We surprised ’em pretty good with this: On a three-day holiday weekend, a friend and I decided to pick up our kids after school with their bags already packed (mine was my cool, new Ricardo bag), and told them we were leaving right now for a fun weekend getaway together. We wouldn’t tell them where. As we started driving, the kids had some funny guesses (no, we’re not driving to Hawaii), but soon enough the highway signs made it clear we were on our way from Chicago to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Fun Things to Do in Milwaukee with Kids
For our group – two moms and four kids ranging in age from 7-11 – some of our favorite activities were the unique things: eating at a spy-themed restaurant/museum, flying kites along the lakefront, and sampling Wisconsin cheeses and “Fairy Food” candy.
Discovery World, a sprawling lakefront science museum, is always a slam dunk with kids in this age group, who hyperactively bounce between the museum’s hands-on activities.
Of course, what the kids always want to do first when we arrive in a new city is go to the hotel pool. Strangely, most hotels in downtown Milwaukee don’t have indoor pools. But the Crowne Plaza Milwaukee West, in west suburban Wauwatosa, is a family-friendly hotel with a nice, family-sized pool. Staying in the suburbs isn’t a bad thing in Milwaukee. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to it. Read my review of the hotel here.
Below are more details about the family-friendly places we tried – and really liked – in Milwaukee:
Eat at Safe House
Pet Sharks at Discovery World
Fly Kites on the Lakefront
If weather permits, I recommend buying one of the colorful kites in Gift of Wings, a fun-to-shop-at store along in Veterans Park. I got a nice kite for $30, which I’ve re-used multiple times since. While we had to dodge the goose poop in the park, the lake breezes quickly took our new kits sky-high. We also stopped at a playground in nearby McKinley Park. Grab a drink or snack afterward at the cute Colectivo coffee shop across the street.
Get Snacks at Milwaukee Public Market
There is so much more for families to do in Milwaukee, we plan to go back for another getaway weekend. I’ve heard taking the kids to the public skate at the Pettit National Ice Center, a U.S. Olympic training site, is awesome because the ice is exceptionally fast.
For tips on free things to do in Milwaukee, see this post by Vegetarian TravelingMom Judy Antell. Another good resource on an affordable trip to Milwaukee is this post from Empty Nest TravelingMom Cindy Richards.