MilwaukeeFunMKE Fun

In addition to checking out MKE blue, consider the list on this page--ideas about notable sites, restaurants, shops, lodging, and activities in the area--with links to the Web sites of the places where available. Do you know other items of interest? Something missing or incorrect? Please let me know and send the URL.

Fun and Learning

  • AstorStreetDance.com: learn a variety of dance types--Middle Eastern Dance (Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, Tribal Belly Dance), Zumba, attend events and workshops... a fun way to stay in shape!
  • Go fly a kite at Gift of Wings in Veteran's Park at the Lakefront. Participate in the annual Family Kite Festival.

Shopping

  • Urban Milwaukee--the Store: get the true flavor of city life in Milwaukee--t-shirts, books, games, paintings, photography, and postcards.
  • Crank Daddy's on the East Side has bikes for sale, bike maintenance, and even bike shipping services. Located on Farwell Avenue, just off the Oak Leaf Bike trail; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • ReThreads: get cash for your clothes and then get new (old) ones at this shop in riverwest.
  • Laacke & Joys: an outdoor outfitter right on the Milwaukee River by the Cherry Street bridge since 1961.
  • *excellent* You can smell the aroma in the air on Old World Third Street and get hard-to-find spices at The Spice House. Also, order online.
  • Stop by Usinger's Famous Sausage on Old World Third Street and sample one of the food products that made Milwaukee famous; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • As long as you are on Old World Third Street, stop by the corner of Highland Avenue at Wisconsin Cheese Mart for some parmesan, romano, asiago, and others; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Burke Candy: A candy factory and store in Riverwest offering fudge, toffee, turtles, and more. Web site offers online shopping.
  • Anodyne Coffee Company: Order coffees from around the world; Anodyne is in the Brewed Awakenings cafe on Brady Street; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Cory the Bike Fixer fixes your bike on The East Side.
  • Buy quality souvenirs and clothing with Milwaukee logos and beer flavor at Brew City. This is the best stop to get the genuine, original Milwaukee designs of t-shirts and souvenirs. Visit the shops in town or order online.
  • George Watts has specialized in tableware for more than a century; its store on North Jefferson Street now extends to the Internet with online ordering available at this site; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Broadway Paper: handmade and imported papers, and more, in the Historic Third Ward.
  • The Petullo Collection in the Third Ward exhibits self-taught and outsider art in their galleries.
  • Rubin's Furniture: has a store in the Third Ward; stylish furniture for home and office.
  • Moda3: snow, steet, and skate wear, in the Historic Third Ward.
  • Light Ideas Gallery: in the Marshall Building in the Third Ward, this gallery offers artwork by member artists and events.
  • Gallery 218: in an eponymous suite number in the Marshall Building in the Third Ward, this gallery offers artwork by member artists and events.
  • Katie Gingrass Gallery: a very popular stop on Gallery Nights, this is a contemporary art and fine craft gallery in the Historic Third Ward.
  • Woodland Pattern Book Center, in Riverwest, is a center for book sales as well as author readings, workshops, and other literary and cultural events; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • You won't find no genetically-mixed up frankenfoods at Outpost Natural Foods, a cooperative which has been an institution in the Milwaukee area for many years.
  • The Shops of Grand Avenue: Restored historic buildings support a variety of uses, including hotels, education, the YMCA, business offices, and retail stores; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Wild Flour Bakery & Cafe: offers deli items, breads, soups, pastries, and pies.
  • Soup Ladle: soup downstairs of the 770 N. Jefferson St building; also a location in fashionable Cudahy.
  • Red Star Yeast: Milwaukee's own yeast company--get baking tips, recipes, and yeast information. I use Red Star yeast all the time for making dough for homemade pizza.
  • Palermo's Pizza: made in the Menomonee Valley.
  • Helios Solar Works: high-performance mono-crystalline solar modules for solar electric systems in the Menomonee Valley!
  • Milwaukee Electric Tool: Founded in 1924, this company produces tools whose name is synonymous with toughness, durability, and reliability.

Downtown / Eastside Grocery Shopping

Downtown Milwauke residents are fortunuate to have a selection of grocery stores to choose from. Many cities have no food stores in the downtown area, particularly ones with economical prices.

  • Roundy's operates a Metro Market at 1123 North Van Buren (corner of N Van Buren and Juneau Ave; see photo album page available photo album page). This has a wide selection of fresh fruit and "high end" other items (and prices). Roundy's also has a Pick N Save nearby with more affordable prices at 605 East Lyon Street in the East Pointe shopping area (Jefferson and Ogden) and at 1100 E. Garfield (on Humboldt just south of North Avenue).
  • Milwaukee Public Market offers specialty foods from Wisconsin at 400 N. Water Street just on the north end of the Third Ward; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Glorioso Brothers Grocery, 1020 East Brady. A genuine Italian neighborhood grocery store; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Koppa's Farwell Foods / Fulbeli Deli at 1940 N. Farwell Avenue.
  • Whole Foods on North Avenue, near the near Columbia/St. Mary's Hospital. This chain is nicknamed "Whole Paycheck" in a nod to its prices; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Sendik's on Downer offers fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meats and other specialty foods.
  • The Riverwest Co-op is a natural foods grocery store and cafe that has been open to the public since 2001; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • While not on the East Side or downtown, the ALDI at 225 E. Capitol Drive is a short distance away, and is a good example of an edited-selection food store that can provide affordable, basic groceries in a smaller-store format. There are also Save-a-Lot grocery stores outside of the downtown area.
  • There is a Piggly Wiggly store at 709 East Capital Drive.
  • There area Lena's Food Markets around town.
  • G. Groppi Food Market is located in Bayview; see photo album page available photo album page
  • There are several Walgreens in the downtown area. They sometimes have good sale prices on milk and some food items.

Restaurants

American

  • AJ Bombers: big burgers!
  • Harbor House: a restaurant on Pier Wisconsin at Milwaukee's Lakefront.
  • North Point Custard: visit one of the only restaurants in Milwaukee right on Lake Michigan!
  • Crazy Water: in Walker's Point: everything from Cajun Grilled Tiger Shrimp with corn pancakes to Potato-Crusted Tilapia with a lemon beurre blanc and vegetable brunoise.
  • Bacchus located in the Cudahy Tower at the east end of Wells Street near Lake Michigan serves seafood, handmade pastas, and grilled meats; part of the Bartolotta Restaurant Group.
  • Miss Katie's Diner: A genuine classic diner from the 1950-1960 era, offering hamburgers, ribs, milkshakes, etc. Near Marquette University downtown. Past diners have included Bill Clinton and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
  • Miller Time Pub: Presenting a retail presence in its hometown, this Miller Brewing Company enterprise operated with and located in the Hilton Hotel downtown recalls the old days when breweries owned saloons. This pub features Miller products as well as a lunch and dinner menu.
  • Milwaukee Chophouse: at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.
  • Coast: all the way east on Wisconsin as far as you can go is Coast, the restaurant in the Miller Pavillion, overlooking O'Donnell Park, the Art Musuem's Calatrava-designed addition, and Lake Michigan; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Roots Restaurant and Cellar: greenhouse and 1.6 hectacres of organic property growing edible flowers and herbs served in restaurant; organics and seafood; Brewer's Hill; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Aura: With its location inside the Comfort Inn and Suites Downtown Lakeshore, this places offers "a light infused nightclub setting" offering drinks and food. See photo.
  • Louise's: offers California-style specialty pizzas, pastas, and foccacia breads; the Milwaukee location is right on Cathedral Square; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • American Serb Hall: This the place for the "famous Friday fish fry." With banquet and conference facilities, this is also the place for political rallies. Past speakers have included Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Tommy Thompson, John Norquist, and others.
  • Spies can find sanctuary at the Safe House, a place with a distinctive air of espionage. Tip: look for the door to "International Exports Ltd.," in an alley, across from the historic Pabst Theater, which is near the tower of city hall (see photo album page available photo album page classified photo for a clue).
  • Buck Bradley's Saloon and Eatery boasts the longest bar east of the Mississippi. On Old World Third Street; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Mo's -- A Place for Steaks: the place for steaks in Milwaukee. Right downtown on North Plankinton Avenue, up the street from Mo's Irish Pub
  • Sanford: Unassuming in appearance as a former family grocery store nestled in a residential neighborhood on the east side, Sanford impresses nonetheless. Dennis Getto described it as "the cutting edge of culinary excellence in Milwaukee."
  • Beans & Barley: Established in 1979 as a health food store, now grown to be a popular East Side deli/speciality grocer and cafe. Famous for vegetarian, but also serves non-vegetarian food. Web site lists daily specials; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Water Street Brewery: A popular restaurant and bar on the street synonymous with nightlife; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Saz's BBQ: famous for ribs, this restaurant is popular with people before a baseball game or Miller brewery tour. Also has a smaller food stand in the Grand Avenue Mall.
  • Pizza Shuttle: An east-side eatery famous for its value-oriented pizza, burgers, subs, pasta, wings, custard, etc., etc. Open late hours and deliveries to east side and downtown; The restaurant is just north of Brady Street on Farwell; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Gilles Frozen Custard: Check out Milwaukee's oldest custard stand on Bluemound Road.

German

  • Stop by Mader's on Old World Third Street and see the hummels, art gallery, and dine at this famous German restaurant founded in 1902. Past diners have included several heads of state (John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Vicente Fox of Mexico); see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Also on Old World Third Street, glimpse Bavarian culture and social life with replica tables and benches from an original Munich beer hall at Old German Beer Hall Milwaukee; see photo album page available photo album page.

Italian

  • Il Mito: just off the roundabout on the south end of the sixth street bridge. Highly rated.
  • Osteria del Mondo: in the Knickerbocker Hotel in the downtown east side, offers complete dinner, lunch, and brunch menus.
  • Pretend you're rich and try to glimpse celebrities at Mimma's Cafe on Brady Street.
  • Buca di Beppo: Enjoy southern Italian food from the old days. Milwaukee's branch of this national franchise is on North Van Buren Street, north of Juneau (just down the street from the fictional address of Laverne and Shirley on Knapp Street, by the way).
  • Cafe Vecchio Mondo: On Old World Third Street, the name comes from Italian, meaning "Old World Cafe," offers fine food, drinks, and banquets. See photo.
  • Balistreri's: Well-known for pizza and other Italian specialities.
  • Italian Conference Center: In the Third Ward, a restaurant open to the public as well as facility that you can rent for your event; see photo album page available photo album page.

British, Irish

French

Euro

  • Cafe Hollander: serving up dishes from Belgium at its East Side (Downer Avenue) location.

Asian and Pacific

  • Sake-Tumi: on North Milwaukee Street.
  • Chin's: the Milwaukee store of this chain is on North Oakland Avenue.
  • China Gourmet: You'll find an ok buffet lunch on Wells Street down by the river and across from The Rep, downtown.
  • Yen Ching Chinese: Mandarin cuisine, on West Good Hope Road.
  • Benihana: Milwaukee's branch of this national chain on Plankinton Avenue on the river.

Mexican, Latin American, Caribbean

  • Rudy's: right off the river at Highland and Edison
  • La Perla: a highly-rated fine Mexican restaurant featuring flavors from Guadalajara. In Walker's Point.
  • Cempazuchi: "comida brava," on Brady Street.
  • Botanas: In Walker's Point, patio dining in season; live mariachi music.

African, Middle Eastern

Greek

  • Ouzo Cafe: on North Milwaukee Street, serves food until very late.
  • Mykono's Restaurant on Van Buren just north of State serves the best gyros in town, in my opinion.
  • Ouzo Cafe: the flavor of Greece on North Milwaukee Street.
  • Apollo Cafe: great Greek food, right on Brady Street.

Eclectic

  • Trocadero: Very nicely done "gastropub" in a restored building just east of the Van Buren-Holton bridge and just north of Brady Street; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Swig: experience the small plate concept on North Water Street.
  • It's a micobrewery. It's a movie theater. It's a restaurant. It's a living room. Visit and decide for yourself-- the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse.

See also

MKE Dining for a list of directories of other area restaurants.

Flavor

Tours

Clubs / Bars

  • Blu: This is Milwaukee's top cocktail bar, located on the 23rd floor of the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.
  • Lucile's on North Old World Third Street at Highland promises you a good time with two pianos.
  • Roman Coin: a neighborhood tavern built in 1890 designed by Otto Schank (who designed the Pabst Theatre); see photo album page available photo album page.
  • The Wicked Hop: Bar & grill in the commission row shops in the Historic Third Ward.
  • Art Bar: in Riverwest, a bar with art on the walls and music in the air; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Mo's Irish Pub: downtown on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and North Plankinton Avenue; see photo album page available photo album page.
  • Hi Hat Lounge: a classic "velvet lounge" for hepcats on Brady Street. Live music.
  • The Estate: "hard-core jazz."
  • Stonefly Brewing Company: on Center Street in Riverwest
  • Mad Planet: in Riverwest
  • Roman's Pub: On South Kinnickinnic in Bay View.
  • Cactus Club: bands & DJs, in Bay View
  • You can travel around the world, but you won't find a place quite like the Nomad World Pub on Brady Street.

Laughs

  • Pat McCurdy: Catch Pat's song parodies and humor at various venues around town and around the region.
  • Enjoy impov comedy raised to competitive levels at ComedySportz. This is improvisation organized by team play. It is funny, sometimes surprising, worth a visit if you've never been there. Originated in Milwaukee, franchised nationally.

Unique Lodgings

Seasonal

  • Canoe and Kayak rentals at Laacke & Joys: an outdoor outfitter right on the Milwaukee River by the Cherry Street bridge since 1961; canoe and kayak rentals
  • Buggy Sign
    Milwaukee Coach and Carriage offers horse-drawn carriage rides of the downtown area
  • SeaDog Sailing: offers you a chance to sail on Lake Michigan
  • Crabby Charters: fish for chinook and coho salmon, and rainbow, brown and lake trout on Lake Michigan on this charter boat; McKinley Marina.
  • Blue Max Charters: fish for king salmon and trout aboard the Blue Max.
  • Brew City Charters: fish for trophy chinook and coho salmon, rainbow, brown, and lake trout.
  • Edelweiss: Enjoy a dinner and a cruise on the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan.
  • Juneau Park Paddleboats: head on down to the Veteran's Park lagoon and try paddling across it
  • MKE Boat: Lake & Harbor Cruises
  • Riverwalk Boats: See the life along the rivers from a new angle.
  • SailMilwaukee: a luxury yacht available for charter
  • Enjoy the lakefront bike path by renting a bike or skates in Veteran's Park at the lakefront. Bikes available include multi-person vehicles.
  • Ride a Segway around Milwaukee and see the sights and get a tour. These vehicles are easy to learn in a short time, and fun to ride. You'll look like a nerd, though!
  • Visit Milwaukee's coolest ice skating rink downtown at Red Arrow Park, at the southeast corner of Water and State Streets; see photo album page available photo album page

Cheapskates

Free Admission
You can get in free to several museums during specified times if you are a resident of Milwaukee County:
Good Deals
  • East Town Women's Shop in the Historic Third Ward offers women's resale fashions and furs.
  • Milwaukee Freecycle: helps reduce waste through the re-use of items; connects individuals who are discarding goods with others who are seeking them.
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