Until not that long ago pretty much everything I knew about Milwaukee was from TV reruns of Happy Days, and Laverne and Shirley. In fact I didn’t even realise that it was in Wisconsin.
Lucky for me, I’ve now had my own Milwaukee experience and it’s so much more than I expected. Sure there’s the Bronze Fonz (no really – it’s a life-size statue you can check out and have your photo taken with) but even in the chilly weather of early spring you’ll find loads to fill your day(s) of exploring.
Let me give you a taste of my visit, but first here’s a couple quick facts about Milwaukee you should know:
- it’s the largest city in the state of Wisconsin
- it’s on the western shore of Lake Michigan
- it’s part of the American Midwest.
Knowing that I have a fondness for spirits but can’t drink beer, my friend Katy suggested we skip the brewery tours and take a tour of the Great Lakes Distillery. We arrived a little early so I took some time to relax with a pretty tasty Mule that featured the distillery’s own vodka. Great Lakes Distillery is a small batch distillery who handcraft a range of spirits including vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, brandy, absinthe… and the list goes on. The tour costs $10 and includes a tasting of their products as well as a distillery 101 on how the products are made.
While I discovered that I have no affinity for gin, I found that I very much enjoyed their orange and spice liqueur. So much so that I bought a bottle to take on my trip with me (and it travelled really well in my suitcase!) Our guide was amusing and kept the whole group engaged with the alcoholic history of Wisconsin. It’s an experience I’d highly recommend you try if you visit Milwaukee.
I’d also recommend spending at least a few moments gazing out over Lake Michigan.
Now my friends James and Brit tapped into my museum-geek side. They took me on a rollicking exploration of the Milwaukee Public Museum. MPM has everything from dinosaurs to a huge rainforest to a history of local Native Americans and a representation of what life in Milwaukee looked like 100 years ago… There was also a fabulous Egyptology exhibit that we wandered, learning about the two mummies on display, and what their lives had been like.
My favourite space of all in the museum had to be the butterfly habitat. I love the delicacy of these winged creatures (and I’m fascinated by their proclivity for eating dead flesh). The space was alive with the fluttering of wings as butterflies of varying colours and sizes landed on delighted visitors. I was kept snap-happy and entranced and you will be too…