Updated: Dec 28, 2019
1. Go on a local food tour. Since Milwaukee was historically settled by many immigrants from all over the world, the city has so many different types of cuisine to offer. My personal favorite was the Milwaukee Food Tours (I did the Brady Street Tour, which was great!) and you can get $5 off by using the code "MKEFOOD".
2. Walk up and down the River Walk (and say hello to the Bronze Fonz!). Milwaukee has done an incredible job of creating and maintaining a pedestrian-friendly River Walk around the downtown area. You can easily walk from one end to the other, and then hop a bridge to walk the other side right after. The views along the river are gorgeous and you definitely should pay a visit to the city's famous statue of Henry Winkler's character "Fonzie" from Happy Days.
3. Go on a local Fishing Charter, available April-October immerse yourself in a great family adventure on the enormous Lake Michigan. No experience and no equipment necessary! Enjoy the spectacular lakefront views while Fish Addiction cleans the fish you caught!
4. See a play, ballet, concert, or other performance. The city has an incredible performing arts community and you definitely need to see at least one show while you're visiting! I saw a ballet performance when I was in town and absolutely loved it. The best part was I didn't even have to arrange tickets ahead of time--I just walked right into the theatre and purchased tickets at the box office (got some killer seats too!). It's definitely a perk of visiting the theatre in this city!
5. Attend a summer festival. Milwaukee is famous for all of their summer activities, including the very popular Summerfest, which takes place every year. Don't miss out on the city's summer happenings if you go during the warmer months!
6. Go on a brewery tour. This is a city famous for its beer culture, so why not indulge and check out one of the local breweries (like Lakefront Brewery) and sign up for a tour. You'll get plenty of tasting opportunities and a chance to see how some of America's popular beers are made.
7. Eat Friday Fish Fry, drink a Bloody Mary(s) on Sundays, and try Wisconsin Cheese Curds. I know this seems like a lot, but these things are all staples that you cannot leave Milwaukee without trying! Friday Fish Fry is a statewide tradition that is served up at most restaurants every Friday; Bloody Mary's on the weekends are extremely popular around the city with many establishments competing on who's is better, and cheese curds... need I say more?! Head to a local bar and order up some of those famous Wisconsin Cheese Curds!
8. Explore the Historic Third Ward. This might have been my favorite area around downtown Milwaukee because of it's artsy, eclectic vibe. The architecture is really cool around here with lots of warehouses and lofts popping up left and right, and there are many new restaurants and boutiques coming to set up shop in this area. It's definitely a fun neighborhood to hang around.
9. Walk around the Milwaukee Public Market. All it takes is one walk through the bustling Milwaukee Public Market to fall in love with the unique and local vibe that it offers visitors. You can find a wide variety of cuisines, drinks, and knick-knacks in this eclectic market. My favorites were St. Paul's Fish Company (try the lobster roll and thank me later), FORM fine goods + floral, and Thief Wine Shop & Bar. There are so many other amazing spots too, so I encourage you to go check them all out!
10. Food crawl around Brady Street. Brady Street is home to some of Milwaukee's best food gems. There's Glorioso's Italian Market, Zaffiro's Pizza, Thai-Namite, Mimma's Cafe, and so much more! If you prefer to go at your own pace, pick a few places and get small plates or portions at each of them. If you prefer to have someone guide you around and get the most bang for your buck, I'd recommend trying out one of the Milwaukee Food Tours (as mentioned in #1) to try out a few different places while learning some history of the area.