We came for the beer and cheese, and beer and cheese we had. Milwaukee surprised us, and it may surprise you as a family-friendly destination that will appeal to many parents. We really enjoyed our time here checking out the various breweries, and snacking on all different yummy foods (mostly with cheese). Actually I don’t like beer but still enjoyed all the breweries, and kids can too. We saw plenty of kids visiting with parents. Read below for family-friendly things to do in Milwaukee to add to your itinerary.
NOTE: This was a pre-baby trip. Drinks were a big part of this trip, but the breweries are loud, casual and open spaces that allow babies and kids chaperoned by their parents. However, this would not be the case for the cocktail lounge.
Where we stayed:
How we got around:
Car rental from National Car
What we did:
Family-Friendly Things to do in Milwaukee
The conservatory is made up of three domes, or giant greenhouses with beautiful gardens. Each has a different theme – desert, jungle, and specialty flowers.
We’re neither motorcycle people, nor museum people, but like to check out the most popular ones. This museum was designed really well and we enjoyed it even though not our area of interest They have a ton of different bikes on display from over the years, and it was neat to see the evolution.
Lakefront Brewery started in 1987 in Milwaukee and is situated along the Milwaukee River. We did the tour, and afterward, you get to taste a few different beers. There are snacks to purchase, and an outside area to sit along the river. Kids are allowed but must be with their parents. Lakefront produced the first certified organic beer in the US and the first gluten-free beer.
Wisconsin is known for cheese but the Clock Shadow Creamery is the only cheese factory located in Milwaukee. We attended a tour to understand more about the cheese-making process. We had a great guide, it was a fun tour, but I think it left me wanting to eat less cheese not more (galaphobia).
Neither of us is a fan of MillerCoors products, but it’s a huge company and we were there so we wanted to check out the big production. It was a stark contrast to all the smaller production breweries we visited previously. It was fascinating to hear and see the numbers they produce, it’s a factory.
Sprecher Brewery was Milwaukee’s first craft brewery established since Prohibition. It was a quaint, homey brewery and we really enjoyed the tour. You end the tour in their indoor beer garden for a sampling. Kids are welcome on the tour, and they make their own sodas as well so something for the kids to taste.
We meandered for a bit around here as this shop is in a nice walkable part of Milwaukee along the river. We had to check out and sample all the unique cheese variations, and buy some cheese to bring home!
Where we ate/drank:
This cocktail lounge was a swanky step back in time to the Mad Men days. They have an endless list of cocktails and don’t give out menus but rather ask your likes and figure something out for you. Not family-friendly, of course, but a great date night spot.
A modern, butcher-deli – cheese and charcuterie, salads, soup, and sandwiches – this was a yummy lunch option.
Although mostly known for their brunch and desserts, we stopped in here for dinner. We weren’t disappointed with their Midwestern-inspired comfort food.
This place is a Milwaukee classic, opened in the 1940s and still owned by the same family. It’s a tasty fun drive-in experience.
One of our missions on this trip was to eat all the cheese things. Here we sampled, for the first time, fried cheese curds (yum!).
If you’re in the area you can’t miss this restaurant. It’s an old-school classic German restaurant both inside and out. I got a giant pretzel, Steve a bratwurst. It might a little kitschy, but it’s still fun.
It’s fun when a destination surpasses your expectations, as Milwaukee did for us. You may not think of Milwaukee as the most family-friendly destination, but you can bring the kids along and enjoy some adult activities at the same time. What other family-friendly things to do have you experienced in Milwaukee that we should add if we return someday? Add them in comments below, thanks!
This was part of our Year of USA Travels. Steven earned (solely through actual flying, not credit card points!) the Southwest Companion Pass. For a year every time he flew with Southwest, I could also fly for free. Since he’d accumulated so many points we would book his flights using points, then add me for free and only have to spend $5-10 in taxes. It was a pretty sweet deal. Our vacation time was in limited supply, still, we knew we had to take advantage of this. So, we did a bunch of weekend trips here and there, sometimes taking 1 day or so extra off of work. We figured we’d introduce ourselves to a bunch of US cities we’d never been to before and if we loved them we’d go back another time.