Thanks to Alice Cooper and Wayne Campbell, most everyone is aware that Milwaukee is Algonquin for “the good land.” What you’re probably not aware of is that the oft-overlooked city is full of charming restaurants, rollicking bars, and an art museum to kill for. Head an hour and a half north and — boom — game on.
Night at the Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum’s stunning design is only part of its appeal. Current expo European Design Since 1985 features thoughtfully inspired objects, from a Dyson vacuum cleaner to a lamp made of milk bottles. Broadway stars Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne are no longer with us, but their impeccably kept house, Ten Chimneys, remains. Once a haven for traveling Hollywood stars, the striking home is now open to the public. Estate tours are available through November 13, so get cracking.
The Science of Sleep
For classic comfort, look no further than boutique Hotel Metro. Smack in the middle of the city, it’s ecofriendly, deco-ed out and has myriad dining and drinking options. The Iron Horse Hotel is also a gem: The old warehouse is now a hip hangout for riders of the motorcycle variety — and the average walker as well. It’s industrial-chic in all its glory.
Eat, Pray, Love
Start your day with brunch at Honeypie, an adorable farm-to-table eatery serving from-scratch delicacies like brioche French toast, fluffy biscuits, and the famed Beermosa (New Glarus Spotted Cow beer and OJ). Don’t leave without a slice of heavenly black-bottom banana pie. Coffee geeks can get their fix at any Alterra location. Health nuts can commune over a meal at Cafe Manna, a favorite serving organic, raw, and vegan cuisine. Go international at La Merenda, where small plates are inspired by France, Peru, Italy, and more. Roots serves exquisite seasonal fare, like duck on sugarcane skewers and seared pork scallops with sweetbread falafel.
Don’t Drink the Water
Head to Lakefront Palm Garden early to catch the Friday fish fry. Never been to a fry? Expect flaky, beer-battered lake types (cod, perch, bluegill) and live polka. (Reserve space here.) If you prefer to drink without the company of finned friends, stick with Miller. A tour of the century-plus-old brewery is a must.
Milwaukee may not be the fashion capital of the world, but the Third Ward neighborhood’s got what you need to make a day of shopping. For a dose of high fashion, stop at Falcon. Racks are currently filled with Nicholas K and Coven. Trina Turk and Mel en Stel brush up against designer consignment dresses at Lela. For shopping of the edible variety, head to Milwaukee Public Market, a vendor-packed foodie paradise. Stock up on Kehr’s dipped chocolates and local artisanal goods from Taste of Wisconsin.
Photos: A. Shilling / Courtesy of Ten Chimneys Foundation; Courtesy of The Iron Horse Hotel; Mirandala / Flickr
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