10 Reasons to Make Time for Milwaukee

Now is the time to give some love to one of the coolest – and certainly most underrated – cities in the Midwest.

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October 03, 2019
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Photo By: Visit Milwaukee

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Milwaukee Brewers / Scott Paulus

Photo By: Visit Milwaukee

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Visit Milwaukee

Photo By: Visit Milwaukee

Photo By: Visit Milwaukee

Photo By: National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum

Photo By: Visit Milwaukee

Photo By: Visit Milwaukee

There's So Much More to Milwaukee

Milwaukee gets kind of a bad rap, known mostly for beer and Laverne & Shirley (back to beer). Also, cheese, but really that's the whole state of Wisconsin. Yet, there's so much more, like world-class art museums, must-see sports teams, even motorcycles. You can make your very own foam cheesehead or set sail on Lake Michigan on a replica schooner. Here's what you've been missing if you haven't yet made time for Milwaukee.

SEE MORE : Things to Do Milwaukee | TripAdvisor, Prices starting at $22

Celebrate the Evolution of the Motorcycle at the Harley-Davidson Museum

You'll find more than a few leather-clad motorcycle enthusiasts at the Harley-Davidson Museum, but really, there's something for everyone at this revered museum. Here, you'll see motorcycles dating back to the early 1900s when the company first sprung to life, as well as interactive Evel Knievel daredevil-style video games and bikes made famous in movies, like the Captain America Bike from the 1969 film Easy Rider. Half-pints will love dressing up in Harley gear and posing on bikes that are just their size. There's even a motorcycle matching game in the special kids' zone.

See More Photos: World's Wackiest Museums

Watch the Racing Sausages During a Brewers Baseball Game

Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers, is one of just six baseball stadiums across the country with a retractable roof, which means rain or shine, it's always a good day for a home game. The fun kicks up a notch during the seventh-inning stretch when Johnsonville's Famous Racing Sausages take to the field for a race that's run every home game, much to the delight of fans. Of the five sausages – Brat, Chorizo, Hot Dog, Italian Sausage and Polish Sausage – it's Polish Sausage with the most wins this season.

See the Wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum Flap

It's not every day that you can explore an art museum that is itself a work of art. Atop the glass-enclosed Milwaukee Art Museum, which is home to an expansive collection of nearly 25,000 paintings, historical objects, sculptures and photographs sits Burke Brise Soleil, a movable sunscreen with wings comparable in length to that of a Boeing 747. Each day, the wings open at 10 a.m., flap at 12 p.m. and close when the museum closes, usually at 5 p.m.

See More Photos: Top 20 Must-See Museums Around the World

Make Your Very Own Cheesehead

Cheese is such a part of the culture in Wisconsin that it's no surprise you can make your very own cheesehead at Foamation Cheesehead Factory. A bright yellow foam hat shaped like a wedge of cheese is a must on Green Bay Packers game days. Sign up for the one-hour "Holey Cow" guided tour, which takes you into the factory for the story behind the cheesehead hat. You'll also have a turn at creating your own hat, which isn't limited to a wedge of cheese. Options range from a baseball cap to a cowboy hat and even a foam football.

Sail Lake Michigan Aboard a Replica Schooner

Getting out on Lake Michigan is a must-do in Milwaukee, but you can take the experience to the next level when you set sail on a replica, three-masted schooner. At Discovery World, Milwaukee's popular science center, book a two-hour sail on the S/V Dennis Sullivan, a 19th-century cargo schooner. The sails are hands-on too, so be ready to gear up to help set the sails and navigate the waters at the helm. Or simply relax and enjoy the gentle lake breezes. Sails take place from late May to early October.

Cheer on the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum

Even if the Milwaukee Bucks aren't your home team, it's a thrill to watch a basketball team that had its best record in more than 40 years last season with the league's reigning most valuable player (Giannis Antetokounmpo). Yeah, they're really good and they're expected to be just as good this season. Pre-game in the Deer District, Milwaukee's newest neighborhood. It's not only home to Fiserv Forum, where the Bucks play, but also multiple brew pubs, like Good City Brewing and Drink Wisconsinbly Pub.

See More Photos: Taste of Milwaukee

Sample Squeaky Cheese Curds

Honestly, you can't leave Wisconsin – known as America's Dairyland - without sampling cheese curds. You can get them across the state, but for an inside look at Milwaukee's first and only cheese factory, head to Clock Shadow Creamery. Take a 30-minute guided tour on Wednesdays or Fridays when fresh cheese curds are made. You'll learn about the history of cheese making and get the answer to one of life's most elusive questions, "Why are cheese curds squeaky?" For fried cheese curds, with bacon stein aioli no less, head to The Vanguard on Kinnickinnic Avenue.

Nod in Approval at the National Bobblehead Museum

More than 6,500 bobbleheads from around the world call Milwaukee home. They're on display at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened in February 2019. Among them you'll find athletes, celebrities, sports team mascots and television characters, including the original fivesome from Big Bang Theory. Wander the museum's Hall of Fame to give a nod of approval to the best-of-the-best bobbleheads, including the very first inductee, former Cincinnati Reds player, Pete Rose.

Tour a Famous Milwaukee Brewery

Given Milwaukee's extensive brewing history (nearly two centuries worth), make time for a brewery tour or two while in town. Learn about Milwaukee's historic beer barons and brewing dynasties, like Pabst Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company. One to check out is Pabst Best Place, which offers historic tours every day except Tuesdays. Modern brewers, like Lakefront Brewery and Sprecher Brewing Co., offer regular tours for beer enthusiasts as well. At Sprecher, a rotating tap boasts 14 beers, 3 hard sodas, 3 ciders and 11 sodas all brewed on-site.

See More Photos: US Brewery Tours

Treat Yourself to Frozen Custard

Just like cheese curds, frozen custard is kind of a thing in Wisconsin, and one that's sweet and tasty at that. One to try is Kopp's Frozen Custard, a Milwaukee establishment since 1950, so you know it's got to be good. Order up to six scoops, including specialty flavors like Ultimate Cookie Dough and Lemon Raspberry Shortbread. Another favorite is Leon's Frozen Custard, a drive-in custard shack that's open year-round and boasts shakes, malts, sodas, floats, sundaes and cones. Grab a spoon or a straw.

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