After a family trip to Florida last November, I insisted that my husband plan a little adults-only getaway this year for just the two of us. A little reward to him for strolling around with two kids and a wife and an itinerary that only those who love Disney and the beach would enjoy. Having a shared love of country music and a fantastic prior experience seeing them in concert, we decided to head to Milwaukee to see Zac Brown Band at Summerfest. It was a fun and memorable trip, and if you enjoy concerts or music festivals, I highly recommend going!
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A stop at Lake Geneva
But first, let’s talk about what we did on our way to Milwaukee, which was to stop at Lake Geneva. If you haven’t been there before, I think it’s kind of an excellent spot for anything- family getaway, romantic trip for two, bachelorette weekend, etc. In fact, I’m hoping we can plan a family vacation there in the next couple of years. There’s shopping, good restaurants, spas, a beach, it’s beautiful and close to home. The weather wasn’t great, but that didn’t stop us from walking through the many unique shops and having lunch. We ate at Popeye’s on Lake Geneva. And I would totally eat there again. Vacation was already off to a great start!
Arriving at Milwaukee
Only an hour away from Lake Geneva, we were to Milwaukee by early afternoon. We stayed at the Intercontinental, and while it wasn’t the best hotel I’ve ever been in, it was clean, the staff was friendly, and the location was superb. We didn’t try the restaurants at the hotel, but they did have a coffee bar in the morning that I’m sure many people would enjoy (cost separate). If you are visiting during Summerfest, I recommend booking your hotel early. It is difficult to get a taxi after the concert lets out, so you may have to walk back to your hotel- meaning a good location is key!
Next up on our agenda was visiting a local brewery- you can’t go to Milwaukee without a brewery tour! We went to Lakefront Brewery, and it was amazing! For $7, you receive tokens for 4 drinks (6 oz each), a tour, and a souvenir glass. Each beer that we tried was delicious. The staff was terrific, informative, and friendly. The food was mouthwatering (cheese and bacon soup, anyone?). Suppose you are a fan of The Bachelorette. In that case, you may have seen them visit this same brewery during hometown visits- there’s a reason it’s so popular! I would put it high on my list of places to visit again.
Next up was a little barhopping with some friends and eating before heading back to the hotel. We went to Bar Louis (Great happy hour from 5-7.) and Coyote Ugly (Dance on the bar, anyone? Not saying I did, but not saying I didn’t either ). For a late-night snack, we went to AJ Bombers. I’m not going to pretend there wasn’t a heavy dose of drinking involved in this proclamation. Still, the hubby claims they were some of the best tater tots and chocolate shakes he’s ever had. I guess we’ll just have to return and test that theory for accuracy.
After a good night’s rest, I, of course, woke up at 7:15 am sharp. Ugh. Darn, that internal alarm clock! By 9:00, we were dressed and ready to set out for the day. We took a walk downtown and then ventured out to the lake. Where I discovered the most remarkable thing! This was the 3rd of July, the day that the city was putting on their fireworks display. While walking the lake, we noticed people putting up tents and staking out squares of grass along the lakefront. Turns out you pay for parking ($25 from what we could tell) and can stake out as extensive a section of grass as you want for yourself, your family, friends, etc. and nobody will bother it. Apparently, the best spots need to be staked out (days?) in advance, but even that evening, there were still plenty of places to set up further back from the lake. People went ALL OUT. I’m talking tents, grills, chairs, tarps, blankets, games, music, food, and food! There were giant bounce houses for the kids, vendors for food and drink, and the atmosphere was just contagious. I’m determined that we will go back at some point and do this with ours. And when we walked to the concert that night, yes, it was crowded, but it was NOTHING like Chicago. In fact, the entire time we spent in Milwaukee, the only time I actually felt like there was a decent crowd was after the concert. The city almost felt deserted the rest of the time (no traffic, no wait or lines at restaurants, etc.).
Before the concert, though, we decided to get a little snack and what better place to go when visiting Wisconsin but to a cheese mart? So we had wine and a cheese sampler at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart. Mmmm…. cheese. What more is there to say, really? And yes, I bought some and brought it home.
We went early for the concert and were able to walk around the grounds a bit before heading to our seats. I had never been to a music festival before, and I loved it. There was even a ski lift to take you from one end of the grounds to the other- very cool. There are plenty of food and drink choices- almost like a little “taste of Milwaukee” right inside the festival. Drinks weren’t obnoxiously expensive as they would be in Chicago. There were tents with different vendors and even a children’s area.
Now here’s where I rave about Zac Brown Band. Oh. My. What a concert. Seriously you guys, they are just so good. I’ve never really been a huge concert-goer or music lover before, and this band has me wanting to be a groupie. I was on my feet from the moment they took the stage and never sat down again aside from the 10-minute intermission. I just love them. Love. Love. Love. Ahhh…. when’s the next concert??? Can’t wait.
Our Final Day
The couple sitting next to me at the concert were from Milwaukee, super friendly, and recommended The Pfister for breakfast on our final morning in the city. We took them up on their suggestion and were not disappointed- both really enjoyed our breakfast. Just writing this, my mouth is watering, remembering my delicious southwest omelette with chicken, chorizo and all that nice melty cheese. Yummmm. I’d also look into staying there as well- from the look of the lobby and the quality of the food, I’m guessing it’d be a nice place to stay.
Our final destination on our little getaway was the Milwaukee Public Market, another place they visited on The Bachelorette. It’s like an indoor farmers market and is a great place to experience a little of everything Milwaukee offers- from cheese, wine, beer, baked goods, spices, and more.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our getaway, and maybe if you head to Milwaukee or Lake Geneva sometime, you’ll take me up on our recommendations. It was a great few days, and I can’t wait to go back! Also, I’ve heard fantastic things about the zoo and children’s museum there, but since we didn’t go, I can’t attest to that.
Till next time!