Posted June 16, 2023

One City, Three Ways: Milwaukee


If you’ve never visited Milwaukee, we can’t think of a better time. This inconspicuously cool town has not only made it into the top 10 of Lonely Planet’s “Best in the U.S.” list, but is also home to Wisconsin’s first-ever Kimpton.

The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel is located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, a thriving district of revamped warehouses, galleries, theaters, boutiques, and eateries. Journeyman welcomes you with eclectic-industrial design, a dramatic 20-foot-long chandelier, and a rooftop bar complete with idyllic sunset views.

On your next visit to Milwaukee, check out the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel. (Photo Credit: @neverwithoutnavy)

And the best part? We are in a neighborhood that is within walking distance of the picturesque Riverwalk and artisan food vendors at the Milwaukee Public Market. With all these choices, how exactly should you spend your precious time in Milwaukee? Read on.

Artistic & Jubilant

If a city’s vibrancy depends on the art, theater, and music scene, then Milwaukee is a bright, shining star. For starters, don’t miss the Milwaukee Art Museum. Shaped like a floating cross with cantilevered wings, the architecture itself is a mind-blowing work of imagination — never mind the 25,000-plus works inside. Once a month on Friday nights, the museum lights up for a cool MAM After Dark series — catch one if you can!

At the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), you can tour the school’s two museum galleries, which are both nationally acclaimed. Beauty conspires with music at The Pabst Theater — a concert hall boasting a lavish Baroque interior including a Carrara marble staircase — while the Broadway Theatre Center houses three performing theater companies.

Art is all around in Milwaukee. (Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Ahnert)

Really, it’s true. (Photo Credit: Tom Barrett)

When it comes to celebrations, Milwaukee reigns with dozens of festivals, especially in the summer. Many of these street fairs pay homage to the city’s multi-ethnic populations — including the Polish Fest, Scottish Fest, and German Fest. The grandest of all is Summerfest, which hosts 100+ musical groups over 11 days.

Hoppin’ Good Times

Even though iconic names like Pabst and Schlitz are long gone from Milwaukee — once the world’s top beer producer — never fear. Milwaukee is now a bastion of thriving craft breweries and brew pubs.

One of our favorites is Lakefront Brewery, located in an old trolley station. Tour the trio of fermentation tanks painted with the Three Stooges, and if you’re there for the Friday night fish fry, you’ll be transported to a German beer hall complete with a polka band.

The beverage scene — particularly when it comes to beer — is off the charts in Milwaukee. (Photo Credit: @brunettebartenders)

Other well-loved local pubs include Milwaukee Ale House, featuring six house-brewed ales and a copious menu, and Hinterland Gastropub, offering creative cuisine and cocktail concoctions that often mix in beer. A quick 10-minute drive from the city is Sprecher Brewery, best known for its Black Bavarian and Oktoberfest brews, along with gourmet sodas.

This & That

For those with a rogue streak, we couldn’t resist throwing these unexpected shout-outs into the ring. It’s a sure-fire way to make your friends back home wonder, “You did that in Milwaukee?”

After a long day exploring the city, rest easy at the Journeyman’s rooftop bar. (Photo Credit: @milwaukeehome)

A peek at the eclectic design of the Journeyman Hotel. (Photo Credit: @adriaciviletti)

But really, stop by The Outsider — bonus points if you’re there for a sunset cocktail. (Photo Credit: @emilymen)

  • Visit “The Domes,” a.k.a. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, a fun and fascinating botanical attraction that highlights three separate climates — desert, tropical and floral — all beneath beehive-shaped convex glass.
  • Go sailing, fishing, jet skiing, and even fresh-water surfing (for real) on Lake Michigan.
  • Jump-start a hog and trace the history of these legendary bikes at the Harley Davidson Museum.
  • Get a unique view of downtown while kayaking or paddle boarding on the Milwaukee River, which meanders through the city.
  • Eat fried cheese curds (you’re in Wisconsin, after all) at SafeHouse, a spy-themed restaurant that Wired once mentioned as among “the planet’s hippest hangouts.”

So, what are you adding to the itinerary? We can’t wait to find out.

Where to stay: Kimpton Journeyman Hotel


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  1. gary king says:

    Just booked a room! Looking forward to seeing your new Kimpton.

    It has been years since I have been to the city.

  2. gary king says:

    Was at the Milwaukee Kimpton hotel for its opening. Beautiful hotel and a great staff ! The roof top is really special.l

  3. Cheryl Potratz says:

    Went to the roof top bar at the Kempton in Milwaukee tonight. I had the most wonderful, refreshing cocktail the C.I.C!! Despite the rain we had a wonderful time. Is there any way I could have the recipe for the C.I.C?

    • Faith Yi Kimpton says:

      Hi Cheryl, we’re so glad you had a good time and a great cocktail at The Outsider! We regularly post chef and bartender recipes on our blog, Life is Suite, so please keep an eye out!