Family Fun in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Part 8: Milwaukee

This is the eighth post about our family's visit to Minnesota and Wisconsin. I recommend you begin by reading the first, secondthirdfourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh posts before this one. Because I am a travel blogger, I received complimentary admission tickets, discounts, media rates, and other perks for some of the places we visited. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone. I paid full price for the others. How much I paid for a visit has no bearing on my reviews; every place I share is something that I absolutely recommend.


Family Fun in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I was 50 years old the first time I visited Milwaukee, but in a way, the city has been in my life since I was a kid. Why? Two reasons: Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. They were my two favorite shows when I was growing up. It was fun to finally see Milwaukee in person after all these years. 

We checked into our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, then headed out to find dinner. We ate on the patio at Milwaukee Brat House and ordered the most Wisconsin meal we possibly could: brats (and beers), cheese curds, and other fried foods.   

The Brat House Sausage Sampler and the Combination Basket (chicken tenders, onion rings, cheese curds, and fries) was more than enough food for the three of us. We ordered two beers but got four, for reasons explained here. For the record, I disagree with the author's assessment of the cheese curds. They were neither soggy nor bland. Everything was delicious, seasoned well, and perfectly crispy. 

After a good night's sleep at the Hyatt, we were ready for our first full day in Milwaukee. We started with a city tour by Untapped Tours

The two-hour tour was the perfect blend of driving and walking. Mike, our guide, took us all over his hometown and taught us so much about Milwaukee. We walked along the river... 

... posed with the Bronze Fonz...

... went to Black Cat Alley...

... visited the North Point Lighthouse... 

... admired Lake Michigan...

... stopped for snacks at the Milwaukee Public Market...

... and much, much more. Mike's tour was an excellent introduction to Milwaukee. 

Next, lunch. I was really excited to eat at SafeHouse. Family-friendly restaurant by day and bar by night, SafeHouse has been Milwaukee's best kept secret since 1966. This was a good clue that we were in the right place. 


You need the password or a clearance test to get in, but first you have to find the entrance. This isn't it. 

Once you're in, you realize that you were on video the whole time. 

While your food is being prepared, you have a mission to complete. It takes you throughout the building, where things are not always as they seem. 

The password was hidden in one of the above photos. Did you spot it? 

After lunch, we went to Milwaukee Public Museum. One word: WOW. I loved this museum. It is huge - permanent exhibits cover 3.5 floors and 150,000 square feet, plus there is space for temporary exhibits. You could easily spent multiple days enjoying this museum. We didn't have multiple days, or even one full day, but we made the most of our time there. 

MPM is special because the exhibits are immersive. We started with the Streets of Old Milwaukee. As you stroll through, you really feel like you're back in 1900. 

Next to that is the European Village. As you go door to door, each house is decorated with the clothing, foods, and other goods from a specific European country. The level of detail is amazing. 

If the museum had been nothing more than just this, I already would have loved it. But there was so much more. The butterfly garden was great. The two-story immersive Costa Rican rainforest was amazing - we loved the walkway through the tree-top canopy. We learned about plants, animals, and natural features. 

But my very favorite exhibits at MPM were the ones about the arts and cultures of people around the globe. I really felt like I was there. 

Like I said, I could have happily spent days at MPM. I will return someday. When I do, they will likely be in their new building. I can only imagine it will be even more fabulous than the existing one. What a treasure the Milwaukee Public Museum is!

Our last activity of the day was a tour of Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery. Pabst was founded in 1844 by Jacob Best in Milwaukee. Although Pabst is now headquartered in Texas, its impact on Milwaukee was profound. 

Our tour took us through Blue Ribbon Hall, the former corporate offices, and many other locations within the historic brewery. Our colorful guide shared stories from the beginnings of Pabst Brewing through the present-day uses of Best Place. It was all really interesting. 

The tour is kid-friendly. Trevor got a can of Sprecher Root Beer to enjoy during the tour. 

After our very full day, we walked to 3rd St. Market Hall for dinner. 

There were so many good choices. We ended up sharing baked potato pierogis from Hot Dish Pantry, arepas and empanadas from Anytime Arepa, and frozen custard from Dairyland. Everything was delicious. 

We had one more full day in Milwaukee (emphasis on full). I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

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