Milwaukee is packed with things to see and do for families, making for a fabulous fall weekend getaway. Try to arrange your stay in Milwaukee to coincide with a festival or fair. And don’t forget the brews: there’s even a brewery tour that offers gourmet soda tastings for tiny teetotalers. From climbing to the beacon of a historic lighthouse to designing your own virtual Harley-Davidson, both parents and kids will find something to love in Brew City.
Enjoy breakfast at a classic Benelux cafe
You’ll feel as if you’re in Europe and not the Badger State at Cafe Hollander, an elegant yet kid-friendly grand cafe, where brunch is served daily from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Try the fluffy Lowlander pancakes or the Brew City Benedict, a Milwaukee take on classic eggs benedict featuring Wisconsin-fresh cheddar.
Climb 84 steps to the top of a lighthouse
The North Point Lighthouse is a picture-perfect, restored 19th-century lighthouse that also houses a small maritime museum. If you climb to the very top via 84 narrow steps and, last but not least, a ladder, a you’ll be rewarded with beautiful city and lake views.
Explore the past, present and future of our planet at
This science- and tech-focused museum features everything from aquariums to total immersion virtual reality experiences. Be sure to visit the Great Lakes Future Exhibit, which tackles freshwater issues and includes a 3D diorama of the Great Lakes.
Bike Brew City
Milwaukee is biker-friendly and Coast In Bike Rentals will outfit your family with bikes to fit your style, including baby seats, kid carriers and helmets.
Meet the masterpieces at the Milwaukee Art Museum
The stunning Milwaukee Art Museum is Wisconsin’s premier arts institution, housing more than 30,000 masterpieces. The Quadracci Pavilion, designed by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, seems as if it’s about to set sail from the lakefront. Rent a free ArtPack, a small case filled with sketching supplies that can be used in the galleries, and your kids will be able to test their skills with a little inspiration from some of the world’s best artists.
Munch on local treats at
This historic indoor market focuses on Wisconsin products, including housemade chocolates, artisan cheeses, pretzels and creamy frozen custards, but you’ll also find the flavors of the world here. Enjoy lunch or shop for some tasty souvenirs.
Build a virtual motorcycle at the Harley-Davidson Museum
Harley-Davidson was founded in Milwaukee and the Harley-Davidson Museum showcases the historic American icon in all its glory. Kids can build their own virtual motorbike here and even try on some hip Harley-Davidson gear.
Visit a kid-friendly (root) beer brewery
Sprecher Brewery offers a brew tour that features root beer in addition to real beer in a family-friendly tour. Learn the science behind microbrewery and taste a range of gourmet sodas, too.
Where to stay
Country Springs Hotel, Water Park and Conference Center, located in Waukesha (a suburb of Milwaukee), features an in-hotel, indoor waterpark with fun slides, water play area, lazy river and more.
The loft-inspired Aloft Hotel is the only hotel in town with direct river access. Its central location makes it easy to walk to most city attractions.
Experience Irish-style hospitality at the County Clare Inn. Standard and “Snug” rooms have all the comforts of a cozy European inn, including hand-crafted comforters and luxurious double whirlpool baths. If you need more room, the suites have a couch sitting area, king size beds and a larger bathroom.