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

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North Wales, UK
Level Contributor
3 posts
7 reviews
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

Milwaukee
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
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9,299 posts
62 reviews
11. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

I agree with you Hatch. It is apparent to me that the original poster has done some research before asking questions. I assume they know the Dells is a popular tourist destination and at least some of what it has to offer. I guess all those people who go to the Dells are wrong and Strange Tripper is right, because that's his opinion.

That is not even the worst advice Strange Tripper gave. To even suggest that a visitor drive across Chicago on city streets to get to Sheridan Rd to head north to Wisconsin is terrible advice. That would turn a 2 hour drive into about a 5 hour headache. Now, maybe that's just my opinion, but unless a visitor specifically asks for a scenic route I think it is unwise to even suggest that route as an alternative. And if I did suggest it I would make sure the person knows what they are in for. It is a very slow route.

The reason I brought up the issue of figuring out the Toll Road is that I have read on Florida forums that paying for tolls can be an expensive and a huge issue in rental cars. I have no idea how rental cars in Illinois are handled, but it would be wise to find out. If they are equipped with a transponder for cashless tolls it will cost you. it's not the few dollars that the tolls cost it's the potential for added on costs by the rental car company that I would advise be figured out ahead of time. The answer to that question could probably be gotten on the Chicago forum.

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

Car vs. train/bus: My first choice would be to rent a car at O'Hare and drive up to Milwaukee. It will take a while to get all settled, but then you are on your own timeframe, which is always what I prefer. Take heed to the advice on tolls, but I don't think it's worth NOT driving. Just do some research or call your rental company for details. 2nd choice would be to take the Coach bus as suggested, because that is by far the most direct. You could take a taxi from the bus station to your hotel once you get up here. The Intermodal Station (where both the buses and Amtrak arrive) is about the only place in Milwaukee where there will be taxis at-the-ready. I wouldn't take Amtrak, due to the previous-mentioned headache of getting into downtown Chicago from O'Hare - it's not worth the time or "schlepping," (since that's the word de jour). Once you get into Milwaukee, you will likely have to pay for parking, but the activities you want to do (namely the Brewers game, Miller Brewery and zoo) are a little more easily accessible via car. See below...

Hotel: Someone mentioned the pool. That would be my reason for staying at the Pfister over the Hilton. If the weather doesn't cooperate on one of your days up here, it might be nice to have something easy to do inside if you don't want to go out.

You have a lot of good activities planned. I think you might want to cut one or two things, otherwise you might be kind of exhausted! My personal recommendation would be the following (in no particular order):

One day: Discovery World in the morning, lunch, then the Art Museum in the afternoon. You could maybe squeeze the Mansion in this day...

Another day: (Car day) Zoo in the morning/early afternoon, swing by Miller for your tour afterwards, then go back to hotel for a nap before dinner.

Another day: Rent your bikes in the morning and ride along the lake, then down to the Harley Museum. Rest a bit in the afternoon before heading out to Miller Park a couple hours before game time so you can tailgate with the fans. This would be another reason to have a car - tailgating is SO much fun.

These plans would involve possibly skipping the Public Museum and the Pabst Mansion... don't know how those are on your priority list.

Milwaukee
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
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9,299 posts
62 reviews
13. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

I agree that my first choice would be to have a car in Milwaukee. Perhaps that was not clear from my prior post. When I wrote my post no one had mentioned the Coach bus option from O'hare and I wanted to include that information because if you decide not to rent a car from O'Hare Coach bus is definitely the best option to get to Milwaukee.

And again in my post I tried to say your Milwaukee itinerary could be accomplished without a car, but a car would make it easier because as I wrote, bus service in Milwaukee is not the greatest. I'm still not sure you need to drive to the Brewers game. Tailgating in the parking lot is fun, but logistically it would be easier to take a shuttle or city bus to Miller Park so you don't have to deal with the traffic.

Greenville...
Level Contributor
66 posts
101 reviews
14. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

To the original poster….thank you for your planned visit to our state.

It sounds like you will be traveling from Milwaukee to Door country. Also you mentioned a Brewer game so you are sports fans. Your route brings you close to Green Bay.

Are you familiar with the history of the Green Bay Packers NFL football team? There is a pre-season game on August 9th, when you will be here. Also the stadium offers tours. You can enjoy the rich history of Curly Lambeau and hear the stories. There may have never been an NFL without Curly Lambeau. If you do go to Green Bay please look at the big clock on the stadium and compare the time to your watch or cell phone time. I’ll let you discover the significance of Lombardi time, it’s fun to figure out some things on your own.

You will also be driving past Manitowoc WI. Are you history buffs? Do you know the importance the submarine played in the US / British alliance during world war II? Many of these submarines were built in Manitowoc WI. You can tour a WWII submarine the USS Cobia.

Whatever you choose to do on your stay thank you for visiting Wisconsin and have a fun experience.

Edited: 3:12 pm, April 24, 2013
Chicago
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for Illinois, Chicago
Level Contributor
4,942 posts
207 reviews
15. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

przk, with all due respect, i didn't suggest driving on chicago city streets to get to sheridan road.... in this day and age, many people rely on GPS.... i suggested driving a few miles NORTH (ok, i shoulda specified NORTH of the AIRPORT), then heading east to sheridan rd.... using GPS, or even basic map reading skills, one would see immediately no chicago city streets would be traveled..... i suggested it as an alternative to the boring, and expensive tollway route.... 5 hour drive?---not likely. and i did say depending on time of arrival and also spelled out approximate drive times.... if it's in the middle of rush hour, then OK, take the tollway.... but if it's sunday or saturday afternoon, then why not?

<<Any tips, recommendations or advice would be appreciated.>>

end of story.

Milwaukee
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for Milwaukee
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9,299 posts
62 reviews
16. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Okay in this sentence that I wrote in my previous post I added the word suburban " To even suggest that a visitor drive across >suburban< Chicago on city streets to get to Sheridan Rd to head north to Wisconsin is terrible advice."

Yes, it would not be the city it would be suburban Chicago streets, no freeway with 30 mph speed limit, lots of stop lights and congestion. I have driven the lake route from Milwaukee into Chicago a few times and it is very tedious. I can't say I've ever driven from O'Hare to the north shore, but even getting from the Edens expressway which is east of O'Hare to the north shore is tedious.

That is an alternate route for turning a 2 hour drive into a half day trip. I'm not saying it's a bad choice for anyone wanting to take the time to do it, but anyone attempting it should know what they are getting into.

Chicago
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for Illinois, Chicago
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4,942 posts
207 reviews
17. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

edens to sheridan is 10 minutes tops...ok tack on 3, 4 minutes during rush....

ORD to edens, via touhy, about 20-30 minutes, with 30 minutes during rush....

i know, i travel these routes EVERY DAY coming home from work.

to the OP, this is becoming a stupid argument, but if you choose this route, go east on touhy ave ( this road is the northern border of the airport) to I-94 north (NOT 294, that's the tollway). get off going east on demptser, or lake ave (faster, but you miss the grosse pointe lighthouse and northwestern university). take either straight to the lake. turn left on sheridan road and enjoy. if time is getting ahead of you, you can always turn west (left) on many roads along this route to get back to I-94/US41, which will take you directly to MKE.... in fact, i recommend this after racine.....

Edited: 9:35 am, April 25, 2013
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
4,454 posts
2 reviews
18. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Some good suggestions here, but unless I missed it, no one hit on the best attraction of any during the time you will be here:

EAA AIRVENTURE 2013!!!

It's the best airshow on the planet, and it's in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (on your way between Milwaukee and Door County)

As a person with English blood, I can gurantee you that a visit to Wisconsin during the EAA AIRVENTURE and missing it should be a crime!!

I would suggest skipping the Dells. Trust me on this.

Your family and your 11 y/o son will have a fantastic time. You could easily spend several days at the EAA AIRVENTURE alone!

Please, don't miss this.

http://www.airventure.org/

San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
4,454 posts
2 reviews
19. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

By the way, you don't need to be an aviation enthuisast to enjoy the EAA AIRVENTURE. You just need to be somone that appreciates the marvel, brilliance and blessings of human achievement.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
12,141 posts
100 reviews
20. Re: 3 or 4 days in Milwaukee - am I missing anything here?

Not ripping, just stating an opinion, which is also what we do here: The Dells are terrible: have been of a couple of decades.

Rent a car at O'Hare. I'd love to tell you to take Amtrak (amtrak.com hiawatha service) but you would have to take an hour long commuter ("L") train ride to Clinton stop on the Blue Line and walk three blocks to Union Station. Then you would have to match your time to catch one of the 5 trains per day to Milwaukee. You could waste more time waiting to leave Chicago than to drive back and forth between the two cities.