It’s fairly common for people to stereotype Milwaukee as a beer drinking, blue-collar, boring Midwestern city. Not true! There are quite a few unique things about Milwaukee that may surprise you. Here are at least five things that you won’t find anywhere else:
The 2001 addition on to the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, is an architectural marvel. Highlighting the building is a moveable sunscreen, known as the brise soleil, which opens to a 217-foot wingspan resembling a bird taking flight over Lake Michigan. At 10am, the brise soleil opens and signifies the opening of the museum for the day. At noon, the sunscreen closes and reopens which is known as “the flap”. A great place to watch “the wings” in action is on the bridge which connects the museum to O’Donnell Park and Wisconsin Avenue. Then go inside to see stunning Windhover Hall and the permanent galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 N Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Tuesday – Sunday 10AM – 5PM
Thursdays 10AM – 8PM
Monday (Memorial Day – Labor Day) 10AM – 5PM
Since the early 1990’s, fans have been enjoying watching nine foot tall costumed sausages race around the warning track of Miller Park in the middle of the 6th inning of the Milwaukee Brewer baseball games. Sponsored by Milwaukee based Klement’s Sausage Company, the Famous Racing Sausages epitomize the ethnic make-up of the city featuring the German bratwurst, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, hot dog and the newest addition to the team, the chorizo. For some, it might be the most exciting part of the game. On Sundays, look for the relay race starring The Little Weenies, a miniature version of the sausages.
Location: West Milwaukee
One Brewers Way
Milwaukee, WI 53214
In the middle of an alley in downtown Milwaukee, you’ll find a safe haven for international spies known as the Safe House. After finding the entrance near the stately office of International Exports, Ltd, you’ll need to know the secret password, or you may have to prove you are worthy to enter. Once inside, there are a number of rooms to explore as well as wall to wall spy memorabilia. Order a martini – shaken, not stirred – and watch it travel through 600 feet of pneumatic tube around the bar. Look for a place to spy on your date, a secret escape route, the magician-bartender, and beware of Burt Reynolds truly hanging out in the Ladies Room.
Location: Downtown/East Town
779 N Front Street
Milwaukee is the home of Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company. The signature rumble of the engine is a familiar and beloved sound on the streets of Milwaukee. People come from all over the world to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum which features motorcycles from 1903 to today’s models as well as the history and culture of Harley-Davidson. Steel Toe Tours are offered at the Powertrain Operations facility and the museum is open year-round. Thursday Night Bike Nights (May-September) are a blast. The greatest time to be in Milwaukee is when Harley-Davidson celebrates their anniversary, typically every five years. The 110th Anniversary took place in 2013 and Milwaukeeans are already looking to celebrate the 115th. Here’s a recap of the 110th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee.
400 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53201
414-287-2789 or 1-877-HD-MUSEUM
May – September – Daily 9AM – 6PM
Thursday – 9AM – 8PM
October – April – Daily 10AM – 6PM
Thursday – 10AM – 8PM
Remember when you used to beg your mom for money to ride the mechanical horse outside the grocery store? Well, that horse has been replaced by a giant chili pepper in La Perla, and, after a couple of margaritas; you’ll be begging to take it for a ride as well. Milwaukee’s near south side is known as the city’s Latin Quarter with a variety of Mexican restaurants. La Perla sets itself apart with a great roof-top patio and the mechanical chili peppers. Jump aboard, don the sombrero and hold on!
Location: Walker’s Point/Latin Quarter
734 S Fifth Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Sunday – Thursday 11AM – 10PM
Friday & Saturday 11AM – 11PM