Wisconsin's largest city and a popular destination on Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is bound to appeal to foodies, sports fans, culture lovers and sightseers alike. Besides being the stomping grounds of the Brewers and the Bucks, Milwaukee plays host to an impressive array of art, theater and music events—including Summerfest, the biggest outdoor music festival in the U.S.
Must see in Milwaukee
Mitchell Park Conservatory on the South Side provides year-round climate tourism in its Desert and Tropical Domes. A dedicated Show Dome offers five rotating seasonal displays. Discovery World on the East Side is a treasure trove of interactive exhibits for all ages, covering topics diverse as lake ecology, engineering, hydraulics, nuclear energy, electric guitars and more. A functioning government building that stands just a block from the Milwaukee River, picturesque Milwaukee City Hall is an immaculately-maintained reminder of the area's architectural heritage.
Where to stay in Milwaukee
Families can find comfort and convenience in the Westown neighborhood. The surrounding area is home to the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Bradley Center and the Shops of Grand Avenue. The Lower East Side has lots to offer younger visitors. Cocktails and pinball at Fink's, hip dining on Brady Street and the legendary Wolski's Tavern will keep you up well past bedtime. The budget-minded traveler is sure to enjoy the laid-back charm of Milwaukee's South Side. Look for food and festivals in Bay View, classic architecture in Lincoln Village and the natural oasis of Holler Park.
Best and worst time to go to Milwaukee
Though the Tropical Dome at Mitchell Park can provide some relief, there's no getting away from a Midwest winter. January and February are apt to be dreariest, and temperatures usually don't start to reliably warm up until the end of April. May through September showcases the natural beauty of Milwaukee's lakeside setting while affording the opportunity to experience numerous street festivals.
Where to get lost in Milwaukee
The scenic Milwaukee Riverwalk takes you from the Historic Third Ward to Caesar's Park, with plenty of chances to stop for a bite, a drink or shopping. Check out the Bronze Fonz just off Wells Street.
The best deal in Milwaukee
This is a city that loves its art, and the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University offers free admission and parking seven days a week.
Transportation in Milwaukee
Bus service through the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is robust and inexpensive, with over 50 routes providing over 90% coverage of the Milwaukee County area. Between the buses and reasonably-priced taxis (including Uber and Lyft services), getting around is no problem.
Getting in from General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
You're practically there. Mitchell International is a mere six minutes from downtown, and you can choose between MCTS city buses and coach buses through Badger Coach or Wisconsin Coach Lines.
Local tip for visitors to Milwaukee
In warmer months, you can take a daytime stroll along the Holton Viaduct Marsupial Bridge and access a one-of-a-kind urban playground—with multiple tire swings and beautiful river views—hidden from the sun's heat by the Edward D. Holton Viaduct.
Author's bio: Elisabeth Cook is a freelance writer who has lived in Wisconsin for more than 10 years.