Historic Third Ward and Riverwalk : Milwaukee’s most historic commercial district is gentrified but not tacky, with shops, a farmers market, cafés, museums, grand architecture, and a cool riverwalk.
Milwaukee Art Museum : Its stunning, sail-like addition by Santiago Calatrava is ever trumpeted in international media; don’t forget the fantastic collections inside the building.
Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin : Wow. This lakefront addition is architecturally and educationally a magnificent exclamation point (literally, from above, and figuratively) on the city’s massive downtown works projects.
Pabst Mansion : It drops most visitors’ jaws — yes, this indeed was the Beer City, and the brewery families spared no expense showing off their riches.
Milwaukee Public Museum and IMAX : This phenomenal museum — which pioneered the concept of walk-through exhibits — has the nation’s largest number of exhibits, so many a day is needed to stroll through them all.
Villa Terrace : Smashing terraced gardens and renowned art collections make this museum unparalleled in the Midwest.
Miller Brewing : It soldiers on in the grand tradition of Milwaukee brewing. This megacomplex simply must be seen to be believed. Moreover, it’s a definite point of pride for Milwaukeeans.
Harley-Davidson Museum : Beer may have made Milwaukee famous, but its denizens are likely prouder of this true-blue heritage.
Summerfest : Otherwise known as the Big Gig, it’s the granddaddy of U.S. festivals — an 11-day blowout of music, food, and fun, with zillions of people partying heartily.
Cedarburg : To Milwaukee’s north is a gem of an anachronism, a preserved village with charm and lots of shops.