Summers in Milwaukee make up for the extremely long winters. There is so much to see, do, eat and drink throughout the city. I’ve been rounding up my personal favorites and am really excited to finally share my Milwaukee Guide. I’ll continue to update the list as we visit new places, but in the meantime, you can also find other recommendations and see photos of some of my favorite places with the hashtag #fifthandrosemke on Instagram (@carlyritt_).
Whatever you order, make sure you start with the tator tots (they’re adult tater tots and so amazing – if you don’t like blue cheese, don’t worry neither do I but I love these) and also get a side of fries with basil aioli.
Holey Moley Doughnuts
You guys, the coffee cake doughnuts are the best!
Milwaukee Public Market
A great lunch option when everyone in your group wants something different. Get your food and eat outside or head upstairs. PSA: the salad line gets really long at lunch.
Milwaukee Ale House
You can’t go wrong with the cheese curds or Bavarian pretzel (the beer cheese dip is so good). I love ordering a John Daly and sipping it on the patio while people watching.
One of our favorite spots in the Third Ward. We took some of our engagement photos here. Start with a jar or burrata (the walnut pesto is amazing). We love the Bolognese pasta and Grilled Eggplant Cannelloni.
My favorite rooftop bar in the city. For drinks & small plates, order the Persephone’s Great Return (the CLC was my favorite cocktail last summer so if you see it on the menu again, definitely order) and the Crispy Pork Belly pizza.
Love their small plates and salads. Good lunch spot.
Perfect spot for date night or to celebrate a birthday/anniversary.
On the top floor of Pfister – great for happy hour and an amazing view of the city (ladies, the best view is actually in the women’s bathroom)
Stella Van Buren
Large bar perfect for happy hour and a new, Italian restaurant (the bruschetta and ravioli were delicious).
Mason Street Grill
Another good spot for happy hour (are you seeing a theme here?)
Black Sheep MKE
Wine on tap! Love their small plates & entrees. Can’t wait to try brunch here.
Fun spot to go with girlfriends and split small plates.
They update the menu regularly. It’s small so be prepared to wait and enjoy a cocktail or two but the food is completely worth the wait.
Purple Door Ice Cream
Order the salted caramel and/or whiskey ice cream!
More delicious small plates. Fun for girl’s night or date night.
Bel Air Cantina
$2 Tuesdays and Thursdays on select tacos! One of our favorite spots on the East Side.
Elsa’s on the Park
This is a Haslee family favorite. We love the grilled cheese (the bacon is so good).
Bill and I like their burgers and brunch.
Lake Park Bistro
We’ve celebrated our anniversary and my parent’s anniversary here. It’s a really beautiful location. Get the French onion soup. Bill and I kept asking for more bread so that we could eat every last drop.
My all-time favorite pizza. It’s thin crust, and the sauce is the best.
Bill and I frequented here quite a bit when we lived on the East side.
This opened when Bill and I were living in our first apartment. It’s a great corner coffee shop with really good food. They grill out in the summer and have great food & drink combos.
On Wednesdays, they have the best specials – 1/2 off bottles of white, sparking and rose wines (my favorite) and BOGO large pizza. I love the Artichoke a la Mode.
Another great brunch option!
Where to Stay
The Journeyman Hotel
I worked a block away from The Journeyman Hotel. We were so excited for it to open, and it did not disappoint. The restaurant, cafe, rooftop bar and decor in general are some of the best in the city. Not to mention, I absolutely love the Third Ward.
The newest hotel to open in Milwaukee! It’s a really great location – super easy to get to the Lakefront. They also have custom running maps with either 3-mile and 5-mile jogging/walking routes from the hotel, which are perfect for summers in Milwaukee. A great way to see the city.
What to Do
Summerfest / Irish Fest
Okay, there are festivals almost every weekend in Wisconsin, but these are my two favorites.
Summerfest is always at the end of June into July and Irish Fest is the third weekend in August.
Air & Water Show
July 15-16, 2017
Cathedral Square Park
Saturdays, June 3 – October 7 (2017)
Jazz in the Park
Concerts on Thursdays at 5 p.m. from June 1 – August 31 (2017)
July 13-16 (2017)
Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum
They also have Yoga and the Museum (prettiest location). And did you know that members get discounts at some of my favorite places throughout the city?
Where to Shop
My go-to store for any and all cards, thoughtful gifts and paper products.
The Home Market
This store is always so beautifully styled. There are investment pieces throughout the store (i.e. gorgeous couches and headboards) but also great gifts for newlyweds, girlfriends, dogs and more!
Cutest boutique owned by one of the sweetest ladies ever. Definitely stop in! She has adorable tops, dresses, bags and jewelry plus some great Milwaukee pieces.
Food Recommendations Outside of the City
Cute French restaurant. Great for dinner and get a macaroon on your way out at the counter.
Story Hill BKC
Great food across the board, but I especially love their brunch!
Delicious appetizers and Old Fashioneds.
The butternut squash ravioli is amazing.