like traditional German food—it also serves a variety of steaks and seafood. If you have time between meals, stop by the museum that's located across the street from the restaurant.


When thinking back to Milwaukee, many are likely to remember pretzels and beer. While that's not a wrong association, this city has grown into a foodie destination in its own right. From fine dining to street food, you can find it all in Brew City. Onesto offers Italian and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with a modern twist. They are also known for their classic cocktails and an extensive wine list. If you're looking for a restaurant that offers something different from your typical Italian-American fare, then Onesto might be the place you've been searching for all your life.

Blue's Egg

Blue's Egg is one of the most popular brunch spots in Milwaukee. Located on North Prospect Avenue, they specialize in breakfast dishes that are as delicious as they are decadent. Blue's Egg has been featured on Food Network and the Travel Channel for their delicious cuisine and friendly service. They have three different locations across the city, so it's easy to find a spot close to you!

Story Hill BKC

Story Hill BKC: Story Hill BKC is an excellent brunch spot that serves up a unique menu complete with New York-style cheesecake, chicken and waffles, and eggs benedict. The ambience at Story Hill is perfectly homey, featuring exposed brick and woodwork. You won't want to miss their popular ricotta pancakes—they're out of this world.


SafeHouse is a spy-themed restaurant that's tucked away in an unassuming corner of downtown Milwaukee. You won't find it unless you're looking for it, and you definitely won't get in without saying the magic password. It's all part of the fun.

Once inside (or if you don't have reservations), you can indulge in a bite to eat at either The Spy Ring or Infiltrators Bar & Grill. Or, if you prefer something a little less undercover, forgo the password and head upstairs to enjoy a meal at Nook—the more traditional restaurant that's located near the entrance. No matter where your mission takes you—whether it involves eating or not—you'll be sure to have a good time with your fellow agents as they help bring this funky establishment to life.

Harbor House

Harbor House, a seafood restaurant located on Lake Michigan, is a quaint Milwaukee dining option for those looking for a unique experience. Their specialty dishes include their king crab legs, oysters, and sushi. If you're looking to enjoy a hearty meal outside with the perfect view of the lake, Harbor House should be your next destination.

Rodizio Grill Milwaukee

If you've never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, Milwaukee's Rodizio Grill is the perfect place to try one. Rodizio Grill offers 15 different kinds of meats, served table-side by gauchos. Your meal also includes an extensive salad bar with over 30 items, from fruits and vegetables to rice and beans, as well as desserts like pão de queijo (cheese bread). The restaurant's location on the historic Milwaukee River provides a beautiful backdrop for your dinner—especially if you're lucky enough to get a table by the windows.

Café Benelux

Café Benelux is a great place to try if you are looking for a new perspective on traditional European cuisine. The menu items, inspired by the food of Holland and Belgium, are uniquely prepared to give you an experience unlike any other. You can expect dishes like Dutch pancakes with caramelized apple and Dutch beef stew served in a pretzel roll or traditional Belgian fries with Belgian mayonnaise. The restaurant has a modern look which will make your dining experience here memorable.

Elsa's On the Park

Elsa's on the Park is a staple of the Milwaukee food scene. Locals flock to this fine dining restaurant for a variety of reasons, but live jazz music may be what keeps them coming back week after week. The service staff are experts at their craft, and will ensure an exceptional experience from start to finish. Reservations are recommended on weekends, as they can get busy pretty quickly. You didn't hear it from me, but ask your server about the scallops—they're Elsa's specialty and are served in a red wine sauce that's out of this world!

5 Hotel ideas for staying in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Prices May Vary)

Milwaukee is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway or vacation. There are many hotels you can stay in around the area or near some of the city's most popular attractions. Here are some hotels we'd recommend staying at during your visit.

The Knickerbocker on the Lake $95/per night

The Knickerbocker on the Lake has a name that makes you think it's a quaint bed and breakfast, but in reality, it's a stylish hotel with budget-friendly prices. The hotel sits right on Lake Michigan and even has an outdoor pool you can use during the summertime for just $95 per night. It's one of the best-priced hotels on Milwaukee's east side which is where you will be able to find many of the city's main attractions like Lake Park and Bradford Beach as well as easy access to downtown.

Drury Plaza Hotel Milwaukee Downtown $112/per night

Located in the heart of Downtown Milwaukee, Drury Plaza Hotel is a recently renovated upscale hotel with modern amenities. The hotel is right next to the Theater District and within walking distance of many of Milwaukee's iconic attractions.

Drury Plaza provides a wide variety of complimentary amenities including free wifi, indoor/outdoor pools, a fitness center as well as free meals every morning. The rooms are also equipped with a microwave, mini-fridge, and coffee maker. With incredible service and a prime location for less than $120 per night, you can't go wrong.

The Brewhouse Inn & Suites $136/per night

If you're looking for a hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that provides the best value for money, look no further. The Brewhouse Inn & Suites is everything you've ever dreamed of and more. This could be the most beautiful hotel in Milwaukee that I have ever seen.

This particular part of Milwaukee is perfect for those who want to experience the city from the heart of downtown. The hotel itself has a number of amenities including an outdoor pool and onsite restaurant. You may even be able to see Lake Michigan on a clear day!

Saint Kate - The Arts Hotel $153/per night

A new hotel on the block! This arts-centric hotel is surrounded by local eateries and cool shops in downtown Milwaukee. The rooms are modern, with a sleek design that is both chic and comfortable. The artwork in the public spaces has been curated by local artists, so you'll feel like part of the community while you relax and enjoy your stay. The budget restaurant Gouda's Italian Beef offers mouth-watering sandwiches that will satisfy.

The Iron Horse Hotel $296/per night

With its rock-and-roll vibe and retro-inspired design, this boutique hotel offers a unique experience that can't be found elsewhere. Located in the Historic Third Ward's warehouse district, this hotel is in the midst of bustling activity—whether it's day or night.

Inside your room, you'll find amenities like HDTVs, mini-fridges, and more. There's also a restaurant on site (Smoke Shack), which serves up succulent BBQ options with craft beers. Other perks include valet parking and free bicycles to cruise through the city at your own pace. If you want to stay here, make sure you book your room well in advance as it tends to fill up quickly.

Final Thoughts

If you want to explore Milwaukee's history and nightlife, the city is brimming with culture to explore. From world-famous breweries to traditional German fare and American favorites, there are a wide variety of restaurants for every taste. Explore the parks or try one of the many activities that the area offers. You won't regret visiting this metropolitan area in Wisconsin.

Downtown Milwaukee at Sunset - Aerial Panorama
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