Milwaukee is such a beautiful city, and I often get asked “what’s the best way to see Milwaukee?” so today I’m going to share with you three different ways how to see and tour and experience the amazing city that I am lucky enough to call my home: Milwaukee.
1.) Tour Milwaukee on foot – Milwaukee is a very walkable city, with many different walking paths through the city. But where to go or what to see, where to even start? So I have a few really neat suggestions for you.
Take a walking food tour. Milwaukee is known for it’s cheese, sausage and beer. Seriously, we have some of the best food I’ve ever had, so naturally something really fun to do is to take food tour. Milwaukee Food & City Tours offers a bunch of fantastic tours. To get a feel for Milwaukee’s history and culture, I’d suggest the Old World 3rd St. Tour/Foods of Milwaukee.
The tour starts off in Schlitz park and goes along Milwaukee’s River Walk, and includes the culture, history and foods of Old World 3rd Street. Those traditions are just the beginning on this tour where Milwaukee’s old German traditions meet delicious new delights!
Since the tour is on foot, we took baby Ben along with us, it was such a beautiful way to see Milwaukee. On the tour, you’ll get to sample lots of beer, German food, and see the city.
Take a historical building/architecture tour. I have visited many cities and been on many tours, and I can truly tell you that the historical Milwaukee tour by Gothic Milwaukee is hands down one of the best I’ve been on. The walking tour went along, and by the end, I had a whole new appreciation of Milwaukee and the history of the buildings I had passed 100 times without ever knowing their history. Odd to say, but I felt more connected to the city after taking this tour (and as you know, I raved about it in this Milwaukee guide post as well).
Do a self-guided tour. If you’d rather go at your own pace and not on a guided tour, a self-guided walking tour is just the thing for you! You can purchase a really neat set of 10 mapped walking tours of downtown Milwaukee, which comes with 8 bonus tour cards that highlight iconic architecture of the downtown Milwaukee skyline. I can tell you – this is a super cool option, because you can go at your own pace and break it up over different days, depending on your time (with a baby, this has been such a fun thing to do, just pack the baby and the stroller and you’re set).
2.) Tour Milwaukee by Bus. If you’re looking to visit different locations (perhaps stop at a brewery or a museum) and see the city at the same time, the Milwaukee hop-on-hop-off tour is for you! Milwaukee City Tours offers the hop-on-hop-off tours, they’re actually the same company that does the food tours, so they know what they’re doing!
On the bus tour, you can see the city and visit many of its attractions (like did you know that Milwaukee is home to Harley Davidson?) and have a ride to and from the different paces – all the while having a tour guide talk to you about the history of what you’re seeing.
3.) Tour Milwaukee by Boat. One of my absolute favorite things about Milwaukee is that it sits on Lake Michigan and has a beautiful River Walk. There’s just something peaceful about being on water, isn’t there? I have been to many different spots on the lake and near the lake (like walking paths or the many museums or the Summerfest grounds) but I never had I been on the lake, looking at the city.
I took a boat tour, and was seriously amazed at just how incredibly gorgeous the Milwaukee sky line is. Milwaukee Boat Line offers a narrated history and architecture tour that I would highly recommend. It starts on the river and you get to see all these neat bridges lift up for your boat as you learn about the history of the buildings and trade that happened along the water, and then you go out into Lake Michigan and along the downtown lakefront and get super close to the shore line to see the expansive and magnificent skyline. I will definitely be taking friends and family on this tour whenever they visit!
After going on different tours, I can definitely say that it is something I wish I had done sooner! Seeing the skyline and learning about the history of the city I live in made me feel so connected to it (as cheesy as that sounds) and made me want to show it off even more!
Other posts you might enjoy:
- Overnight Getaway to The American Club in Kohler, WI
- Northern Michigan Family Vacation Travel Guide + Video
- The Best Milwaukee Restaurants Guide
So I have to ask – what is your favorite way to see a city? By foot? Bus/Car? or Boat? Leave a comment and let me know!
This post is brought to you by my partnership with Visit Milwaukee. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine alone. Thank you for reading and supporting the brands I partner with which make the SweetPhi blog possible.
I lived in Chicago for seven years, and we’d pop up to Milwaukee occasionally. I really love your city! It has such a great vibe. I was in Wisconsin recently for work – we were in Green Bay, and then drove down to a client just North of Milwaukee. Got to hit Mars Cheese Factory on the way down. I’m sad I didn’t make it into the city on this trip.
I now live in Cleveland, and really love my city too (Great Lakes cities are my favorites)! I adore boat tours if I have an opportunity, but also love just driving around or taking a bus. Walking tours are wonderful for specific neighborhoods or a downtown area, but are usually overwhelming if you’re trying to tackle all the main attractions of a city within a limited period of time. Cleveland has trolley and bus tours that are a great way to explore!
Thank you so much for commenting Kathryn, so glad you liked my post! Boat tours are so neat, aren’t they? Hope all your future travels are great, and that you can spend more time in Milwaukee one day 😉