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Steeped in German heritage and drenched in beer, Milwaukee is probably one of the best places to hang out with your dad on Father’s Day. There’s cheese and sausage, beer and fishing, and whole boatload of history. The city’s industrial past still seems to seep from its pores, and you can sense it the second you see the skyline. But it’s also breathtaking, especially as the sun starts to dip below the horizon and turn the waters of Lake Michigan into a palette of pastels. Summer weekends here are fairly close to magical (and your dad will probably think so too)—and being that it’s cheap right now, it’s the perfect time for Milwaukee travel.

 

Milwaukee from the air

Milwaukee, Wisc. on the shore of Lake Michigan from 38,000 feet in the air. Photo: Ron Reiring – Flickr CC

Plane, train or automobile — General Mitchell International Airport serves the Milwaukee area and is only five miles south of downtown. There’s also the option of flying into Chicago and driving up — the drive is less than two hours if you don’t hit traffic. There’s also an Amtrak station. Driving in may be the best option, though, because it means you can tool around the city or beautiful Wisconsin countryside.

 

Milwaukee bus

Milwaukee County Transit System Bus. Photo: Vincent Desjardins – Flickr CC

Cheap local transit — Pay only $3 for a 30-minute ride on a Bublr Bike, or get a pay-as-you-go pass and pay only $2 per 30-minute ride. This is the best way to see the city, especially with the weather being so nice this time of year. If you must take the bus, Milwaukee County Transit System charges $2.25 a ride if you pay in cash.

 

Lakefront Brewery

A flight of beer at Lakefront Brewery. Photo: Connie Ma – Flickr CC

Book a brewery tour — The options for brewery tours are seemingly endless in a city known for its beer. Just make sure you plan ahead, because some require you to book a tour, and some stop touring by mid-afternoon. You could go traditional with MillerCoors (it’s free and comes with three beers), or more craft with Milwaukee Brewing Company (it’s $10, and includes samples and a pint glass). Lakefront Brewery also has a good $7 tour, rife with samples.

 

Usinger's in Milwaukee - Milwaukee travel and food

Usinger’s Sausage in Milwaukee. Photo: Dan Perry – Flickr CC

Bulk up on some brats — Few meals are as quintessentially ‘dad’ as sausage, beer and cheese. Luckily there’s no meal that’s more Milwaukeean, making Usinger’s Sausage and Smoked Meats quite the historical mainstay. The 136-year-old, family-owned company sells its brats and sausages all over town, but nothing beats visiting the shop downtown on Third Street. For more instant gratification, head across the street to Old German Beer Hall or Milwaukee Brat House to sample the goods without having to cook them yourself.

 

Fly fishing

A local fisherman fly fishing the Milwaukee River by the Kletzsch Park waterfall in April 2013. Photo: Nick Bragg – Flickr CC

Fetch some fish to fry — Sink your lines in the Milwaukee River at Caesar’s Park, less than three miles south of town. With patience and a little luck, you might be feasting on salmon, steelhead and brown trout. So kick back, crack open a beer and try your hand at catching dinner while you bond with dear old dad. If you want to get a little farther away from it all, you can also access the Milwaukee River from Kern Park, Estabrook Park or Kletzch Park.

 

Milwaukee Polish Fest

Milwaukee Polish Fest. Photo: Matthew Juzenas – Flickr CC

Find a festival — June is festival season in basically every city in America, and Milwaukee leads the parade. There’s Taco Fest on June 6, PrideFest the weekend of June 10, Polish Fest the weekend of June 17, Beer Lovers Festival June 18, and that’s just the beginning. Most parishes have festivals throughout the summer, and Milwaukee has a rich Catholic history, so there’s a bunch of them. You could probably stumble upon a festival without even trying.

 

Miller Park - Milwaukee travel and sports

Bond over baseball — This one’s a classic for a reason—take your dad to a Milwaukee Brewers game, settle in with some beers and Cracker Jacks, and enjoy the ride. Even if you’re not that into the team — or the sport, for that matter — there’s always good people watching, and it’s a great way to absorb some Vitamin D and just enjoy being out in the sun. If you want to up the ante with a little rivalry and drama, the Brewers play the Mets, the Nationals and the Dodgers at home in June.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Family, Food & drink, FREE!, Holidays, Tips & advice

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