A little over a month ago, I found myself in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since I spend most of my time in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not every day that I get to visit the Midwest, so when the opportunity arose to attend the Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Milwaukee, I jumped at the chance to explore a new-to-me city. I was excited to see what kind of Milwaukee activities were out there for visitors like me.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect of Milwaukee. The city prides itself on being the “beer capital of the world”, but as much as I enjoy having a nice beer every once in awhile, that fact alone isn’t going to drive me to see a new place. Now that I’m a parent, most of the places and activities I tend to gravitate towards are of the family-friendly variety, even if I’m traveling solo. I suppose it’s mostly out of habit, or perhaps my tastes have evolved as I’ve grown into this motherhood thing.
Fortunately, there are plenty of Milwaukee activities that are fun for families. During my extended weekend in Milwaukee, I was able to experience several of these, either through events organized by WITS, or going out with fellow conference-goers.
For those of you interested in visiting Milwaukee with your family, here are my picks of family-friendly Milwaukee activities.
Harley Davidson Museum
Family-friendly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Harley Davidson, but at the Harley Davidson Museum, you can find all sorts of amazing things to capture even the youngest minds’ attention. The museum houses 450 historic motorcycles from the famous brand, dating as far back as the early 1900’s. There are some interactive games too, and even a room where you can sit on the bikes and imagine what it feels like to ride down the highway on one of those beasts. My favorite exhibit, though, was the wall of fuel tanks, from the very first model to the most recent. I loved how it was displayed, like art, and loved seeing the evolution of the designs over the years.
The city of Milwaukee has three major rivers running through it. The Milwaukee River runs through the northern part of the city, while the Kinnickinnic River flows along the southern part of the city, and the Menomonee River runs on the western part. The three rivers eventually meet together as they flow into Lake Michigan to the east of the city. All this is to say that it makes Milwaukee’s downtown area quite picturesque, with its rivers and greenery. The Riverwalk, which is a pedestrian walkway running along the Milwaukee River, is a great way to catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery. If you get a little hungry during your walk, there are plenty of restaurant lining the Riverwalk to satisfy any craving.
Milwaukee Art Museum
One of my favorite excursions during WITS was an early morning yoga session at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The building itself is a work of art, with its vaulted 90-foot high glass ceiling and a giant sunshade that opens and closes like wings. It was such a peaceful and serene space, and the sunrise shining in through the windows made the architecture of the museum even more stunning. The Milwaukee Art Museum holds almost 25,000 works of art in its collection, with pieces dating back to antiquity and as far forward as the present day. It’s worth checking out, and even kids will love looking at the unique pieces of art.
Something that I often enjoy doing is going to themed restaurants. There’s something cheesy and cool about being transported into another world as soon as you step into a place. The SafeHouse, a spy themed restaurant in downtown Milwaukee, makes dining out more than just a culinary experience, but an interactive one too. The restaurant even has requires a password to enter, which you must said correctly, or else you are made to do a stunt to gain entry. Our group was not able to give the right password, so we had to stand in a line and do a series of chorus line kicks. Once inside, we were treated to a plethora of Cold War era tchotckes, and a menu full of spy themed dishes and drinks. I saw plenty of families at the restaurant, and I’m sure all of them were getting a kick out of the whole experience.
Milwaukee Public Market
In any city I visit, I love going to public markets. There’s something unique about being immersed in the sights and smells of a market, the bustle of the people interacting with the vendors, and the endless possibilities of things to buy and try. The Milwaukee Public Market is relatively new, opened in 2005, but it sits in a historic part of downtown Milwaukee that was well known for its commercial and warehousing activities. The market has a variety of artisan and ethnic products to buy, and there are also cooking classes you can watch.
Whatever your interests are, there is something for everyone in Milwaukee. I enjoyed my time visiting the city, and had a blast experiencing all the fun Milwaukee activities that families can do. I can’t wait to take my kids there and have them experience the city for themselves.
Are you ready to visit Milwaukee? Use these tips as a starting off point, and then go out and find your own family-friendly Milwaukee activities!
Disclosure: I received free admission to the Harley Davidson Museum through WITS and Visit Milwaukee, however, all opinions are my own.
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