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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Visited: JULY 2017

Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and is located on the western shores and bluffs of Lake Michigan. Being right on the water, residents and visitors of Milwaukee find the city to be the perfect venue for boating, sailing, and windsurfing. Along with its water recreational activities, the city is also known for its museums and cultural festivals that are popular attractions, especially during the summer when the weather is the most delightful. A walk along the city streets showcases its modern high-rise buildings and architecture sharing the skyline with the historic 19th-century buildings from early-Milwaukee. The city is steeped in history and culture that is prevalent from its brewing heritage to its revitalized historical districts. The combination of Milwaukee’s cherished traditions and hospitable Midwestern atmosphere are what make it such a wonderful city to discover.

Historic Third Ward – The Historic Third Ward is Milwaukee’s Art and Fashion District and is set amongst the revitalized industrial architecture of the original 19th-century buildings. It is located adjacent to downtown Milwaukee and is bordered by Lake Michigan to the east, the Milwaukee River to the west and south, and to the East Street Paul Avenue to the north. The neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the city’s oldest center for warehousing and commerce. Today it is home to the largest collection of independently owned restaurants, boutique shops, and theatres in the city, in addition to condominiums and office spaces. The investment into the district’s gentrification and renovation has made the Historic Third Ward a sanctuary for visitors longing for an unforgettable excursion through its turn-of-the-century streets. Popular attractions of this neighborhood are the Milwaukee Market Place and a section of the Milwaukee RiverWalk, which help accentuate the area’s historical ambiance and architectural splendor.

Milwaukee Public Market – Located within the Historic Third Ward neighborhood, the Milwaukee Public Market is a gathering of local vendors that sell their freshly prepared delicacies and artisan products. The building was constructed with the industrial history of the Third Ward neighborhood in mind, so the materials used were chosen specifically to reflect that style. Drawing inspiration from Pike’s Market Place in Seattle, Washington, the Milwaukee Public Market supports small, local merchants by renting out spaces within the venue and creating a popular one-stop-shop destination for patrons. The Market is rooted in old tradition and showcases this heritage through the vendor’s time-honored recipes, which are passed down and carefully prepared using locally-sourced, organic ingredients. Many of the products that vendors sell include fruits and vegetables, baked goods, various meat, seafood, beverages, and more. Operating hours for the Public Market are from 10am-8pm on Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm on Saturday, and 10am-6pm on Sunday, so be sure to arrive early for the choicest selections.

Milwaukee RiverWalk – The Milwaukee RiverWalk is over 3-miles of pedestrian walkway set along both sides of the Milwaukee River. The walkway extends in segments from the former site of the North Avenue Dam to Lake Michigan, tying three distinctive riverfront neighborhoods together: Downtown, Historic Third Ward, and Beerline B. The RiverWalk is adorned with child inspired art cast into bronze medallions, beautiful cedar furniture, and attention-grabbing public art, like the Bronze Fonz. The statue of the Bronze Fonz was erected to commemorate television’s ‘king of cool’ Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli from Happy Days, which was a sitcom set in 1950’s Milwaukee. Along with the local art, the RiverWalk is also home to restaurants, breweries, and recreational river activities. The scenic Milwaukee RiverWalk is open to the public 24-hours a day and creates an remarkable experience by immersing visitors in its artistically unique blend of past and present.

Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery – Tours of the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Mansion take visitors on a journey thorough time where they can witness the evolution of the beloved Pabst Brewery. The experience immerses guests in the traditional magnetism of the property through its tavern, banquet hall, beer history tour, and vintage gift shop. The visual tours of the grounds are given by passionate docents that overflow with pride and enthusiasm as they recount the legacy of the brewery. Tours are at 1pm and 3pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, while on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they are at 11am, 12pm, and 1pm. Admission is $8 for adults and includes a beer of your choice, or root beer for the children, which is a steal of a deal for the wealth of knowledge and entertainment that they provide.

Pabst Mansion – The Pabst Mansion is a lavish estate that was originally owned by the founder of Pabst Brewing Company, Captain Frederick Pabst. The exterior of the 19th century manse was designed in the Flemish Renaissance-Revival style, drawing inspiration from symmetry found in early Italian architecture. The massive interior of the Golden Age manor is over 20,000 square feet and has 66 rooms over 5 floors, including the attic and basement. After being saved from demolition, and having the land turned into a parking lot, the Pabst Mansion underwent various renovations before opening to the public for tours. The extensive renovations eventually led to the Pabst Mansion earning the honor of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, where it stands as a representation of Milwaukee’s treasured heritage. Tours of the mansion are offered daily and will take visitors past the intricately designed hops bud finials on the Grand Staircase. Admission for adults is dependent on the tour with the cost being $12 for standard tours or $20 for the grand tour, which covers all 5 floors, but are subject to availability.

Lakeshore State Park – The 22-acre Lakeshore State Park rests along the shores of Lake Michigan and is home to trails, recreational activities, and fishing opportunities. The park resembles a land oasis that is almost completely surrounded by water and is connected to the Urban Park via that Lakeshore State Park Bridge. A portion of the Hank Aaron State Trail loops around the island in the park and offers distinct views of the Milwaukee skyline. The perspective from the recreational area is of the Milwaukee Harbor, Lakeshore State Park Inlet, and a series of docks that provide a great foreground element when photographing the park setting. My favorite areas to shoot are on/underneath the Lakeshore State Park Bridge and along the rock wall to the northeast of the park. Both of these areas provide a unique composition of the park with mesmerizing reflections in the protected, tranquil inlets. The best time to photograph is during the early morning when the skyline is highlighted by the rising sun or the late evening when the sun sets over the city.

Milwaukee Art Museum – The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the U.S. and is an architectural landmark for its eye-catching Quadracci Pavilion. Although the museum is home to many intriguing art pieces, it’s the Quadracci Pavilion, known as the ‘Calatrava,’ that draws the fascination of visitors for its sculptural, postmodern design. This 2001 addition has visitors doing a double take when they are wowed by its commanding curves and cutting-edge craftsmanship. The museum’s signature wings, called the Burke Brise Soleil, are a retractable sunscreen with over a 200-foot wingspan that open and closed based off of the museum’s operation hours (according to the museum, ‘if winds exceed 23mph, then the wings remain closed for safety’). When fully displayed, the iconic structure is a tremendous architectural wonder that ties in perfectly to Milwaukee’s tradition of ingenuity and craftsmanship. When visiting the museum, be sure to walk along the Oak Leaf Trail and MAM Cudahy Gardens to admire this iconic structure from every possible angle.

Miller Park – Miller Park is a professional baseball stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The stadium’s unique design incorporates extensive masonry and stone façade details and has a capacity of just fewer than 42,000 fans. The park was fabricated implementing the latest in sound and control systems, stadium lighting, and ballpark technology, like its retractable, fan-shaped roof. The stadium is known for its signature yellow slide, known as Bernie’s Slide, which is connected to Bernie’s Dugout and is where the Brewers mascot resides during the games. Whenever the Brewer’s belt a home run, Bernie Brewer will go from his dugout and vault down the slide. Simultaneously, the ‘Get Up, Get Up, Get Outta Here, GONE!!’ signs light up above Bernie’s Dugout in celebration.

Miller Brewery – The Miller Brewery is the headquarters and brewing distribution center for the Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Also known as Miller Valley, the Miller Brewing Company encompasses 82 acres of land with over 75 buildings. Tours of the facility are free and offered daily from 10:30am to 3:30pm, which take guests on an indoor and outdoor exploration of the brewing grounds. The tour takes visitors along the packaging conveyor belts, distribution center, brewing house, Miller’s historic storage caves, and culminates with tastings at the Bavarian-inspired Miller Inn. The best time to visit is on a weekday when guests can observe the facility is in full operation as it produces, packages, and prepares its merchandise for shipping.

Discovery World – Discovery World is a museum that connects innovation, science, and technology in an environment that promotes visitors to interact with exhibits and sit in on learning programs. The museum sits on the coast of Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee and is a brilliant place to take the children for the day. The atmosphere fosters their creativity as they learn about ocean life via their underwater walkway or any one of the other countless exhibits that titillate their imagination. For photography, there is a paved pathway and rock wall behind the museum that offers a different perspective of the Milwaukee Art Museum and the city skyline.

Restaurant Recommendations:

*Red Rock Saloon – Home of Milwaukee’s only rock and country fusion saloon, the Red Rock Saloon is celebrated venue for its barbecue, bar selection, and live music. Their Red Rock Poutine, which are house cut fries that are topped with queso sauce, cowboy beans, Wisconsin cheese curds, and Red Rock BBQ Sauce, is out of this world. Add a side of their Grilled Cornbread served with sriracha butter, jalapeno maple syrup, and Mexican corn salad, to complete the appetizer order and will keep you salivating for their barbeque entrees.

*AJ Bombers – A fun and inventive restaurant known for having traditional American hamburgers and an entertaining peanut delivery system. The Milwaukee Burger was the Travel Channel’s Food Wars champion for best burger and consists of a 1/4lb. burger topped with Wisconsin Colby cheese, Nueske’s bacon, and Schlitz onions.

*Oscar’s Pub and Grill – A perfect place to grab a bite to eat, order a cocktail, and relax after a long day. Oscar’s Pub offers a selection of pub eats, which includes variety of burgers that had them nominated as one of the top five burgers in Milwaukee. The Big O Burger is 8 ounces of premium Black Angus burger with chipotle Jack, smoked Gouda, bacon, chorizo, fried onions, jalapenos, and comes with a side of their house guacamole.

*Milwaukee Brat House – Milwaukee Brat House serves a variety of different bratwursts and bratwurst sandwiches, along with other staple menu items. Try the Authentic Wisconsin Cheese Curds as an appetizer.

*Smoke Shack – The Smoke Shack menu is full of an assortment of barbecue options that can be eaten plain or coated in one of their many housemade sauces. It is recommended to arrive early as they sell out of many of their menu items daily.

*Sobelman’s Pub and Grill – Sobelman’s Pub and Grill serves delicious food that uses quality ingredients, unique flair, and innovative combinations. They are known for having been nominated as serving the city’s ‘best burgers,’ as well as a signature Bloody Mary selection.

*Safe House – Safe House is a spy-themed restaurant with a creative take on food and cocktails.

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