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Spend a weekend in Milwaukee the 608today way

If you’re looking for the perfect weekend getaway, look no further. We’re doing all the planning for you to spend a relaxing weekend in Milwaukee.

milwaukee public market

The Milwaukee Public Market is located at the entrance of the Historic Third Ward. | Photo by 608today

Summerfest is right around the corner. For three consecutive weekends — June 20-22, June 27-29, and July 4-6 — 600 music artists will perform at Henry Maier Festival Park.

If you would rather visit this area in Milwaukee when Summerfest isn’t going on, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our itinerary for a long, relaxing, weekend in MKE (sans music festival crowds):

Food and Drink

Bavette, 217 N. Broadway | This cafe doubles as a shop featuring local artisan foods and trendy kitchenware.

Blue Bat, 249 N Water St. | Choose from over 160 tequilas for a drink on the riverfront patio.

Buckley’s, 801 N. Cass St. | Dinner is great, but the carrot cake is even better. Try both at this restaurant that serves upscale comfort food.

608 Buckley's MKE

Buckley’s is a family-owned sit-down restaurant just a few blocks away from Lake Michigan. | Photo by 608today

Cafe at the Plaza, 1007 N. Cass St. | Located in the historic Plaza Hotel, you can enjoy breakfast at the diner bar, in the dining room, or on the patio.

Explorium, 143 W. St. Paul Ave. | This one’s for the beer lovers. The extensive drink list doesn’t stop at beer, the brewery also makes soda in-house.

Krispy Kreme, 2900 S. 108th, West Allis | When in Rome, stop by Wisconsin’s only Krispy Kreme location.

Swingin’ Door Exchange, 219 E. Michigan St. | Right across the river from the Residence Inn hotel, this cozy bar serves casual dinner fare.

Activities

MARN Art + Culture Hub, 191 N. Broadway | Bring your laptop to get some work done while enjoying fine wine and fine art.

608 MARN

The MARN Art + Culture Hub is a great place to recharge while exploring the Third Ward. | Photo by 608today

Grohmann Museum, 1000 N. Broadway | Each floor of this art museum features art depicting different eras of human work. Think: Blacksmiths, chemists, cobblers, and more.

Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St. | The world-renowned motorcycle company was started and is headquartered in Milwaukee.

IKEA, 7500 S. Ikea Way, Oak Creek | Try not to get lost in this massive home goods and furniture store.

Lakeshore State Park, 500 N. Harbor Dr. | Just beyond the Summerfest grounds, this lakeside park is great for hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

The Marshall Building, 207 E. Buffalo St. | This six-floor building hosts everything from art galleries and shops to fitness centers and restaurants.

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The Portrait Society is on floor five of the Marshall Building. | Photo by 608today

Milwaukee Art Museum, 700 N. Art Museum Dr. | Milwaukee’s most recognizable building is home to a vast collection of art including over 32,000 permanent pieces and ever-changing temporary exhibits.

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The Milwaukee Art Museum sits right on the shore of Lake Michigan. | Photo by 608today

Milwaukee Public Market, 400 N. Water St. | Peruse the offerings of some Milwaukee businesses.

Book your stay

Residence Inn, 648 N. Plankinton Ave. | This option is central to most of the above activities and restaurants. Its riverview rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows looking over Milwaukee’s riverwalk.

For other lodging options, see Visit Milwaukee’s recommendations.

Itinerary

Thursday

  • 3 p.m. | Check in to the Residence Inn
  • 5 p.m. | Step outside onto the riverwalk to get familiar with your surroundings, can you find the Fonz?
  • 7 p.m. | Dinner at Buckley’s

Friday

  • 10 a.m. | Milwaukee Public Market
  • 12 p.m. | Grohmann Museum
  • 3 p.m. | Explorium
  • 7 p.m. | Lakeshore State Park

Saturday

  • 9 a.m. | Breakfast at the Plaza
  • 1 p.m. | Third Ward day
    • Blue Bat
    • The Marshall Building
    • Bavette
    • Harley-Davidson Museum
    • MARN
  • 7 p.m. | Dinner at Swingin’ Door Exchange

Sunday

  • 12:15 p.m. | Milwaukee Art Museum
  • 3 p.m. | Krispy Kreme
  • 3:30 p.m. | IKEA

What’d we miss? Let us know your go-to MKE stops, or what other areas of the city you’re interested in exploring.