As wonderful as Chicago and its suburbs are, sometimes it’s great to just get away for a bit. But when you have small kids who don’t do well in the car, your options are pretty limited. That’s why I am reminding you that there is a gem of a city located right over the border…Milwaukee! It has amazing museums, delicious restaurants, beautiful sites…and all at a fraction of the cost of typical Chicago activities. Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons why every Chicago family should take a road trip to Milwaukee.
Reason #1: The short and scenic drive. SO many people complain about how their baby or toddler WAILS every time he or she is buckled into the car. It’s enough to make you home bound until they reach school age, but don’t give in! Milwaukee is a straight shot from Chicago and there are tons of spots to stop off (hello, outlet malls!) if you are desperate to get out of the car for a bit.
Reason #2: The big city feel on a small scale. Small boutiques? Delicious farm to table restaurants? Busy public market? Gorgeous lakeshore? A vast zoo? Checkity check, check, check. And did I mention that parking is readily available and so affordable that you will still have money left over to splurge on an ice cream flight at the Purple Door (psst…the Banana Pudding Ice Cream is out of this world)? Cha ching.
Reason #3: The museums. We are old pros when it comes to Chicago’s museums, and I have to admit that the Milwaukee ones are just as impressive. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a stunning piece of architecture that actually MOVES twice a day (seriously…it’s amazing) and Discovery World is so packed with family fun activities that you could spend the entire weekend there. Our personal favorite? The Kohl’s Design it Lab, where creativity abounds. For the littlest tourists, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is the perfect fit with its interactive exhibits that encourage learning and curiosity. And don’t miss the Milwaukee Public Museum and its wide array of exhibits, from the world’s largest dinosaur skull to interactive displays that allow you to swim under water or climb Mt. Everest.
Reason #4: Everything is kid friendly. EVERYTHING. The Third Ward is the trendiest spot in all of Milwaukee with cute shops, restaurants and café’s…and the children’s menus were just as drool worthy as the adult menus. You can even bring your kids to Sprecher Brewery so they can learn all about soda flavors while you learn about beer. Kids are also welcomed and encouraged at the Harley Davidson Museum and Safe House—if you know the password!
Reason #5: There are comfy hotels with nice indoor pools, plush beds that you don’t have to make yourself, and room service! My family prefers to stay the Marriott because of its location and low price point, and other options include the Hampton Inn and Suits in Downtown Milwaukee and fancy Pfister Hotel. But seriously, sometimes just a change of scenery is exactly what you need to clear your head and relax…especially when you don’t have to clean up after yourself.