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! They sell out fast so make sure to stop in early.
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.
New breakfast spot in town and it’s pretttty (more photos on their Instagram). I got the Eggs Benedict with their chive biscuit which was delicious. While Bill loved the SD Breakfast Burger, the table next to us got the chicken and waffles (Cornbread Waffles), and it looked amazing. Be prepared for a wait here.
Love their small plates and salads. It’s a 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. Definitely start with the bruschetta – I highly recommend the Goat Cheese and Burrata Cheese for the table to share.
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!
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.
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 taco option on Brady Street with outdoor seating. Perfect for the summer.
Birch + Butcher
Currently on my to-try list!
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.
One of the newer hotels 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
Air & Water Show
July 21-22, 2018
Cathedral Square Park
Saturdays, June 2 – October 6 (2018)
Jazz in the Park
Concerts on Thursdays at 5 p.m. from May 31 – August 30 (2018)
July 12-15 (2018)
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?
Summerfest / Irish Fest
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.
Where to Shop // Third Ward
My go-to store for any and all cards, thoughtful gifts and paper products.
I could spend hours here. Since they have such an amazing selection of products, I prefer to browse in the store since online can get a bit overwhelming. Their Capri Blue candle and coffee mugs are some of my go-to gifts.
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.
Fun fact: I’ve had glasses since I was two so naturally I love this store. I’ve done the home try-on but it’s so nice to have a storefront right downtown now.
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!
A modern general store with fun, unique gift items and home goods. They also have great houseplants.
Cream City Restoration
They offer modern goods, custom built furniture, restoration & upholstery. Great source of home inspiration.
Fun shop to stop into. I haven’t bought anything big here but I like looking for little house warming gifts.
I was so happy when this opened in the Third Ward. You probably know it well but I couldn’t exclude it from the list.
Restoration Hardware Outlet
I love browsing here and testing out couches. I have yet to purchase anything since it’s all final sale, and I have commitment issues when it comes to that type of shopping.
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. My go-to items on the menu are the brussel sprouts, nachos and spinach artichoke dip.
The butternut squash ravioli is amazing.