Pabst Mansion#4 in Best Things To Do in Milwaukee
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.
Previous visitors appreciated the restoration completed on the lower floors by the property (the third floor is currently being restored) to bring it to its original splendor, as well as the informative docents. And many recommend visiting during the winter months when the mansion is beautifully decorated for Christmas.
To find Pabst Mansion, make your way to Wisconsin Avenue near Milwaukee's Marquette University. Open daily, the house can be toured from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and students and $7 for kids ages 6 through 17 (free for children younger than 6). When planning your visit, remember to account for higher entrance fees during the holidays ($1 more per person) and entry to be denied after 3:15 p.m.
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#1 Lakefront Brewery
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.