It may seem odd since I grew up in Chicago, and have been back for a few years now, but I have never been to Milwaukee. I’ve been elsewhere in Wisconsin, just never Milwaukee.
A day trip with Wanderful Chicago seemed like a great way to experience the city. We started the day on the lakefront, waiting for the wings to open at the Milwaukee Fine Art Museum. Only, they didn’t open. Due to the wind. I think, being right on the lake, this has to be a common problem, and maybe they should have been made a little more sturdy to withstand a breeze.
We did brunch and some shopping in the Historic Third Ward. I loved the brick buildings and seeing them transformed into housing, shopping, and restaurants. Bloody marys in Wisconsin come with beer.
We popped into a couple shops in the area – the first being a local version of Paper Source. Everyone headed in different directions checking out cards, notebooks, gifts, pencil bags, and a million other little things none of us needed but wanted all of.
Next, we headed down the street to what turned out to be my favorite store, and a place I wonder for the first time ever about anything in Wisconsin, ‘Why don’t we have a place like this in Chicago?’! This place is a combination of a few favorite things. Part plant shop, where they will put your plants in pots for you if you so desire, part kitchen store with all the best gadgets Sur La Table has that you’ll never actually use, part cutesy baby gift shop, and part bookstore.
I could have wandered through here for over an hour inspecting every plant, and had I lived close by, I would have probably spent a decent amount of money on plants.
After getting an amazing brunch (and the first beer of the day), we headed over the Public Market – yes, it is supposed to be like Seattle’s. Fresh seafood, sweets, and local coffee.
What do you do after a delicious brunch, cocktails, and a snack? Walk it off! Milwaukee has just completed the first part of their Riverwalk. We waved at kayakers and boating parties while taking in the newly converted apartments and condos that overlook the river. A little disappointed when we realized it came to an end, we headed across the river in search of street art.
Milwaukee’s street art is everywhere. Every neighborhood has something different. Downtown has attention-grabbing sculptures, while Walker’s Point has murals around every corner.
Our first sighting of the koi fish was outside Purple Door Ice Cream. Purple Door is a little special – they have ice cream flights – and mini ice cream flights. With tiny little cones. It’s a pretty great way to try some of their incredibly unique flavors.
While at the Milwaukee Brewing Company I realized I hadn’t been to a brewery before. A winery, yes. A distillery, yes. A brewery, apparently not. Our tour guide was also our bartender and was really sorry when I asked about gluten-free beers. She kept me full up on water though. If you have drink regular beer, this tour includes a lot of free beer. I mean, a lot. It’s very generous! The brewery itself is pretty small, though moving to the old PBR brewery in the future. The really cool thing I took away, was how green they are. Solar powered and got a lot of their equipment from other breweries and local businesses.
We missed out on the Cheese Curd Festival at Drink Wisconsinly by one day. It’s basically the most Wisconsin thing ever. Since I can’t eat them I just thought it was funny.
No trip north of the border would be complete without a stop at the Mars Cheese Castle on the way back. I even found things to buy!