Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of So Scottsdale! magazine.
Milwaukee and nearby Kenosha offer great escapes from the Arizona heat during the summer months with abundant food finds, festivals galore, world-class museums and true Americana—all about a 3½ hour flight from Phoenix.
Milwaukee is a metropolitan city on the western shore of Lake Michigan. One of the best ways to explore is with a stroll along the two-mile long RiverWalk. This 20-block area along the Milwaukee River connects downtown with the Historic Third Ward, the city's arts and fashion district.
As you wander, you can peruse a variety of public art in the RiverSculpture! outdoor art gallery. There are 20 art sculptures on display, including the Bronze Fonz (a la “Happy Days”) on the southeast corner of Wells Street and the RiverWalk.
Historic Third Ward
Just south of downtown is the Historic Third Ward, a six square block area filled with art galleries, theaters, boutiques and specialty stores. The area's remodeled warehouses showcase 19th-century Americana.
Be sure to visit the Milwaukee Pubic Market—this hub of activity is reminiscent of the great European food markets. You'll find local Wisconsin products, including cheeses, creams and candies.
For other eats and drinks, sample more than 30 craft beers on tap at Cafe Benelux & Market; pick up cheese from local dairies at West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe; or sip a glass of wine, with more than 30 available by the glass, at Thief Wine Shop & Bar.
Whether you prefer the two-wheeled art of a classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle or the serenity of an American landscape oil painting, you'll find it in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Art Museum houses more than 30,000 works of art. The museum's Quadracci Pavilion, which opened in 2001, features signature wings that form a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan.
The Harley-Davidson Museum is an iconic Milwaukee attraction, and even those who might not be “hog” fans will find it intriguing. The collection illustrates the American story, with displays on the role Harley-Davidson has played in everything from war and politics to movies and music.
Luxury Stay at The Pfister Hotel
A visit to Milwaukee is only complete with a stay at the iconic AAA Four Diamond The Pfister Hotel, which houses the largest collection of Victorian paintings of any hotel in the world.
At The Pfister, you can feel the 19th-century elegance of the hotel, which was built in 1893, but enjoy modern amenities. Be sure to head up to Blu on the hotel's 23rd floor, where you can savor a classic cocktail as you watch the sun set over the city's skyline.
Day Trip to Kenosha
Kenosha sits less than an hour south of Milwaukee. A highlight each July is Taste of Wisconsin. This free foodie feast, along the lakeshore, features live music, a kids zone, more than 40 food vendors and four beverage gardens.