In addition to checking out MKE blue, consider the list on this page--ideas about notable sites, restaurants, shops, lodging, and activities in the area--with links to the Web sites of the places where available. Do you know other items of interest? Something missing or incorrect? Please let me know and send the URL.
Fun and Learning
- Go fly a kite at Gift of Wings in Veteran's Park at the Lakefront. Participate in the annual Family Kite Festival.
- Urban Milwaukee--the Store: get the true flavor of city life in Milwaukee--t-shirts, books, games, paintings, photography, and postcards.
- You can smell the aroma in the air on Old World Third Street and get hard-to-find spices at The Spice House. Also, order online.
- Stop by Usinger's Famous Sausage on Old World Third Street and sample one of the food products that made Milwaukee famous; see photo album page.
- As long as you are on Old World Third Street, stop by the corner of Highland Avenue at Wisconsin Cheese Mart for some parmesan, romano, asiago, and others; see photo album page.
- Burke Candy: A candy factory and store in Riverwest offering fudge, toffee, turtles, and more. Web site offers online shopping.
- Anodyne Coffee Company: Order coffees from around the world; Anodyne is in the Brewed Awakenings cafe on Brady Street; see photo album page.
- Buy quality souvenirs and clothing with Milwaukee logos and beer flavor at Brew City. This is the best stop to get the genuine, original Milwaukee designs of t-shirts and souvenirs. Visit the shops in town or order online.
- Broadway Paper: handmade and imported papers, and more, in the Historic Third Ward.
- The Petullo Collection in the Third Ward exhibits self-taught and outsider art in their galleries.
- Rubin's Furniture: has a store in the Third Ward; stylish furniture for home and office.
- Moda3: snow, steet, and skate wear, in the Historic Third Ward.
- Gallery 218: in an eponymous suite number in the Marshall Building in the Third Ward, this gallery offers artwork by member artists and events.
- Katie Gingrass Gallery: a very popular stop on Gallery Nights, this is a contemporary art and fine craft gallery in the Historic Third Ward.
- Woodland Pattern Book Center, in Riverwest, is a center for book sales as well as author readings, workshops, and other literary and cultural events; see photo album page.
- You won't find no genetically-mixed up frankenfoods at Outpost Natural Foods, a cooperative which has been an institution in the Milwaukee area for many years.
- Wild Flour Bakery & Cafe: offers deli items, breads, soups, pastries, and pies.
- Red Star Yeast: Milwaukee's own yeast company--get baking tips, recipes, and yeast information. I use Red Star yeast all the time for making dough for homemade pizza.
- Palermo's Pizza: made in the Menomonee Valley.
- Milwaukee Electric Tool: Founded in 1924, this company produces tools whose name is synonymous with toughness, durability, and reliability.
Downtown / Eastside Grocery Shopping
Downtown Milwauke residents are fortunuate to have a selection of grocery stores to choose from. Many cities have no food stores in the downtown area, particularly ones with economical prices.
- Roundy's operates a Metro Market at 1123 North Van Buren (corner of N Van Buren and Juneau Ave; see photo album page). This has a wide selection of fresh fruit and "high end" other items (and prices). Roundy's also has a Pick N Save nearby with more affordable prices at 605 East Lyon Street in the East Pointe shopping area (Jefferson and Ogden) and at 1100 E. Garfield (on Humboldt just south of North Avenue).
- Milwaukee Public Market offers specialty foods from Wisconsin at 400 N. Water Street just on the north end of the Third Ward; see photo album page.
- Koppa's Farwell Foods / Fulbeli Deli at 1940 N. Farwell Avenue.
- Whole Foods on North Avenue, near the near Columbia/St. Mary's Hospital. This chain is nicknamed "Whole Paycheck" in a nod to its prices; see photo album page.
- Sendik's on Downer offers fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meats and other specialty foods.
- The Riverwest Co-op is a natural foods grocery store and cafe that has been open to the public since 2001; see photo album page.
- While not on the East Side or downtown, the ALDI at 225 E. Capitol Drive is a short distance away, and is a good example of an edited-selection food store that can provide affordable, basic groceries in a smaller-store format. There are also Save-a-Lot grocery stores outside of the downtown area.
- G. Groppi Food Market is located in Bayview; see photo album page
- There are several Walgreens in the downtown area. They sometimes have good sale prices on milk and some food items.
- AJ Bombers: big burgers!
- Harbor House: a restaurant on Pier Wisconsin at Milwaukee's Lakefront.
- North Point Custard: visit one of the only restaurants in Milwaukee right on Lake Michigan!
- Crazy Water: in Walker's Point: everything from Cajun Grilled Tiger Shrimp with corn pancakes to Potato-Crusted Tilapia with a lemon beurre blanc and vegetable brunoise.
- Bacchus located in the Cudahy Tower at the east end of Wells Street near Lake Michigan serves seafood, handmade pastas, and grilled meats; part of the Bartolotta Restaurant Group.
- Miss Katie's Diner: A genuine classic diner from the 1950-1960 era, offering hamburgers, ribs, milkshakes, etc. Near Marquette University downtown. Past diners have included Bill Clinton and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
- Miller Time Pub: Presenting a retail presence in its hometown, this Miller Brewing Company enterprise operated with and located in the Hilton Hotel downtown recalls the old days when breweries owned saloons. This pub features Miller products as well as a lunch and dinner menu.
- Milwaukee Chophouse: at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.
- American Serb Hall: This the place for the "famous Friday fish fry." With banquet and conference facilities, this is also the place for political rallies. Past speakers have included Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Tommy Thompson, John Norquist, and others.
- Spies can find sanctuary at the Safe House, a place with a distinctive air of espionage. Tip: look for the door to "International Exports Ltd.," in an alley, across from the historic Pabst Theater, which is near the tower of city hall (see photo album page classified photo for a clue).
- Buck Bradley's Saloon and Eatery boasts the longest bar east of the Mississippi. On Old World Third Street; see photo album page.
- Mo's -- A Place for Steaks: the place for steaks in Milwaukee. Right downtown on North Plankinton Avenue, up the street from Mo's Irish Pub
- Sanford: Unassuming in appearance as a former family grocery store nestled in a residential neighborhood on the east side, Sanford impresses nonetheless. Dennis Getto described it as "the cutting edge of culinary excellence in Milwaukee."
- Beans & Barley: Established in 1979 as a health food store, now grown to be a popular East Side deli/speciality grocer and cafe. Famous for vegetarian, but also serves non-vegetarian food. Web site lists daily specials; see photo album page.
- Water Street Brewery: A popular restaurant and bar on the street synonymous with nightlife; see photo album page.
- Saz's BBQ: famous for ribs, this restaurant is popular with people before a baseball game or Miller brewery tour. Also has a smaller food stand in the Grand Avenue Mall.
- Pizza Shuttle: An east-side eatery famous for its value-oriented pizza, burgers, subs, pasta, wings, custard, etc., etc. Open late hours and deliveries to east side and downtown; The restaurant is just north of Brady Street on Farwell; see photo album page.
- Gilles Frozen Custard: Check out Milwaukee's oldest custard stand on Bluemound Road.
- Stop by Mader's on Old World Third Street and see the hummels, art gallery, and dine at this famous German restaurant founded in 1902. Past diners have included several heads of state (John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Vicente Fox of Mexico); see photo album page.
- Also on Old World Third Street, glimpse Bavarian culture and social life with replica tables and benches from an original Munich beer hall at Old German Beer Hall Milwaukee; see photo album page.
- Il Mito: just off the roundabout on the south end of the sixth street bridge. Highly rated.
- Osteria del Mondo: in the Knickerbocker Hotel in the downtown east side, offers complete dinner, lunch, and brunch menus.
- Pretend you're rich and try to glimpse celebrities at Mimma's Cafe on Brady Street.
- Cafe Vecchio Mondo: On Old World Third Street, the name comes from Italian, meaning "Old World Cafe," offers fine food, drinks, and banquets. See photo.
- Balistreri's: Well-known for pizza and other Italian specialities.
- Italian Conference Center: In the Third Ward, a restaurant open to the public as well as facility that you can rent for your event; see photo album page.
- Flannery's Bar and Restaurant: a traditional Irish Pub in East Town, near Cathedral Square.
- County Clare: an Irish inn and pub in a quiet residential setting on The East Side; see photo album page.
- Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro: inside a historic building in Lake Park, you'll surrender to the great food at an excellent French restaurant; see photo album page.
- Coquette Cafe: In the Third Ward, Coquette Cafe gives up authentic bistro fare in warm, casual surroundings.
- Cafe Hollander: serving up dishes from Belgium at its East Side (Downer Avenue) location.
Asian and Pacific
- Sake-Tumi: on North Milwaukee Street.
- China Gourmet: You'll find an ok buffet lunch on Wells Street down by the river and across from The Rep, downtown.
- Benihana: Milwaukee's branch of this national chain on Plankinton Avenue on the river.
Mexican, Latin American, Caribbean
- Botanas: In Walker's Point, patio dining in season; live mariachi music.
African, Middle Eastern
- Casabalanca: excellent Middle Eastern lunch buffet on Brady Street.
- Ouzo Cafe: on North Milwaukee Street, serves food until very late.
- Ouzo Cafe: the flavor of Greece on North Milwaukee Street.
- Apollo Cafe: great Greek food, right on Brady Street.
- Swig: experience the small plate concept on North Water Street.
- It's a micobrewery. It's a movie theater. It's a restaurant. It's a living room. Visit and decide for yourself-- the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse.
See alsoMKE Dining for a list of directories of other area restaurants.
- While beer hasn't been Milwaukee's main industry since the '90's (the 1890's), you should still find out about the beverage at brewhouses big and small. Tour the Miller Brewery (Phone (800)944-LITE or (414)931-BEER, Visitor Center 4251 W. State St.), Lakefront Brewery (which is on the Milwaukee River in the Beerline area), Best Place at the historic Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee Ale House, Milwaukee Brewing Co., and Sprecher Brewery.
- See where Milwaukee iron is born. Tour the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. engine plant. Call (800)621-2034 or (414)535-3666 for details.
- You can tour a pizza factory at Villa Palermo in the Menomonee Valley. Call (414)455-0383.
- You can also tour a candy factory: Quality Candy/Buddy Squirrel, 1801 E. Bolivar Ave, Milwaukee. Call (414)483-4500.
- Tour the Great Lakes Distillery, a small-batch distillery located in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
- Take a Milwaukee Food Tour
- Tour the Great Lakes Distillery, a small-batch distillery.
Clubs / Bars
- Blu: This is Milwaukee's top cocktail bar, located on the 23rd floor of the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.
- Lucile's on North Old World Third Street at Highland promises you a good time with two pianos.
- The Wicked Hop: Bar & grill in the commission row shops in the Historic Third Ward.
- Art Bar: in Riverwest, a bar with art on the walls and music in the air; see photo album page.
- Mo's Irish Pub: downtown on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and North Plankinton Avenue; see photo album page.
- Hi Hat Lounge: a classic "velvet lounge" for hepcats on Brady Street. Live music.
- The Estate: "hard-core jazz."
- Stonefly Brewing Company: on Center Street in Riverwest
- Mad Planet: in Riverwest
- Roman's Pub: On South Kinnickinnic in Bay View.
- Cactus Club: bands & DJs, in Bay View
- Pat McCurdy: Catch Pat's song parodies and humor at various venues around town and around the region.
- Enjoy impov comedy raised to competitive levels at ComedySportz. This is improvisation organized by team play. It is funny, sometimes surprising, worth a visit if you've never been there. Originated in Milwaukee, franchised nationally.
- The Pfister: One of the great hotels of the world. Former guests include US Presidents, sports celebrities, and music stars; see photo album page
- Iron Horse Hotel: caters to motorcyclists; near the Harley-Davidson Museum; see photo album page.
- Hotel Metro: A unique art-deco hotel in the heart of downtown Milwaukee; see photo album page.
- County Clare: an Irish inn and pub in a quiet residential setting in East Town; see photo album page.
- Knickerbocker: near the lake in East Town, just north of Juneau Avenue, east of Astor Street; see photo album page.
- The Astor Hotel: A residental hotel with character in the heart of East Town; see photo album page.
- Brumder Mansion: A bed and breakfast inside a mansion built in 1910.
- Milwaukee Coach and Carriage offers horse-drawn carriage rides of the downtown area
- SeaDog Sailing: offers you a chance to sail on Lake Michigan
- Crabby Charters: fish for chinook and coho salmon, and rainbow, brown and lake trout on Lake Michigan on this charter boat; McKinley Marina.
- Blue Max Charters: fish for king salmon and trout aboard the Blue Max.
- Brew City Charters: fish for trophy chinook and coho salmon, rainbow, brown, and lake trout.
- Edelweiss: Enjoy a dinner and a cruise on the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan.
- Juneau Park Paddleboats: head on down to the Veteran's Park lagoon and try paddling across it
- MKE Boat: Lake & Harbor Cruises
- Riverwalk Boats: See the life along the rivers from a new angle.
- SailMilwaukee: a luxury yacht available for charter
- Enjoy the lakefront bike path by renting a bike or skates in Veteran's Park at the lakefront. Bikes available include multi-person vehicles.
- Ride a Segway around Milwaukee and see the sights and get a tour. These vehicles are easy to learn in a short time, and fun to ride. You'll look like a nerd, though!
- Visit Milwaukee's coolest ice skating rink downtown at Red Arrow Park, at the southeast corner of Water and State Streets; see photo album page
Free AdmissionYou can get in free to several museums during specified times if you are a resident of Milwaukee County:
- Milwaukee Public Museum: Admission promotions for Milwaukee County residents with ID--see Web site for details; see photo album page.
- Milwaukee Art Museum: General admission is free on first Thursdays; see photo album page.
- Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes): Free to all Milwaukee County residents Monday 9:00 am - 11:30 am excluding major holidays with ID; see photo album page.
- East Town Women's Shop in the Historic Third Ward offers women's resale fashions and furs.
- Milwaukee Freecycle: helps reduce waste through the re-use of items; connects individuals who are discarding goods with others who are seeking them.