Located on the western shores of Lake Michigan and often called the beer capital of the world, Milwaukee is much more than its Pabst and Miller roots. Discover how America’s Dairyland is playing host to an emerging culinary and microbrewery culture, rivaling even the largest of its city neighbors.
Where to Stay
Book a stay at The Iron Horse Hotel in Walker’s Point, housed in a 100-year-old mattress factory and warehouse. Inspired by a model of motorcycle, the name pays homage to Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson roots, and the building’s historical design reflects notes of medieval blacksmithing, creating a raw yet polished aesthetic in the 100 loft-style rooms and the three dining concepts and bar. In the Historic Third Ward district, stay at the stylish Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, and if you’re really into the city’s beer culture, you can book a night at The Brewhouse Inn & Suites, a hotel in a renovated Pabst brewery building.
Where to Eat and Drink
As the home of numerous James Beard–nominated chefs, Milwaukee’s culinary scene is steady on the rise. Beginning in the Walker’s Point neighborhood, visit Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. for small batch, organic brews; Purple Door Ice Cream for an absinthe-infused scoop; and Braise, a rooftop-to-table restaurant helmed by James Beard–semifinalist Dave Swanson, known for serving the best bread and butchered meat in all of Milwaukee. Visit James Beard Award–winner Justin Aprahamian at Sanford, where he serves menu items like beef kimchi dumplings. Aprahamian is also a co-owner of Like Minds Brewing, which is one of many new craft breweries opening in the city. Go on a beer crawl at the city’s best, including Urban Harvest Brewing Company, Lost Valley Cider Co., Good City Brewing, Black Husky Brewing, MobCraft Beer, and Third Space Brewing. End with a nightcap at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, perhaps America’s first freestanding cocktail lounge, or Bugsy’s Back Alley Speakeasy, a live-music hot spot with cocktails inspired by the Roaring Twenties.
What to Do
Milwaukee may be a craft-beer icon, but its Harley-Davidson roots are evident, and you can explore the motorcycle company’s Milwaukee heritage at the Harley-Davidson Museum, a 20-acre waterfront campus housing more than 450 motorcycles and artifacts, including Serial Number One, the oldest known Harley-Davidson in existence. The city is home to many other museums, theaters, and cultural centers: Don’t miss the Milwaukee Art Museum, whose buildings were designed by Eero Saarinen, David Kahler, and Santiago Calatrava, the architect behind New York City’s train station outside of Ground Zero. Browse locally owned shops and art galleries in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward; and beer enthusiasts can opt to tour the Miller Caves or visit the Pabst Mansion.