A Local’s Guide to What to Do, Eat, and Drink in Milwaukee This Weekend

Are you going to coming to Milwaukee for the D-I College Championships? Well, you’re in luck. Of course, there will be plenty of action and entertainment at the tournament itself, but you’ll probably be looking for some other things to do, like during the day on Memorial Day before the finals start at 3:30 PM. Milwaukee expert Jon Schut sent in this list of pro tips so you can make the most of your time.

What to Do

The Oriental Theater: If you need a place to relax inside, it doesn’t get much better.  Beautiful movie house built in 1927 and renovated during the pandemic. (Eastside)

The Lakefront: If you’ve never been to Milwaukee and just driven or hung out on Lincoln Memorial Drive, you are missing out. The area includes the Summerfest groundsMilwaukee Art MuseumBradford Beach, etc. On the bluffs above is Lake Park, which is another nice way to hike around the area. Driving Lincoln Memorial Drive North takes you towards the UWM Campus.  You can then continue driving North along Lake Drive all the way through Milwaukee suburbs towards the fields, which are eventually a couple of miles west. Lake Drive has the most expensive homes in area, situated along Lake Michigan (DO NOT SPEED ON LAKE DRIVE).  Please note that you are in the most segregated city in the country as you enjoy the surroundings. If you have a little bit more time during the scenic drive, check out the Mary Nohl House (AKA The Witches’ House) just a bit further North. (Eastside / Northshore Suburbs)

Kilbourn Reservoir Park: Got 5 minutes and want the best view of The City? Check out this Riverwest Park.

Riverwalk: Downtown along the river, you’ll get to see The Bronze Fonz!

Koz’s Mini Bowl: It’s bowling, but mini.  Pins are reset by hand. Or you can check out America’s oldest bowling alley, The Holler House, but it is tough to get a lane there (They only have two). Both places might be best to call and reserve in advance. (Mitchell Street)

SHAKE OF THE DAY!!!! Many bars offer a Shake of the Day (for those that gamble while drinking). You’re basically trying to get a Yahtzee to win money. It costs ~$1 — you can only play once per day per bar. Just ask the bartender.

Events

Thursday, May 26th: Kurt Vile at Turner Hall. (Deer District)

Friday, May 27th and Saturday, May 28th: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is performing a live score to The Wizard of Oz.  There’s a new Third Street Market just down the street from the brand new Bradley Symphony Hall that has good food and drinks. (Downtown)

Disc Golf

Brown Deer Park is the closest to the fields. (Northwest Suburbs)
Estabrook Park is the best beginner friendly course, there is also a beer garden on site. (Northshore Suburbs)

Where to Eat

Nearest the Fields: POP’S BBQ: Located outside of the gas station less than a block west of the Uihlein Fields on Good Hope and 76th. Please don’t eat anywhere else in the immediate area as it is mainly chains. Yes, there will be lines, but you can possibly order online in advance. Definitely there on Friday, and I think on Saturday too.

Kopps: Seriously, eat at Kopps.  Order your burger with EXTRA BUTTER. Custard, yummy. Or if you want even more butter on that burger, there’s Solly’s right down the street. (Northshore Suburbs)

Do you want Mexican food? Please use this list. El Cabrito’s Goat Tacos is the good stuff; Guadalajara is another stand out. These places are mainly on the Southwest side of town (see: most segregated city in US.)

Did someone say sausages?!?!? Vanguard in Bay View.

African foodBlue Star – one of my personal favorites, HUGE portions // Ethiopian Cottage – Shared sampler platter. (East Side)

Brunch: Can be tricky if you have a bunch of people, most places do NOT take reservations for brunch, but Company Brewing (Riverwest) should. They have a huge seating area and patio that can accommodate a big group if you end up just showing up — great food and beer. If you have a smaller group of people and time to wait in line Uncle Wolfie’s is bomb (Bronzeville).

Friday Night Fish Fry: It’s our jam, everywhere has them.  You should eat a fish fry on Friday Night.  My personal favorite (right now) is Riverwest’s Klinger’s East (across the street from Black Huskey Brewing) which has Fish Fry AND Ribs, together, like it is a thing (please note, it is not a thing.)

Damascus Gate: Syrian refugee owned delicious middle eastern food. (Mitchell Street)

The Best BBQ in the CityAshley’s or Speed Queen – neither place has a dine-in option (Near Westside).

Vegetarian OptionsRiverwest Co-op // Strange Town (Eastside) // Beerline Cafe (Riverwest) // Twisted Plants (Cudahy, far southside).

Where to Drink (and Eat)

Brady Street: Mix of dive bars and dive bars+.  Good food also available, Red Light Ramen. Have you ever wanted to “Close Wolski’s,” because you can! Angelo’s Piano Bar got me sauced recently.

North Avenue: Less drinking spots than there used to be, but still some MKE classics like German-themed Von Trier and Landmark Lanes, which is an excellent place to get a drink, bowl, play pool or darts, etc. Crossroads Collective Food Hall has a lot of options for good food (Scratch Ice Cream).

Water Street: Downtown bar hopping… Clubs and bars with very loud music.  Includes the Deer District and Old World Third Street (Now MLK).

Third/Fifth Ward: Former stomping of Jeffery Dahmer, now upscale living on the southside of downtown!! Bavette is James Beard Award nominated. Milwaukee Public Market has lots of food choices.

Bryant’s: They make you cocktails on vibes alone. (Mitchell Street)

At Random: Ice cream booze drinks, ICE CREAM BOOZE DRINKS in an atmosphere from The Shining. (Bay View)

Falcon Bowl: Fourth and Final bowling alley that needs to be mentioned.  You can buy beer to-go until midnight there. (Riverwest)

Breweries (all of these places have nice patios):

MobCraft: My personal favorite, great sour beers and other unique options. Near the Harley Museum (and Potawatomi). (Walker’s Point)
Lakefront: Friday night fish fry and polka!!!! (Riverwest)
Good City: Really nice space on Farwell down the street from North Avenue, also in the Deer District.
Black Huskey: If you like IPAs. (Riverwest)

Tourist Places for Dorks and Nerds

The Safe House: Please DON’T go to The Safehouse. (Downtown)

Enjoy the weekend!

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