5 Tips for Visiting Milwaukee

“The City of Festivals” is the perfect destination for your next vacation. Milwaukee is an exciting and vibrant city filled with tons to do. Imagine strolling along the urban RiverWalk, relaxing in a beer garden, shopping at one of the many area farmer markets, patronizing the local arts scene, and watching the sailboats on Lake Michigan. The city has a young and hip vibe with an industrial edge. In fact, Milwaukee was named “The Coolest City in the Midwest” by Vogue in 2018! Our team at Milwaukee Food Tours is excited to be your guide to this incredible city. If you are ready to discover the Brew City, then let’s get started with our five tips for visiting Milwaukee.

#1 Getting to and from Milwaukee

Depending on where you are coming from, you may have a few different ways to get to Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport has direct flights from all over the US and even some international flights. The airport is located eight miles from the city center. You can take a ride-share, bus, or train from the airport and reach downtown in about 10 minutes. There are several low-cost options for MKE parking surrounding the airport.

If you are coming from Chicago or Green Bay, Amtrak has direct trains that travel directly to the Milwaukee Airport and downtown Milwaukee. The train only takes 90 minutes from Chicago Union Station and approximately 3.5 hours from Green Bay.

Visitors will not only find it easy to get to Milwaukee, but easy to navigate it as well.

#2 How to get around

If you are staying downtown, then it will be quite easy to walk or bike around the city. The RiverWalk is a three-mile pedestrian path that runs along the Milwaukee River, connecting the waterfront neighborhoods. Some of the best restaurants, pubs, shops, and nightlife are located directly on the RiverWalk.

Public transportation is also very accessible and affordable in Milwaukee. The bus system covers 90% of the county and includes the major attractions. Download the Milwaukee County Transit app to purchase bus tickets, find route information, and track the buses in real-time.

The newest addition to the Milwaukee public transportation system is a streetcar, called The Hop. It runs throughout the popular neighborhoods and along the main areas of interest. There are 18 stops and the cars roll around every 10-15 minutes.

Milwaukee’s newest mode of transportation, The Hop, is also complimentary in 2020 thanks to generous sponsors of the streetcar.

#3 Choosing where to stay

The neighborhoods in Milwaukee are very distinct and offer a different variety of activities. If you are interested in arts and fashion, then the Historic Third Ward is the neighborhood for you. A revitalized warehouse district, the Third Ward is now home to the world’s largest music festival, more than 20 art galleries and studios, the famous Milwaukee Public Market, and beautiful riverside restaurants.

Bay View is another popular neighborhood with farmer markets, weekly concerts, record shops, and beer gardens. Locals consider Bay View to Milwaukee what Brooklyn is to New York City. The area is known for its farm-to-table restaurants with distinguished chefs. Stay in one of the cozy historic cottages in the area for a truly local feel.

The East Side area is a truly eclectic and trendy neighborhood popular with college students and young professionals. If you are looking for vibrant nightlife, this is the place to be. Enjoy the indie movie theaters, jazz clubs, wine bars, and more. It’s a great area for dinner, dancing, and drinking.

The Historic Third Ward is an excellent spot to eat, shop and stay during your visit to Milwaukee.

#4 Foods to try

Food is one of the best ways to get in touch with the local culture of a city. When you travel to Milwaukee, you must try some of our famous comfort food. Cheese, beer, and fish frys are among the iconic dishes you will be sure to find on your visit. These Milwaukee dishes are evidence of the German and Polish roots of the city, but we have plenty more ethnic cuisine thanks to Milwaukee’s Italian, Irish and Latino communities as well. Of course, there is plenty more that is worthy of your time! Come join us on a food tour of Milwaukee to discover the delicious hidden gems that the city has to offer.

Milwaukee Food & City Tours offers a series of walking, streetcar and bus tours! A walking lunch tour on Brady Street comes complete with 5 stops for samples that add up to a meal, along with a side of narrated history.

#5 Things to do

Milwaukee has a thriving downtown, innovative art scene, and splendid outdoor spaces. Enjoy the day strolling by the river, relaxing in a beer garden, and shopping in one of the many chic boutiques. Appreciate the beauty and the impressive exhibits at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Head to the beach on Lake Michigan to watch the sailboats in the bay and soak in the warm rays on the golden sand. At night, enjoy a show at the Avalon Theater or a musical at the Skylight Music Theatre. Explore Milwaukee on the Hop on Hop off Sightseeing Bus. Make a reservation for dinner at one of the farm-to-table restaurants in the Bay View neighborhood. And of course, stop by for a selfie with The Bronze Fonz!