5 Steps to Experience Milwaukee Wisconsin Like a Local

This guide is for visitors, travelers, and midwest lovers alike. Many travelers always aim to try to live the local lifestyle during their adventures. If you’re this kind of traveler, this post is for you! In this step-by-step guide, you’ll find suggestions by yours truly and my other local friends on all of our favorite places and things to do in Milwaukee. Here’s a  fun, little step-by-step guide to experience Milwaukee Wisconsin like a local.


Step 1. Brunch up the weekend

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The keyword here is BRUNCH. The first step to live like a local in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is to have a delicious brunch on the weekends. Truth be told, Milwaukeeans, and their surrounding cities, need brunch for survival, and there are a multitude of fantastic brunch spots in this city! Brunch is the lovely time mid morning, between breakfast and lunch, where the locals flock to one of the many delicious breakfast spots in town after a night out. Some may say Wisconsin invented “brunch” to cure the hangover. (Okay that’s a lie, an English writer coined the term… but it WAS meant to help hangovers).

Some popular brunch spots include:

  • Cafe Benelux: located on N. Broadway in the Third Ward. One of my personal favorite; Cafe Benelux is designed after the cafes in the benelux region of Europe.
  • Comet Cafe: located on N. Farwell Ave. This place is vegetarian and vegan friendly!
  • Sambrosa Cafe: located in the Bay View area of Milwaukee (just south of downtown). This cute little cafe has a lovely gallery from local artists and photographers.


Step 2. Order a Bloody Mary

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While you’re out accomplishing your first step to being a Milwaukee local, you might as well order yourself a bloody mary! Most often, a bloody mary is ordered with brunch, but I promise nobody will judge you if you want one with dinner.  Bloodys were probably invented to cure the hangover because the base of the drink is tomato juice. This Milwaukee tradition is one I, unfortunately, don’t partake in as I hate vegetables. Thought I think I eat enough cheese to make up for the lack of bloody mary’s I’ve had in my lifetime on all of my brunch dates.  But really, it’s a must if you’re visiting because Milwaukee does Bloody Mary’s BIG.

I’ve asked some of my other local friends where there favorite spots are to obtain a killer bloody mary. Here are their suggestions:

  • AJ Bombers – located on Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. AJ Bombers is basically a staple of Milwaukee
  • Sobelmans – this place is known for their bloodys…garnished with an entire burger plus more.
  • The Wicked Hop – located on Broadway St. If you love cheese, their bloody mary is made for you. (Tip: this place is also a great one for brunch!)
  • The Loaded Slate – located on Old World 3rd St. Head to this pub for another beautiful bloody.
  • Motor Restaurant – located INSIDE the Harley Davidson Museum, so if you’re headed there…. might as well snag a bloody, too!


Step 3. Visit a Festival

Along with our solid love-affair with brunches, Milwaukee locals LOVE a good party. After all, Milwaukee isn’t nicknamed the City of Festivals for nothing! You’re bound to find a festival any time of the year, though summer is the most popular time. There’s literally (in the honest meaning of this word) a festival every weekend from June through August. Summerfest, the largest music festival in the world, is held in Milwaukee and brings in between 800,000 and 900,000 people! Also, one of my favorite things about this city is how ethnically diverse it is! Milwaukee also has countless ethnic festivals throughout the summer from Mexican, Indian, Irish, German, and truly so much more. It’s worth planning a weekend trip to hit your favorite festival!


Step 4. Partake in Friday Night Fish Fry

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The Friday night fish fry tradition originally began because of the Lenten season and a rule that Catholics are to abstain from eating meat on Fridays up until Easter Sunday. Fish Frys became increasingly popular throughout all of Wisconsin, and you can now find most restaurants that will have a fish fry deal on Friday year round.  The fish is typically perch or cod and is traditionally served with rye bread and butter, coleslaw, and fries or potato pancake. We are a German city, so it’s really a must to try the potato pancake. Each restaurant puts its own spin on their fish fry, from the batter to the style of potato pancake.

Of course, can’t forget some restaurant suggestions for a delectable fish fry:

  • Major Goolsby’s: Located in the heart of downtown on W Kilbourn Ave, this casual sporty restaurant is one of my favorites!
  • Kegel’s Inn: Everybody raves about this German restaurant’s fish fry located on W National Ave


Step 5: Attend a Sporting Event

Milwaukee locals are extremely passionate for our sporting teams! Hockey fan? Visit the Milwaukee Admirals at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Into baseball? Hit the bases with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Is basketball more your thing? Cheer on the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, it’s fun to attend to enjoy a beer, get loud, and just let loose a little.



5 Steps to Living the Local Lifestyle in Milwaukee Wisconsin (USA), with food, drink, and activity suggestions  


  1. I’ve not visited the US yet but these are some great tips! I love sporting events when I’m away even though we’re not huge sports fans when we’re in the UK. There’s just something about them whilst travelling that makes the experience better!

  2. It is always great to get an immersive experience of a place. A local experience is always welcome as it provides a greater understanding of a place and its culture. Food is always a quick window to the history and culture of a place. So I think it is a great idea to experience Milwaukee through its food and drinks. The Brunch sounds like a great start to the day.

  3. Whereever I go, I always wish to visit cafes and tea shops. That’s a wonderful way to understand the local culture, isn’t it? What makes Cafe Benelux your favorite? By the way, I have a feeling Benelux is a Latin word which means “good light”. Does this café have anything to do with good light?

    1. I really love the vibe of Cafe Benelux and it has spectacular food! And actually, Benelux is European, in the case of this restaurant–referencing the Benelux region in Europe. The Benelux region includes the countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

  4. I can’t freaking wait til my next Milwaukee trip. I’m not sure when but I had a blast when I was there last year. Cafe Benelux and Comet Cafe were so yummy but I need to hit up a fish fry next time.

  5. I have yet to explore this part of the US and these are some great tips for a first visit to Milwaukee. Plus, I’m a huge fan of bloody mary and had no clue that this is such a popular drink there, one more reason to visit 😉

  6. I love to visit the local spots when I’m trying and especially try the local dishes. Brunch is my favourite – do they have bottomless brunch in Milwaukee? We have bottomless food and drink in London. The idea of Friday night fish fry sounds great! The potato pancake sounds yum!

  7. The Friday Night fish fry traditional sounds pretty amazing! And trying a bloody mary in Milwaukee is also something I’d definitely want to do. I am not much of a brunch person but it’s still good to know where to find the best, if and when I am in Milwaukee. Thank you for the recommendations!

  8. Yes yes yes to those Bloody Marys!! I love that drink, it’s my favourite cocktail – I’ve yet to visit Milwaukee, but when I do, I’m definitely going to order one of those, they look epic compared to the stuff we have over in the UK! x

  9. If you’re visiting a city for the first time (Milwaukee or anywhere else), you owe it to yourself to get a slice of life where you’re visiting. I like these 5 steps and number 2 is essential because brunch without alcohol is a just a sad late breakfast. With a nickname like “The City of Festivals,” Milwaukee sounds like every day is a happening. As for fish fries, I love them and can’t wait to see how Milwaukee cooks them.

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