Skip to main content.
Guides

Tips for Exploring and Enjoying Milwaukee

Find a place to stay

Made up of several distinctive neighborhoods imbued with the city’s European immigrant influence, Milwaukee is noted for its industrial heritage and lakeshore charm. The city is known for featuring a full schedule of festivals, ranging from Summerfest, one of the world's largest music festivals, to traditional Oktoberfest celebrations in the fall.

Best time to travel

 

Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is known for sultry summer days that are cooled by lake breezes, and winters characterized by deep, heavy snow. If you’re looking to take in some of its largest festivals and want to get around its eclectic neighborhoods comfortably on foot, you can plan a visit in the temperate months of spring and fall.

Not to miss

 

Milwaukee is home to several diverse museums, including the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Mitchell Park Domes, which feature biospheres showcasing plant ecosystems from around the world, and the Harley-Davidson motorcycle museum. The city is also blooming with farm-to-table and ethnic dining options for every budget. Summerfest, which starts in mid-June, is one of the world's largest music festivals, and the Milwaukee Air & Water Show in July features military jet aerobatics. Beer brewing is central to Milwaukee's heritage, and you can take brewery tours, enjoy beer sampling, and order from extensive beer menus in restaurants around the city.

 

Getting around

 

Milwaukee is serviced by General Mitchell International Airport (MKE), and Chicago’s O'Hare International (ORD) and Midway International (MDY) airports. Amtrak train service connects Milwaukee with Chicago, and with cities on its Empire Builder route that runs west across the United States. The city’s train station features a remodeled downtown depot that’s located near attractions and dining, and is connected to the local Milwaukee County Transit System. You can choose to get around by taxi or rent a car to explore outlying areas, although if you’re planning on staying within the city, you can easily get around on foot.

 

Cuisine

 

Milwaukee's dining scene features various meats, dairy (particularly Wisconsin cheese), and a growing assortment of fresh, seasonal produce. You can find cuisine native to the city's Italian heritage along Brady Street, or enjoy German classics in Westown. If you want to sample Milwaukee’s innovative farm-to-table seasonal dining, you can head to the up-and-coming Walker's Point and Bay View districts. You'll also find a long list of traditional and craft beers on virtually every menu in town.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Midwesterners are famous for their friendly hospitality and Milwaukee is no different. Locals usually dress casually, unless they’re headed to one of the city’s nightclubs or formal restaurants, which are known for enforcing dress codes. A 10 to 20 percent tip is generally expected for restaurant service, taxi transit, and any private tour assistance. Although haggling is not a common practice, it doesn't hurt to ask about unadvertised specials.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 605000
  •  

  • Spoken languages: English
  •  

  • Electrical: 110 volts, 60 Hz, plug type A, B
  •  

  • Phone calling code: +1
  •  

  • Emergency number: 911