Off the Beaten Path

Milwaukee Musts: La Crème de la Crème of Cream City

City scape of a Milwaukee city on the edge of the Great Lakes

Wisconsin is brimming with breathtaking views, Midwestern charm, and, of course, enough cheese to fill Lake Michigan. But if you’re planning on making your way to America’s Dairyland, you can’t leave without at least making a small stop in the state’s biggest city. 

It might surprise you to learn that Milwaukee’s nickname, “Cream City,” doesn’t come from cows but rather the cream-colored bricks that the city started producing in the late 1800s. But whether you’re staying a couple of days or just driving through Milwaukee, there are a few things that you don’t want to miss:

  • City sights — Attractive attractions that are more than just eye-candy. 
  • Interactive history — Learn about Milwaukee and its story as a city. 
  • Food and drink — Two places to stop to refuel. 
  • Crazy collections — Who says museums have to be boring?


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Can’t-Miss Milwaukee City Sights

Milwaukee Riverwalk

Source: Milwaukee Riverwalk

Get Acquainted with the City by Talking a Walk Along the River
River Street | Downtown | milwaukeeriverwalkdistrict.com

What better way to get to know a city than taking a long walk (approximately 20 blocks, to be specific)? Well, the Milwaukee Riverwalk lets you do exactly that—without having to worry about oncoming traffic. 

Even if you don’t walk the whole thing, the Riverwalk is as convenient as it is scenic—it connects some of the city’s best shops, restaurants, and nightlife. So, put on your walking shoes, and start out your trip on the right foot!

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Source: Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

These Domes Are Filled with Mini Ecosystems and Natural Beauty
524 S. Layton Boulevard | Clark Square | county.milwaukee.gov

Open 365 days a year, Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory will have you seeing green—literally. The Show Dome, the Desert Dome, and the Tropical Dome each boast a specific kind of plantlife splendor for a versatile tour with greenery galore. 

This family-friendly attraction will undoubtedly add some color to your trip and make for some gorgeous photos. Admission to the Domes is $8 for adults and $6 for juniors ages 6 to 17. Make sure you check the website for any special events or programs the day of your visit!

Interactive History in The Cream City

North Point Lighthouse

Aerial shot of a lighthouse and bright green trees

Source: North Point Lighthouse

Worth a Stop on Your Drive to the Lake
2650 N. Wahl Avenue | East Side |  northpointlighthouse.org 

Built with Cream City brick in 1855, the North Point Lighthouse is a historic monument that offers visitors panoramic views of the surrounding area. Climb the inside of the lighthouse, stop in the museum to learn more about the towering relic, and take a stroll around Frederick Law Olmsted’s Lake Park for delightful few hours on your way to Lake Michigan. 

A part of the National Register of Historic Places since 1984, North Point Lighthouse is a living piece of history that you can not only appreciate from the outside but also explore from the inside. For an $8-admission fee, you can take a tour of the lighthouse year-round on weekends from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Wisconsin Cheese Mart

Cheddar Cheese Curds Combo 3 Pounds looks delicious!

Source: Wisconsin Cheese Mart

Stop in This Gourmet Cheese Shop as You Wander Down Old World Third Street
215 W. Highland Avenue | Westown | wisconsincheesemart.com

Having opened in 1938, Wisconsin Cheese Mart is so much more than a cheese market—it’s a beloved establishment that has withstood the test of time. Located at the intersection of Old World Third Street and West Highland Avenue, this gourmet cheese shop is filled with edible souvenirs that probably won’t make it all the way home. 

You’ll be amazed by the world’s largest selection of Wisconsin cheese and can even shop gift baskets that are deliverable to all 50 states. But don’t worry—once you leave, you can order more of the store’s delicious dairy from its website.

Milwaukee’s Best Food and Drink

Blue’s Egg

Rye benedict with a hash brown and frisee lettuce

Source: Blue’s Egg

The Best Brunch in Town
317 N. 76th St. | Bluemound | bluesegg.com

From breakfast classics like pancakes and French toast to more eccentric fare like ratatouille omelets and roasted mushroom strata, Blue’s Egg has a wide-ranging menu and impeccable taste. And because it proudly supports local farmers and prioritizes sustainable business, your food is always served guilt-free. 

At Blue’s, the menu might start with foods, but it doesn’t end there. Enjoy coffee, cocktails, juice, soft drinks, and, of course, beer. (We’re not saying we usually drink beer for breakfast, but when in Milwaukee, right?

Lakefront Brewery

A man taps barrel kegs lined up

Source: Lakefront Brewery

Sample Beers at the First Certified-Organic Brewery in America
1872 N. Commerce Street | Beerline B | lakefrontbrewery.com

Brewing has long been a part of Milwaukee’s history, and perhaps nowhere in the city is this more palpable than at Lakefront Brewery, an establishment that celebrates both beer and historical preservation. That’s why the brewery houses antique treasures like Bernie Brewer’s chalets and lights that were originally hung at the Plankinton Hotel in 1906.

There’s plenty to do at Lakefront Brewery, from touring the brewery to drinking (and eating) your way through the menu. Having maintained its success for over three decades, it’s safe to say these guys know what they’re doing.

Cream City’s Crazy Collections

Harley-Davidson Museum 

A vintage photo of two men on one of the first Harley's, they have a lot of fish as they may be returning from a fishing trip

Source: Harley-Davidson Museum

Motor Through This Hog Heaven
400 W. Canal Street | Menomonee River Valley | harley-davidson.com

As one of Milwaukee’s top tourist destinations, the Harley-Davidson Museum is worth a visit, even if you’re not a motorcycle enthusiast. You’ll see more than 400 motorcycles and artifacts dating back to the very beginning of the company in 1903. 

The museum property is huge, and there’s a variety of things to see and do outside of the museum itself—take a walk along the Milwaukee River, marvel at the extent of the company’s impact on lives across the country when you pass by the Living Legend rivet walls, and grab a bite to eat at MOTOR Bar and Restaurant.”

National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum

The exterior of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is brick with an extended and covered patio

Source: National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum

Check Out the World’s Largest Collection of Bobbleheads
170 S. 1st Street, 2nd Floor | Harbor View | bobbleheadhall.com

Though it only opened in 2019, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is quickly emerging as a Milwaukee favorite for tourists and locals alike. The only museum of its kind in the entire world, this versatile collection of bobbleheads makes for a whimsical attraction and a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.  

With over 10,000 bobbleheads on display, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has just about every type of bobblehead that you can think of, from sports players and cartoon characters to celebrities and politicians. And for only $5, you can see them all—plus you’ll get to learn everything there is to know about bobbleheads while you’re at it.

Have a Blast in the Badger State

Milwaukee will present you with a long list of activities to choose from, and you just can’t go wrong with this inviting Midwestern metropolis. Whether you’re sitting with a cold draft at a brewery, admiring art (or motorcycles and bobbleheads) in a museum, or biting into a piece of gourmet cheese, you’re sure to fall in love with Milwaukee—and leave wanting to come back. 

Thrifty encourages you to be responsible. Don’t Drink and Drive. To read about all of Thrifty’s Safety Tips, click here. To check out Thrifty Rental Terms, click here.

 

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