Last year the Merriam Webster dictionary made the word “staycation” official. Even though the rough economy will eventually improve we think staycations are here to, ahem, stay. Today we have fellow Milwaukeean Sara Beringer, who regularly explores our fine city on her blog, Cream City & Sugar. Check out Sara’s sneak peek at Milwaukee (a hidden gem if we do say so!) and apply her tips to your city:
An Adventure in Your Backyard
If you find yourself stuck in Milwaukee this Spring Break, don’t worry, there’s plenty of mid-winter fun to be had north of the Mason-Dixon. You may have hoped for beaches and 80 degree weather, but that’s a bonus not an essential. Spring break is all about getting away, letting loose, and hanging out….and fortunately, the Brew City has plenty of outlets for doing just that!
Stay the Night. First and foremost, staying in a hotel really adds to that faux feeling of escape when you’re not far from home. Lucky for you, this is the low season for tourism in the Midwest, so there are lots of deals depending on your taste:
Relax: The County Clare Inn: a quiet Irish inn with great Shepherd’s Pie and endless pints of Guinness on Milwaukee’s Eastside.
Entertain: Iron Horse Hotel: a Harley lover’s top choice for a chic yet masculine place to kick off your boots. It’s close to downtown, the Harley Museum, Art Museum, Bradley Center, and nightlife.
Explore: Hilton Milwaukee City Center is in a downtown location close to shopping and all the family friendly places..AND there’s a huge indoor water park in the lower level.
Feel Chic:Hotel Metro: where many musicians and celebs stay while in town.
Have Some Fun. Milwaukee’s options for having a good time are endless, whether you’re being entertained or entertaining yourself!:
Rock Out – Brew City Bruiser Roller Derby: These fishnet and rollerskate-clad, post-punk , PBR drinking ladies are racing at the Shamrock Smackdown on March 13th.
Catch a Show – Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, Turner Hall: Tickets for popular groups at these historic venues sell out fast, however, they usually release a few “holds” on the lower level at the Pabst and any remaining “box seats” at the last minute. Smaller clubs with local talent worth checking out include: The Cactus Club in Bay View, Shank Hall on the East Side and Mad Planet in Riverwest.
Take a Tour – Miller Brewery, Lakefront Brewery & Sprecher Brewery: Lakefront is hands down the best, most entertaining tour and their Friday fish fry is amazing. Sprecher is great for kids because of the specialty soda tasting and shorter tour.
Go Bowling – Koz’s Mini Bowl: A duckpin bowling alley with real, brave people changing the pins. It’s hard not to enjoy your night at Koz’s regardless of background, age and bowling ability. It’s a bar so they card after 9pm if you have youngins’ in tow.
Lay Low – Burnhearts: A hipster hideout complete with shuffleboard, pool, and board games on hand and a nice beer variety on tap. DJs are often on hand playing the best of up and coming artists, throwback soul funk, or country classics.
Explore the City. Whether you’re exploring history or checking out a new neighborhood, Spring Break is the perfect excuse to step out of your routine:
Discovery World: This science and learning museum can entertain a gaggle of kids AND keep the adults having fun. The best-kept secret is the aquarium in the lower level. The admission is a little steep, but on March 13th and 17th, wear green and get $5 off.
Harley-Davidson: What also made Milwaukee famous! Check out the museum, revel in the biker toughness of it all, and learn about when Harleys used to be bicycles.
La Merenda: A tapas restaurant on the near south-side. It fills up early, for good reason: the food is amazing. Try small dishes from Panama to Indonesia and even Wisconsin. Great place for dinner with your sweetheart or with a group of girlfriends.
Bryant’s: Off the beaten track, but well worth it. When you walk into the velvet walled lounge with Rat Pack songs playing, it is like a time-warp. They serve all the cocktails you thought were extinct, like grasshoppers, and the intoxicatingly dangerous “Brainbuster”.
Honeypie Café: This slightly ironic cafe fully embraces the Wisco-pride with its local brews on tap and generous portions laden with cheese.
Relax a Bit. With great locally-owned restaurants (and bars) on every corner, just kick back and hang out:
Get Brunch! For the all day hang out at a euro-style café check out the Belgian-styled Café Hollander or the French style of Trocadero (closed for renovations until April or so).
Roots Restaurant and Wine Cellar: One of the most serene views of the city. The menu changes with the season and relies heavily on organic and local food.
The Watts Tea Shop: Classic English tea and scones just upstairs from the sophisticated George Watts & Son. For the kids, Benjamin Button will be coming for breakfast during Easter weekends!
Paddy’s Pub: A cozy Irish pub with church pews, fireplaces, eclectic decor, and a long list of signature warm drinks.
Sugar Maple: An exploration in itself with all 60 taps at the bar are microbrews, many local and a laid-back vibe. The real key to a good staycation is enjoying the city as if it were all new. Go and experience new restaurants, venture to new parts of the city, and let go of your old “expectations” of what Milwaukee, or your city, has to offer. Cheers! -Sara