Want to get away but not go too far? How about a Milwaukee Staycation?

It’s great to take on Milwaukee as a tourist and stay away from your own house so you’re not tempted to do chores the whole weekend. Call up your sitter or Grandma and Grandpa and see if they are willing to take the kids for the night. A Milwaukee Staycation might be exactly what you need.

Where to Stay

If you’re staying downtown, we recommend the Aloft Hotel for its walkability. Also, there is so much entertainment in that vicinity: the Fiserv Forum, the Pabst Theater, as well as tons of great restaurants and hangouts like Good City Brewing. Plus gorgeous river views from the rooms. You could also check out Saint Kate Arts Hotel for its unique rooms and elevated experience.

What to Do

We don’t want you to waste your precious time away from the kids on just anything, so here’s our list of four great options for activities in Milwaukee in the fall that are rather magical:

1. Edelweiss Boat Tour

Taking a historic tour down the Milwaukee river is not only fun (because boat!) but also a great opportunity to learn about history and architecture throughout downtown. This ride is perfect for a sunny Fall day, but make sure you bring along a coat if the weather is cooler. You can select from sitting out on the front of the deck or in the enclosed area of the boat. Seating is first-come, first-serve.

Pro-tip: After you leave the cruise, pop in to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, which is just around the corner, and grab some snacks for a picnic in the park (see #3).

2. Mader’s Restaurant

Is there anything that screams October more than a festive German dinner at Mader’s? Of course, you can enjoy Mader’s year-round, but there is something about the German Oktoberfest vibe that makes us want to throw on all the plaid and eat all the brats, schnitzel, and potato things. Mader’s boasts some of the best food in the city and has been around since 1902! They know what they are doing when it comes to great food. 

Pro-tip: Hit up the Old German Beer Hall for continued merriment after dinner (if you have any room left!) and split a stein with your honey. Prost!

Lakeshore Park
Visit Lakeshore State Park in Downtown Milwaukee. Photo by DNR

3. Lakefront

Sitting by Lake Michigan, just sitting, enjoying the view is healing to the soul. On a gorgeous fall day, it’s lovely to sit and picnic near Veteran’s Memorial Park or rent bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals and enjoy the changing colors alongside the Lake Michigan backdrop.

Pro-tip: No kids with you? Sit and enjoy apps and cocktails at Harbor House or grab some sandwiches from Colectivo for that picnic. You can also grab to-go from AJ Bombers and set up camp down by the lake, which is just a short drive (or Uber ride) away!

4. Sculpture Milwaukee

Sculpture Milwaukee is a world-class art gallery experience right in downtown Milwaukee! A map is available here. This is an incredibly unique, art museum experience outdoors, right in the heart of the city.

Pro-Tip: Not in the walking mood but still want to tool around downtown Milwaukee? Jump aboard The Hop, relax, and enjoy the sites. Stop at the Public Market or Classy Girl Cupcakes and hop back on at your leisure. And yes, The Hop is still free! 

Even if you want to stay closer to home this autumn, it’s always easy to welcome fall with open arms. When the weather is a touch cooler and the sun is still shining, there’s no better time to take advantage of the beauty our city has to offer. You might even decide to make your Milwaukee Staycation an annual event.


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