Milwaukee Travel Guide

USA  
Credit

Courtesy of Corey Hengen/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Best Things To Do in Milwaukee

In Milwaukee, you'll find your usual assortment of art museums (Milwaukee Art Museum), historic homes (Pabst Mansion) and sports venues (Miller Park). You'll also find interesting areas to meander through like the Victorian-Italianate Brady Street and the Historic Third Ward. And for those into craft beer (and who isn't these days?), the Lakefront Brewery is an excellent way to taste some of Milwaukee's best. And we couldn't forget the Harley-Davidson Museum. It shows, among other things, many bikes from the motorcycle purveyor's history.

How we rank Things to Do
  • #1
    Things to do in Milwaukee
    View all Photos
    #1 in Milwaukee
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Miller Park, which sits about 3 miles west of the Harley-Davidson Museum and 5 miles southwest of downtown, is home to Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers. Although the Brewers may not have the greatest game record, they are certainly beloved by their fans. And whether you're a long-time fan or a first-time spectator, you'll enjoy taking in a game beneath the stadium's retractable roof, which is the only fan-shaped convertible roof in North America. (Thanks to this unique roof, you'll never have to worry about inclement weather, which is a huge perk to many visitors.)

    Inside the stadium, visitors will find ATMs, restrooms, phone charging stations, merchandise stalls and food vendors scattered throughout the complex. There are also several all-inclusive areas for larger parties and celebrations during Brewers games, including the luxurious Gehl Club and right field's Dew Deck — which boasts its own 25-foot rock wall.

  • #2
    Lakefront Brewery
    View all Photos
    #2 in Milwaukee
    Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Considered by several former visitors as one of the best brewery tours in Milwaukee thanks to its tasty brews and wildly entertaining tour guides, Lakefront Brewery's tours are also one of the best deals around. For just $10, tourgoers can see much of the brewery, enjoy four 6-ounce samples of beer and take home a souvenir pint glass with a beer coupon (good for a free beer at one of several area eateries).

    While the brewery's offerings change throughout the year, some previous brews featured include a pumpkin lager, a barley wine, an organic chocolate stout and an India pale ale. And for a true taste of Wisconsin, previous travelers recommend eating at the on-site beer hall after your tour to savor some regional delicacies like cheese curds, Bavarian-style pretzels and Usinger brats. The Friday fish fry is especially popular with locals and tourists, thanks to its pairing of delicious brews and fresh fish with a live polka band.

  • #3
    Harley-Davidson Museum
    View all Photos
    #3 in Milwaukee
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Whether you're a diehard biker or someone who just happens to be in the area, many visitors say the Harley-Davidson Museum is worth exploring. Spread across 20 acres of prime Milwaukee riverfront property, the Harley-Davidson Museum continuously wows travelers with its 12 permanent exhibits and rotating special exhibits, including a recovered motorcycle from a tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. Some permanent exhibits include a design lab, an engine room and an extensive motorcycle gallery that showcases the evolution of the company's bikes.

    For those interested in the nitty-gritty of Harley bikes and history, consider paying $4 per person for an audio headset. Prior visitors said the in-depth narration provided a superb detailed description of everything in the museum. (But if you don't feel like paying extra for a headset, the written explanations provided at each exhibit provide a wealth of excellent context, so you'll still learn plenty, according to previous travelers.)

  • #4
    Milwaukee County Zoo
    View all Photos
    #4 in Milwaukee
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Spotted hyenas, camels, leopard sharks and three species of penguin are just some of the animals you'll see if you visit the Milwaukee County Zoo. Opened in 1892, the once-small space has expanded to 200-plus acres containing more than 2,000 animals. But this zoo offers more than just animals. There are also a number of rides and attractions (additional fees apply) like a carousel and a safari train, as well as special events that occur throughout the year, such as breakfast with Santa Claus and an elephant appreciation day.

    Of all of the zoo's offerings, previous visitors especially enjoyed the Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo, and the Sunset Zoofari, which gives patrons evening access to the animals alongside live music. (However, according to some travelers, steer clear of the zoo's free days. Hoards of people visit during these days, so lines for attractions tend to be long and views of the animals can be poor at best.)

  • #5
    Pabst Mansion
    View all Photos
    #5 in Milwaukee
    Historic Homes/Mansions
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Pabst Mansion — the former home of captain Frederick Pabst (of beer fame) — was just one of a few dozen lavish estates that lined what was then Grand Avenue (so named for its wealthy residents and their impressive homes). Built in 1892, the home became a bastion for the luxe life. Costing $254,614 (or more than $32 million in today's money) to construct, the elaborate mansion includes a carriage house, a pavillion, a greenhouse and a main residence — which boasts 66 rooms, 14 fireplaces and more than a dozen hidden compartments.

    And while touring the century-old mansion today, tourists learn all about the Pabst Mansion's construction, as well as the history of the Pabst family and their iconic brewery, Pabst Brewing Company. In fact, the brewery's impact on the family can even be felt within their former residence, where decorative elements like hops bud finials adorn the exquisite grand staircase.

  • #6
    Milwaukee Art Museum
    View all Photos
    #6 in Milwaukee
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This art museum, located in downtown Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, gets more praise for its buildings (there are three) than the art it contains. And thats because the Milwaukee Art Museum looks futuristic with its gleaming white suspension bridge, 90-foot vaulted glass ceiling and cantilevered wings. Just make sure to visit on a calm, sunny day. According to past visitors, the Quadracci Pavillion's wings (the Burke Brise Soleil) won't open if it is raining or windy.

    Inside, the art is also worth perusing. Within the 341,000-square-foot complex, visitors can browse 30,000 works of art, including one of the largest Georgia O'Keeffe — a Wisconsin native — collections in the world.

  • #7
    Basilica of St. Josaphat
    View all Photos
    #7 in Milwaukee
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Situated a few blocks west of the Kinnickinnic River and about 2 miles south of the Harley-Davidson Museum, the grandiose Basilica of St. Josaphat is worth a visit, even if you're not Catholic. Modeled after Rome's famous St. Peter's Basilica, this Milwaukee religious site was designed by German architect Erhard Brielmaier after the original church burned down in 1889. And like its Roman counterpart, the Basilica of St. Josaphat features a cross-shaped floor plan, as well as a massive copper dome.

    Although several former visitors highly recommend attending Sunday Mass here, in order to take in all of the church's beauty, consider going on one of the property's tours, which are offered when Mass is not in session. There is also a small museum in the pavilion's lower level for those looking to learn more about the church's history. Additionally, walking tour brochures are available free of charge.

Explore More of Milwaukee

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 7 Best San Francisco Boat Tours

Take in the city's major sights by water with one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 22, 2019

How to Pack a Suitcase: 16 Tips and Expert Tricks for Perfectly Packed Luggage

Take the stress out of vacation prep with these handy recommendations.

Lyn MettlerJuly 22, 2019

The 12 Best Niagara Falls Tours

Explore one of North America's most impressive natural sights and the surrounding region on a tour.

Lyn MettlerJuly 19, 2019

The Cheapest Ways to Travel: 15 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

These cheap travel tips can help you save big on your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonJuly 18, 2019

The 9 Best San Francisco Wine Tours

Taste some of America's finest wines on one of these daytrips.

John RodwanJuly 18, 2019

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

Holly JohnsonJuly 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

Gwen PratesiJuly 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

Lyn MettlerJuly 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

John RodwanJuly 11, 2019