So you have found yourself in the great state of Wisconsin! Don't worry, there is a lot more to do here than you might think. In fact, this is a very family friendly city and there are not too many places that you might find your tots completely out of place in. Certainly the options are more vast spring through fall, but don't find yourself discouraged if you find yourself visiting in the wintertime.
Number 1 on the list is hands down, the Betty Brinn Childrens Museum.
The museum is perfect for kids of all ages and a fantastic option to wear the rugrats out before nap all year round. If you have never been there before, parking can be a little confusing but just make sure you find either the O'donnell garage or the US Bank garage to make sure you get the discounted parking. You'll pay for the parking along with your admission ticket.
Just a short walk away from the childrens museum, is the famous Milwaukee Art Museum . No need to be scared off at the thought of bringing your demon progeny into an art museum because this is by far one of the most kid friendly ones. I would probably still keep the suckers strapped into their strollers whilst meandering down certain art installations, but if not, that is okay too. We've all played the "don't touch that" game and it can be more exhausting and embarrassing in some locations over others. The MAM was one of our more succesful outings with little fear of my children causing me to be involved in some type of destruction of property lawsuit.
Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum by Santiago Calatrava.
Just south of the aforementioned museums is Discovery World. Fantastic for children 5+ but even your tot can have some fun there.
And if the weather is great? You are right at the lakefront so why not take a pleasant stroll along Lake Drive. If your kids are old enough, take them to the paddle boats or the kite shack. If some beach time is what you are after, I say skip Bradford Beach and drive down picturesque Lake Drive to either Atwater Beach in the Shorewood area or keep on going until you reach Fox Point. Doctors Park has everything you could possibly need from the playground and picnic area right by the parking lot, to gorgeous trails alongside ravines. If you make your way down into the forested area you will soon find yourself at a cute little beach that will be much less crowded than Bradford. And no worry of drunken college students and broken beer bottles.
Of course, not everything has to be just about the kids and a majority of tourists to Milwaukee are interested in the brewery tours. My personal favorites are the Lakefront Brewery and Sprecher Brewery. Probably something that will be more enjoyable with older children but children are welcome at all of the below brewery tours. (Must be 21 to drink). While you enjoy a tasty brew, your children can enjoy a fantastic root beer at Lakefront and a myriad of flavored sodas at Sprecher.
Here are all the breweries that offer tours:
- Brenner Brewing Co.
- Milwaukee Brewing Co.
- Lakefront Brewery
- Sprecher Brewery
- District 14 Brewery & Pub
- Miller Coors
- Great Lakes Distillery
Now, where to eat? The list of potential restaurants is practically endless. And honestly, you can feel comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can be with children) at almost any of them. Especially if you are going to eat earlier in the evening. Something I highly recommend when going out to eat with kids. It is always going to be a risk taking the rugrats out in public, but sometimes timing is everything. You are asking for trouble if you are out in public during the "witching hour." AKA naptime or bedtime.
The Third Ward is an excellent area to both walk around and enjoy some good eats. In this area you will find:
- The Milwaukee Public Market
- Cafe Benelux
- Wicked Hop
- Lucky Ginger
Walkers Point has same fantastic restaurants as well.
- Stack'd (burgers & milkshakes)
- Screaming Tuna (sushi)
- Movida (amaaaazing Spanish Tapas)
- La Merenda (tapas)
Heading out to the burbs you get increasingly more family friendly.
- Blues Egg (always busy but an amazing breakfast/brunch option)
- Cafe Hollander
- Le Reve (our families #1 pick)
- IL Mito
- Ted's Ice Cream and Restaurant (dine like your grandparents did!)
Some additional Milwaukee area favorites:
- Story Hill BKC
- Original Pancake House
Hopefully I have given you lots to choose from as you make your way around the Milwaukee area. It's a small city with a lot to offer for both you and your children.
Happy travels =)