You may recall that two years ago (has it been that long?) a few of my fellow Ambassabloggers and I did a creative send-off of the “Laverne & Shirley” theme to celebrate the launch of non-stop service from SDIA to Milwaukee. But yours truly had never actually been to Brew City, USA—til now. And after having experienced a great weekend there, I’d say it’s one of the best underrated destinations our airport offers!
My muse to make the visit was actually a fellow coworker at the airport, our ever-friendly “Plant Man,” Ernie. He makes the rounds trimming, watering and nurturing our indoor greenery, offering cheerful salutations to everyone. After having made a trip of his own to Milwaukee, and knowing that I ride a Harley, Ernie suggested that I live out the “Laverne & Shirley” script and see the home of Harley-Davidson and its namesake museum. I figured that was reason enough to visit.
But I was pleasantly surprised that the Milwaukee Art Museum was yet another great sight to see. Covering all kinds of media from antiquities to the most contemporary, the museum is a work of art in itself, famous for its unique design and flapping wings.
Everyone has to eat, and there’s a lot more than just beer and bratwurst! Wisconsin is known for its dairy delights, and artisanal cheese plates are a ubiquitous item on every restaurant menu. For authentic German cuisine, take in the Old World charm of Mader’s. For farm-to-table freshness from an on-premises garden, try the hip Roots.
I got to relive my own 2010 Harley ride of Route 66 with a Sunday buffet brunch of chef specialties from cafes and diners on the Mother Road at Smyth, the restaurant at the biker-boutique Iron Horse Hotel (yes, bikers can have impeccable tastes!).
No trip to Milwaukee would be complete without a trip to the Safe House. The average food isn’t the draw, but secreted behind an export building façade accessed from an alley, the place is inspired by the spy hideaway homes of espionage ages past. It is complete with tricky mazes, Cold War kitsch, and whimsical ambience. You have to have a password to be let in, but there is a way around that if you don’t know it; I’m sworn to secrecy not to reveal more.
From the eclectic ‘hoods of Brady Street and the Historic Third Ward, to the Milwaukee Riverwalk and Lake Michigan shorefront, Milwaukee abounds with charming, historic architectural stock with one-of-a-kind shops all fit for pedestrian exploration.
Milwaukee is so much more than just its breweries, though one can certainly imbibe well if so inclined. While there is no visible homage to Laverne and Shirley in their hometown, there is the Bronze Fonz paying tribute to the “Happy Days” character that first put Milwaukee on the entertainment map. So head off from SDIA and get your own obligatory photo-op with the epitome of coolness!