Tours

Please note: Tours are subject to change. Below, you can find information on the Pre/Post tours, Day Tours and Optional Sunday afternoon tours that are being offered during the 2021 convention.

Tours

Please note: Tours are subject to change.

 

Those interested in Pre/Post tours will be notified of their assignment during the week of July 13. Payment for Pre/Post tours will be due by July 31. If payment is not received, you will be put on the waitlist. Attendees will be notified of their day tour (AM/PM/Full) during the week of August 17. Requests to switch or trade tours after assignments are made will not be considered until October 11 when the convention has started. Staff and Chairs will not be able to assist with any switches or trades until October 11. All switches and trades must be made on-site in Milwaukee during the convention.

Which kind of tours would you like to look at?

 

Pre/Post |  Half Day  |  Full Day

Pre/Post Tours

ACTIVITY LEGEND

Level 1           Light walking, some stairs

Level 2           Moderate walking up to 1 mile, some stairs

Level 3           Moderate walking at distances greater than 1 mile

Level 4           Heavy walking or moderately intense activity (e.g., kayaking, golfing, etc.)

 

Pre Tour Options:

– Eau Claire’s Artistic Revolution

– Sea Caves and Victorian Small Town

– Lake Michigan: Into the Deep

– The Food Makers of Central Wisconsin

– Milwaukee Photo Quest

 

Post Tour Options:

– Eau Claire’s Artistic Revolution

– Madison: Experience the Soul of the New Wisconsin

– Door County: Where Midwesterners Vacation

 

Tentatively Pre OR Post Tour:

– Taste of Green Bay

OPTIONAL SUNDAY AFTERNOON TOURS AND ACTIVITIES

 

Have a few hours between checking in and the opening reception? This year, we’re excited to introduce optional tours on Sunday, October 3.  Read more about it below.  These tours are first come, first served and have sign up links below.

 

Historic Milwaukee’s Downtown

Sign up here

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

 

This unique tour takes you through Milwaukee’s historic downtown and introduces you to some of the ‎city’s most prestigious downtown buildings. The Milwaukee River is a natural divider of our two downtown ‎neighborhoods with Westown west of the river and East Town east of the river. You’ll find the city’s ‎vibrant entertainment district in Westown, home to sports arenas as well as popular venues. East Town is ‎home to some of the city’s most popular attractions, as well as all the lakefront fun. Historic Milwaukee ‎Inc. begins this tour at the grand Plankinton Building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and ‎ends at the stunning lakeside Milwaukee Art Museum with architecture designed by Santiago Calatrava.‎

 

Max Participants: 20

 

 

Champagne Art Tour

Sign up here

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel is a unique, boutique hotel created by artists for artists. The name Saint Kate gives nod to Saint Catherine – the patron saint of artists and the original champion of the creative process – and then spins around and walks firmly in a bold, modern, new direction. Enjoy a glass of bubbly or an art-inspired cocktail with the arts hotel’s curator while taking a tour of the Saint Kate art collection and newly installed galleries. Meet in the lobby at Big Piney, the large horse sculpture near The Bar. Then you’ll explore the lobby area art as well as the Museum of Wisconsin Art downtown gallery.

 

Max Participants: 15

 

 

Sculpture Milwaukee Tour

Sign up here

2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 

Sculpture Milwaukee was a vision of Marcus Corporation Chairman Steve Marcus, who wanted to revitalize West Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee and make culturally significant sculpture accessible to visitors and residents of the city. Today, this non-profit organization transforms downtown Milwaukee’s cultural landscape every year with a free 24/7 outdoor exhibition of world-renowned sculpture on the city’s main thoroughfare. Experience this year’s exhibition “there is this We” as well as legacy artworks throughout the downtown area.

 

Max Participants: 15

 

 

Alice’s Garden Community Work Day

Sign up here

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Alice’s Garden Urban Farm provides models of regenerative farming, community cultural development, and economic agricultural enterprises for the global landscape. Alice’s Garden was named in honor of Alice Meade-Taylor, a former Milwaukee County Extension executive director whose vision for building neighborhoods and nurturing people included gardening programs for children, youth and their families. Volunteer in this community garden with seasonal activities such as weeding, mulching, planting, watering, pruning, harvesting, or cleaning the garden.

 

Max Participants: 50

 

 

PRE/POST TOURS

Read through the pre/post tours options here

 

 

FULL AND HALF DAY TOURS

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

With the help of our partners, VISIT Milwaukee is offering tours that are bursting with story ideas. These tours will spark imaginations and offer a new perspective on what it’s like to stay and play in our city. And they just might leave attendees wondering why the heck they haven’t visited Milwaukee sooner.

 

ACTIVITY LEGEND

Level 1  Light walking, some stairs

Level 2 Moderate walking up to 1 mile, some stairs

Level 3 Moderate walking at distances greater than 1 mile

Level 4 Heavy walking or moderately intense activity (e.g., kayaking, golfing, etc.)

 

TOUR DAY TIMING

      • On tour day, buses will begin loading outside the Saint Kate at 7 a.m.
      • Half-day morning tours end by 11:30 a.m. Participants will be dropped off in front of the Saint Kate. Lunch will be provided by food tours just across the street.
      • Buses will begin loading for the afternoon tours at 1 p.m.
      • ALL tours will end at 4:30 p.m. with participants arriving back at the hotel by 5 p.m.

 

*Wheelchair accommodations can be provided for most tours

** All tours are subject to change

 

 

 

FULL DAY TOURS

 

 

Historic Brewing

Level 1

 

Find out why Milwaukee is called the Original Brew City on a tour through Milwaukee’s brewing history. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit our city’s oldest cemetery, Forest Home, the resting place for three of the four Milwaukee beer barons. Then, we’ll head to Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, the former corporate headquarters of Pabst Brewing Company, for an entertaining walk (with a Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand) through the brewery’s past. Across the road is Brewhouse Inn & Suites, a boutique hotel built in a former Pabst Brewing building. Lunch will be served with an ice-cold Miller Lite in the historic Miller Caves, where the brewery used to store its beer. Then we’ll check out Captain Frederick Pabst’s former home, Pabst Mansion, which has been restored to its original glory. We’ll finish the day with one final beverage at Pabst Milwaukee Brewery and Taproom, a microbrewery that opened two years ago in a former church on the Pabst campus.

 

 

Creative Cocktails and Damn-Good Distilleries

Level 1

 

If beer’s not your cup of tea, worry not! Our distilleries and cocktail programs have got you covered.  We’ll start our day with a coffee-inspired cocktail at bitters maker Bittercube, and then we’ll do a bitters “tasting.” The first distillery to open in Wisconsin since Prohibition, Great Lakes Distillery, will provide a tour, tasting, and peek into its history. Then it’s over to Central Standard Distillery, which focuses on small-batch liquors. We’ll enjoy lunch and a sangria lab at Hotel Madrid, where we’ll learn how to make the best pitcher in town and even take home your own concoction. Next, we’ll hear the incredible story of a former CIA agent-turned distiller at  Twisted Path Distillery. Then we’ll end the day at Milwaukee’s oldest cocktail hotspot (and James Beard Award-winning) Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge.

 

 

African-American History Tour

Level 2

 

This is your chance to explore Wisconsin’s and Milwaukee’s rich African-American heritage. We’ll start with a Paramount Records walk in Grafton and learn why this small Milwaukee ‘burb was home to a powerhouse studio for early blues and jazz music (and has earned a spot on the Mississippi Blues Trail). Then it’s time for the Wisconsin Black Historical Society, the only institution in Wisconsin dedicated to preserving the state’s African-American history. We will lunch at Sherman Phoenix, an entrepreneurial hub/food hall that serves as an incubator for up-and-coming business owners of color. Then we’re off to America’s Black Holocaust Museum, which was opened by a lynching survivor and explores the harmful legacies of slavery and racism. We’ll end the day with a bus and walking tour of key African-American neighborhood Bronzeville.

 

 

Wonderfully Random Milwaukee

Level 2

 

This wide array of attractions is uniquely Milwaukee (and delightfully quirky in the best possible way). We’ll start the day learning about letterpress print-making at Bay View Printing Co, a 100-year-old print shop. Then it’s time for Foamation, creator of the now-famous Cheesehead, where we’ll learn how just about anything can be made from cheese foam. At Safehouse, a spy-themed restaurant (and no, we’re not sharing the entry password), we’ll dine on Milwaukee classics. Then it’s off to Milwaukee’s newest niche museum, the National Bobblehead Museum & Hall of Fame. We’ll end this day with a happy hour at Holler House, the oldest sanctioned bowling alley in the country.

 

 

From Cream City Brick to Frank Lloyd Wright: Historic Architecture

Level 2

 

Milwaukee’s architecture is incredibly diverse and, as you’ll see, we’re keen on preserving it. That’s why on this tour we’ll stop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs for the middle class, a la the Burnham Block Houses. We’ll also take in the 1895 Flemish Renaissance design of our City Hall, among other distinctive downtown buildings. Then we’ll lunch in a historic park pavilion-turned James Beard restaurant (in a park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, no less!) and we’ll visit Northpoint Lighthouse, one of the oldest structures in the area. This tour wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Old Soldiers’ Homes, one of the only post-Civil War veterans housing initiatives in the country that are now being restored into functional veterans housing.

 

 

Fore! Golf Tournament in America’s No. 1 Golf Destination

Level 4

 

Golfers, this is one outing you won’t want to miss. This year’s outing will take place at the Baths of ‎Blackwolf Run, Kohler’s newest course that opened in June. We’ll start the day by leaving the carts behind and playing the 10-‎hole, par three course, where holes range from 60-160 yards. We’ll then then enjoy a meal on the terrace abutting the fairways before a friendly putting competition on the course’s expansive two-acre putting green. Competition will still be in the air in Kohler, Wisconsin ‎as the legendary property’s Whistling Straits course will have hosted the Ryder Cup just two weeks ‎before this SATW outing. ‎Read more about the brand new course from Golf.com.

 

Increase Lapham’s Milwaukee: A Tour of our Natural Habitat

Level 3

 

Considered Wisconsin’s first great scientist, Increase Lapham was a botanist, naturalist, cartographer, and more. We’ll explore the geography he called home on this tour and learn about what makes this land once covered by glaciers unique. This tour explores the  Milwaukee County Zoo, where attendees will check out kingdom animalia, as well as the brand new elephant exhibit that revamped one-quarter of the Zoo’s layout. We’ll visit the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, known colloquially as “the Domes,” to see flora and fauna from various climates. Then we’ll get hyper-local at the Urban Ecology Center, which is introducing nature and science to the next generation of Increase Laphams. We’ll end the day with an easy hike through Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, a former farm for Schlitz brewery draft horses that is now Milwaukee’s comprehensive nature center.

 

 

Milwaukee the Melting Pot: Ethnic Food Tour

Level 1

 

On this tour, you’ll explore the many food traditions that make Milwaukee a rich melting pot. We’ll stop at newly opened Damascus Gate, Milwaukee’s first Syrian restaurant that was started by a family who came to our city after living as refugees in Jordan. We’ll then head to local institution Three Brothers, the James Beard-awarded restaurant that has been serving up the best Serbian fare since 1956. We’ll head to Shah Jee’s for a sampling of the finest Pakistani food in town, and then we’ll take in a brief cooking class and hear the story of Italian immigration at Glorioso’s. We’ll taste a freshly made churro at local gem La Flor de Trigo, and we’ll raise toasts to all cultures with Portuguese cocktails at Amilinda.

 

Explore Charming Cedarburg

Level 2

 

Just 20 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee, Cedarburg is a quaint escape from downtown’s hustle and bustle. Some even call it the perfect setting for a Hallmark movie. This day-long tour focuses on an examination of this historic mill town through a stop at the Cedarburg History Museum and exploration of the shops and restaurants that line Cedarburg’s main thoroughfares. We will include the shops and winery at Cedar Creek Settlement. Just outside of town, we’ll visit the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts to explore innovation and tradition in fiber arts.

 

Hands on at the Food Halls

Level 2

 

Combine the convenience and flexibility of a food court with quality, local foods and you have a food hall! More than a grab-n-go meal while shopping, these food halls are true destinations. We’ll start the day at the original Milwaukee food hall, the Milwaukee Public Market, which has helped revitalize a formerly underutilized neighborhood. Then we’ll head to the Sherman Phoenix to learn about how this food hall-cum-incubator for minority-owned businesses is helping springboard businesses offering everything from spring rolls to popcorn, and from art therapy to consignment shopping and airbrushed sneakers. After Sherman Phoenix, we’ll head to newly opened 3rd Street Market Hall for an interactive demonstration with acclaimed Milwaukee chef Kurt Fogle and maker of arguably the best burger in town. Next up it’s a stop at Crossroads Collective on the artful East Side and a photo opp at Black Cat Alley, and then we’ll end the day at Zocalo, a food truck park.

 

 

 

 

 HALF-DAY TOURS

 

Churches and Chocolates

Level 1

*Offered in the morning only

 

Enjoy a tour through City of Steeples! We’ll begin at a coffee shop for coffee and muffins, then visit three churches with your tour guide, where you’ll learn about the history and architecture of these unique places of worship from church docents. To sweeten the deal, we’ll delve into dessert at stops at two local chocolate shops.

 

Before the Craft Boom: The Original Milwaukee Microbreweries

Level 1

 

These three microbreweries led craft beer’s resurgence in Milwaukee as early as 1985 when Sprecher Brewing Co. opened in Walker’s Point. We’ll stop at Sprecher to try its award-winning Black Bavarian lager and also sample its inventive gourmet sodas. Then we’ll head to Lakefront Brewery, home to Milwaukee’s best (hilariously R-rated) brewery tour as well as the bottling line from “Laverne & Shirley,” and then we’ll pop over to Milwaukee Brewing Co. to take in its newly expanded digs, which are leading the way in green brewing technology.

 

 

Milwaukee, the Custard Capital of the World

Level 1

*Offered in the afternoon only

 

Led by Milwaukee Food & City Tours, this is a tour for those who’d like to understand why every season is frozen custard season in Milwaukee. In 1932, America’s amusement park proprietors met for an informal convention in New York.  The attendees declared bumper cars, carousels, roller coasters, and our beloved frozen custard the four things that “best contribute to the world’s happiness.” Come get happy on this tour dedicated to highlighting Milwaukee as the self-proclaimed Custard Capital of the World. You’ll visit shops and stands that are institutions throughout the city.

 

 

Cook Like a Milwaukeean: A Cooking Class at Braise

Level 1

 

Milwaukee’s first community-supported restaurant, Braise, features locally sourced ingredients from more than 40 Wisconsin farms. In fact, Braise created the country’s first RSA, a restaurant-supported agriculture program. You’ll spend half of the day at Braise learning cooking techniques and preparing food with James Beard award-nominated chef Dave Swanson and his team.

 

 

The Flavors of Brady Street

Level 2

*Offered in the afternoon only

 

A street enjoyed by many immigrant groups over the years, Brady Street was also the heart of Milwaukee’s countercultural movement in the 1960s. Led by Milwaukee Food & City Tours, we’ll explore this fashionable East Side neighborhood and, along the way, we’ll enjoy delicious tastings at authentic Italian eateries, as well as at several newer establishments that revitalized this community. This is a walking tour with five to six stops that will include pizza, cannoli, empanadas, salami, prosciutto, olives, cottage pie, and a Milwaukee-brewed beer. Did you know that Psycho was penned on Brady Street? Or do you know why many Milwaukee homes are called “Polish flats?” You’ll get those answers and more on this tour.

 

 

Preserve It! Historic Theater Tour

Level 2

 

Milwaukee takes historic preservation very seriously, and our historic theaters offer some of the best examples. On this tour we’ll visit the ornate Pabst Theater, built in 1895 by Capt. Frederick Pabst; next we’ll stop into Turner Hall Ballroom, one of the oldest theaters in Milwaukee and a former showplace for German painters; then we’ll take in the decadence of the Oriental Theatre, home of the Milwaukee Film Festival; and last but not least, we’ll tour the newly restored Grand Warner Theater, new home to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

 

 

Dearly Departed: A Haunted Milwaukee Tour

Level 3

 

On the streets of Milwaukee, lurking in the shadows of history, live tales of ghosts and haunted buildings. These tales, whispered so as not to wake the dead or frighten the living, have endured the passage of time. We’ll tour Milwaukee to look beyond what you see every day and explore a world of hidden pasts and dark secrets, restless spirits, and eerie sightings.. Anna, your tour guide, a native Milwaukeean and avid collector of local folklore and legend, is delighted to introduce you to the spook-tacular side of Milwaukee. Gothic Milwaukee is one of Milwaukee’s most fun historical attractions, and we are thrilled to share the folklore, legends and macabre tales that lurk on nearly every block of the city.

 

 

Milwaukee Art Museum Deep Dive

Level 2

 

A skilled docent will lead this tour that highlights the history behind the museum’s Santiago Calatrava-designed architecture and showcases important works from the collection, including holdings of American decorative arts, German Expressionism, and folk and Haitian art that are considered among the best in the nation.

 

 

Milwaukee’s Melting Pot: Hispanic Arts Tour

Level 3

 

The Walker’s Point area on the city’s near south side became the center of the Latino community, and it has grown into a major contributor to the city’s cultural diversity. Metro Milwaukee’s Latino population has more than tripled since 1990 and now tops 160,000, slightly more than 10 percent of the region’s total population. On this tour, we’ll start at the Latino Arts gallery to see its special exhibition featuring local muralist Mauricio Ramirez, then we’ll take part in a hands-on activity and a musical performance. Afterward, we’ll take a walk to see the many murals of Walker’s Point as we make our way to Zocalo Food Truck Park for a special treat.

 

 

Paddle’s Up: Kayaking Milwaukee River

Level 4

 

Significant steps have been made to improve the Milwaukee River’s water quality and surrounding riverbanks. A sure sign of that progress is the resurgence of recreational use of the river, including by kayakers and SUP-ers, and yes, even swimmers! We’ll start this paddle in the Harbor District and head north along the river, with a stop for essentials (like a beer and cheese pairing) along the way.

 

 

Pedal to the Metal: A Bublr Bike Tour of Menomonee Valley

Level 4

 

Bublr Bikes is Milwaukee’s beloved bike-share program. We’ll hop on Bublr’s cheery blue two-wheelers and tour a neighborhood that has undergone significant change in the last two decades, the Menomonee Valley. Once a railway and heavy manufacturing hub, the Valley’s brownfields have been cleaned up to make way for offices, hotels, and more. On our ride along the Hank Aaron State Trail, we’ll learn about the highly anticipated RiverWalk expansion that will snake westward through the valley and the restaurants planned along the riverside. We’ll take a break during the tour for a beverage at Third Space Brewing in the former Milwaukee Gas Light Company building built in 1902.

 

Freshwater Capital of the World

Level 1

 

Milwaukee has long been a port city and with that comes tales of triumph and tragedy aboard the vessels ‎that have traversed the Great Lakes. On this tour, you’ll board an Milwaukee Boat Line vessel and then ‎and enjoy this tour of the Milwaukee waterways and out into the harbor as you learn about shipwreck ‎history from a local historian. From the 1860 sinking of the Lady Elgin, which carried roughly 300 ‎residents of Milwaukee’s Third Ward neighborhood to a political fundraiser in Chicago, to the sinking of ‎the Appomattox, which when it was built in 1896 was the largest wooden bulk steamer ever constructed ‎on the Great Lakes, you’ll learn how deeply entwined freshwater maritime history is to the spirit of the city ‎today.‎