Milwaukee Magazine


Impress visiting friends and family with the best that the Cream City has to offer. Here’s a cheat-sheet compiled with the help of a few local experts.

- By Tom Tolan

Bike around the Menomonee Valley, from Miller Park to the Harley-Davidson Museum. With the old railway right of way, now the Hank Aaron State Trail, the Potawatomi casino, representi­ng the Valley’s earliest residents, “The Valley talks about our past, our present and our future,” says Rocky Marcoux, commission­er of Milwaukee’s Department of City Developmen­t. Meanwhile, the new Three Bridges State Park “speaks to the renaissanc­e” of the city and the greening of our Valley. Grab some Bublrs and get going!

Get an up-close-and-personal experience with the waterways by renting a kayak from Milwaukee Kayak Co., 318 S. Water St.

As long as we’re on the subject of water, take your guests on a sail on the Denis Sullivan, the replica of a 19th century Great Lakes schooner. Built by nearly a thousand volunteers in the 1990s as the flagship both of Wisconsin and of the United Nations Environmen­t Program, the ship’s purpose is to educate the public on the precious resources of the Great Lakes. The sunset cruises are particular­ly spectacula­r, not to mention relaxing, and include two drinks.

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Milwaukee Public Market for some shopping. “People go nuts over that,” says Jesse Klumb of the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel.

Explore the City Built on Water’s relationsh­ip with its main liquid thoroughfa­re with a visit to the RiverWalk. Along the way, stop to watch the different types of drawbridge­s in action.

There are plenty of restaurant options in Milwaukee, but if you’re trying to impress guests during the warm-weather months, then dining must be al fresco, and preferably with a view. For the upscale set, pay a visit to the patio of Harbor House restaurant, with sparkling Lake Michigan as a backdrop. For something a bit more funky, head down to Barnacle Bud’s. Perched along the Kinnickinn­ic River, this little restaurant/bar looks like something you’d find in the Florida Keys, complete with a boardwalk that surrounds it. Grab a beer and watch the boats dock.

Another visitor-pleaser is the Downtown Trolley, which makes a loop of Downtown and the Third Ward and is a way to get a quick take on the city’s history. Drivers are fonts of local informatio­n, and at just $1, it’s the best deal in town.

Make that the second best deal in town. First place goes to the free, one-hour tours of Miller Brewing Co., which include beer samples at the end. After all, no trip to Milwaukee is complete without an homage to the refreshmen­t that made this city famous, is it?

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