Visit Milwaukee

Visit Milwaukee Blog

What To Do in Milwaukee On A Budget

Share This Story:

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee
Couple at Hubbard Park Beer Garden
The NY Times Frugal Traveler gave two thumbs up to Milwaukee, calling the city “vibrant and cheap,” which, hey – we’ll take it. There are certainly plenty of ways to enjoy the finer things in life in Milwaukee, but it’s also a city where great things come at a great price. These inexpensive or free things to do in Milwaukee are perfect if you’re looking for an easy weekend getaway on a budget or want to save up for a special night out while you're in town (James Beard nominated restaurants, anyone?).
Beer gardens
This German tradition is back in a big way in Milwaukee! Beer gardens are springing up at parks all around the city, and they’re the perfect place to hang out when you’re on a budget. Treat yourself to a stein, then take in the atmosphere, the good company and oftentimes live music! Many beer gardens allow visitors to bring their own picnics for extra savings, though there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to resist that giant pretzel once you see it. (Most beer gardens serving in traditional glass steins will charge a glassware deposit, but you’ll get it back before you go!)
No, not the brewery…the actual shoreline of Lake Michigan is a great spot to spend your time if you’re short on cash. The stunning views of the lake and the city’s architecture are all free. If you can time your visit right, watch the “wings” of the Milwaukee Art Museum open at 10 a.m., flap at noon or close at 5 p.m. (8 p.m. on Fridays). The trails along the lakefront are great for jogging, biking or just strolling, and if you have a little extra money to spend, you can rent paddleboats, bikes and more.
Brewery tours
The MillerCoors brewery tour takes you from the caves where Frederick Miller originally cooled his brews up to today’s high speed production lines and is FREE (that’s right, $0). But your dollar stretches far on any tour in town – $10 will get you a tour and plenty of delicious craft brews at Lakefront Brewery or Milwaukee Brewing Company, and for just $6 you can tour Sprecher Brewery and sample both beers and their popular gourmet sodas.
Summer concerts
This one is also totally free! Almost every night of the week, you’ll find free outdoor concerts in parks across the city. Local favorites include Chill on the Hill (Tuesday), River Rhythms (Wednesday) and Jazz in the Park (Thursday). These events vary on their carry-in policies, but enjoying nice weather and free music is always a good time!
Free events
From gallery nights and street festivals to museum free days and outdoor movies, there’s almost always something fun and free happening in Milwaukee. Check out the free section of to see what’s on tap while you’re in town.  


How to Travel Solo in Milwaukee

Share This Story:

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee
No travel buddy? No problem! More and more travelers are discovering the fun and adventure of traveling solo. It can be intimidating to plan your first unaccompanied trip to a new city, but once you catch the bug it can be hard to find a travel experience that matches the freedom and adventure of going solo! Here are a few tips for what to do alone in Milwaukee.
Museums are the perfect spot to visit as a party of one. How many times have you been entranced by an exhibit or piece of artwork only to be dragged away by an impatient friend (or been the one trying to keep a pokey buddy on the move)? No thanks! When it’s just you, you can enjoy at your own pace. The Milwaukee Art Museum recently completed a full renovation of their galleries and nearly doubled the number of works on view (and added a coffee shop and wine bar – the perfect spot for a little solo chill time!). At the Milwaukee Public Museum, local favorite exhibit “The Streets of Old Milwaukee” is newly updated for a more immersive look into Milwaukee’s past; pop your headphones on and check out the Streets of Old Milwaukee app for ever-changing stories from turn-of-the-century Milwaukeeans.
Communing with nature is the perfect one-on-one activity: just you and the great outdoors. And Milwaukee’s urban outdoors are pretty darn great – with Lake Michigan, three rivers, more than 150 state and county parks and more than 130 miles of bike trails, there’s an option for everyone. Rent a kayak to explore Milwaukee’s waterways, hop on a bike (if you didn’t bring one, check out Bublr Bikes, the city’s bikeshare system) or just take a stroll. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (of Central Park fame), Lake Park is a local favorite spot for nature lovers and photographers thanks to waterfalls, stunning stone bridges and historic Northpoint Lighthouse. 
Eating out is often the most intimidating part of a solo trip, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re shy about being alone at a sit-down restaurant, cafes and counter service restaurants are great options. Colectivo Coffee has been handmade in Milwaukee since 1993, and no one will look twice if you’re sitting along with a book or laptop at one of their thirteen local cafes enjoying a cup of coffee, soup, sandwiches or baked goods locally baked at their Troubadour Bakery in Bay View. During the summer, sidle up to a food truck for a delicious meal on the go to be enjoyed in any local park (tip: check Twitter to find out local truck schedules…they tend to travel in packs!). Or get a little braver: many popular local restaurants serve a full menu at the bar (and at some, that’s the only place to get a seat without a reservation!), so belly up for great farm-to-table eats at places like Braise and Wolf Peach, or retro-style counters at Comet Café and Miss Katie’s Diner.
If you’re the artsy type, use your solo status to your advantage to pick up some last-minute show tickets; pairs and groups are out of luck when it comes to snagging that one awesome seat that’s left! Milwaukee’s arts and theater scene boasts a Grammy-winning opera company, a world-class symphony, a nationally-acclaimed ballet company and an array of professional dance and theater companies performing at venues all across the metro area. Or if you’re more interested in trying some of Milwaukee’s local libations, a craft cocktail bar is the perfect place for a solo traveler. Like-minded patrons and knowledgeable bartenders make great company. Try Distil, Milwaukee’s House of Bourbon, for carefully crafted cocktails and an impressive spirits list. Or visit the tasting room of Great Lakes Distillery and Central Standard Craft Distillery, where you’ll sip on cocktails made with liquors distilled on-site.
What's your favorite solo hangout in Milwaukee?


9 Reasons why you need to visit Kandinsky: A Retrospective, today.

Share This Story:

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Chelsie Layman
Communications & Social Media Assistant

The Milwaukee Art Museum has opened its latest feature exhibition, “Kandinsky: A Retrospective”, which runs through Sept. 1, 2014. This exhibition features many works seen for the first time in the United States, including the massive Juryfreie Murals on display.  I had the pleasure of seeing the exhibition (five times, but who’s counting?) and here are the nine reasons why you need to visit today.

Pro tip: If you are tight on cash, or just looking to save some money the museum offers free admission the first Thursday of each month, thanks to Target.


9 Reasons why you need to visit Kandinsky: A Retrospective, today.

Buzzfeed has proven that everyone loves a good list, so here you go.

  1. “Kandinsky: A Retrospective” is an in-depth look at the career and life of Wassily Kandinsky, in addition to the works of some of his contemporaries.

    Wassily Kandinsky

    Wassily Kandinsky’s staff identification card from the Bauhaus, Dessau, 1926
    Photograph on board
    4 3/4 × 3 1/2 in.
    Centre Pompidou - MnamCci - Bibliothèque Kandinsky

  2. The exhibition features Kandinsky’s massive Juryfreie Murals for the first time in the United States. These murals were brought in on massive canvases and then unrolled and pulled to fit the walls of the room in the exhibition.

  3. Fun Fact: Kansinsky was said to have Synesthesia, meaning he heard colors. Many of his abstract works were inspired by symphonies and the colors he heard within them.

  4. COLORS! All of the colors

    Wassily Kandinsky art

    Wassily Kandinsky
    (Russian, 1866 – 1944)
    Small Worlds I (Kleine Welten I), 1922
    Color lithograph
    9 3/4 × 8 9/16 in.
    Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne, Paris
    Bequest of Mrs. Nina Kandinsky in 1981
    AM 81-65-714
    © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/ Philippe Migeat / Dist.RMN-GP
    © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

  5. Wassily Kansdinsky is credited with creating the first purely abstract works.

  6. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably heard Kandinsky’s name at least once in that required art appreciation class. Well, now is the time to go see his works up close and personal. While you’re at it, make it a guided tour and refresh your knowledge so you can school your friends on art.

  7. The exhibition includes a video of Kandinsky painting, which is a treat to watch (tip: try to imagine the colors if the video had been filmed in color)

  8. After taking in all of the amazing artwork, you are bound to be hungry. That means it’s time to head downstairs to the Cafe Calatrava to check out the menu coordinated to the exhibition, this food is almost too pretty to eat, almost.

    Cafe Calatrava

    © Milwaukee Art Museum



The Ins and Outs

Share This Story:

By Kerry Burke
Communications Assistant
VISIT Milwaukee

As a communications major in college, you just don’t have time to take courses like Anatomy & Physiology. That’s why I was absolutely fascinated to learn about the complexity of that marvelous machine – our human body – on a recent trip to the Milwaukee Public Museum.

The Milwaukee Public Museum’s latest exhibit “Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life” not only teaches you how all the working parts of your body function together but also how to keep your body strong and healthy with lots of educational factoids displayed along your route.

“Body Worlds” uses more than 200 plastinates - preserved, real human bodies - consisting of individual organs to demonstrate the “arc of aging,” following the human body through each stage of life, from a fetus to old age. You’ll even see a plastinate that demonstrates various surgical procedures, including the insertion of a pacemaker and pins and plates to mend a broken bone.

Just walking through this exhibit, I was amazed at what I saw and realized how little I knew about the human body! Did you know that your left lung is smaller than your right or that the capillaries in your lungs would extend 994 miles if you laid them all out?

Towards the end of the exhibit is the Centennial Village, a feature focusing on geographic clusters around the world where the longest living people live.

Even if you saw “Body Worlds” the first time it was in Milwaukee a few years ago, this version is certainly worth a visit. Over 40 million people worldwide have been intrigued and educated through Dr. Gunther von Hagen's creations. Will you be one of them?

The exhibit is on display through June 15.

Les is More

Share This Story:

By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Every city has an identity, a face behind the name. These faces more or less reveal the character of the city and its people. Milwaukee is Brew City. L.A. is Tinseltown. New York’s The Big Apple. The city of Waukesha (just 15 minutes west of Milwaukee) is no different. From the second you enter its limits, you know Waukesha is more of Les – Les Paul.

Dubbed the Wizard of Waukesha, Les Paul was born in Waukesha County and invented the Gibson Les Paul solid body electric guitar. He is also famous for developing and popularizing many recording techniques including tape delay, reverb, close-miking, echo, sound-on-sound and phase shifting. Les has had a profound effect on musicians and music fans the world over.

In Waukesha, he’s simply known as a local boy who struck a life-altering chord with the world. Les’ impact is evident from the sign at the city entrance proclaiming “Birthplace of Les Paul” to 10-foot painted guitars (awesome photo ops) and murals scattered throughout the city, to the ultimate display of civic pride: his own exhibit.

“Les Paul: The Wizard of Waukesha” exhibit at the Waukesha County Museum takes you on a personable stroll through the life of Les Paul. From his first harmonica to his National Hall of Fame medal and world-famous guitars (you even get to strum a few on the wall), you’ll learn so much more than music and guitar history. You’ll learn about Les, his family, his values, his friendships and his love for both music and invention.

So, make a visit to Waukesha and the Waukesha County Museum (and check out several other exhibits!) and take note of how proud the city is to call Les its most-famous son. And how proud he was to call it home.

“I was on top of the world…and it all began right here in Waukesha. And wherever I went, I took Waukesha with me,” he said.

Les is, and always will be, music to Waukesha’s ears.

“Les Paul: The Wizard of Waukesha”
Waukesha County Museum
Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Closed Sunday, Monday, and some Holidays

Keepers of the Light

Share This Story:

By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Milwaukeeans are a fortunate lot. Big-city amenities with small-town prices. Clean and safe with some of the nation’s best waterways and a world-class lakefront. And parks, tons and tons of award-winning parks, the crown jewel being Lake Park, home to North Point Lighthouse.

Neatly tucked in the center of Lake Park (designed by premier 19th century architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park!), North Point Lighthouse is more than a grand, old maritime building, more than just a member of the National Register of Historic Places. North Point Lighthouse is history, an incredible 170-plus-years story of Milwaukee and its people.

The people who knew it best were the keepers and their families. Some were keepers for just a year, some for 26, like Georgia Stebbins, who called North Point Lighthouse home from 1881 to 1907. Known as the “Lady of the Lighthouse,” she was the longest-serving of 15 keepers, all with unique stories, but none more than Georgia.

Living in New York in 1873 with her husband Lemuel, Georgia was diagnosed with tuberculosis and her doctor suggested she move away from the polluted metropolis to live out her remaining days in a cleaner locale. Georgia packed her bags for Milwaukee, where her father and mother were keepers at North Point Lighthouse. Upon her arrival, she found her parents in worse condition than herself and began assisting, then eventually taking over, keeper duties.

Keeping the lighthouse miraculously kept her tuberculosis at bay and the “Lady of the Lighthouse” was soon joined by her husband, who opened a jewelry shop on Mason Street and the rest is their history. On and on history goes at North Point Lighthouse, all the while eight steadfast, stone lions sitting atop the bridge beneath it, guarding the bridge to its scenic entrance.

Whether you enter during weekend hours (open 1:00 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; children under 5 are free; under 12, $3; 12 and over, $5) or arrange for a private week-day tour (just $8 per person), you’ll learn about so much more than an incredible lighthouse and its amazing instrument, architecture and Lake Park landscape. You’ll be enlightened (had to throw one of those in) by the stories of the people who kept watch, high atop a serene bluff, on an incredible city.

And, you can’t beat the tower views, which are some of the best in said city - thanks to those who kept it.

North Point Lighthouse
2650 North Wahl Avenue
Open Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00-4:00 PM
Weekday tours available by appointment

From Pushcarts to Professionals

Share This Story:

by Margaret Casey 

Milwaukee is a mosaic of ethnic groups that each have their own immigrant story to tell. Perhaps no immigrant group has left a greater imprint on the progress of Milwaukee business over the last 170 years than the Jewish community. The Jewish Museum Milwaukee celebrates this with their current exhibit From Pushcarts to Professionals – The Evolution of Jewish Businesses in Milwaukee, running through December 1st.

My first trip to the Jewish Museum was a fascinating one and long overdue as the museum opened in 2008. Curator Molly Dubin conducted me through this temporary exhibit, which documents the history of the first trades plied by Jewish immigrants leading up to the current Milwaukee business community.

The Jewish peddler’s pushcart was a common sight in the mid-1800’s through the late 1930’s, and eventually led to the scrap metal business and names like Miller Compressing and Chudnow Iron & Metal.

Jewish-owned textile businesses like knitting and hosiery factories, tailoring and clothing design led to department stores like Schuster’s, Gimbels, the legendary Goldmann’s on Mitchell Street and on to today’s Boston Store and Kohl’s Department Stores. Skills in baking and culinary trades led to Jake’s Deli, Benji’s Deli and Miller Bakery.

These are only a few of the familiar names in this exhibit, which ends with prominent individuals who have made such huge contributions to Milwaukee’s business, arts and culture, education and philanthropic communities, among them Sheldon Lubar, Steve Marcus and Joseph Zilber.

Moving stories, artifacts and oral histories of generations of family businesses are presented in From Pushcarts to Professionals. When the going got tough, the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of Milwaukee’s Jewish community survived and even flourished, and the city is forever impacted because of it.

Stop by the Jewish Museum Milwaukee for this impressive exhibit, and stay to take in the compelling and educational permanent exhibits on the history of Jewish life and culture in Milwaukee. You’ll find out more about how our city’s multiculturalism gives us a character all our own!

Jewish Museum Milwaukee
1360 N. Prospect Ave.

Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm
Friday 10am-2pm
Sunday 12pm-4pm