Staycations give you the opportunity to explore your town with a fresh set of eyes. And with winter fading into spring, Milwaukee feels like it is coming back to life. Whether you have a break from school, some time off work, or maybe you just need a few days to reset, now is a great time to plan a vacation in this gorgeous Wisconsin city!
As with any trip, remember to plan ahead. Benjamin Franklin once said, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Before making your daily list, check operating days, hours, and it’s always wise to map out locations to make the best of your day. Check out these ideas and spend a few days exploring Milwaukee like a tourist.
Downtown Milwaukee is full of historic buildings, world-renowned architecture, and many museums to pique anyone's interest. Start your downtown adventure with Sculpture Milwaukee, an outdoor exhibition of public sculpture. Follow the self-guided tour of the open-air gallery along Wisconsin Avenue and into the Historic Third Ward. At scheduled times, when the weather allows, you can catch a great view of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and see their famous “wings” open and close of the Burke Brise Soleil. Speaking of museums, spend a few hours exploring the Harley Davidson Museum, Discovery World, or the Milwaukee Public Museum.
Hours and reservations may be affected due to COVID-19. Be sure to check out their websites before your visit.
A city full of great eats, Milwaukee has a variety of food options to create a mini-tour around. Try a different pizza place every night, compare your favorite cheese curds, or sample every classic custard shop in town. You can even build your own Bloody Mary using only local ingredients: start your base with Rehorst Vodka from Great Lakes Distillery and Lutz Bloody Mary Mix, top with your favorite Klement’s Snack Stick, cheese curds from Clock Shadow Creamery, and pickled veggies from Brew City Pickles.
Treat yourself to a getaway and escape for a few nights at a local hotel. As you relax with a night away from home, have room service delivered right to your door, take advantage of spa packages, and enjoy a dip in a hot tub. A stay with classic luxury can be found at the Pfister Hotel. They’ve been an architectural icon in the Midwest for over 100 years and boast a popular martini bar, Blu, on the 23rd floor. Feel like you’ve booked a night in a modern art museum at Saint Kate - The Arts Hotel. Enjoy upscale dining options and numerous permanent and traveling exhibit spaces throughout the building. Rest your head at the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in the Historic Third Ward. Aside from their great location, they’re also home to one of the best rooftop bars in the country! You will want to grab a drink and start your night out on the 9th floor at The Outsider.
Explore the Walker’s Point neighborhood with your central hub being The Iron Horse Hotel. The design of each room takes advantage of the unique architectural features left behind from a past life as a bedding factory. Their new dining destination, Ash, features open hearth cooking and a popular brunch.
A staycation in downtown Milwaukee provides the perfect mini-getaway any time of year. If you’re not up for full exploring quite yet, but wish to shake up your normal routine, you can always plan to grab take-out from one of our wonderful restaurants. Kick back, relax, and remember the main rules of any staycation: no work, no chores, just fun.
Meghan Langmyer has lived all over the Midwest but has never felt more at home than in Milwaukee, WI. When she isn’t overseeing educational programming at a local non-profit, she’s out exploring the state. Follow her adventures on her Instagram account @MilwaukeePhoto for her Milwaukee hotspots and Wisconsin travels.