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3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

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North Wales, UK
posts: 3
reviews: 7
3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Hi, We are visiting from England for 2 weeks 31st July to 14th August.

Flying into Chicago and heading straight for 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee. There are 3 of us including our 11 year old son.

Firstly, with 2 weeks of luggage, can we Amtrak or similar from Chicago to Milwaukee and pick up the rental car at the end of Milwaukee stay (ready for heading off to Door County) or should we rent the car in Chicago, drive up and have the problem with parking etc in Milwaukee?

Secondly, we're considering whether the Pfister is worth paying the extra than the new Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, there are obvious differences but both look OK and therefore thinking possibly best to keep the extra cash for spending monies. Any thoughts?

Finally looking to do the Zoo, Discovery World, Art Museum, Miller Brewery, Harley Museum, Pabst Mansion, Public Museum and the Lakefront trail on bicycles. All this in 3 or 4 days. Are we missing anything we shouldn't and is this enough time?

Should mention we are going to a Brewers game one evening too.

Any tips, recommendations or advice would be appreciated.

Visiting Milwaukee, Door County, Wisconsin Dells and Chicago. Can't wait!

Thank you

posts: 1,035
reviews: 116
1. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Fridays in miller park is a great place to eat. Kids always love to eat outside and hope for fly balls during warmup. One time we sat over the bullpen and that was the highlight for them.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 6
reviews: 17
2. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Amtrak doesn't go directly from O'Hare to Milwaukee, you have to go from O'Hare to Union Station, then Union Station to Milwaukee. Personally, I'd rent a car in Chicago and avoid the misery of schlepping luggage all over the place. Additionally, you'll probably want a car for the Brewer's game, Miller Brewery and the Zoo. The Pfister is a beautiful hotel but you could consider the less expensive accommodation and visit The Pfister for afternoon tea, Sunday brunch, or have a drink at their bar on the 23rd floor and watch the sun set. The Wisconsin Historical Society has several historical sites that your family may enjoy as you tour the state. Wade House would be a slight detour on your way to Door County and Old World Wisconsin could be convenient traveling from The Dells to Chicago. Both are interactive, educational sites demonstrating historic Wisconsin pioneer life and in my opinion, great family fun. You can visit their website: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/sitesmuseum

Edited: 4:20 pm, April 23, 2013
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
posts: 755
reviews: 3
3. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Looks like you have a great trip planned

The only reason I would say the Pfister over the Hilton Garden Inn would be for the pool. If having a pool is not a concern then go with the less expensive hotel.

It looks like you are hitting the top attractions that Milwaukee has. I will add a suggestion of a boat tour on the Milwaukee river. And possibly going to the Wisconsin State Fair. It runs August 1-11.

As far as renting a car....you could get by without one while you're in Milwaukee. I think you could save money if you wait till the end of your Milwaukee visit and rent one before you leave for Door County. You can walk to most places and/or take public transportation. The zoo would be the most difficult to get to from downtown. It's doable by bus, but would take up a whole day in your itinerary.

With the luggage you have I would get a taxi from the Amtrak station to the hotel. It's a short ride.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
posts: 755
reviews: 3
4. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

I didn't think about the fact that you would have to get into downtown Chicago for the Amtrak train. So on second thought renting a car at O'Hare will be much more convenient. And with the cost of train tickets it might be worth renting the car at O'Hare. You will have to pay overnight parking at the hotel in Milwaukee. But you then have the convenience of your own transportation.

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
posts: 4,850
reviews: 95
5. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Let's see I definitely second the Wisconsin State Fair, www.wistatefair.com The zoo is a good choice, it's a fine zoo. Sprecher Brewery is great for tours because they have a ton of sodas to sample too. Lakefront is a very entertaining beer tour.



Milwaukee is known for it's festivals, possibly check one out during your visit:


www.kopps.com for memorable custard and burgers (near Sprecher)

The Domes is a Milwaukee don't miss--cheap and quick to tour/fit in a schedule, a very unique feature:


The Harley Davidson Museum is another popular choice which I see you included:


To further explore Old World Wisconsin in Eagle is worth a trip to go see (road trip, west of Milwaukee):


Edited: 5:23 pm, April 23, 2013
Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
posts: 4,850
reviews: 95
6. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

www.usingers.com a staple of Milwaukee for many, many years worth checking out.

Third Ward for shopping and dining, along the river. Milwaukee Ale House is a nice choice, sitting out on the deck is wonderful.

I guess I'm seconding the Old World WIsconsin (in my above post) suggestion I hadn't read the other posts. It's definitely worth a stop if you get the chance, a real treasure of WI. Usually the first weekend or so in August they'll do a Laura Ingalls Wilder day which is fun as they have even more interactive stuff--that appeals to all ages/boys/girls/men and women.

Since you're doing the Dells one to definitely consider is The House on the Rock

http://www.thehouseontherock.com/ all three tours are great, even the bathrooms are interesting.

In Baraboo (near the Dells) is Circus World:


and the International Crane Foundation:


Edited: 5:29 pm, April 23, 2013
Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
posts: 4,850
reviews: 95
7. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Wisconsin Dells: H.H. Bennett Studio:


The http://www.wisconsinducktours.com/ Original Wisconsin Ducks (or Upper Dells Boat tour, or jet boat tour)

http://wisdeerpark.com/ great for all ages

http://www.wisconsinbigcats.org/ again in Baraboo which won an award for best small town recently




short list: Al Johnson's (goats on roof), Peninsula State Park, The Door County Confectionery, Wilson's for ice cream/dessert (not the food) in Ephraim, WI....Cave Point Cty. Park, and next to it Whitefish Dunes State Park (singing sand at the dog park end of the beach), the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay and much much more!

Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
posts: 8,820
reviews: 59
8. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

While it is often advisable to have a car in Milwaukee I think with your itinerary you could get away without a car. You can take a bus to the zoo, Miller park and Miller Brewery. Buses are not the greatest in Milwaukee, but it could be done if you don't want to drive. If you want to go many other places like shopping malls or restaurants outside of downtown travel will be more difficult without a car.

If you decide not to rent a car at O'Hare the best way to get to Milwaukee is by Coach bus. Coach has frequent and efficient bus service to downtown Milwaukee from O'Hare. Here is the website http://www.coachusa.com/

And here is the website for the local buses in Milwaukee. http://www.ridemcts.com/

I assume you have figured out there is no way you can do the rest of your Wisconsin trip without a car.

One other important piece of info if you are driving from O'Hare. The Illinois portion of the route to Wisconsin is a toll road, so you will have to figure out how to pay the tolls as you drive thru.

posts: 4,026
reviews: 171
9. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

all things considered, rent the car at ORD.... IMO, the overall experience will be simpler, rather than schlepping (i love that word) on a bus up to MKE, and shlepping back down to ORD.....

the toll road sux (I-294), but unfortunately that's pretty much your only (quickest) route up north.... alternately, depending on what time your flight arrives (most from LHR arrive after 12 PM) and how long border control takes, you could drive a little north a few miles, then east all the way to the lakefront and take sheridan road north to wisc.... it's definitely longer (about 45 minutes east to the lake, and another 1.5 or so hours north to MKE), but it's a nice, scenic drive along a pretty stretch of road.... many historic homes along this route.... if it's not feasible on the way up north, definitely consider it on your way back to chicago....




if you plan to stay in downtown chicago, it would be wise to return the car to ORD and take the CTA blue line downtown.... if you plan to stay in the 'burbs, keep the car and consider staying in evanston, skokie, highland park, northbrook or glenview.... all on your way down from wisc, and all are accessible to METRA trains, and in addition, skokie and evanston have direct access to CTA trains.... a good reason to stay north, vs near ORD is this:


re wisconsin dells---you do realise it's about 2 hours northwest of MKE, and almost 3 hours from green bay in the opposite direction of the lake and door county, right? personally, i don't see the attraction of travelling from the UK to see the dells.... it's a midwest tourist trap, and tacky at best.... there are other attractions in the area, as mentioned, but if they don't spark your interest, some high quality, world class scenery lies just another 3 hours north of green bay..... i highly recommend visiting here:








OR, consider taking this across the lake and visiting some of the finest beaches within 1000 miles (with the exception of miners beach)...







but, if you choose to continue to visit the dulls, i mean the dells, it's your holiday...to each his own....

Edited: 12:15 am, April 24, 2013
Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
posts: 4,850
reviews: 95
10. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Our job is not to rip on locations people say they're going to but rather direct them in the possibilities. You certainly can share other points of interest easily and nicely. The Dells are what you make of them--you can enjoy both the natural beauty and the unnatural epic fun of the Dells at the same time. Some natural highlights could include Rocky Arbor State Park, the boat rides (Original Ducks and Upper Dells Boat tour), nearby Devil's Lake State Park and more.




And Noah's Ark and many more are very enjoyable as well!

Edited: 9:12 am, April 24, 2013