One of my long time friends, Andrea, celebrated a milestone birthday this summer. We have known each other for 22 years, unbelievable! We’ve had a total of 5 kids, multiple moves across the US, completed college degrees, career changes, the death of beloved pets, you name it, we have experienced it together. She was my first neighbor after I moved out of my parent’s house. She knocked on my door with a bottle of vodka in her hands and asked me if I wanted to hang out. Of course, I said yes! We share similar personalities, love for family, life, travel, and of course FOOD!
She now lives back in our home town in northwest Indiana and I was fortunate enough to see her multiple times while I was there this summer. We planned a 24-hour getaway to celebrate her birthday and chose Milwaukee. Milwaukee is a short two-hour drive away, right on Lake Michigan with the beautiful Milwaukee River running through it. From my minimal research, it looked like a nice little foodie city (nicknamed Brew City) with lots to do.
We checked into the Hyatt Regency about 12:30 pm. The hotel is conveniently located downtown in the Westown area across the river from Eastown and within walking distance to the very popular and trendy Historic Third Ward district. The staff was very friendly and they gave us a top floor room with a river view – score!
We immediately set out to find a quick lunch and then to explore the Historic Third Ward. We utilized Yelp and found a nice little deli/sandwich shop around the corner from our hotel called Milwaukee Waterfront Deli. They serve up panini sandwiches, coffees, fresh salads, and desserts. It was an adorable, two story old building that had an elevator/conveyor belt thing that brought your food from downstairs to upstairs! Beautiful artwork and giant old mirrors lined the brick walls. We sat upstairs outside on their little patio and enjoyed every bite of our sandwiches. We didn’t linger though because we only had 24 hours and needed to see what the rest of Milwaukee had to offer.
We walked along the river front via the River Walk trail and enjoyed watching the booze boats, kayakers, and other party folk enjoying the river. We made it to the Historic Third Ward where numerous shops lined the pedestrian friendly streets. There you can find big brand shops as well as little locally owned well-priced stores. Some that we enjoyed were Free Bird, Buorsajo Boutique, Access Boutique (which
had a great selection of cat accessories – for people, not cats!), and ModGen a modern general store. I thought the ruler wall at Mod Gen was super cool!
A few more stops and we finally made our way back to the hotel. While we were out they had brought up a bottle of sparkling rosé and chocolate cake to give the birthday celebration a little kick start! Thanks, Hyatt!
We Ubered to dinner at the lovely Tre Rivali in the Historic Third Ward district. The restaurant specializes in modern Mediterranean cuisine. We were greeted with sparkling rosé to celebrate Andrea’s birthday (it pays to let people know when it’s a special occasion ahead of time!) We sampled many things from their menu including chicken liver mouse (our favorite), wood grilled artichokes, and the ribeye to share! I highly recommend a visit to Tre Rivali if you are ever in Milwaukee. The restaurant is also attached to the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel. The hotel has a rooftop bar and there was a line to get in, our server pulled some strings, and we were able to cut to the beginning of the line and go right up. Beautiful people, atmosphere, a DJ, and great service awaited us up there as well. We enjoyed our roof top drink and then headed out to explore some more.
Our last stop of the evening was at the St. Paul Fish Market’s outdoor bar located right outside of the Milwaukee Public Market. We were looking for casual and fun and boy oh boy did we find it! What a gem. Lively bartenders, strong drinks, fun music, and great guests to interact with. The bar itself doesn’t have a name and only has outdoor bar stools set up against a bar with a thatched roof. We stayed until the wee hours of the morning before stumbling home happy with our night out in Milwaukee!
The next day we walked back to the Milwaukee Public Market for a late breakfast and some coffee. The market resembles the Seattle Public Market, although about 1/16th of the size. It has everything from fresh seafood to Greek pastries. I needed something to detox my system after a fun night of eating and drinking so I had a green juice from the Green Kitchen followed by a delicious savory pastry from the pastry shop right next to it.
We drove home happy, tired, and so glad we decided to explore Milwaukee. I can’t believe I grew up only 2 hours from this awesome city and never went to explore. I will be back!