Where can you find charm, luxury, amazing food and sports champions all in one city? Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of course. Home to the 2021 NBA champs, the Bucks, you can always find something to do here, no matter your interest.

We recently pulled up in MKE for a quick, but much-needed getaway. While our time was short, we got a sampling of what the area has to offer.

So, whether you’re short on time or looking for a new weekend getaway, we’ve curated this insider guide on how to make the most of your visit. From dozens of murals to a bustling food scene and more—here’s how we spent 48-hours in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Where to Stay

Like most metropolitan cities, you’ll want to stay in a centrally located area. Milwaukee’s downtown area is extremely walkable, with many shops, restaurants and hotels just steps away. For our trip, we chose the historic Pfister Hotel.

This iconic landmark is reminiscent of the architecture of old-world Europe with the perfect blend of modern luxury. When you walk into the lobby, be sure to look up to take in the ceiling’s painting, which is similar to Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel. 

Beyond the artwork, the rooms will make you feel like royalty. With marble accents in the bathrooms to plush bedding, it’s a stay fit for a king or queen.

Turkey sausage omelette from Mi Casa Su Cafe. Image: Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor.

Day 1

Morning: If you’re like us, coffee is key to getting the most out of our day. Head downstairs to the Café at the Pfister for your caffeine fix and a freshly baked-in-house pastry. For something a little more hearty, we suggest checking out Mi Casa Su Cafe, a Black-owned eatery in the Halyard neighborhood. Pro Tip: the shrimp and grits are often raved about, but the omelets really stole the show.

After breakfast at Mi Casa, walk just a few steps down the block to spend some time at Honeybee Sage Wellness & Apothecary. This unique shop—also Black woman-owned—offers dozens of tea blends, zero proof cocktails and more. We were truly blown away at the shop’s ability to take non-alcoholic beverages and recreate them into some of our favorite boozy drinks. Standouts were: the Wisconsin New Fashioned, the Day Dreamer, and the Blooming Cactus.

Afternoon: To walk off our breakfast, we chose to explore Milwaukee through its murals. One common artist that we found was Mauricio Ramirez. A native of the city, his work can be found gracing buildings and walls all over. One of the can’t miss pieces is his ode to NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo (pictured above). As one of the star players for the Bucks, this larger than life painting allows basketball fans to get up close with the player in a unique way. 

Mural by Mauricio Ramirez in Milwaukee. Image: Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor.

For lunch, we headed to another Black-owned spot, Twisted Plants. While we aren’t currently vegans, this plant-based eatery certainly could persuade us to be. We ordered the Up in Smoke burger with a side of fries and a strawberry milkshake. Let’s just say, we would have included the photo, but we were too focused on enjoying every bite.

Evening: Head back to the Pfister to relax for a few and to enjoy the views from your room before the sun sets. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you can take on a Bucks game at Fiserv Forum to round out your day. The state-of-the-art arena has plenty of food options for all appetites, and the newly opened DAOU Lounge, a private lounge featuring several varietals from the DAOU Family Estates winery.

If basketball isn’t happening at that time, head just a few blocks away from your hotel for dinner at Lupi & Iris. This James Beard nominated establishment features upscale French and Italian cuisine. We went with the Branzino Barigoule—a sea bass dish— as well as a side of the Linguine al Limone. 

Branzino Barigoule from Lupi and Iris. Image: Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor

Day 2

Morning: We started the day with a little self-care. Just a short elevator ride away, we found ourselves checking into our appointment at the Well Spa and Salon in the Pfister. Since we were getting a service first thing that morning, we held off on breakfast, especially since the spa offers an assortment of coffee, tea, and even mimosas. 

For our treatment, we went with the mud wrap. The esthetician started by dry brushing our entire body before applying the self-heating mud all over. After letting the mud sit for a few, to really work its magic, we jumped in the ensuite shower to rinse it all off. The service finished with a relaxing body butter application. After the treatment, we spent a few minutes in the spa’s quiet area, sipping on champagne.

Spa room at Well Spa and Salon in The Pfister Hotel. Image: Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor.

While our spa treatment left us super relaxed, we knew there was still much to be explored around Milwaukee.

To get a better glimpse of the rich Black history found in Milwaukee, we knew we couldn’t miss America’s Black Holocaust Museum. This powerful historical institution was created by Mr. James Cameron, a Black man who experienced the traumas associated with living in America during some of our nation’s darkest eras. While the information can be hard to reread or watch, it is certainly much-needed—not just for Black people, but for all to see what our ancestors faced and endured over hundreds of years.

Afternoon: The next stop on our adventure led us to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Of course, the art is inside, but you will also be blown away by the building’s exterior as well—at least we were. Inside, there are more than 25,000 pieces to take in. You could literally spend a full day here, so take your time. Standout exhibits for us were: Native America: In Translations, which explored indigenous history and culture from a contemporary lens. We also enjoyed Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams’ exhibition, On Site: Derrick Adams, which is a multimedia experience that reframes historical Black narratives.

Exhibit at America's Black Holocaust Museum. Image: Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor.

After working up an appetite from our hours at the museum, we hopped in an Uber to grab lunch at the Milwaukee Public Market. At first glance, you’ll be overwhelmed by all the options available. But, we suggest doing a full lap to get a good look at what all is there before making your lunch selection. And, if you still need a suggestion, Pat’s Rib Place was where we landed. 

Evening: As your getaway comes to an end, use the evening to explore more of the hotel. On the 23rd floor of the Pfister, you’ll find Blu—a swanky cocktail lounge boasting some of the best views of Lake Michigan. If you happen to be in town on a Friday or Saturday, you’ll also be able to take in the sounds of the live musician that evening. 

Our time in Milwaukee was quick, but there is no limit on the fun to be had in this city. Whether you’re in town for a weekend, or are thinking about a week-long getaway, you’ll find endless ways to keep you and your crew entertained. Make trip planning easy with the city’s visitor’s bureau at visitmilwaukee.org.