|While it is not known as a tourism Mecca, Milwaukee is a vibrant city with plenty to see and explore. |
• During the summer, the venerable Iroquois offers narrated sightseeing tours of the Milwaukee River, Harbor and Lake Michigan daily at 1:00 and 3:00.
• Sea Dog Sailing offers sailing trips out of McKinley Marina. The Edelweiss I and II offer elegant dinner cruises departing from the 3rd Street Pier restaurant.
• The Milwaukee County Zoo features include a train tour of the zoo, sea lion shows, and a dairy farm. Check with zoo schedules for fun special events like sleepovers at the zoo or trick-or-treating at the zoo on Halloween.
• The Pabst Brewery was recently the center of controversy when a proposal to redevelop the crumbling factory complex fell through due to a disagreement between the City of Milwaukee and the project's developers over financing. The brewery complex, which has been abandoned for decades, is a fascinating collection of architecture from different periods, including a number of beautiful old Cream City brick buildings. While technically off limits to the public, many of the buildings can be seen from the fences which line part of the property. It is, however, easy to get onto the site, and many locals have done so...but remember, it is private property, so enter at your own risk. The complex is located on the far northwestern corner of downtown, just north of the Milwaukee County Courthouse on N 9th St.
• The Domes complex in Mitchell Park is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The three huge glass domes serve as the city's horticultural gardens, and house a desert habitat, a rainforest, and varying themed exhibits. Mitchell Park is located at the intersection of S Layton Blvd. & W Pierce St.
• The Milwaukee Art Museum's Santiago Calatrava-designed addition is Milwaukee's most recognizable landmark, and the bird-like wings of the building's Quadracci Pavilion open and close several times each day, depending on the weather. The War Memorial which the museum is connected to was designed by the architect Eero Saarinen, and worth a look as well. For more information on the museum, check the Arts & Culture section of this article.
• Milwaukee's City Hall was the city's most important landmark before the completion of the Calatrava addition to the museum. This beautiful building is located at the intersection of N Water St. and E Wells St. The architecture is heavily influenced by that of Germany, which is a symbol of Milwaukee's large German immigrant population at the turn of the century.
Arts & Culture
• Milwaukee Art Museum The Milwaukee Art Museum along the lakefront is renowned for its new Calatrava addition (2004). The giant bird-like structure juts out towards the lake and has been adopted as the new symbol of Milwaukee, featured on all of the flags and welcome signs. The Calatrava building is free to the public, and going just to appreciate the architecture and great views of the lake is recommended. Exhibits vary.
• Milwaukee Public Museum
• Milwaukee Repertory Theater
• America's Black Holocaust Museum
• The Milwaukee Public Museum along I-45 just north if I-94 is excellent for children and adults alike, containing exhibits on numerous topics including large historical dioramas and an IMAX theatre. Well-known permanent exhibits include a "Butterflies Alive" garden and the Streets of Old Milwaukee. The Discovery World Museum, attached to the Public Museum is geared towards middle school children, with hands-on science experiments and exhibits.
• The Betty Brinn Children's Museum is situated right along the lakefront is excellent for young children
• Boerner Botanical Gardens and the Mitchell Park Domes offer atmospheric gardens or domes with flora from various climates.
• Both the Charles Allis Art Museum and the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum are located in repurposed, East Side mansions. They are great stops as you explore the East Side neighborhood.
• Juneautown and Kilbourntown/Westown - These two neighborhoods, which sit across the Milwaukee River from each other, form the larger area generally known as "downtown." Juneautown, between the lake and the river, is the financial heart of the city, as well as the place where Milwaukee was born. The city's tallest building, the 601-foot USBank Tower, is located here along the lake, as are a number of the city's most architecturally significant buildings, including the Cathedral of St. John and Milwaukee's City Hall. There are a number of coffee shops and restaurants, but the area mostly closes down after business hours. Across the river, Kilbourntown (or Westown) serves as the city's entertainment center. here you will find attractions such as the Midwest Airlines Center, Milwaukee's primary convention center. Nearby are the Grand Avenue Mall, the Milwaukee Theater, and the Bradley Center. Many of the city's hotels are located here as well, as are a number of excellent restaurants and clubs. While none of the city's tall buildings have public observatories, you can get a fantastic view from Polaris, the revolving restaurant perched atop the Hyatt Regency in the heart of Kilbourntown. The Riverwalk lines both sides of the Milwaukee River through the downtown area, and is home to a number of pieces of public art, as well as some of the city's most popular restaurants.
• Historic Third Ward - This small district, located directly to the south of Juneautown, is Milwaukee's version of the trendy urban "warehouse district." The streets of the Third Ward are lined with 19th and early 20th-century warehouse buildings which have been converted into lofts and offices. At street level, chic shops and restaurants are commonplace. The area is also an entertainment hub. The Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design is located at 208 N. Water Street, just blocks from the Broadway Theater Center, home of the Skylight Opera . On the ward's southern boundary--the Milwaukee River--one can find the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (or just MIAD ), which is the centerpiece of the city's art scene. On Gallery Night, which occurs once every three months, the Third Ward hums with activity, as it is home to the city's largest collection of art galleries. The Third Ward is also home to the newest section of the Riverwalk, which offers some fantastic views of the downtown skyline.
• Walker's Point
• The East Side - This neighborhood stretches from downtown to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. It is home to elegant mansions, college students, and everything in between.
• Historic Mitchell Street