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Milwaukee is one of the largest cities in Wisconsin and exhibits historic charm from its brewing and industrial history. We did a day trip to Milwaukee from Chicago and saw most of the top things to do in Milwaukee! It is definitely an underrated city in the Midwest. We didn’t even expect to visit until we learned about the fun things we could do there. If you’re a foodie and beer fanatic, visiting Milwaukee is for you! In this post, we’re reviewing the top things to do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!
Day Trip to Milwaukee: Top Things to Do in Milwaukee
Pabst Mansion Tour
One of the top things to do in Milwaukee is visit the Pabst Mansion. The Pabst Mansion was the late home of Captain Pabst, of Pabst Blue Ribbon. This gorgeous mansion in the process of being fully restored to its late 19th and early 20th century glory. Many of the rooms in the home feature stunning architectural styles, including French Rococo. Today, the Mansion is one of the last mansions in the neighborhood. It’s hard to believe that this street was home to so many mansions at one point in Milwaukee! The Pabst Mansion tours are hour-long guided tours where you can see the entire home.
Tours are held hourly, with the lunch break tour as self-guided. In addition to their Classic tours, they offer Sunday Mimosa tours, Blue Ribbon happy hour tours, fine art tours, family-friendly tours behind the scenes tours, and tours in Spanish. Check out their entire tour collection online for ticketing information. It is best to purchase tickets in advance because tours can sell out.
Miller Brewery Tour
If you’re visiting Milwaukee, you can’t miss out on the other top thing to do: enjoy the local beer scene! Milwaukee has been historically known for its large brewery population. Today, the Miller Brewery is one of the largest and most famous breweries to visit in the city. The Miller Brewery offers guided tours on Thursdays and Fridays where you can learn about its origins and how it’s transformed into the brewery and production facility it is today. In addition to the brewery tour, you can enjoy the tasting room and gift shop.
Saint Joan of Arc Chapel
Milwaukee is home to the oldest building in North America! The Saint Joan of Arc Chapel was built in the 15th century in France and was transported to the United States stone by stone in 1927 to New York. Today, the chapel is located on the Marquette University Campus and is open to the public and for religious ceremonies. This chapel is associated with Saint Joan of Arc because it is claimed that while serving in the military, she would come and pray at this chapel.
Basilica of Saint Josaphat
In contrast to the chapel, the Basilica of Saint Josaphat in Milwaukee is much more grand. You can do a self-guided audio tour of the basilica to learn about the construction and architecture. Today, the Basilica is prominent in the local catholic community and is a lovely place to visit if you’re interested in religious history and architecture.
National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum
One of the coolest things we did in Milwaukee was visit the National Bobblehead Museum! This small museum is home to over 5,000 bobbleheads! From your favorite athlete to cartoon characters to even the Pope, this museum has a bobblehead of almost anyone famous! We enjoyed exploring the museum and doing the scavenger hunt they provided.
Founders Brad and Phil began collecting bobbleheads in 2002, and founded The National Bobblehead Museum in 2016 after their collection grew to over 3,000 bobbleheads! In addition to browsing the collection, you can purchase bobbleheads from the gift shop.
Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Game
If you’re visiting Milwaukee during the spring through summer, don’t miss out on seeing a Milwaukee Brewer’s baseball game! One of the nice things about American Family Field is that it’s a dome, so you don’t have to worry about getting rained out!
Milwaukee Bucks Basketball Game
If you’re in Milwaukee during the wintertime, you can catch a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game.
Try Wisconsin Cheese Curds
If you’re a foodie, you absolutely need to try Wisconsin Cheese Curds. Cheese curds are one of the earliest forms of cheese in the cheese-making process. When fresh, cheese curds exhibit a distinct “squeak” sound when bit into, so they’re fun to eat!
Cheese curds come in all different varieties and varieties and flavors. If you want to try authentic Wisconsin cheese curds, check out Clock Shadow Creamery, the city’s first cheese curd shop, or consider visiting one of the many local farms for a tour! At Clock Shadow Creamery, we were able to sample all their varieties!
More Things To Do in Milwaukee if You Have More Time
If you have more than one day in Milwaukee, take some time to check out these other cool sites and attractions!
Harley Davidson Museum
Harley Davidison is headquartered in Milwaukee and they have an awesome museum on site for the public to enjoy! This museum celebrates the 100 year history of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The museum of open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and is $22 for adults.
Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum is features an impressive collection of over 32,000 pieces of art including paintings, textiles, sculpture, and photography from across the globe.
Mitchell Park Domes
The Mitchell Park Domes are part Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. These massive glass domes feature over 2000 species of tropical, desert and floral plants. Throughout the year, the Domes have several shows including a holiday show.
Milwaukee Public Market
The Milwaukee Public Market is public marketplace for food and local vendors in a modern industrial building. This is a great spot to grab lunch or snacks! In addition to shopping, the Market hosts culinary classes.
Great Lake Distillery
The Milwaukee RiverWalk is a public park along the Milwaukee River and features a 3.1 mile that connects three neighborhoods. Along the RiverWalk, you can enjoy public art, eat and drink at one of the many restaurants and bars, kayak on the river, and more!
- Take a River Cruise – Milwaukee Boat Lines
- Explore Historic Third Ward
- Lakefront Brewery
- Milwaukee Ale House
Plan your Day Trip to Milwaukee
How to Get to Milwaukee
Milwaukee is a great day trip from Chicago, Madison, or Green Bay! Milwaukee is less than a 2-hour drive from each of these cities.
How to Get Around Milwaukee
Driving is one of the best ways to get around Milwaukee, but the Milwaukee County Transit System offers reliable buses and a tram system.
Where to Stay in Milwaukee
There are lots of options for hotels in downtown Milwaukee if you’re planning on spending more than one day! Here are a few of our recommendations: