We never thought we would ever find ourselves in Wisconsin, but after our day in Milwaukee, we are glad we took the time to explore the city. My cousin was getting married in Green Bay, but we flew in and out of General Mitchell International Airport, which gave us plenty of time to spend the day in Milwaukee. There are plenty of Milwaukee attractions to enjoy throughout the city. From brewery tours, eating cheese, an art museum, beaches, eating more cheese, walking the harbor and more – there are plenty of ways to spend the day in Milwaukee.
Without further ado, I am excited to show you how to have the best day in Milwaukee!
Table of Contents
Brunch at Engine Company 3
Start your day in Milwaukee the right way with brunch at Engine Company 3. Engine Company 3 is one of the best brunch spots in Milwaukee! As the name suggests, Engine Company 3 is a renovated firehouse serving plates from around the world. Next to every entree is the country in which the dish is inspired from. In addition to their unique menu, Engine Company 3 serves its guests with the freshest, most sustainable and locally sourced food and drinks at an incredible value.
Order the Patacon con Huevo y Chorizo (Columbia) and Fried Pariser Sausage and French Toast (US). They are both packed with flavor and delicious.
Overall, Engine Company 3 has a great concept from providing locally sourced food, renovating a unique firehouse and creating dishes from around the world – it is the BEST brunch in Milwaukee.
217 W National Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Tues – Fri: 7:30am – 2pm
Sat – Sun: 8:30am – 2pm
It’s Miller Time!
Whether you love beer or not, the Miller Brewery Tour is a Milwaukee attraction not to be missed. The tour runs an hour long and includes a short video of Miller Brewing Company’s history, then continues as an indoor and outdoor tour. Guests will be able to learn everything about brewing beer and distributing it. The tour starts at the packaging center – we watched hundreds of beer cases pass us on a conveyor belt. Then guests visit the shipping and distributing warehouse, followed by the brewhouse. Guest’s favorite part of the tour is going inside the Miller caves. Miller used to store their beer in the underground caves to keep the beer at the perfect temperature, but now it is retired to be a part of the Miller Brewery Tour.
We can’t forget the best part, the tour is FREE and includes FREE BEER! The tour ends at their Bavarian-style Miller Inn and guests get to enjoy three different Miller beers (must be 21 years old).
4251 West State Street
Milwaukee, WI 53208
Mon – Sat: tours typically run every 30 minutes between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m
Sun: tour times depend on the season (call ahead)
Milwaukee Public Market
When you visit Milwaukee, you must try three of their famous foods – fish fry, fried cheese curds and Wisconsin cheeses. With that being said, one of the best places to eat in Milwaukee is at the Milwaukee Public Market because it is your one-stop shop to savor all of the delicious food. The Milwaukee Public Market is located downtown and is truly the perfect foodie destination! It features 16 different food vendors that are all unique and produce high quality and freshly-made prepared foods. There is somewhere to eat for everyone inside Milwaukee Public Market – Mexican, Thai, Middle Eastern, salad, sandwiches, healthy options, seafood, pizza, chocolate, cupcakes and more.
Visitors can either grab their food to go, find seats on the second level or the respected vendor seating. To get your famous Milwaukee grub, start at West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe for a Wisconsin artisanal cheese board and fried cheese curds. Then order your fish fry from St. Paul Fish Company. Viola, you have the perfect Milwaukee meal! At this point you may be wondering, what are fried cheese curds? Cheese curds are a natural shape and form before being processed into blocks of cheddar, therefore it is the freshest form of cheddar cheese and a healthy snack. However, Milwaukee takes the natural and healthy cheese snack and makes them even better by frying the beer batter dipped cheese curds. The result – DELICIOUS!!! Fish fry is more simple to explain, just Milwaukee’s term for fried fish (mostly cod or perch). Milwaukee has a tradition of having fish fry every Friday, but visitors can find their share of fish fry every day at St. Paul Fish Company.
400 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Mon – Fri: 10am – 8pm
Sat: 8am – 7pm
Sun: 10am – 6pm
Milwaukee Art Museum
Another amazing Milwaukee attraction – the Milwaukee Art Museum has a magnificent collection of nearly 25,000 works of art. The building itself is a pice of art and it referred to as the Calatrava. Both the exterior and interior of the Calatrava is beautiful. The Quadracci Pavilion has a moveable wing-like sunscreen, named the Burke Brise Soleil, with a 217-foot wingspan. The wings unfold at 10am, flap at noon and close at 5pm. However, the inside is our favorite for its photography opportunities with floor-to-ceiling windows looking over Lake Michigan. If anything, visitors should enter the Milwaukee Art Museum just to take in the interior design and stunning views of Lake Michigan.
The art pieces inside the museum are collections of American decorative arts, German Expressionist prints and paintings, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960. Guests will find art pieces of a painting, drawing, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, video art and installations, textiles and more. Needless to say, there is a piece of art for any visitor to enjoy.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10am – 5pm
Students and Seniors: $17
Children 12 and under: FREE
Attend One of Milwaukee’s Famous Summer Festivals
Milwaukee is known as the “City of Festivals”, therefore they have plenty of festivals for visitors to choose. Milwaukee is a city with a rich heritage, which is why they feature several of their ethnic and cultural heritages every summer – Polish, Italian, German, Irish, Indian and Mexican. You can almost visit the world spending a summer in Milwaukee! They also have a pride, summer and pet festival. The festivals are taken place at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park along the shores of Lake Michigan. Visitors are guaranteed to have a great time at Milwaukee’s festivals. If you happen to be visiting during one of the festivals, this would be the best way to spend your day in Milwaukee!
639 E. Summerfest Place
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Check website for more information on scheduled events
Beachin’ it at Bradford Beach
You don’t need the ocean to have a great beach in Milwaukee! One of Milwaukee’s greatest attractions is the Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan. Bradford Beach has 3 Tiki huts, 35 sand volleyball courts, cabana rentals, a boat house building with restrooms and a concession stand for guests to enjoy. Bradford Beach also hosts a beach volleyball summer league with over 500 teams! If you are lucky, maybe you can sub in for someone. Lifeguards are also on duty during the summer from June to August. Unfortunately, the one bad thing about Bradford Beach, is they do not allow dogs (service dogs only), so you will have to leave your man’s best friend at home. Despite the no dog rule, Bradford Beach is a great way to spend a lovely afternoon in Milwaukee.
2400 N Lincoln Memorial Dr
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Open daily: 6am – 10pm
Basilica of St. Josaphat
The Basilica of St. Josaphat is one of the most beautiful basilicas in the United States, if not the world. It was finished in 1929 making it United States third basilica. At the time of its completion, the only dome bigger than the Basilica of St. Josaphat was the United States Capitol. The basilica represents Milwaukee’s Polish heritage, spiritual devotion, and patriotic pride as the second largest ethnic group in the city. The exterior of the basilica is glorious and is definitely worth a quick visit. Visitors can either take a self-guided walking tour inside the basilica or schedule a tour with the visitor center.
Mon – Sat: 9am – 4pm
Sun: tour following the 10:00am Mass
FREE, but donations welcome
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I hope you enjoyed my list of how to spend the best day in Milwaukee. There is so much more to explore in the city, I just provided you with a little cheesy taste.