A Weekend in Milwaukee

1a Milwaukee_Art_Museum_1_Winter is almost over, and even though this was a mild winter, the short days and long nights encourage us all to spend more time indoors.  Now, the days are getting longer, and our northern hemisphere is getting warmer again, so it’s time to shake off cabin fever and explore a little farther than our usual Chicago places, perhaps.

Road Trip!  Take a Friday off of work (it will be worth the vacation day, I promise) and head towards Milwaukee.  But a little advance planning goes a long way towards making this a smooth, interesting, and exciting weekend.  There will be something for everyone; romance, for the happy couple with Spring Fever, history, natural wonders, beautiful museums, shopping, and, of course, great music. 

Adventure awaits!             

What To Do and See

Much of the best that Milwaukee offers to its visitors is within easy walking distance of the downtown hotels. Before dinner you might want to take in Milwaukee’s architecturally stunning art museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, http://mam.org, 700 N Art Museum Dr, 414-224-3200. This nationally acclaimed place is quite large, extraordinarily interesting, on Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront, and has just opened a magnificent exhibit, “Nature and the American Vision,” featuring almost 50 masterpieces by noted American artists.

They are open until 8pm on Fridays, so linger on, take it in, and then walk back towards your hotel.

The Mason Street Grill is on your way, and Milwaukee’s night life is not very far away either. At the Pfister you can take the elevator to the 23rd floor and go to Blu, with marvelous views of the city and the Lake, an extensive martini menu, wine list, cocktails, and live music.

1 milwaukeeartmuseum

Your hotel has fine dining available and Milwaukee’s night life is not very far away either.  At the Pfister you can take the elevator to the 23rd floor and go to Blu, with marvelous views of the city and the Lake, an extensive martini menu, wine list, cocktails, and live music.

More To Do

You’ve slept well, and awoke refreshed.  It’s now Saturday morning, the sun is shining, or maybe it isn’t, but that doesn’t matter.  Walk over to the Milwaukee Public Market (400 N. Water Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202  (414) 336-1111) for Saturday free samplings from the many food vendors lining the spacious indoor marketplace.  The first stop will be Anodyne Coffee for some of their freshly roasted, wonderfully aromatic brew, the perfect start to a great adventure. For lunch or dinner you have to stop at Benelux Grand Cafe, a European restaurant that has spectacular breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Their panakuken (basically German crepes) are to die for .

3 benelux

You’re in the Historic 3rd Ward, originally a warehouse and industrial district that has been completely transformed into a local treasure of shops, sights, places to visit, and the Riverwalk to stroll while you take it all in.  You can easily spend many hours just walking along the river here, and if you so decide you’ll be thrilled with all the little discoveries.

5 riverwalk

Milwaukee is home to world renowned Harley Davidson, so it makes perfect sense to stop in the Harley Davison Museum for a long look at the collection of motorcycles dating back to Serial Number 1, the earliest known Harley in existence (400 W Canal Street, Milwaukee, WI 53201, 414-287-2789). You will also find the Design Lab Gallery, and the Experience Gallery, where you will see how Harley designers and engineers push the limits, and then get to touch, feel and climb on your choice of bike.  How cool is that?

If you are a nature lover, and this mild winter continues into an early spring, visit the Boerner Botanical Gardens, where the tulips will soon be pushing up and in full bloom (9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI 53130, (414) 525-5653). As an alternative, the Lakefront park system is always beautiful, and the views of the Lake enchanting.
6a Education-and-Visitor-Center6

Evenings Are For Music

There are many fine music venues in Milwaukee, including a great jazz favorite, so you will want to spend some time at Caroline’s Jazz Club (402 S. Second Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204, (414) 221-9444).  Here you will find a relaxed, casual atmosphere, a variety of jazz musicians, and great service.  Caroline’s is not to be missed.   Enjoy your evening!

7 Caroline's picIt’s Not Over Yet

Sunday morning, sleep in late, enjoy the company of your romantic partner, and eventually pack up and check out.  As you pack, dress in your outdoor walking or hiking clothes.  On your way back to Chicago, take a side trip, over to the Scuppernong trail head of The Ice Age Trail, where you can walk a very short part of this 1,000 mile long system of trails that follow the landscapes formed by the advance and retreat of the last ice age. Go to http://www.iceagetrail.org/recommended-hikes/day-hikes and get the guide book for this segment.  There is LOTS to learn about how our world has been shaped, and how that shaping effects us today.

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 Was that not a wonderful weekend?  Full of romance, nature, art and culture, live music, all within a very close distance, yet far enough to feel like a real vacation, although it’s but a long weekend.  Wait until summer!  We’ll be back.