On the western shore of Lake Michigan, only 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the north of Chicago, sits the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers join the Milwaukee River at its beginning, making it the largest city in the state. It is also the state capital.
One of the best things to see and do in Milwaukee can be found right here: the magnificent Riverwalk pedestrian path, which is a treat to explore both during the day and at night.
The fact that this city is the birthplace of the world-famous Harley-Davidson motorcycle brand, though, is without a doubt one of its most notable aspects. The iconic “Bronze Fonz” statue, which depicts the lead character of the 1970s television sitcom Happy Days and was filmed in Milwaukee, is a free and enjoyable activity that visitors can enjoy while in the city.
Best Places to Visit in Milwaukee
Discover the best locations to go by consulting our list of the most popular attractions and entertaining things to do in Milwaukee.
1. Take a Walk Along the Beautiful Lakefront of Milwaukee
One of the most beautiful downtown sections of any American city is located along the lakefront in Milwaukee.
Whether you are interested in shopping in boutique boutiques and galleries, dining al fresco on the shores of Lake Michigan, or simply exploring the city’s numerous beautiful walking trails (check out the Lakefront Trail), parks (yes, there is even a beach), and attractions, time spent here is time well spent.
A visit to the War Memorial Center, which pays respect to those who lost their lives in World War II and the Korean War, ought to be one of the most important stops along the route that you take along the water’s edge.
2. Visit the Harley-Davidson Museum and Live the Full “Hog” Experience
The Harley-Davidson Museum represents not only one of the city’s most venerable businesses but also one of its most popular tourist destinations.
When William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson, and a German engineer manufactured their very first motorcycle in 1901, they laid the groundwork for what would become one of the most renowned motorcycle brands in history.
After that, in 1903, production went into mass production, and the rest, as they say, is history—the kind of history that can be seen on exhibit at the wonderful Harley-Davidson Museum.
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This world-class destination for families is home to more than 450 motorcycles and historical relics, the most notable of which is “Serial Number One,” Harley-Davidson’s oldest motorcycle.
3. Attend the Milwaukee Art Museum to Satisfy Your Need for Art
The exceptional Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) was established in 1888, and it currently houses more than 20,000 works of art spanning from antiquity to the present day. Artists from all over the world produced these works.
The building beside the water is an architectural masterpiece that looks like a combination of a sleek ship and an airplane. It has a tall, retractable structure on top of its roof that looks like wings, and the building itself resembles a mix between the two.
The extensive collection of European, American, modern, and contemporary art is one of the highlights of a trip to the museum. These contain a significant number of exquisite prints, drawings, and pictures, in addition to collections from Asia and Africa.
4. Experience the Buzz of the Third Ward’s Vibrant Social Scene
The Historic Third Ward, which is located downtown and along the riverfront, is Milwaukee’s epicenter of nightlife and social activity. Due to its abundance of art galleries, hip restaurants, and renovated warehouses, the neighborhood is popular with tourists.
Be on the lookout for original works of art in unexpected locations, such as large sculptures affixed to the sides of buildings or positioned in the middle of pedestrian areas.
5. Experience the Wild Side at the Milwaukee County Zoo
This is the spot to come if you are seeking activities that you can do in Milwaukee with your children. The Milwaukee County Zoo is one of the largest in the United States and is home to 1,800 animals that call the zoo their permanent home.
These creatures include polar bears, gorillas, and cheetahs, to name just a few of the exotic and uncommon species that call the zoo home.
6. Attend a Performance at the Pabst Theater
The Pabst Theater, also referred to simply as “The Pabst” by Milwaukee residents, is considered to be one of the city’s most beautiful examples of architectural design.
The theater was erected around the turn of the 20th century in a style that is reminiscent of Europe’s best opera houses. It has a charming Baroque interior with a spectacular chandelier and an Italian Carrara marble staircase, and it was designed in a manner that is reminiscent of Europe’s best opera houses.
The theater, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is still in operation and hosts a variety of events, including stage and musical shows.
7. Visit the Pabst Mansion
It is highly recommended that you add the Pabst Mansion, which is located in close proximity to Marquette University and is a popular site in its own right, to your itinerary of must-see destinations in this Wisconsin city.
This lovely home, which was built in 1893 for the rich Pabst family and is also known as the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion, was named after its original owner.
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It is well known for its Flemish Renaissance Revival design and features historical furnishings and décor. Additionally, it is exquisitely decked out for Christmas festivities and celebrations.
8. Discover the Horticultural Conservatory at Mitchell Park
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is located in the western section of the city. It features three enormous glass domes that are highly distinct from one another.
Inside these domes are plants that are native to deserts and tropical regions. Each dome has a circumference of 140 feet and is 85 feet tall; they were the first of their kind to be completed in 1959, making them significant works of architecture as well.
9. The Museum of the City of Milwaukee
Don’t let the rather uncomplicated name deceive you. Exploring the numerous collections and exhibitions housed within the Milwaukee Public Museum (also known as the MPM) is a fantastic way to while away a few hours.
The “Streets of Old Milwaukee” exhibit features a presentation of Milwaukee’s history and also amazing natural history displays such as life-size dinosaurs and a recreation of a tropical rainforest. Other highlights include a reproduction of a tropical rainforest.
10. Discovery World
There are several hands-on displays at the Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee, which is also known as the James Lovell Museum of Science, Economics, and Technology.
These displays are likely to captivate visitors of all ages, particularly children. The museum is situated on the water’s edge and features a breathtaking architectural design; in addition, it features an ever-changing roster of traveling exhibits that are connected to the fields of study emphasized in its name.
The Reiman Aquarium, the tall ship Denis Sullivan, and the superb Les Paul’s House of Sound, which highlights the work and career of one of the world’s most iconic guitar makers, are all attractions that you really must see.
The city of Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, is an excellent place for you to begin your journey to the state of Wisconsin.
A significant number of the objects you will see here date back hundreds of years and are located in an area that is famous for its beer activities.
This guide will help you uncover some of the top attractions you can see in Wisconsin on a trip to a city that is loaded with breweries, which is one of the state’s most popular tourist draws.