Milwaukee, Wisconsin has a lot to offer when it comes to unique and quirky things to do.
I’m sharing more about the best places to visit during your time in “Brew City.”
Motorcycle Appreciation at Harley-Davidson Museum
400 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI
You don’t have a be a huge motorcycle fan to appreciate the rideable art on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.
You’ll have an even greater respect for this beloved motorcycle brand after touring the 20-acre campus in downtown Milwaukee.
During your time in the museum, you can see how the design of Harley-Davidson motorcycles has evolved over the years. The exhibit of colorful gas tanks is a great example of previous styles through the years.
One of the exhibits in the museum displays the oldest known Harley Davidson motorcycle in existence, prototype “Serial Number 1.” Serial Number 1 was built in 1903.
On the floor around the motorcycle exhibit is a boundary line marked around it so that you can visualize the size of the small shed it was built in.
After wandering through the incredible collection of motorcycles spanning 100 years, you can end your visit by taking a photo op on the motorcycle of your choice in the gallery designed for photos and up-close admiration.
Art With a View at Milwaukee Art Museum
700 N Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI
The building for the Milwaukee Art Museum is a work of art in itself. The Burke Brise Soleil installation on the Milwaukee Art Museum has a moveable sunscreen that looks like wings.
The architect for Burke Brise Soleil is Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the Oculus World Trade Center Transportation Hub and other incredible structures around the world.
The structure has a 217-foot wide wingspan and the fins on the structure move with hydraulic cylinders. If wind speeds reach 23 mph or greater two ultrasonic wind sensors will close the wings which take about 3.5 minutes to open or close.
Ceiling views of the 90-foot-high glass roof also change as the fins open or close.
Inside the Milwaukee Art Museum, you can view their collection of more than 32,000 works of art in a variety of mediums.
Hands-On Learning at Discovery World Science and Technology Museum
500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI
The Discovery World Science and Technology Museum is located along the Lake Michigan lakeshore with scenic views of the waterfront looking from both outside and in.
The 120,000 sq. ft center is a great indoor attraction for families of all ages with hands-on exhibits that make learning fun.
170C S 1st St 2nd floor, Milwaukee, WI
Who doesn’t love a bobblehead?
There are 7000+ bobbleheads on display at the National Bobblehead Museum including sports, pop culture, and more.
The best part is that this fun trip down memory lane only costs a $5 admission!
There is even a scavenger hunt for kids to keep them more engaged during their visit.
One of my favorite bobbleheads at the National Bobblehead Museum was Dwight Schrute from The Office… holding a bobblehead of Dwight Schrute.
Cheesehead Love at the Original Cheesehead Factory and Retail Store
1120 S Barclay St, Milwaukee, WI
If you’ve seen a Green Bay Packers game, there is a good chance that you have seen a fan wearing the iconic foam cheesehead hat in the crowd.
The retail store has an assortment of cheesehead gifts and goods to choose from.
These are very popular with limited days available so plan ahead if you want to do this during your visit.
If you don’t have room in your suitcase for a big souvenir, they ship foam cheeseheads all over the world.
(We bought a cheesehead magnet for our fridge.)
Take a Selfie With the “Bronze Fonz” Along Milwaukee’s Riverwalk
100 E. Wells St. along the Milwaukee Riverwalk
The Bronze Fonz is a tribute to Arthur Fonzarelli known as “Fonzie” on the popular 1950s sitcom “Happy Days” which was set in Milwaukee.
The 5’6 inch Bronze Fonz statue is the same height as Henry Winkler, the actor who portrayed him in the show.
Fonzie was known for wearing a white t-shirt, leather jacket, and blue jeans and saying the phrase “ayyy.”
Take a Tour of Pabst Mansion
2000 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI
Learn more about Captain Frederick Pabst as you are guided through his former home that dates back to 1892.
The guide will walk you through each room sharing the history and fun facts in each room.
You’ll also learn about the great lengths that 10 women in the community went through to save the historic building from being torn down and turned into a parking lot.
View Present and Past Sculpture Entries for Sculpture Milwaukee
Each year, sculptures are created by artists and displayed in downtown Milwaukee from summer through fall for Sculpture Milwaukee.
We thought that the wax sculpture of the police officer in the Wisconsin Center entrance looked so real that we had to do a double-take!
*Please note that some sculptures could be installed or uninstalled throughout the season.
Shop at the Milwaukee Public Market
400 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI
This is a great stop for foodies with both quick-stop and sit-down service options.
Explore the specialty food, drink, and goods shops from an assortment of independent merchants.
There is additional seating on the second level Palm Garden if you want to enjoy your purchases during your visit to the market.
Admire Milwaukee Architecture Including “Cream City” Brick
For a greater appreciation of the architecture in downtown Milwaukee, I highly recommend taking a walking tour with Historic Milwaukee Inc.
The tour will bring attention to and tell the backstory of the beautiful buildings throughout downtown Milwaukee.
Walk Along the Milwaukee RiverWalk District
101 W Pleasant St, Milwaukee, WI
Walk along either side of the Milwaukee River on the RiverWalk that connects three downtown neighborhoods. The RiverWalk District includes 20 blocks with scenic views both day and night.
Be on the lookout for unique sculptures and the lift bridges in action as they raise to allow boats to pass by on the river underneath.
Dine in a Spy-Themed Restaurant at Safe House
779 N Front St, Milwaukee, WI
At Safe House you can tap into your inner spy, starting with the secret password used for entry into the restaurant. Once you are safely inside you’ll discover each unique room to be filled with spy-themed memorabilia.
What if you don’t know the password for Safe House?
Spies who know the password get immediate entry. If you don’t know the password, you’ll be given a clearance test to prove that you aren’t a double agent.
After your meal, challenge yourself to solve 10 missions that also give you an excuse to explore each room of the restaurant.
Safe House is kid-friendly before 8PM and 21+ after 10PM serving up specialty cocktails in a hidden Milwaukee bar. Do you know the password?
View the Murals at Milwaukee’s Black Cat Alley
E. Kenilworth Pl, Milwaukee, WI
I LOVE street art and I’m so sad that I missed the murals here. Black Cat Alley features 21 murals by 24 artists from around the world.
The Black Cat Alley is an outdoor art gallery located in a private alley on the East Side of Milwaukee.
Go Bowing at Holler House, the Oldest Bowling Alley in the United States
2042 W Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI
You can bowl at the oldest sanctioned tenpin bowling alley in the United States “Holler House” which opened 1908.
Players get to experience a glimpse of what bowling was like a century ago on real wood bowling lanes. Human pinsetters still set up the pins for the two oldest sanctioned lanes in the nation and bowlers keep score by hand.
They don’t offer walk-ins for open bowling and you’ll need a reservation to bowl due to the limited number of bowling lanes and pinsetter availability.
Rental is for both lanes on an hourly basis and bowling balls and shoes are supplied to use. The bowling lanes are recommended for ages 12 and up because there are no “bumpers” for small kids.
See the Original Bottling Line From the Sitcom Laverne and Shirley on the Lakefront Brewery Tour
1872 N. Commerce St., Milwaukee, WI
Guests on the Lakefront Brewery are given an opportunity during the tour to sing the theme song for the opening credits from the 1970’s sitcom Laverne and Shirley.
The show took place in Milwaukee at a fictional brewery called “The Shotz Brewery” but the filming location of the bottling line scene was actually at Schlitz Brewery.
Lakefront Brewery later acquired the bottling line and a few tour takers even get to put a glove on the moving bottles just like in the opening credits.
The Lakefront Brewery tour is one of the funniest/snarkiest brewery tours I’ve been on in a good way… and I’ve been on a LOT of brewery tours.
Unique Places to Stay in Milwaukee
I’m including a few unique overnight options that are perfect if you are extending your stay in Milwaukee.
Sleep in a Former Brewery at Brewhouse Inn & Suites
1215 N 10th St, Milwaukee, WI
Beer lovers will want to stay in this beer-themed boutique hotel inside a former Pabst Brewing building.
The wow factor is definitely the giant copper brewing kettles that can be observed from the hallways leading to the guests rooms.
Make sure that you take a closer look at the stained glass window of King Gambrinus. He is often called the patron saint of beer.
Sleep With Art at Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel
139 E Kilbourn Ave, Milwaukee, WI
Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel is a great option for an overnight stay for all types of art enthusiasts.
This art-themed hotel also has multiple galleries and exhibitions. Each piece of artwork in the rooms and in the halls of the hotel was created by Wisconsin-based artists.
Each hotel room is unique in design and equipped with a record player with a few records. You can rotate out records during your stay from the record collection by the front desk.
I’m a sucker for little details. That’s why I LOVED this hand soap that looked like an eraser in the bathroom of our hotel room.