A Squared: 48 Hours in Wisconsin: Experiencing Milwaukee

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

48 Hours in Wisconsin: Experiencing Milwaukee

After Alex and I left the quiet little village of Kohler, Wisconsin we headed south to Milwaukee for some fun and sightseeing. Milwaukee is only about an hour and a half drive from Chicago, but I have actually never visited before and Alex had only been once in college-- and they went to the museum and then to Hooters. Classy. So, we decided to spend some time there on Leg 2 of our long Wisconsin weekend.

We started the weekend off exactly as you should when in Milwaukee: on a brewery tour. Friends, colleagues, and tour guides overwhelmingly recommended the Lakefront Brewery tour as the one to try and they were right-- it was fantastic!

This tour starts the way that every brewery tour should start: with complimentary beer in their spacious tasting room. In fact, the $7 tour includes 4 complimentary beer tastings (which can be used before, during, and after the tour) and a souvenir pint glass.

The tour guides here are informative, but also hysterical. Ours loved heckling people on the tour, starting chants about beer, and forcing us to do embarrassing things-- like sing the Laverne & Shirley theme song while a bottle with a glove on it whizzed by on an old fashioned conveyor belt.

This was the best brewery tour that I've been on-- and the beer is really good too! Alex has a six-pack of their Wheat Monkey beer in our fridge right now.

Another perk of the tour? Each of us received a coupon for a free Lakefront Brewery beer at a handful of local bars. While we were out wandering the city that evening, Alex and I popped into Mo's Irish Pub for a couple of free Pumpkin Lagers and a snack.

On our walk to dinner, Alex stopped on the River Walk to pose with a few ducks. What can I say? The guy just loves ducks.

We got going early the next morning to walk across town to see the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Museum was designed by Santiago Calatrava to look like a bird and every morning at 10 AM you can watch the "wings" open. It's really cool to see-- and was especially beautiful that morning with a clear sky and the Lake on the background.

We wandered around inside the main lobby to check out the space and the views, which were equally breathtaking from inside.

Being inside buildings like this remind of why I wanted to be an architect (even though I no longer am). You can't help but feel inspired by a space like that.

On our way out of town we made one more architectural pit stop at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory Domes.

These three giant glass domes each house a collection of flora and fauna that can be found in certain climates: one dome is dedicated to desert flora and fauna, another to plants found in tropical climates, and the third is the show dome.

The theme in this third dome changes seasonally and when we visited it was all about 1950's America. There were mums, white picket fences, and other very traditional American house and garden plants arranged throughout the dome while a musician played classic 50's tunes on a piano. Apparently they do a great holiday-themed exhibit in the month of December too.

Our visit to Milwaukee was busy, but still went by a little bit too quickly! I'd like to go back sometime and have a few other things I'd like to do and see there:

-The Clock Shadow Creamery cheese factory tour
-A Milwaukee Brewers game
-A lake or river boat tour
-A visit to Usinger's sausage shop

Also, one of my co-workers sent this New York Times article to me right before our trip and it's super helpful if you're looking to pack all the Milwaukee "must sees" into a 36-hour weekend. Enjoy!

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