Saturday, October 17, 2015

Multidimensional Milwaukee

After a few weeks off, I'm back and (hopefully!) better than ever! Fortunately for me, being sick waited until just after my amazing trip to Milwaukee the last weekend of September. I'd been to Milwaukee before, but only briefly to attend a Brewer's Game and Summerfest. As such, I didn't really have the opportunity to explore Milwaukee until this past trip, and gosh was I surprised! I had no idea how multidimensional Milwaukee was, and all of the terrific things to do. Let's take a quick look!

Prior to visiting Milwaukee, I was fortunate to come in contact with the Visit Milwaukee tourism board. On top of giving me tons of great ideas for different things to do, they actually helped me to plan a personalized trip and weekend in Milwaukee based off my interests!  Activities for the weekend ranged from brewery tours and wine and painting classes to visiting the Harley Davidson Museum and the Milwaukee Public Market! Without further ado, let's start from the beginning...

First stop after checking into our hotel for the weekend (full reviews coming later!) was Lakefront Brewery. Now, I'd been to brewery tours before so I thought I knew what I was getting in to. However, I definitely hadn't been anywhere like Lakefront before!

Our tour was directed by one of the owners of Lakefront himself, Russ Klisch. He was able to give us a tour of the brewing facilities and really incorporate a lot of his personal experiences in a way that just made you smile and laugh with joy. A few of my favorite quotes? "This year, Lakefront will make about 56,000 barrels of beer. That is about the same amount that Miller will spill in production." "You should use six senses to drink beer. Sound, sight, smell, touch, taste, and common sense. And hey, if you only use five of the six that ain't bad either." "At least 11 couples have met while on the Lakefront Brewery Tour, so Lakefront is really a romantic place. We don't keep track of the divorce rate though..."

After Lakefront, we hopped in an Uber downtown to visit Splash Studios for a wine and painting class. Nick and I showed up early, which was terrific because we were able to talk with several of the employees- and Nick was able to get a little help with his painting!

our completed works of art!
One of the things I quickly learned was that Splash is different from any other wine and painting class. First, there is a strict no-tipping policy: all of the employees truly care about the customer experience, so once you've registered for the class you are good to go! Second, Splash is a place where both women and men can enjoy the time. Beyond the painting, they serve food, wine, beer, cocktails- and even old-school Mario Kart!

With the real purpose of this Milwaukee visit being a friend's wedding, after Splash it was time to get some sleep before a busy day and wedding time Saturday! Saturday morning we woke up and started our day off with a quick stroll to Collectivo Coffee and an espresso. It was much needed to give us fuel for the rest of the day...

...and literally, fuel was needed! Nick and I found ourselves exploring the Harley-Davidson Museum. Now, I'm not a biker (nor is Nick), but the Harley-Davidson Museum was interesting nonetheless. We spent some time wandering around and seeing how bikes have evolved over the years. Personally, it was most interesting for me to learn about how bikes looked and were used during the WWII years.

After the Harley-Davidson Museum, we had some time to explore the Milwaukee Public Market. Farmer's Markets and Public Markets have always been one of my favorite places to visit while traveling, as I feel you really get an idea of the local culture. We were fortunate to be visiting on a Saturday, when the Milwaukee Public Market actually spills over onto the sidewalk!

It was definitely a bustling place, and we were able to really unwind and spend some time checking out local stores and boutiques. I picked up some cheese, wine, and fresh fruit, and everything was amazing once I returned home and had it! We also stopped at a local bar within the public market and had some delicious Thai food for lunch. All in all, the Milwaukee Public Market definitely exceeded my expectations and I'd say it is a must for anyone visiting Milwaukee!

After the market, it was time for us to get ready and head to the wedding! The wedding was at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, an absolutely stunning venue for any reception. We greatly enjoyed our evening connecting with old friends and dancing the night away!

Unfortunately, come Sunday morning Nick and I had to dash back to Des Moines for work obligations. We had tons of great activities planned, between lunch at Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, The Milwaukee Art Museum, and a "Sweets and Treats" food tour. While I was quite disappointed not to be able to participate in each of these activities, all of my friends in Milwaukee have stated that each of these are fabulous things to do! In a way, I suppose it is OK I wasn't able to fit everything in in one short weekend...because now it means a return trip to Milwaukee is absolutely a must!
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