Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a city best-known for its wealth of breweries, both well established and new to the industry, offering tastings and tours for beer-lovers and aficionados. Meaning ‘ beautiful, good, and pleasant land’ in the Algonquian language, Milwaukee boasts beautiful natural landscapes of rivers, lakes and rolling hills which are perfect for romantic picnics, but if you prefer taking your date indoors, there are an array of excellent cafés, restaurants, distilleries, and eateries to enjoy. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
© Morel Restaurant
Located in Walker's Point, Morel Restaurant is a rustic-chic farm-to-table restaurant offering a daily changing menu of New American plates inspired by local ingredients and complemented by craft cocktails, local beers, and fine wines. Chef Jonathan Manyo draws inspiration from the rich bounty of Wisconsin, utilizing the freshest, highest quality produce from local farms, purveyors, foragers, and artisans. The changing menu of seasonal and locally inspired dishes includes Rainbow Trout with Herb Butter, Duck Breast with Parsnip, Pork Tenderloin and Boudin Blanc, Lamb Chops with Merguez, and Farrotto with Oyster Mushrooms. The full-service bar offers a variety of wines from around the world that can be enjoyed by the glass or the bottle, along with classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits and craft beers. Morel Restaurant is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
430 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-897-0747
© Ardent Restaurant
Ardent is an intimate, upscale restaurant that serves a regular innovative New American fare in a stylish and contemporary setting. Open for dinner Wednesday-Saturday with two seatings each evening; the restaurant serves an a la carte menu, a tasting menu, and a newly launched late-night menu that focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients and a variety of flavors to create unique plates. Delights on the tasting menu could include Celeriac with White Chocolate and Trout Roe, Beef Tartare with a Deviled Egg and Bone Marrow, Sunchoke with Dates, Sunflower Porridge with Truffled Goat Cheese, and Mignardises of an Earl Grey Financier, Vanilla Cream Puff, and Salted Peppermint Fudge. The acclaimed cuisine is accompanied by a superlative wine list and craft cocktail menu.
1751 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-897-7022
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3.Stella Van Buren
© Stella Van Buren
Located in the elegant Westin Hotel on Van Buren Street in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Stella Van Buren is the hotel’s upmarket and sophisticated steakhouse restaurant that serves award-winning steaks and fresh seafood and an array of signature cocktails and fine wines. The restaurant boasts a light, airy atmosphere with comfortable seating and stellar city views through floor-to-ceiling windows, which bathe the interiors in natural light. The 180-seat restaurant features both traditional tables and cozy circular booths which can comfortably fit up to eight people, and while the eatery is best known for its dinner set, it now also serves a delectable weekend brunch in a relaxed and laid-back setting.
550 N Van Buren St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-847-5622
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© Odd Duck
Located in the Bay View area of Milwaukee, Odd Duck Restaurant is an eclectic eatery that serves an ever-changing shared-plate menu of casual New American cuisine and creative cocktails. Established in 2012, Odd Duck Restaurant focuses on using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients from surrounding farms and producers, and creating a mouthwatering selection of small and sharing plates of meat-centric and vegetarian cuisine. Signature plates include Lemon Cured Hamachi Crudo, Chicken Fried Frog Legs, Moroccan Spiced Lamb, Muhammara Stuffed Quinoa Kibbeh, Lemon Risotto, and Handmade Blue Corn Quesadilla. Odd Duck Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2352 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207, Phone: 414-763-5881
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© Sanford Restaurant
Formerly housing a family grocery store dating back 80 years, Sanford was transformed into a modern restaurant with a European-style storefront that serves a seasonally driven menu of locally sourced cuisine and an award-winning wine list. Decorated to exude a warm, homey ambiance, the restaurant is committed to serving delicious cuisine prepared with regional ingredients, including a daily menu and an ever-changing four-course seasonal menu. Signature dishes include Citrus Seared Alaskan Halibut, Grilled Wild Sturgeon, Chargrilled Loin of Elk, Grilled Scallops, and Salmon Bourguignon and accompanied by a list of fine wines from around the world, handcrafted cocktails, and craft beers. Sanford is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
1547 N Jackson St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-276-9608
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6.Balzac Wine Bar
© Balzac Wine Bar
Balzac is a cozy wine bar just off Brady Street in Milwaukee’s lower Eastside that serves creative New American small plates and a dynamic wine list of casual and vintage wines by the glass and the bottle. Boasting a warm and welcoming ambiance with low-lighting, a large bar with seating and a charming patio for alfresco dining in the summer, Balzac serves a farm-to-table menu of locally sourced fare from land and sea such as Manchego Brûlée, Spicy Meatballs, Coq Au Vin, Duck Nachos, Tuna Tartare, Firecracker Shrimp, Steamed Mussels, and Grilled Salmon. The full-service bar offers a variety of wines from around the world that can be enjoyed by the glass or the bottle, along with classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits and craft beers. Balzac Wine Bar is open for dinner nightly.
1716 N Arlington Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-755-0099
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One of Wisconsin's most acclaimed fine-dining destinations, Carnevor is a long-standing, premier steakhouse in Downtown Milwaukee that is renowned for serving the finest cuts of aged steak, prime rib, and beef, along with fresh seafood, and decadent desserts. Decorated in dark wood and leather accents with elegantly dressed tables, soft lighting, and a full-service bar, the steakhouse serves a menu of thick house-butchered cuts of USDA choice steaks, free-range chicken and pork, fresh seafood and a range of vegetarian options, created by Executive Chef Mario Giuliani. The full-service bar has an extensive menu of fine wines with over 785 selections around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. The Fireside Chophouse is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
718 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-223-2200
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Located in Walker's Point, Meraki is a casual restaurant that serves a globally-inspired and ever-changing menu of farm-to-table cuisine in a stylish and sophisticated environment. Chef and owner Chad Meier uses locally-sourced ingredients and regional produce along with imported items to create eclectic dishes such as Tunisian braised goat with harissa, okonomiyaki Japanese savory pancakes filled with seasonal vegetables, and seasonal ravioli accompanied by complimentary fresh wood-fire baked bread and whipped butter on every table. Guests can dine in the beautifully decorated dining room or in the lounge and bar, which serves a rotating collection of fine wines, craft cocktails and a variety of beers on tap and in bottles. Meraki is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
939 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-897-7230
9.Bodegon at Hotel Madrid
© Bodegon at Hotel Madrid
Nestled within the historic Hotel Madrid, Bodegon is a fine-dining restaurant that specializes in upscale Spanish cuisine along with carefully crafted cocktails to complement the rustic cuisine. A stylish dining space features contemporary décor, gleaming silverware, and soft lighting and has a full-service bar and a charming patio for alfresco dining in the summer. An innovative menu of Spanish-inspired cuisine boasts dishes such as tapas of acorn-fed Iberian ham, sweetbreads, manchego bagna cauda, Japanese imported strip loin, and Moroccan spiced mussels, followed by entrées of Iberico pork loin, Tomahawk steak, beef ribs, and whole suckling pig. Vegetarian menus are available, and an impressive beverage program features a collection of vermouth from around the world, famous craft cocktails from the 1930s, and a selection of rare wines. Bodegón is open for dinner six nights a week.
Hotel Madrid, 600 S 6th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-488-9146
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, Michigan beaches
Named after the underground movement in Madrid known as La Movida Madrileña, Movida, which translates to ‘movement’ is a charming Spanish tapas restaurant that serves a variety of delicious Spanish specialties and Spanish wines. Located in Walker’s Point, the inviting restaurant serves a creative menu of eclectic cuisine such as seasonal croquetas, seafood paella, Galician-style octopus and sharing platters of imported cheese, charcuterie, and olives. Movida’s full-service bar serves an impressive beverage program that features house-made Sangria, handcrafted cocktails, seasonal gin selections, and over 30 Spanish wines. Movida is open for dinner, nightly.
524 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-224-5300
© Harbor House
Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Harbor House is an upscale seafood restaurant with spectacular skyline views that serves lunch, dinner, and a classic seafood weekend brunch in an elegant setting. The spacious New England-style seafood restaurant offers a premier lakefront dining experience with an open kitchen, a three-sided bar, a raw bar, which specializes in oysters, and a private dining room available for special events and parties. A seasonal outdoor patio boasts breathtaking views of the lake and offers an unparalleled alfresco dining experience of the freshest seafood flown in daily from both coasts, including lobster and oysters, prime steaks, homemade pasta, and gourmet burgers. A weekday happy hour offers specials on signature cocktails and other libations.
550 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-395-4900
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© Centro Café
Centro is a cozy Italian-inspired café-style eatery in the heart of Riverwest with modern décor and an open kitchen that serves fresh homemade fare, warm-from-the-oven flatbreads, and handcrafted cocktails. The café features hardwood floors, stucco walls, ceilings with beautiful plasterwork, and snug banquettes, and serves a comfortable menu to match of Italian classics and seasonal dishes such as house-made pasta and sauces, wood-fired pizzas, fresh seafood and salads, and mouthwatering desserts. The bustling open kitchen is the beating heart of the restaurant and provides an enticing glow, while intimate dining spaces include a laid-back lounge and bar, lovely patio and sidewalk seating. The delicious cuisine is accompanied by an exclusively Italian wine list that offers rich and varied selections of wines from small producers and family vineyards, as well as creative Amari cocktails and a rotating selection of beers from Wisconsin micro-breweries. Centro is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
808 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, Phone: 414-455-3751
Tucked away in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood near the shores of Lake Michigan, Goodkind is an inviting restaurant and corner tavern that takes a modern approach to farm-to-fork cuisine and casual restaurant New American fare. Set within an old, beloved residential building in a comfortable renovated space with contemporary décor, Goodkind specializes in creative appetizers, succulent rotisserie meats, fresh salads and vegetables from local farms, and house-made cocktails. Goodkind focuses on a casual approach and a delicate pairing of food and drinks, creating a symbiotic relationship between the kitchen and bar. Goodkind is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday and brunch, lunch and dinner on Sundays.
2457 S Wentworth Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207, Phone: 414-763-4706
Embracing a return to slow grown, natural food with a focus on locally sourced and organic ingredients and products, Braise is a restaurant and culinary school on 2nd Street that offers a unique farm-to-table dining experience. Braise serves a daily-changing menu of locally sourced and made-from-scratch cuisine from the chewy bread and herb butter served as a starter to charcuterie, sausage, and cheeses. Featured dishes on the menu include charred Romano beans and summer squash chickpea pancakes as starters, smoked trout parfait, lamb pastrami, and garlic-poached pork, and peach thyme blossom pannacotta for dessert. Libations include great Wisconsin beers, easy-drinking wines, and interesting craft cocktails like the Cherry Buzz. Braise is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
1101 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-212-8843
15.Buckley's Restaurant and Bar
© Buckley's Restaurant and Bar
Located on Cass Street in Downtown Milwaukee, Buckley's is a friendly neighborhood fixture that serves refined American comfort food and drinks in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The family-owned and operated establishment serves an approachable and dynamic menu of locally sourced cuisine accompanied by a beverage list of craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and fine wines. Signature dishes include Grilled Chicken Tsukune; a Yakitori style chicken served with fermented bean cakes, scallions, and poached anise peach. Lunch is served Monday through Saturday, dinner is served Monday through Sunday, and brunch is served every Sunday.
3908, 801 N Cass St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-277-1111
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© Crazy Water
Crazy Water is a bustling bistro serving upscale New American cuisine and local wines in a charming vintage tavern-style setting. Set in a vintage tavern that was built from a 19th-century feed store, the refined eatery exudes an ambiance of a European bistro from a bygone era with intimate tables and soft lighting. Crazy Water serves a contemporary menu of traditional dishes prepared using locally sourced and organic ingredients and products from regional farmers and producers with dishes like grilled ribeye steak served with potato rosti and cremini mushroom compote in a cabernet syrup, black pepper encrusted Waygu sirloin with blue cheese butter, and medallions of Strauss veal tenderloin with Calvados cream and caramelized apples. Crazy Water is open for dinner daily, and Sunday brunch.
839 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-645-2606
© La Merenda
La Merenda is a vibrant spot on National Avenue that serves globally inspired small plates and tapas, local beers and casual wines in a relaxed and friendly environment. Located in a brightly decorated renovated woodworking shop in Milwaukee's historic Walker's Point, the laid-back eatery boasts eclectic décor to reflect the multi-cultural menu with restored and stained antique tables and chairs, a concrete, walnut base and Italian ceramic tile bar, a cool, shady patio and outdoor bar with a fireplace. Celebrating the Italian custom of gathering to share food and drink amongst friends and family, the eatery serves a menu of small plates from around the world such as Spanish Patatas Bravas, Indonesian Sambal Goreng Udang, authentic Colombian empanadas, and Italian antipasti. La Merenda is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday.
125 E National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-389-0125
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18.Mason Street Grill
© Mason Street Grill
Tucked away in the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, Mason Street Grill is a classic American Grill serving succulent wood-grilled steaks, delectable ocean-fresh seafood dishes, and creatively prepared entrées for lunch and dinner. Renowned as one of the Milwaukee’s culinary gems, guests are welcomed with a warm ambiance, gracious hospitality and service, high-quality cuisine and libations, convivial 'Happy Hours', and live music six days a week. Mason Street Grill also offers private dining and caters for intimate parties of eight to large functions of up to 60 with three private dining rooms. Mason Street Grill is open for lunch, Monday through Friday, and dinner only on Saturday and Sunday.
424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-298-3131
19.The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar
© The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar
Nestled in a cozy Eastside neighborhood and exuding the charm of an antique-accented European bistro, The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar is a charming eatery with a lovely garden patio that serves dinner only Tuesday through Sundays. The welcoming restaurant serves a menu of simple, delicious fare such as fresh pasta and house-made sauces, freshly baked bread and mouthwatering desserts daily, along with seasonal and changing entrées and specials. All the cuisine is prepared with locally sourced and organic ingredients where possible and accompanied by a creative wine list of globally-inspired wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails made with imported spirits. Hailed as one of the city’s most romantic restaurants, The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar is also available for private functions and events.
1503 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-276-8867
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20.Tenuta's Italian Restaurant
© Tenuta's Italian Restaurant
Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant is a cozy, relaxing family-friendly restaurant that serves authentic and traditional Italian cuisine and drinks in a welcoming atmosphere. Founded by Cesare and Antonia Tenuta after moving to America from the southern tip of Italy, Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant serves a menu of dishes from a wealth of great homemade recipes brought with them, and a combination of fresh, locally sourced and imported ingredients. The menu features simple Italian cuisine such as house-made pasta with delicious sauces and accompaniments, wood-fired Neopolitan pizza, fresh salads, and an array of meat and seafood entrées. The cuisine is paired with both casual and fines wines from around the world, and craft beers. Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant is open for dinner only, seven evenings a week.
2995 Clement Avenue, Bay View, WI 53207, Phone: 414-431-1014
Zarletti is a fine dining northern Italian restaurant set in a small, minimalist space in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. The cozy restaurant serves creative Italian fare and wines by the glass or the bottle in a relaxed, laid-back dining room reflects restauranteur and owner, Brian Zarletti’s lifelong passion for Italian wine, food, and culture. The menu features simple, thoughtful Italian cuisine such as wood-fired Neopolitan pizza, house-made pasta with delicious sauces and accompaniments, fresh salads, and hearty meat and seafood entrées. The cuisine is paired with both casual and fines wines from Italy and around the world that can be enjoyed by the bottle or the glass, as well as craft beers and signature cocktails. Zarletti is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday and dinner only on Saturdays.
741 N Milwaukee St #1, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-225-0000
Tess is an upscale American bistro with a lovely back patio for alfresco dining on Bartlett Avenue that serves seasonal local fare along with craft beer and casual wines. Close to all the East Side action, Tess is a warm and relaxing getaway with friendly staff, interesting and attractively presented food, and a relaxing ambiance. The eatery also offers a menu of bar bites, such as the Tess burger, lemongrass chicken banh mi, perch po’ boys, and shrimp tacos, all of which can be enjoyed in the bar or the lounge with a variety of drinks. Tess is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Sunday.
2499 N Bartlett Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211, Phone: 414-964-8377
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23.Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant
© Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant
Bacchus is a sleek, upscale New American spot boasting breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and a menu of contemporary American cuisine and fine wines. Hailed as the city’s best fine dining experience, Bacchus is set in a sleek, stylish space in the Cudahy Tower in downtown Milwaukee and serves a menu of contemporary, globally-inspired cuisine created with fresh seasonal ingredients and accompanied by an award-winning wine list. Signature dishes on the menu include appetizers of Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, Fava Bean Risotto, and Charred Spanish Octopus, and entrées like Sea Scallops, Organic Scottish Salmon, and Miso-Glazed Halibut. The restaurant features several private dining spaces for romantic interludes or private functions, including a glass-enclosed conservatory and is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
925 E Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-765-1166
24.Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
© Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
Set in a historic park pavilion overlooking Lake Michigan, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro is a quaint bistro that serves award-winning French-inspired cuisine and an extensive, acclaimed wine list. A premier dining destination for more than 20 years, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro features beautiful decorative elements of a fancy French farmhouse with copper finishes and tasseled lampshades, and the warmly lit dining room boasts breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. Signature dishes include Tartare de Boeuf, Coquilles St-Jacques with seared George's Bank sea scallops, Moules Marinieres steamed in white wine, Escargots Bourguignon with traditional Burgundy snails, Foie Gras Poele, and Gnocchi Parisienne. An acclaimed wine list offers the perfect bottle for every dish, and decadent desserts provide a sweet end to an unforgettable meal. Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro is open for dinner only, seven days a week.
3133 E Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53211, Phone: 414-962-6300
25.Dream Dance Steak
© Dream Dance Steak
Dream Dance Steak is an award-winning steakhouse in Milwaukee that offers a variety of delicious steaks, tasty seafood dishes, and seasonal innovations, along with appetizers, salads and sides, all of which are prepared using locally sourced and the finest quality ingredients. The elegant, smoke-free steakhouse is perfect for a special date night and serves a refined menu boasting three-course dining options and a 600-bottle wine list to pair with every dish. The upscale steakhouse boasts walls adorned with Native American art and cozy, intimate ambiance in which to savor some of the best steaks and fine wines in the state. Dream Dance Steak is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
1721 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI 53233, Phone: 414-847-7883
25 Best Romantic Restaurants in Milwaukee (WI)
- Morel Restaurant, Photo: Morel Restaurant
- Ardent Restaurant, Photo: Ardent Restaurant
- Stella Van Buren, Photo: Stella Van Buren
- Odd Duck, Photo: Odd Duck
- Sanford Restaurant, Photo: Sanford Restaurant
- Balzac Wine Bar, Photo: Balzac Wine Bar
- Carnevor, Photo: Carnevor
- Meraki, Photo: Meraki
- Bodegon at Hotel Madrid, Photo: Bodegon at Hotel Madrid
- Movida, Photo: Movida
- Harbor House, Photo: Harbor House
- Centro Cafe, Photo: Centro Café
- Goodkind, Photo: Goodkind
- Braise, Photo: Braise
- Buckley's Restaurant and Bar, Photo: Buckley's Restaurant and Bar
- Crazy Water, Photo: Crazy Water
- La Merenda, Photo: La Merenda
- Mason Street Grill, Photo: Mason Street Grill
- The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar, Photo: The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar
- Tenuta's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Tenuta's Italian Restaurant
- Zarletti, Photo: Zarletti
- Tess, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant, Photo: Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant
- Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, Photo: Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
- Dream Dance Steak, Photo: Dream Dance Steak
- Cover Photo: kitinut/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Milwaukee Public Museum
The Milwaukee Public Museum is the largest natural history museum in the state of Wisconsin and provides a unique educational experience for visitors through its collection of over 4 million specimens from all over the world displayed over 150,00 square feet of exhibit space that cover three and a half floors.
About the Milwaukee Public Museum
Milwaukee Public Museum, MPM, was founded in 1882 and is managed by the Milwaukee Public Museum Inc., a nonprofit private entity that holds the trust for the museum and its collection. The museum is also supported by the Milwaukee County and public. In 2011, The MPM installed a green roof complete with 234 solar panels and 1,000 biotrays of sedum. This system saves 90,000 gallons of rain water from entering the sew system each year, produces oxygen and reduces heat production.
The museum is open 7 days a week and closed on select holidays. Several free days are offered throughout the year and are detailed on the MPM website.
Currently, the museum possesses a collection of more than 4 million specimens spanning the 150,000 square feet and 3.5 floors of exhibit space. Also included in this space are temporary and touring exhibits that are open to the public. The exhibits are designed in a way to take visitors on a tour of the world from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the America’s to Pacific Islands and even a Rainforest of Costa Rica and some of the local history of Milwaukee.
Ground Floor Exhibits- Two exhibits are featured on the ground floor of MPM, The Hebior Mammoth, and, Meadows in the Sky: The Green Roof. Both exhibits are free to the public and do not require admission to view. The Hebior Mammoth was excavated less than 30 miles from the museum in Kenosha County and is named after John Hebior, the farmer who discovered the Mammoth bones on his property. This mammoth died 14,500 years ago and proves man existed in the area around the same time.
First Floor Exhibits- The first floor is where some of the most popular exhibits at MPM are housed.
· Bugs Alive!- 13 different species of live bugs, crustaceans, arachnids, and other insects.
· European Village- Homes of European Immigrants from 1875 to 1925 are recreated in this exhibit
· Exploring Life on Earth- Understand the history of the earth and how scientists study and research natural science through animatronics and dioramas that are larger than life.
· Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium- A two story, enclosed, tropical garden that visitors can stroll through all year to get up close and personal with butterflies and watch as caterpillars complete their life cycles in the butterfly Laboratory.
· Rain Forest- This simulated rainforest canopy is spread over 12,000 square feet of space and designed to educated visitors on tropical biodiversity.
· Samson- A replication of the beloved gorilla, Samson, from the Milwaukee Zoo. This is a taxidermy that won multiple awards on the world stage.
· Sense of Wonder- A curiosity shop filled with wonders from many scientific fields such as anthropology, botany, history, zoology and others.
· The Streets of Old Milwaukee- Go back in time to the turn of the 20th century in Old Milwaukee where you can experience the city from your great-grandparents point of view.
· The Third Planet- Home of the MPM’s dinosaurs, The Third Planet is one of the most popular exhibits at MPM and showcases life-sized models in would be natural habitats.
Second Floor Exhibits- Exhibits on this floor highlight Native American history in the country and region
· A tribute to survival- This exhibit features multiple displays detailing the history of the Native Americans in the country and life-sized dioramas of the seven tribes of Wisconsin. Other non-Native history is also presented in this exhibit.
· North America- the various landscapes of America and biological habitats for both humans and animals are explored in this space. Replications of living spaces are on display as well as furniture and tools that were used in premodern eras.
· Wisconsin Woodlands- Over 75 mounted specimens that are native to the woodlands and forests of Wisconsin can be found in this exhibit that focuses on Wisconsin Archaeology and history.
· Native Games- This small, but new, exhibit pays homage to the Native America ways of life and entertainment featuring games used for social, ceremonial and political purposes.
Third Floor Exhibits- Visitors travel the world on the third floor of the museum.
· Africa- 4 separate exhibits that explore the habitats and ecology of Africa
· Crossroad of Civilization- This exhibit explores how cultures across Europe and Asia came together to form an epicenter of culture over 4,000 years of history.
· Arctic- The 5 natural habitats of the Artic region can be explored through dioramas, including some of the largest creatures to live in the area such as polar bears and sea lions.
· Asia- Decorative arts is the center of this exhibit that highlights some of the best collection of China Decorative Arts and Late Qing Dynasty porcelain. There is also a Japanese Courtyard and a model Japanese home and garden that can be explored.
· Living Oceans- Visitors descend a set of stairs to go under the ocean in this exhibit that takes them into an underwater world through different habitats. Explore a Caribbean Pier and other biologically diverse habitats.
· Pacific Islands- The islands hall displays roughly 260 artifacts from Pacific Islands and Australia with detailed history on headhunting, river art, and other cultural practices of the region.
· Pre-Columbian America- Found on the mezzanine of the third floor, this exhibit educated on the cultures of Mesoamerica from 2500 BC to AD 1500 with focus on the Maya and Aztec populations.
· South and Middle America- Visitors can explore the jungles of South America, stroll through mercados in Guatemala, or peek at the Mayan villagers as they go about their daily lives in the southern highlands.
· Student Exhibit- This space is designed for students who participate in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee/MPM Museum Studies Program. This is a graduate certificate program that is in collaboration with the college and museum that tasks students with developing an exhibition space for the museum to be presented in the final semester. This exhibit will change every 2 years with the graduating class.
Attractions and Educational Programs
The Milwaukee Public Museum has more to offer than just educational exhibitions. The MPM offers exceptional community programming and hosts many special events for people of all ages.
The National Geographic Dome Theater and Daniel M. Soref Planetarium- This unique feature to the museum offers visitors a chance to learn about science and history in three different ways—Planetarium shows, 3D movies, and giant screen projections. Planetarium shows are included with museum admission while 2D and 3D shows require separate ticketing. The 6-story hemispheric dome provides a gateway into the world of dinosaurs, remote jungles of Africa, underwater adventures and much more. The Planetarium is also the first in the world to use a Digistar 6 computer projection system with 3D animations.
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Lectures- Lectures at the MPM are scheduled monthly and quarterly and occur during the Lunch and Lecture events or at Science on Tap. Both series feature the brightest and most dynamic minds in the science and education fields. The Lunch series provides a meal while Science of Tap is an evening of mingling and adult beverages. Science on tap is open to guests 14 and up.
Overnights- Each year MPM offers overnight experiences for groups. Children age 6-12 may participate in these events that begin at 6pm and are concluded at 8am the following morning. Each event has a theme and includes museum admission, a Dome Theater Show, flashlight exploration with educators and breakfast. Reservations are required.
Summer Camps- MPM offers two summer camps each year—Early Explorers for grades K-5, and Adventure Seekers for grades 2-9. Each camp includes museum exploration, hands on activities and educational presentations. The Adventure Seekers camp also includes planetarium or theater programs and lectures from MPM educators on science and history.
BioBlitz- MPM hosts the annual BioBlitz where scientist gather for a 24-hour event to see how many different plant and animal species they can find in one area. The following day, the area is open to the public to come out and meet the scientists, see what was found, and engage in science based, hands on activities. The location of the BioBlitz may change annually, details will be posted on the MPM website.
Workshops- Several workshop opportunies are hosted throughout the year at MPM. While some are open to the public, other workshops are for members only or have specific age requirements. Most workshops occur on Saturdays and require advanced registration and fees. Past workshops include dissections of owl pellets, Up close and Personal—a look at specific exhibits, eclipse viewing programs in the planetarium and more.
Fellowships- The MPM offers 2-3 awards for the John J. Brander and Christine E. Rundblad Research Fellowship which allows scientists to complete fundamental research on biodiversity and environmental issues that can strengthen or enhance the MPM collections. These fellowships include a monetary award, offices at MPM, access to the existing collection and research library and MPM equipment for use in research.
800 West Wells Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53233, Phone: 414-278-2728
Back to: Things to Do in Milwaukee, WI
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Attraction Spotlight: Pabst Mansion
Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee was home to the famed beer baron Captain Frederick Pabst and his family, and built in 1890. The historic, award winning mansion is a sign of the continued success of the Pabst brand and cultural significance of the property.
The Pabst Mansion was conceptualized by George Bowman Ferry and Alfred Charles Clas in 1890 as the family home for Captain Frederick Pabst, the famous Milwaukee beer baron. Construction of the home took two years and was finished during the summer of 1892 at the cost of more than a quarter of a million dollars including the home furnishings and art collections.
The home was sold in 1908 and became property of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee and home of the archbishop. This use continued for sixty years until 1975 when the mansion had plans underway for demolition. The mansion was spared and was put on the National Register of Historic Places after opening to the public as an award-winning museum in 1978.
The Pabst Mansion is 20,019 square feet with 5 full levels including a basement, 3 livable floors, and an attic and 66 rooms in the total original construction. The modern-day value of the Pabst Mansion is $32.7 million.
The Pabst Mansion in and of itself is a work of art and is in a constant state of restoration. The process to save the mansion began in 1978 but 20,000 square feet of rooms need restoration, preservation, and maintenance. The organization uses original photography from the home’s interior to replicate the room’s style and design to get it as close to the original as possible.
Docent Lead Tours- Tours of the gallery are 75 minutes long and guided through all three floors of the museum. Guided tours are offered hourly on the hour. Reservations may be made for groups of 15 or more. Public Grand Tours are offered twice per month and cover all 5 floors of the mansion. These tours are up to 2.5 hours long and must be reserved two weeks in advance. The Grand Tour is only handicap accessible by elevator access to 4 out of 5 levels.
Decorative Arts- One of the Pabst Museum founders, Florence Schroeder, donated custom furniture to the mansion, along with many other donors that have added to the collection of 19th century decorative pieces that fill three rooms of the home. Members of the Pabst family have also loaned pieces of their personal collections to the museum. Many artifacts from Captain and Mrs. Pabst personal collections have been donated to the museum over the years such as paintings, manuscripts, letters, their library, ceramics, glassware, clocks, and furniture.
Fine Arts- Captain and Mrs. Pabst were known in the community for being art connoisseurs and had amassed a large collection of paintings that were on displays in their home, offices, and restaurants. By 1897, The Pabst family owned the finest private art collection in the region which would continue to grow. After the Deaths of Captain Pabst in 1904 and his wife in 1906, the art collection was divided up between heirs with half of the paintings currently having known whereabouts. Some paintings are in possession of the Pabst family, others are donated or sold to museums, while others are at the Pabst Brewing Company.
The Archives- Founded in 1994, The Pabst Archives is the collection of all manuscript materials related to the Pabst family and business, other historic, local macrobrewers, and Milwaukee architecture and society of the Victorian Era.
There are two annual special events that are used to raise funds for the Pabst Mansion.
Brunch with The Barons- This event held in June at Forest Home Cemetery welcomes families to brunch with the “Beer Royalty” of Milwaukee as they walk through the cemetery’s “beer path” past legendary folks such as Blatz and Pabst among others. Tickets can be purchased online for this 4 hour event.
Summer Wine Tasting- Also in June, the annual summer wine tasting is held at the Pabst Mansion and includes live entertainment on the terrace, a sampling of wine, and light appetizers. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Private Events- The Pabst Mansion is the perfect backdrop for private vents such as weddings, receptions, corporate events, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, engagement parties, meetings, and other private events. The mansion is a 100% nonsmoking venue. Other regulations are provided online, included pricing, preferred caterers, and reservation information.
2000 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53233, Phone: 414-913-0808
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