Wisconsin ain’t so Wack.

All about a day trip to Milwaukee.

I am on a quest to visit all of the states, so this makes number 31. When I was looking at where I would go for the summer, I wanted to be able to get a two for one trip. Chicago was perfect with Amtrak at Union Station. The other appealing part was being able to leave early morning and return the same day. For about 50 USD, I purchased a round trip ticket. As you will read in my blog The Chi Town, you will know that riding a bike in Chicago is super cheap. So I got up early and rode rental bike to Union Station. I stopped in Starbucks and grabbed a drink for the journey. There was really no security to get into the station and the prompters on the tv directed you to the terminal. No one really ask for proof of ticket until the train is gone from the station. I wonder what they do with people that get on without a ticket? It was open seating and I had a seat to myself the whole trip. It was a smooth hour and half trip ending at Milwaukee Intermodal Station. Right outside the station was a bike rack with rentals. Score! This rental was really cool because it was a bike share program. But I didn’t realize that until it was all said and done while reviewing my bank statement. So basically it’s 10 USD when you unlock the bike. But as long as you return the bike, you will get you money back. So I was off and on the bike all day, but in the end it was free.

Here is the itinerary I created:

Milwaukee Public Market

Historic Third Ward

Milwaukee Art Museum

Lakefront Brewery

Milwaukee Brewing Company

Mitchell Park Horticultural

Harley Davidson Museum

Based on advice, I shouldn’t leave without getting authentic cheese curds and custard. You mean Culver’s doesn’t count?

My first stop was was the public market. The area was already booming with people having breakfast or grabbing coffees to go. There are all types of eateries in the area. After looking at the options, I went with Colectivo Coffee at Third Ward. As it turns out, the public market is right in Historic Third Ward. I had a nice chorizo burrito and pink latte to get my day started. Afterwards I went into the market. Think of an indoor, classy market. Restaurants, bars, wine, beer, art work, t-shirts and all sorts of little items to purchase. I knew that I would end my day there so I didn’t spend a lot of time there. Next I went out and walked through Historic Third Ward. Third Ward is what I would consider a creative arts district. Coffee and clothing shops, indoor/outdoor dining, art galleries and performance venues which are housed in previous warehouses. This history behind this neighborhood is that in 1862 there was a fire that burned over 10 square blocks in this riverfront area. Now the reason this area is was important is because it is on the lakefront and was the home to lots of businesses. It took quite a bit of effort, but with the help of architects and many interested parties, the area was rebuilt. Through continuous development, the area still thrives.

May I add that it was quite warm on this day. I grabbed a bike from the station because my next stop was Milwaukee Art Museum. I also needed to be at the museum by noon to see the wings open and close at the Burke Brise Soleil outdoor exhibit. It’s really neat as it wingspan is that of a Boeing 747-400.

After watching the wings, I needed to put the bike on a station so I could go into the museum. I could see there were two stations nearby, but for some reason I was experiencing some directional challenges and missed the closer one. So I ended up riding the bike much further than needed and then decided to catch an Uber back for the sack of time. The museum was a nice cool retreat from the warm outdoors. The two exhibitions that I viewed were Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820-1920 and Andy Warhol: The Last Decade. The collections were expansive. This is definitely a museum to spend the day. They also had Kehinde Wiley’s Portrait of Barack Obama. I can spot one of his paintings anywhere. Does that make be cultured? The museum is located in front of Milwaukee Bay which was busy with jet ski’s, boats, walkers and bike riders on this holiday weekend.

To save time again, I caught an Uber to Lakefront Brewery for lunch. It was pretty busy. The inside was full of people and the outside had a few single seats at what I would call the bar facing the river. I ordered a draft, craft beer and some cheese curds. The curds were definitely better that Culver’s. Culver’s is just trying to give people from the midwest hope. I had about three different kinds of beers, but I didn’t want to get to full since I was heading to another brewery. Overall I highly recommend Lakefront Brewery. Lots of people watching, kayak’s are available and it was just a friendly place. When I arrived I saw scooters outside, so you know what I was thinking. I looked at Waze and saw that the next destination was a little over a mile. The best thing about scooters is you can leave them anywhere. Just stop, end ride, snap photo and be on your way.

The ride to Milwaukee Brewing Company was uneventful and only took about 15 minutes. So the brewery is really cool! It has lots of bar seating, high top tables and games for you to play. Looks like they may also have an area for private events, just as receptions or showers. Now for 16 USD, the glass that you can keep and the amount of beer you can taste that’s very reasonable. However, the tour guide was okay. So I decided to ignore her and try all the beers; which was a good choice. I also tried a beer float before grabbing a nice tank with beer and brats wording on it. I knew I had two more stops and I was running out of time. As it turns out, Mitchell Park and Harley Davidson were closing. So I though this would give me more time to return to the public market and have some drinks and look around before returning to the Amtrak station. I hopped on the scooter and used my directional instincts to get back.

I did some walking around the market and the only thing that caught my eye was the oysters. In all of my 39 years I’ve never had them. I thought today was the day. They were really cheap; like a 1.50 USD each. I ordered a cold beer and one of each, totaling six. they came with like a garlic paste, lemons and diced onions. I have to say they were all quite delicious and I will probably be looking for them from now on when I’m traveling or home. After indulging on this meal, I had a Coffee Blaster. It’s a combination of Brandy, bourbon and coffee milk. It was nice refreshing drink before getting on the train for my return to Chicago.

This was a day well spent. I couldn’t have asked for a better experiences. It was just one day. I know that Milwaukee has more to offer and lots of neighborhoods. But for a day, I am thankful I was able to get a taste of this midwest city.

Oh.. I and never found the custard.

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