Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide

Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West

Here with a travel guide to the original Beer City is Bev from Beverly Bean

I am so excited to be sharing a little taste of Milwaukee with you! My husband and I moved out here last August for his schooling, and it is wonderful to call this city home. There are so many fun places to see, eat, and travel to — and we have still barely scratched the surface in our 10 months here. But in that short amount of time, we have come to love the people, the food, the sports, and the amazing and unique atmosphere Milwaukee has to offer.

Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee, which is the Algonquin word for “the good land,” really is just that. The people here are so friendly and helpful, the food is incredible, and there is a culture of discovery and excitement with so many budding communities and shopping areas. You don’t really think of Wisconsin everyday, but when you come and visit, you’ll never forget it! I recommend coming in late spring or early fall to enjoy the best weather, but there are several activities in the summer that are worth the heat and humidity.

While Milwaukee is best known for breweries, cheese and the Brewers, there is so much more charm, history and chic fun to be had here. I love finding the mom-and-pop shops, the hole-in-the-wall diners with outstanding food and the little getaways Milwaukee has to offer. Public transportation is not the best, so I recommend having your own set of wheels if you visit, that way you’ll be free to run around the city and the Greater Milwaukee area. You’ll notice that several of these places are in the charming Wauwatosa. I hope you enjoy this guide! // Bev

Click to see more of Bev’s Milwaukee travel guide!

Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Menemonee River
Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Historic Third Ward
Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Collectivo Coffee
  • Nestled on North Avenue in the adjoining town of Wauwatosa, you’ll find North Ave Grill. This American diner is my favorite, and is the perfect mix of good prices, amazing food and comfortable atmosphere. I recommend their soup and sandwich combo!
  • Cafe Corazon is a young and hip Mexican restaurant with an amazing, eclectic atmosphere. The servers are so fun and anything on the menu is delicious.
  • Try something new at Ethiopian Cottage and get immersed in the experience of eating yummy food with your hands.
  • If you want pizza that comes in a perfect, personal size with artisan ingredients, Pizzeria Piccola is the best. In the warmer months dine on the roof and take it all in.
  • Set in the heart of Historic Third Ward, Cafe Benelux is a stellar Bavarian style restaurant with delicious sandwiches and an atmosphere that will impress any party. They are also well known for their top notch breakfast options.
  • Grab some treats and muffins at Simma’s Bakery to take care of any sweet tooth.
  • The best night to go to Lakefront Brewery is Friday, where the live Polka music is playing, kids and adults alike are dancing, and the beer-battered cheese curds are melt in your mouth fantastic!
  • The perfect seafood and BBQ is over at Maxie’s; every local will tell you so.
Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Milwaukee Skyline
Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Pedal Tavern
  • Everywhere I travel, I love going to the zoo, and the Milwaukee Zoo will not disappoint with their animals and exhibits!
  • The Milwaukee Art Museum may be a bit touristy, but it’s worth it to see the wonderfully curated collections of art from post-impressionism to minimalism. The building itself is an architectural site, with the beautiful backdrop of Lake Michigan.
  • The majority of downtown Milwaukee can be seen by going on the Riverwalk, including a bronze statue of Fonzie! This walk is leisurely, and is a fun day or night activity.
  • If you are looking for a short, family-friendly brewery tour, the Sprecher Brewery Tour is the best. Learn about how the micro-brewery brews their famous beer, and sample 4 different beers at the end, or as much of their specialty sodas as you want! Included in your tour fee, you’ll get a little souvenir glass.
  • For a more extensive micro-brewery tour, visit Lakefront Brewery Tour, where they take you through all the sections of the brewery. It’s as much of a comedy show as it is an informational activity. With your complimentary, Lakefront-branded pint glass, you can sample two beers or their maple root beer.
  • You could also take a ride on the Pedal Tavern, a 16-person bicycle that tours bars and pubs.
  • You may be in Wisconsin, and the winter weather may sport 20-below, but the Milwaukee beaches in the summer will prove to be worthwhile day trips!
  • If you are visiting in early August, the Wisconsin State Fair is a must for the food, people, and entertainment. The grandness of this fair is unmatched!
  • Want to say you went to the biggest music festival in the world? Summerfest is where you’ll want to be.
  • The St. Joan of Arc Chapel is a beautiful, medieval structure nestled in the heart of Marquette University? It was carefully moved from France in the 1920s!
Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Milwaukee Public Market
Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Broadway Paper
  • The Milwaukee Public Market has everything you need from a seafood lunch to specialty olive oils to Milwaukee T-shirts. And it’s all in one loud, bustling building for you to get adventurously lost in.
  • If you love indie bookshops, the Little Read Book is perfect for you.
  • Go with your friends to the Arte Bar & Painting Lounge and come away with a good time and an original painting you created!
  • Reminiscent of the thrift stores of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, Retique is an upscale second hand store owned by Goodwill. You’ll find lots of chic, lightly used clothes, accessories, and house things!
  • Grab some authentic “MKE” swag over at Milwaukee Home.
  • If you like antiquing, I recommend going to Antiques on Second, where you’ll find amazing unique and chic items!
  • If you’re into local bookshops, head on over to Boswell Book Company and get amazing service and atmosphere.
  • The second you walk into Broadway Paper, you’ll want to pick up one of everything. This specialty paper store has the perfect card or novelty item for you.
Hidden Gems: Milwaukee Travel Guide // Feast + West
Lake Michigan
  • 40 minutes, Holy Hill, Wis.:  Drive out to Holy Hill to take in the beautiful Wisconsin landscape on the scenic tower. After the tower, visit the Basilica and Shrine Chapel, or even the little cafe for brunch.
  • 2 hours: Green Bay, Wis. — Even if you’re not into football, heading up to Green Bay to see Lambeau field and taking a tour is a fun experience. Go through the tunnel the players run through and see where the players perform the famous Lambeau Leap.
  • 1 hour 30 minutes: Madison, Wis. — It’s worth the drive to see the state capital and surrounding downtown sites.

Beverly BeanBEVERLY BEAN // hg-facebook hg-instagram hg-pinterest

Bev is the writer and dreamer behind BeverlyBean.com. When not at her day job, she enjoys reading, traveling, shopping, watching YouTube, and all things J.R.R Tolkien. Bev currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and encourages everyone to visit the Midwest! She is a firm believer that hands are made for holding delicious beverages and can always be found with a cup of tea. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram where she posts all things books, tea, and lifestyle!

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  1. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says

    I’m in Milwaukee too and I love it! There are even a few places on this list that I haven’t heard of : ) I’ve been here for about 3 years and still don’t feel like I’ve tried half of the places I want to yet! Enjoy! xo

    • Susannah says

      I’m so glad Bev’s guide can give you some ideas for places to try in Milwaukee. Moving is always hard because you don’t know all the great places to go straight off the bat. I sure wish I’d had a city guide like Bev’s when I last moved! Thanks so much for your comment, Abby.

  2. Chrissie says

    Love this guide! We were in Milwaukee last weekend for a wedding (I lived in Wisconsin for 7 years) and I wish I had this list to go exploring. Totally love Cafe Benelux and Lakefront’s tour is so fun (and their cheese curds are incredible).

    • Susannah says

      Oh, how much fun! I am so jealous you have been. I am dying to go to Milwaukee now after reading Bev’s guide! The cheese curds in NC just don’t add up. Thanks so much for your comment, Chrissie!

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