It’s been a while since I’ve had girl time. A long while. Admittedly, I would have loved to jet set somewhere for a few days, but I didn’t want to be away from Bryce for too long, nor did I want to take off days at work. Luckily, I didn’t have to go far for a fun-filled girls getaway for the weekend!
I live in the suburbs of Chicago and while Chicago is a great city, I LOVE Milwaukee. There are tons of fun things to do there, and only an hour away (and did I mention the traffic is MUCH better than trying to get to Chicago?) And it’s not a far trip if you are based in the Midwest: Milwaukee is 90 minutes from Madison, 90 minutes from Chicago, under 5 hours from Minneapolis, and just under 6 hours from Detroit. If you’re a midwesterner who hasn’t spent time in MKE, I suggest you get it on your bucket list!
Last weekend, I spent a couple days with my gal pals in Milwaukee and the surrounding area and had a blast. The perfect mix of fun, rest, food, exercise (of course!) and good, quality girl time.
Here’s how our weekend went down:
Brunch at Cafe Benelux (Third Ward)
We enjoyed a delicious meal to start off our day on the rooftop overlooking the historic Third Ward. Named after the Benelux region (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemborg), Cafe Benelux features regional favorites and is open from breakfast through midnight, every night.
Class at The Barre Code (Third Ward)
I love a good workout, and was SO curious to try a class at The Barre Code. With a variety of classes like HIIT, TBC, Brawl, and the signature barre class, there is something for everyone. We did a barre class and it was definitely one of the most challenging barre classes I’ve been to! Needless to say, we were sore for a couple days afterwards but really enjoyed it. Fantastic full-body workout for sure! And the studio space? Prettiest around. I’d be cool with just hanging out there, reading magazines on their plush chairs under their crystal chandeliers between classes :-)
Hilton Garden Downtown
Next, we checked into our hotel to freshen up. This hotel is gorgeous and full of history. Built in 1886, it’s right in the middle of downtown Milwaukee, not a far walk from our activities. It used to be an old office space, and was converted into a hotel that boasts tons of character like a five-story atrium with marble, granite and iron finishes and a magnificent skylight. The service was fantastic, rooms were HUGE (literally, the biggest hotel room I’ve ever had- with tall ceilings too!) and FREE hot breakfast!
Shopping in the Third Ward
Next it was time for some retail therapy! The Historic Third Ward is Milwaukee’s Arts and Fashion District. It offers the city’s most dynamic array of restaurants, spas, theaters, galleries, and unique boutiques all in a historic warehouse setting. In fact, it’s been compared to New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood. We did some damage at Anthropologie, West Elm and several others. We also hit up the Milwaukee Public Market, an iconic part of the city, to check out the local fare and grab a snack and enjoy it on the top level while people watching the hustle and bustle below on the main floor.
Chocolate Pairings at Indulgence Chocolatiers
True to its name, they make handmade truffles, gourmet bars and other chocolate delicacies right on site. They view each of its creations as a work of art that just happens to be delectable (can I get an Amen?!) We sampled some pairings with wine, and they also have pairings with beer and cheese with some really amazing flavor combinations. (And yes, chocolate before dinner is always a good idea.)
Dinner at Braise
Braise is Milwaukee’s much acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant that connects diners and chefs with local farmers/purveyors via the restaurant, cooking classes, dining events and a food delivery program. The restaurant also has a rooftop garden that the kitchen uses, and the menu changes daily. We had a number of dishes (and a few that the chef spoiled us with) and they were all AMAZING. They were smaller plates that were perfectly shared among 3 of us and packed a TON of flavor. My taste buds hadn’t been that happy in a looong while.
Drinks at Dock18 Cocktail Lab & Dessert at Purple Door Ice Cream
After dinner, we took our waiter’s suggestion to try out Dock18. It’s an experimental cocktail lab located in the Twisted Path Distillery tasting room in a large warehouse. You have to buzz into the warehouse to get access (very exclusive and glad we got the low-down from our waiter!) and it totally reminded me of the scene from Pitch Perfect 2 where the gals went to the rif-off at that dude’s place and were trying to get in…you know the scene, right?! Anyways, this place is amazing. Every liqueur, infusion, and syrup is made in-house, guaranteeing an always interesting, ever-changing menu. It was a small space that seats about 18, so we called ahead to make sure they had space for us. The cocktails were delicious…and strong! Afterwards, we got the munchies and took an Uber by a man that I’m sure was Bernie Sanders (seriously) and tried the locally made ice cream at Purple Door per the recommendation from Katy at Visit Milwaukee. The line was out the door and for good reason- it was the best ice cream of my life. I had the salted caramel, although they had tons of flavors from the classics to the “are you kidding me?!” flavors like Beer and Pretzels to Brandy Old Fashioned to Garlic.
Breakfast at La Reve Patisserie & Cafe
In the morning, we headed to Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee and had breakfast at this French bistro. The building used to be a 100 year old bank and was converted into a spacious cafe with lots of charm and a zinc-coppered bar. And although I wanted to purchase every dessert in their display case, I held back and just oogled over the absolutely intricate sweets- from macaroons to tortes, tarts and much much more.
Shopping in The Village
Afterwards, we spent some time in the cute shops and boutiques in The Village. This business district offers over 100 stores, restaurants and businesses in a quaint little setting. And they had a great farmer’s market that we took advantage of. Lots of fresh produce and locally made treats.
Shopping at the Mayfair Collection & Mayfair Mall
What’s a girls trip without lots of shopping?! A lot of people roadtrip to Chicago for access to the big malls, but the Mayfair Mall gives them a run for their money. With over 150 stores it covers it all including Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Nordstom and Sephora. We also spent a bit of time at The Mayfair Collection, a second location that includes Saks 5th Avenue off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, DSW, Off/Aisle (Kohl’s discount store- who knew?!), the newly opened J.Crew Mercantile (swoon!) and more.
Lunch at Pizza Man
After all that
cardio shopping, we had to refuel. Conveniently located at Mayfair Collection, this location features reclaimed Wisconsin bard wood, industrial elements and a glass enclosed atrium. Not your typical pizza joint! Although we didn’t have the pizza, our salads were delicious and hit the spot.
Class at Board and Brush, Elm Grove
To round out our trip, we had to do a little DIY project. Enter Board a Brush: a wine and painting wood experience. We sipped on wine while our instructors guided us through the entire creative process from raw materials to final product. We each picked out our projects ahead of time (there are TONS of cute options) and left with a beautiful wood sign to decorate our homes or gift to someone (great wedding gift idea if you go with a monogram piece!) Perfect for bachelorette parties, girl weekends or mother-daughter time, you name it. They have locations opening up everywhere and I definitely plan to go back- I have my eye on a couple (or five) more signs I’d like to make.
So there you have it! It was a much needed fun-filled weekend with friends, and I didn’t have to go far to have an out-of-this-world experience. I’d definitely recommend heading to Milwaukee for your next girls getaway!
Have any questions about our weekend? Leave it in the comments! What other places do you recommend in MKE?
Thank you to Visit Milwaukee for having me as a guest in their city! The trip and my travels were partly sponsored by Visit Milwaukee and these businesses but opinions and recommendations are my own. So thankful to them for the fun experience. I’ll definitely be back again! #visitmke
Alexis Grant says
Yay girl time! I’m in Indianapolis so it’s further but still within a day and now I want to check out MKE too!
Yeah still not a terrible drive! Maybe worth two nights in MKE then!
How the heck did you cram all that into two days?! Definitely need to head up there sometime soon!
It was a lot, but we maximized our fun time for sure :-) Got a little tired by day 2 in the afternoon, not gonna lie. But Board & Brushes picked us right up! It was a blast- highly recommend (another girls trip on the horizon?!)
I haven’t spent the weekend in Milwaukee in ages. It looks so fun and so many great places see! We just booked a Chicago staycation and now I’m having second thoughts….Thanks for sharing this!
Doused In Pink
It’s really a great city! So much to do, but without as much of the traffic/congestion in Chicago. I’d definitely go back– you’ll have to give it a visit sometime, if even for the day (we are so close!)
Katie @ Live Half Full says
I love Milwaukee! We sometimes head up for dinner instead of Chicago! So much easier.
It really is! And such awesome places to dine…any good ones you’d recommend?
Of course I love me some MKE! Cafe Benelux is amazing! Wish I would have known you were in town!
It was SO tasty (I could eat one of everything on their brunch menu, easy.) I totally should have reached out– what was I thinking?! Dang it! Next time though- I promise! :-) We could do barre and brunch or something— or even Board & Brush!
And we could grab Jill from Doused in Pink too! Our own little blogger meet up!