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Like a Local

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As much fun as it is to see the sights in a new city, sometimes you want to stay under the radar and go where the locals go. Don’t worry – we have your back. Check these local haunts off your list to get a taste of what it’s like to be a real Milwaukeean.

  • Eat Friday Fish Fry

    If you do nothing else, do this. Every Friday, pretty much every restaurant in town offers a fish fry. Your standard fish fry will include a few pieces of fried whitefish (usually perch or cod), rye bread with butter and fries. If given the choice between fries and potato pancakes, go for the potato pancakes.

  • Close Wolski’s

    You’ll see stickers proudly proclaiming “I Closed Wolski’s” all around the city and, indeed, the world. Earn one for yourself by staying until close at this casual neighborhood bar.

  • Stay at the Pfister Hotel

    A historic downtown gem, almost every Milwaukee local makes it a point to stay at the Pfister at least once in their life.

  • Image: Pfister Hotel

    Infiltrate the SafeHouse

    A true local would know the secret password to enter this spy-themed bar and restaurant, but you’ll still be able to get in to explore espionage paraphernalia, discover hidden secrets and sip craft cocktails…as long as you prove your loyalty.

  • Toast at Barnacle Bud’s

    This tucked away riverfront bar is home to one of the best patios in the city. Hang out by the waterfront and try Milwaukee’s only outdoor oyster bar.

  • Shop for a hat at the Brass Rooster

    Want to look sharp while you’re in town? This old-school men’s hat shop is making national headlines while keeping locals looking cool. (Don’t worry, ladies – the Hen House right next door has plenty of options for you.)

  • Image: Pfister Hotel

    Catch a flick at the Oriental Theatre

    One of the city’s last great movie palaces, this theater is always buzzing during the Milwaukee Film Festival, but locals come to see new releases and indie films here all year round.

  • Grab a cup of coffee at Colectivo

    Milwaukeeans love their local brews – alcoholic and otherwise. Stop at one of Colectivo’s local cafes to enjoy locally roasted coffee and pastries prepared in its own Troubadour Bakery.

  • Get cozy at Paddy’s Pub

    A charming neighborhood bar with Irish flair perfect to escape the wilder side of nightlife. Enjoy some complimentary trail mix while you hang out in the cozy bar or outside on their stone patio.

  • Image: Pfister Hotel

    Picnic at Jazz in the Park

    Downtown residents love free outdoor concerts. Bring some camp chairs or a blanket to Cathedral Square Park on Thursday evenings in the summer to enjoy live music and food from local vendors.

  • Dine at Five O’Clock Steakhouse

    This classic Wisconsin supper club has been the “special occasion” restaurant of choice for many Milwaukeeans since 1946. Come celebrate your own special occasion (how about your fabulous trip to Milwaukee?) with relish trays, premium steaks and ice cream drinks.

  • Get drinks at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge

    A local favorite since 1938, you can get more than 400 different cocktails at this bar, but you won’t be ordering them off a menu. Instead, let the talented bartenders guide you to the perfect drink.

  • Visit the tropics at Foundation

    Regularly named among the nation’s best tiki bars, there’s a little slice of paradise in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. Have a Rum Barrel and forget your troubles.

  • Dance like crazy at Mad Planet

    This funky venue hosts traveling bands and has been voted Milwaukee’s #1 dance club, thanks in large part to their famous Friday night Retro Dance Party and the monthly all-vinyl soul and funk Getdown.


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