Conde Nast Traveler: Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Milwaukee for Lake Views, Modern Art, and Fine Dining


There are so many reasons to visit Wisconsin’s largest city in 2024—which just joined our Readers’ Choice Awards list of the best large cities in the US.

“Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a city on the rise; so much so that it just joined our Readers’ Choice Awards list of the best big cities in the US, ranking third—just behind San Diego and Chicago. Long considered nearby Chicago’s little sibling, Milwaukee has finally come into its own by growing amongst younger people for its affordability over the Second City, allowing people to buy homes and rent better apartments. Not to mention the growing restaurant scene, new infrastructure increasing walkability, and enough city amenities for the Midwest gem to truly feel desirable—it’s no longer just a small town. And with so many local colleges and a venerated art museum, there is strong curiosity and willingness to embrace the new.

For the culturally inclined tourist, there’s the world class Milwaukee Art Museum and enough Frank Lloyd Wright and Frederick Law Olmsted scattered throughout the city to satisfy architecture buffs. Or catch one of the many festivals; Milwaukee is home to one nearly every weekend. On the horizon for 2024, the museum will feature several new world-class exhibitions, like 17th-Century Dutch and Flemish PrintsSkyscrapers and the Human Experience, and 50 Paintings featuring new work from artists like Cecily Brown. Over the past decade, the city has transformed into a culinary paradise as well—if you thought Milwaukee was just beer, brats, and Bucks games, think again: Top Chef Season 21 is coming to Wisconsin just in time for an already expanding dining scene to accelerate. There’s nowhere better to experience quintessential Midwestern charm.

Think lots of green space, walkable neighborhoods, and an easy hop-on, hop-off streetcar system (called The Hop) that’s expanding to include stops along the picturesque Lake Michigan lakefront, making it easier to get to than ever before. Further to the city’s walkability, the Riverwalk, a 3.7 mile path through the heart of the city and along the Milwaukee River, is undergoing an expansion to make it more friendly to aquatic life and ADA accessible. And if you still find yourself lost, effervescently friendly residents will always point you in the right direction. Here are the best things to do in Milwaukee on a travel adventure dedicated to MKE—which just joined our Readers’ Choice Awards list of the best large cities in the US..”

In this article, Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel and The Pfister Hotel were named as two of the best places to stay:

“Another downtown option, The Saint Kate is an arts hotel with robust programming, with rotating exhibitions, live music and artists in residence. Its 219 rooms are clean and modern with touches that nod to the creative vibe, like ukuleles, record players and festive patterned wallpaper or art from local artists. Take advantage of one of the four bars and restaurants on site, like Proof Pizza for Neapolitan style pies or Aria for elevated crowd pleasing favorites like hanger steaks and sweet potato perogies.”

“If you’re looking for an iconic classic experience stay at The Pfister Hotel. The grand and opulent property was built in 1893 and as soon as you step foot inside, you’re transported to the Golden Age. It features updated rooms complete with either Lake Michigan or Milwaukee skyline views. The pool, reserved for hotel guests, sits on the 23rd floor and is a downtown oasis. The weekend afternoon tea or cocktails in the Lobby Lounge are a real treat and great way to take in the grandeur of the hotel. The hotel is undergoing an exciting renovation and expansion that will be complete in spring 2024.”

To read more about all of the best things to see and do in Milwaukee, click here.