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Family Fun on Spring Break in Milwaukee

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Friday, March 27, 2015

By Chelsie Layman
Communications & Social Media Assistant
VISIT Milwaukee

Friday, March 27, 2015
By Chelsie Layman
Communications and Social Media Assistant
VISIT Milwaukee

The kids are almost out on spring break, so why not use that extra time to take a trip around Milwaukee to explore spring fun? We’ve got you covered on some of the top things to do on spring break with kids of all ages.

Take a bike ride on Milwaukee's scenic lakefront

Want to bike around the lakefront and the Oak Leaf Trail, but don’t want the hassle of packing all those bikes in the car? Not to worry! Bublr Bikes just re-opened for the 2015 season, so riding is as easy as checking a bike out and going! This year also comes with a new and even easier pricing structure. 

Take a trip to the ultra-interactive Harley-Davidson Museum; even for non-motorcycle enthusiasts, this museum is a fascinating stop chock full of Harley history, as well as the American history surrounding the motorcycle and the evolution of travel in our country. You and the kids can even try a few on for size before leaving, go ahead – you know you want to. Worked up a full throttle appetite after roaring through the museum? Not to fret! MOTOR Restaurant, just steps from the museum’s front door, is sure to satisfy the heartiest of appetites (we know that growing kids sure can eat…). We recommend the turkey burger or mac ‘n’ cheese washed down with some ice cold country lemonade.

If that’s not quite your speed (see what we did there?), the Milwaukee Public Museum has a wealth of fun for kids to explore, from the new permanent exhibit “Crossroads of Civilization” to the dinosaurs, plus enjoy movies and planetarium shows on the IMAX screen in the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater. They also offer overnight trips for kids: book in advance here.

Take a tour at Palermo's Pizza, Milwaukee's pizza factory

Another unique Milwaukee experience to enjoy with the whole family is the Palermo’s Pizza Factory tour. With multiple days and tour packages to choose from, there’s bound to be the perfect option for your family to see how Milwaukee’s only pizza factory operates (plus, enjoy a slice of pie in Pizzeria 3301)!

Though it has "pub" in its name and certainly serves up some incredible Milwaukee-brewed beers, Sprecher's Restaurant & Pub is a spot for families with kids of all ages. With a robust menu for the adults (and adventurous kiddos), there is also a kids menu to please even the picky eaters in the family. Rooty the Crow hats are also a must for the little ones to have even more fun.

There’s no reason to be bored at home with the family this spring break!

 

 
Crossroads of Civilization at Milwaukee Public Museum

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee

This month, the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) is unveiling a brand new permanent exhibit!  Crossroads of Civilization: Ancient Worlds of the Near East and Mediterranean explores both the literal and intellectual crossroads that existed between Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome and the later cultures of the Near East and Mediterranean (Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Tunisia) over 5,000 years.

King Tutankhamun in Chariot at Milwaukee Public Museum

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Public Museum

When you first walk in, you’re greeted with a wall-sized interactive touch-screen timeline. This is definitely an exhibit that blends old and new; a classic MPM-made scale model of the temple of Pharaoh Ramesses III is a long-time visitor favorite, but now its detailed miniatures exists alongside a 360-degree digital rendering of the inner rooms of the temple. Throughout the exhibit, there are other fun interactive elements that let you dig even deeper. But rest assured, the addition of digital content has not in any way diminished the craftsmanship that the museum is famous for. Our museum is one of the only ones in the country with such talented in-house creators, and it shows in the exhibit’s fun and immersive design. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a life size recreation of King Tutankhamun in his chariot (pictured above). The boy king has been sculpted based on new forensic research done on his mummy, and the two horses that pull his chariot are so lifelike that you half expect to see them breathe.

Instead of being broken up based on which civilization an artifact is from, Crossroads of Civilization has six thematic areas: Construction, Communion, Community, Communication, Commerce and Conflict. This presentation gives you a different perspective on history, making it easier to draw connections and map the enormity of both the size and span of the ancient world in your mind. For example, despite looking very similar to the untrained eye Padi-Heru and Djed-Hor, MPM’s two mummies who are both on display in this exhibit, lived 400 years apart!

This exhibit is a permanent addition to the museum, so you don’t have to hurry there…but don’t you want to be one of the first to check it out? Crossroads of Civilization opens March 15, 2015.

 

 
6 Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day in Milwaukee

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Monday, February 09, 2015

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee

A couple enjoying dinner at Milwaukee's Harbor House restaurant

Whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated meal, an offbeat adventure or still waving that “Singles Awareness Day” flag, we’ve collected some of the best ways to treat your special someone (or yourself) this weekend. Sit back, relax and let these Valentine’s Day date ideas lead you to the perfect celebration.

For foodies
The romantic dinner is a classic for a reason. There are so many great restaurants to choose from this Valentine’s Day, but if you’re looking for something extra special, try the Big Night Aphrodisiac Dinner at The Chef’s Table, an interactive dining experience featuring six courses guaranteed to stoke the fires of your passions. If bacon and beer are more your style, don’t miss the Brenner Brewing Co. dinner at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

For starry-eyed lovers
Take in the most romantic show in the universe. Valentine’s Day at the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum promises to be out of this world with a two-evening run of “Romancing the Stars.”

For quirky couples
So you and your partner aren’t so into gazing into each other’s eyes? How do you feel about racing through an inflatable arena or blasting each other during a no-holds-barred laser tag battle? The Valentine’s Day package at Bounce Milwaukee gets you dinner (including loaded tots!) and non-stop fun.

For a sweet tooth
If you love your sugar as much as you love, well, sugar, indulge in aphrodisiac-inspired chocolate and wine pairings at the appropriately named Indulgence Chocolatiers.

For artistic souls
A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Feel free to pull that one out to describe your darling this Valentine’s Day, but I was talking about a two-canvas couples’ painting you and your honey can make together at Splash Studio: A Painting Bar during their Red Hot Love Fest.

For singletons
If you’ve been bitten by love, shake off those blues at the Love BITES party at Miller Time Pub, featuring comfort food bites, special “hook-up” shots and a therapeutic “ex-destroying” contest. Or work out your frustrations with free ping pong and a “worst kiss” story contest at Evolution MKE’s Kiss & Tell Un-Valentine’s Day party.

 

 
Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee

Entry to Inspiring Beauty exhibit at Milwaukee Art Museum

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair at the Milwaukee Art Museum certainly lives up to its name. The “beauty” part is to be expected; how could it not be beautiful, with ensembles created by Givenchy, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Yves Saint-Laurent, Bob Mackie and more? This fashion obsessive was swooning to be in the same room with these stunning pieces.

Most people never get a chance to see haute couture in person, much less from this close up, so I would heartily recommend that anyone who loves clothes check out the exhibit for that opportunity alone. The exhibit is carefully set up to allow you to view almost every ensemble from a variety of angles, and you better believe I was craning my neck to take in every last detail. Thanks to the Mount Mary University collection, visitors in Milwaukee will get the chance to see thirteen additional garments from the University’s signature Ebony Fashion Fair collection, an awesome opportunity that makes seeing the exhibit here, at the Milwaukee Art Museum, even more special.

But more importantly, the exhibit really shines when it comes to the first part of its name: “inspiring.” Upon entering the show, you’re greeted with an over-sized photograph of Eunice W. Johnson, the creator of Ebony Fashion Fair. Over its 50 year history, the Fair raised $55 million dollars for charity and featured all African American models. But when the show began in 1958, the European designers were reticent to sell their clothes to a black woman. There was a belief that bright colors didn’t suit dark skin, and touring through the south meant that models who wore the finest of haute couture were not able to eat in a restaurant.

The aspirational side of the Fair, highlighted in the exhibit’s themes of vision, innovation and power, can’t be underestimated. This event was about a change of beauty standards and empowering African American women. Eunice Johnson’s vision is the very definition of inspiring; as Camille Morgan, the guest curator of the exhibit, said, Eunice was “a fashion civil rights activist.” There’s more than one way to inspire people, and more than one field in which to make a difference.

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair is on display February 5 – May 3, 2015. Learn more about the exhibit here.

 

 
Q&A with Christine Specht of Cousins Subs

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Monday, February 02, 2015

By Katy Deardorff
Communications Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Milwaukee is proud of its homegrown businesses, from breweries to sandwich shops! Christine Specht, president and chief operating officer at Cousins Subs, was kind enough to take a moment to chat with VISIT Milwaukee about what makes our city’s culinary scene so fantastic.

Q: How do you feel that food and a city’s culinary scene make an impact on a destination?

A: Most major cities offer a wide variety of food and culinary delights so it is important to differentiate from the rest. Milwaukee has a lot of fantastic restaurants that celebrate our German heritage as well as restaurants that speak to what Milwaukee was built on – industrious people who were looking to better their life through hard work. I’d say Cousins Subs certainly tips its hat to those folks. When travelers visit a region, they can learn so much about the people and culture through its restaurants. You can see the diversity of the residents as well as the generations that continue to build on the foundation. In my opinion, the culinary selection a destination has to offer is just as important as a museum, landmark or sporting venue. 

Q: How do you see Cousins making an impact? 

A: I’m proud to say that Cousins was founded right here in Milwaukee by my family and my dad’s cousin in 1972. We celebrate the best Milwaukee has to offer and we understand that the sub sandwiches we serve have to be better. Our products are a nod to the industrious work ethic the city was founded on by being heartier, fresher and more authentic. Our staff serves our guests as if they are an extension of our family. 

Q: Why do you think that Cousins is such a great fit for a traveler? Specifically a family? 

A: Cousins is great for travelers because of the portability of our product. You can very easily take our subs to go so that you get to see all of the fantastic Milwaukee sites. Of course we welcome our guests to visit one of our restaurants to enjoy a cheese steak hot off the grill and don’t forget to pair that with deep-fried Wisconsin cheese curds – a dairy state classic. We are the perfect lunch and dinner spot for families because our subs are completely customizable and will accommodate even the most particular guests. 

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Milwaukee?

A: My husband and I love to eat at the fabulous restaurants found west of the city to downtown. Residents of Milwaukee are very fortunate to have nationally recognized chefs and specialty restaurants right in their hometown. Not only is it wonderful to experience their creativity but the service is nothing short of warm and genuine.  

Q: What is your favorite family vacation memory?

A: When I was a kid my family would hop in our van and drive to New Jersey for a few weeks each summer. My dad is from Atlantic City so when my grandparents were alive we would stay with them. We would visit my dad’s favorite submarine shop in Atlantic City (the inspiration for Cousins Subs) and we’d also hit the beaches and the boardwalk.  Good times!

 

 
5 best ways to break your New Year’s resolutions

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Monday, January 26, 2015

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee

With the month of January almost over, the excitement and promise of the new year can seem far away. Even those with the most iron wills are starting to hear the siren song of all the things you turned away from when you promised to "get in shape" and "eat right."

If you're still staying strong, you should probably leave this blog post right now. Why not check out some of the great ways you can stay active in Milwaukee?

Still here? Here's the thing: if you're going to break your resolutions, you might as well make it worth it. With all the treats Milwaukee has to offer, giving up your resolutions is totally understandable. Here are our top ways to say goodbye to resolve and hello to delicious in 2015.

  1. Chocolates. Indulgence Chocolatiers: the name says it all. Sample their signature gourmet truffles or go all out with a flight of pairings (chocolate and scotch, anyone?).
  2. Pizza. Whether it's the infamous mac n' cheese pizza from Ian's Pizza or the iconic thin-crust 'za at Pizza Man, there's a reason everyone from elementary schoolers to office workers loves a pizza party.
  3. Cheese curds. Deep fried pieces of cheesy heaven. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a bar around town that doesn’t serve them, but the ones at Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub come with an extra dose of Milwaukee history since they’re served inside the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, one of the former Pabst complex buildings.
  4. Frozen custard (and/or ice cream). Yes, it's cold. But it's never too cold for delicious, creamy frozen custard. If you head to Kopp's, you can try a different flavor every day. Same goes for the myriad inventive flavors of ice cream you can find at Purple Door. Now that's a resolution worth keeping.
  5. Beer. This most Milwaukeean of beverages is often the first on the chopping block when someone decides to start cutting drinks out of their life. But, c’mon.  If you’re in Brew City, you can’t miss out on one of our delicious craft brews. It just wouldn’t be right.

 

 
5 reasons why you should visit Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home

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Monday, December 15, 2014

By Katy Deardorff
Communications Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

 

“Care for him who shall have borne the battle…” – President Lincoln

Recently listed as one of Milwaukee Magazine’s “Reasons to Love Milwaukee,” our Soldiers Home is a unique tribute to our city’s history of honoring veterans. With fall dwindling away, now is the perfect time to download the free smartphone walking tour app made available by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, bundle up and get outside before it’s too late.

A historic building part of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home

5 Reasons why you should visit Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home

  1. Milwaukee’s Soldier’s Home is one of the three original Soldiers Homes in the country. Built in 1867, Milwaukee joined Chelsea, Maine and Dayton, Ohio; however, it is the only Soldiers Home that retains the majority of its recuperative village and designed landscape. The Soldiers Home is very much the start of the modern-day Department of Veterans Affairs and its establishment was signed by President Lincoln just before his assassination.
  2. Milwaukee was chosen because a veteran care system was already established by the West Side Soldiers’ Aid Society. In February 1866, the West Side Soldiers Aid Society had provided temporary lodging to more than 16,000 men and served more than 70,000 meals in the previous 13 months.
  3. Originally almost 400 acres, the VA Campus grounds were designed by landscape architect Thomas Budd Van Horn. The grounds became one of Milwaukee’s first city parks and attracted Milwaukee residents each weekend. (The grounds are now 90 acres.)
  4. Old Main, which sits on the highest point of the campus, was the original domiciliary. It was designed to be an all-purpose building for veteran care, including dorms and parlors. The remarkable building has sat vacant since 1988. The rest of the campus was designed to feel like a small village that provided supporting services, such as a recreation hall and library, to veterans.
  5. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance are at work to Save the Soldiers Home. Though many of the Soldiers Home buildings remain in use, some of the largest and most visible – Old Main, Ward Memorial Hall, the Chapel, the Power Plant and the Administration Building – are currently unoccupied and rapidly deteriorating. The National Trust and MPA, in partnership with a broad-based coalition of civic and veteran organizations, have come together to urge the Milwaukee VA Medical Center to renew and restore this living landmark in a way that rehabilitates and reuses the historic buildings on the site, while providing enhanced services to veterans.

For more information about the Soldiers Home, click here. Otherwise, continue the conversation below with your comments. 

 

 
12 Days of Foodie Christmas

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December 5, 2014

By Kyle Cherek
Host of Wisconsin Foodie

With the bounty of the Great Lakes on one side, lush Midwestern soil on the other, and its mélange of Eastern and Northern European heritages, Milwaukee is an incredible food town. And discerning visitors know that the holidays are one of the best times to visit the city.

For years, friends and fans of the show Wisconsin Foodie have inquired about where I seek out my meals, merriment and ingredients during the holidays. Though not in any particular order, here are my Twelve Days of Foodie Christmas.

  1. The old threat of coal in my stocking has never held much weight, but now, because of the cleverness of the Troubadour baking folks at Colectivo Coffee, there are delicious, edible bags of coal with which to fill those stockings. They released the first batch on Dec. 5.
  2. Many wake up to St. Nick leaving small goodies in stockings or shoes on Dec. 6, but in 1933, that was also the day America woke up to the repeal of prohibition. The Iron Horse plans to celebrate in style.  Signature cocktails and beer from Milwaukee Brewing Co, all at near 1933 prices.  A burlesque show helps ring in the anniversary. No doubt the dancers will be wearing holiday colors. 
  3. On Dec. 7, great cuisine will abound in Milwaukee, leaving me torn about which table to take my seat.  Sanford Restaurant, the fine dining destination of national prestige, celebrates its 25th anniversary. Founder and former chef/owner Sandy D’ Amato and his wife Angie will return to cook at the dinner, as well as half a dozen guest chefs, including current chef/owner Justin Aprahamian, Gerard Craft of St. Louis, Dan Fox of Heritage Tavern in Madison; Joe Muench of Maxie's, Blue's Egg and Story Hill BKC; Giuseppe Safina of Tutto;  and Nick Burki of Coquette Cafe. Wines will be from Hobo Wine Company by owner Kenny Likitprakong, maker of Folk Machine and Banyan wines.

    The same night, just 20 blocks or so to the south, more of Milwaukee’s best chefs are also gathering for The Plate Collective Dinner.  Chef/husband Dan Jacobs and potter/wife Kate Riley come together to bring you an interactive dining experience. Chefs from different restaurants, including Dan Van Rite of Hinterland, Thomas Hauck of Circa 1880, Shay Linkus of Vanguard and Paul Zerkel of Goodkind, join together to prepare a coursed dinner, plated on dishes custom-made by Kate.
  4. No holiday is complete in our household without a pilgrimage to Larry’s Brown Deer Market, the first purveyor of fine specialties foods in Wisconsin. The shop’s century-long history is, in essence, the history of specialty foods in Milwaukee. Each year, Larry’s receives a prized allotment of some of the best cheeses in the world. Hook’s 15-year aged cheddar and Tall Grass Reserve from Landmark Creamery are my picks this year.
  5. My family always looks forward to visiting the Christmas lights display at Cathedral Square, then heading across the street to Elsa’s on the Park for a view of their annual avant garde Christmas tree, some rich for warm cocoa for the children and hot toddies for the grown-ups. 
  6. Tea at the Pfister is a special, seasonal tradition. Hosted in the Blu Lounge, on the 23rd floor, one can experience a beautifully refined tea service with all the trimmings, while enjoying one of the loveliest panoramic views in the city.
  7. The French invented pastry, and their gift to the world should be yours for the holidays. The holiday tart in particular is a thing of beauty in form and taste.  Moreover, you have not really had a hot chocolate until you have had one at Le Rêve Patisserie and Café, with true French chocolate and homemade marshmallows floating in the rich drink.  
  8. I don’t know why but at some point during the holidays I look forward to tasting pickled herring, specifically, Ma Baensch’s. I’ve had other herring in fancier restaurants, in roadside taverns, in the north woods, but Ma Baensch’s has got it; that ineffable something that says Midwest Christmas to me. Swing into St. Paul Fish at the Milwaukee Public Market to pick some up, and pair it with saltines and a Pabst on tap. It’s the holidays after all.
  9. If you are like me, the time for champagne is always.  However, the holidays seem partial to champagne like no other time of year.  Though champagne must come from the region known as Champagne, not all bubblies from that region are alike.  To learn why, Thief Wine does a particularly smart champagne tasting on Dec. 16 and 17. 
  10. Milwaukee, with its deep Eastern and Central European heritages, is historically famous for its sausage. It gets that avenue right more than any other culinary road it has ever gone down. For the holidays, I always visit and pay homage to a master.  Frank Jakubczak, now in his mid 70s, has owned his own sausage-making shop for over 40 years, and is a living link to the way things have always been done best…with humility and true craftsmanship.
  11. As a young teenager delivering papers, one of the surest signs that the holidays were in full-swing was the warm glow of “Tom and Jerry” signs in the windows of restaurants, bars, taverns or pubs. A traditional eggnog drink flavored with brandy or rum, I can still remember my first warm, sweet, frothy sip, given to me by my Aunt Valerie one Christmas. Bryant’s, America’s first free-standing cocktail lounge, carries on the Tom and Jerry drink tradition with aplomb.  One sip of their batch, and I am 9-years old again, handing a warm mug of holiday cheer back to my favorite aunt.
  12. Now in its fifth year, Great Lakes Distillery celebrates the only holiday event  a show “about nothing” could produce.  Festivus For the Rest of Us is held in the distillery on December 23. Feats of strength, Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots and, of course, the pole are all there. Not to mention Great Lakes Distillery’s exquisite spirits.

 

 

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