New Pabst Mansion Tours Include Happy Hour With A PBR, Kid Friendly Tour, Father Christmas

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Drone video: Over the Mitchell Park DomesDrone video over the Mitchell Park DomesMike De Sisti and Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter and the holidays — and holiday visitors — are looming.  

It’s the perfect recipe for enjoying Milwaukee’s great indoors as a tourist in your own town, maybe with those holiday visitors in tow.  

Everyone has their own favorite spots, and no single list could cover them all, but here are some destinations to get you started.

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory – The Domes 

The weather’s always warm and there’s always something in bloom in the three conoidal glass domes at Mitchell Park. The Desert and Jungle domes — which feature desert and tropical plants, respectively, plus birds, frogs, fish and lizards — stay the same year-round, while the Floral Show Dome changes its exhibit five times every year. Annual shows include spring flowers, trains and a holiday show, this year Nov. 7-Jan. 3.

More information: The Domes, 524 S. Layton Blvd., are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays. They are wheelchair accessible. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for children (6-17) and free for children under 5. Milwaukee County residents get $1 off admission and resident seniors (60 and older) get $3 off. Masks are required inside the domes for all visitors age 3 and older. Call (414) 257-5600 or see milwaukeedomes.org

Milwaukee Art Museum 

The Santiago Calatrava-designed building on the lakefront isn’t just for Instagram photos. Inside the white-winged Quadracci Pavilion and the Kahler Building and War Memorial Center next door are 30,000 works of art, including one of the largest collections of works by Wisconsin native Georgia O’Keefe. The museum's east end features the newly unveiled "Our Time Together," a 93-foot mural by artist Derrick Adams of Black life in Milwaukee inspired partly by "The Green Book."

Pro tip: The museum’s Burke Brise Soleil “wings” open and close as the museum does, plus at noon.   

More information: The museum, 700 N. Art Museum Drive, is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day). The museum is accessible. Its three cafes are currently closed. Timed tickets are required for entry and cost $19 for adults; $17 for students, seniors (65 and older) and military; and free for kids 12 and under and Wisconsin K-12 teachers. Masks are required. Call (414) 224-3200 or see mam.org

Milwaukee Public Museum 

The city’s natural and human history museum has 150,000 square feet of exhibit space spread across 3½ floors. Stroll through permanent exhibits like the Puelicher Butterfly Wing, a two-story exhibit with dozens of free-flying butterflies; the Third Planet, with a life-size T-Rex; A Tribute to Survival, with a contemporary powwow grand entry scene that includes 37 life-size figures that are based on life casts of people representing Wisconsin’s tribal nations; and the Streets of Old Milwaukee, an immersive exhibit that re-creates a fall evening in Milwaukee at the turn of the 20th century.  

The museum is also home to the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium, Wisconsin’s largest, with shows every hour from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

More information: The museum, 800 W. Wells St., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday. Tickets are $22 for adults and teens (14-17); $18 for seniors (65 and older), military and college students; $16 for kids (4-13) and free for children 3 and younger ($2 discount for Milwaukee County residents). Admission is free for everyone on the first Thursday of the month thanks to Kohl’s (reservations recommended). Admission is free for Native American tribal members during November (Native American Heritage Month), thanks to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

As part of the Museums for All program, visitors who present an EBT card can get tickets for $3. Tickets are available over the phone and by very limited walk-up; limit four per family.

Planetarium admission is included with museum admission; giant-screen film tickets are additional. 

Masks are required at the museum for all visitors age 3 and older. The building is wheelchair accessible, and the museum has a variety of programs to make it more accessible including noise-reducing headphones, a sensory room and a personal care room. Call (414) 278-2728 or see mpm.edu.

Discovery World 

This kid-friendly science and technology museum on Milwaukee’s lakefront is full of interactive exhibits. Favorites include the Reiman Aquarium, which is home to electric eel, jellyfish and turtles, plus sturgeon and stingray that you can pet. The Automation Everywhere exhibit includes the Dream Machine, which creates a foam toy that you can take home. There’s also the Challenge, a replica of a 19th century Great Lakes schooner; a real tall ship, the Denis Sullivan, docks outside Discovery World in the summer. 

More information: Discovery World, 400 N. Harbor Drive, is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Admission is $20 for adults, $16 for children (3-17) and seniors (60+), $14 for college students and military, and free for kids age 2 and under. Discounted admission is available for $5 for Milwaukee County residents who present a Wisconsin EBT card (up to five people per party). Tickets are currently issued with timed entries to limit the number of visitors; advance purchase is encouraged. Advance purchase is required for parking passes for the museum’s underground garage. Call (414) 765-9966 or see discoveryworld.org

Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum

The Wisconsin Black Historical Society focuses on the history of African Americans in Wisconsin, with a few exhibits that tell that story in its building that was constructed as a firehouse in 1898, then served as the Center Street Library. Among the exhibits are replica vinyl decals that appeared on an NAACP Civil Rights Tribute Bus that featured civil rights leaders such as Vel Phillips, Lloyd Barbee and Father Groppi. 

More information: The historical society, 2620 W. Center St., is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Tours are available beginning at 9 a.m., but the museum requests advance notice due to its limited staff. Admission is $10. Call 414-372-7677 or see wbhsm.org.

More:Clayborn Benson preserves Black history, lights a fire in young people to learn from the past

Harley-Davidson Museum 

Even if motorcycles aren’t your thing, this museum is an intriguing and interactive look into the bike that made Milwaukee famous, with an extensive collection of bikes, including “Serial Number One,” the oldest known Harley in existence. The Experience Gallery allows you to hop on different motorcycles, and the Build-a-Bike station lets you custom build a bike. The Motor Bar & Restaurant next door offers a spot to eat before or after you explore.  

More information: The museum, 400 W. Canal Street, is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. It's accessible and has complimentary wheelchairs available to borrow. Tickets are $22 for adults, $16 for seniors (65 and older) and college students, $8 for children (5-17) and free for children 4 and under. Call (877) 436-8738 or see H-DMuseum.com.

Pabst Mansion 

A different kind of museum, this historic mansion is a window into the life of one of Milwaukee’s beer barons at the turn of the 20th century. The 20,000-square-foot Flemish Renaissance Revival home, built for Captain Frederick Pabst and his wife Maria Best in 1892, has countless rooms spread across three floors. Tours take visitors through a lavish dining room, a hunting-lodge-themed study for Captain Pabst, and a separate dining room and preparation space for servants that includes old ice boxes you can enjoy a PBR from on the Blue Ribbon Happy Hour Tour. The tour is one of seven new offerings at the Pabst over the past year. This holiday season marks the return of the popular Christmas at the Pabst, when the mansion is decked out in dozens of Christmas trees and other decorations. 

More information: Christmas at the Pabst begins with an opening reception Nov. 17; self-guided tours run Nov.18-Jan. 7.  

After Christmas at the Pabst, the mansion’s regular tours return. Classic hourlong guided tours are offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults; $13 for students, seniors and military; $8 for children (ages 6-15); and free for members and children 5 and under. Masks are required. Call (414) 931-0808 or see pabstmansion.com

Lakefront Brewery Tour 

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Lakefront Brewery fans sing the theme song from Laverne and Shirley during Lakefront Brewery fansPeople singing the theme song from "Laverne & Shirley" during Lakefront Brewery tourMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

There’s no shortage of breweries and brewery tours in Milwaukee, including the granddaddy, Miller, which is currently on hold. While Miller might be one of Milwaukee's original big four breweries, Lakefront is the one of the city’s original craft breweries (the oldest title goes to Sprecher). The PG-13 tour isn’t your average brewery tour, with a Bung King or Queen crowning (the plug in a keg is called a bung), and a group rendition of the "Laverne & Shirley" theme song, complete with someone putting a glove on a bottle moving along a bottling line. The tour also includes two 16-ounce pours of beer, plus a coupon for a free beer at a nearby establishment. 

The brewery’s beer hall serves up Wisconsin favorites like cheese curds and giant pretzels, plus a popular Friday fish fry that includes polka music.  

More information: Tours are offered at 5 and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12-3 p.m. Friday and Sunday and 12-6 p.m. Saturday. Guests must be 21 or older unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Tickets cost $12 on the weekends and $11 during the week. Advance purchase is currently required online at lakefrontbrewery.com. For more information, call (414) 372-8800. 

St. Joan of Arc Chapel 

“The heart of the Marquette University campus,” the 600-year-old Gothic chapel is also the oldest structure in Milwaukee and, according to Marquette tour guides, the oldest structure in the Western Hemisphere still used for its original purpose. Originally called St. Martin de Seysseul, the chapel was built in a small village in France in 1420. In the 1920s a devotee of St. Joan of Arc had it shipped to her property on Long Island, where it was reassembled along with a 13th-century Joan of Arc stone that the heroine was believed to have kissed and prayed on before battle. The chapel and the stone went through one more owner before it was donated and transported to Marquette in the '60s. It’s said that the stone feels colder than the surrounding ones. The chapel has undergone renovations since it officially opened on campus in 1966, most recently this year on the roof tiles, flooring and landscaping outside. 

More information: The chapel is west of Marquette’s Central Mall, between Clybourn St. and Wisconsin Ave. east of 16th St. The chapel is expected to reopen in November. Masses are held when classes are in session in the fall and spring at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 10 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Tours are offered 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12-4 p.m. Sunday by calling the university's Office of Campus Ministry at (414) 288-6873. If the university is closed, the chapel is closed. For more, see marquette.edu/st-joan-of-arc-chapel

Basilica of St. Josaphat 

Another sacred historic house of worship, this one — with its 220-foot-tall copper cupola looming over the south side just west of I-94/43 — is also a monument to one of Milwaukee’s largest immigrant communities. The St. Josaphat Parish — then the largest Polish parish in Wisconsin with more than 12,000 parishioners — began constructing the Basilica in 1896. German-born architect Erhard Brielmaier modeled the building after St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and it was constructed using salvaged materials from the Chicago Post Office and Custom House. The building was completed in 1901 and in 1910 the Conventual Franciscan Friars took over administration of it and finished the interior, hiring Roman artist Gonippo Raggi to paint murals throughout.

In 1929, the church became the country’s first Polish-American Basilica, a status designated by the Pope and reserved for only the largest and most important churches. The church is still home to an active parish with regular worship including daily Mass, and also has a visitor center with walking tour brochures and informational panels for visitors to explore the history of the building. 

More information: The Basilica is at 2333 S. Sixth St. The visitor center is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Tours are available by appointment. Both the Basilica and the visitor center are accessible. Call (414) 645-5623 or see thebasilica.org.  

Bradley Symphony Center 

Another historically significant building in Milwaukee, the Warner Grand Theatre got a major facelift over the past few years as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra transformed it into its new home. Originally designed by Chicago architects Rapp and Rapp, the former movie palace first opened in 1931. The theater closed its doors in the ‘90s and sat vacant until the MSO began transforming it in 2018. The $90 million project included moving a 625-ton Cream City brick wall 35 feet to make room for the stage the symphony needed, and restoring original 1930s art in the building. After flood- and pandemic-induced delays, the MSO held its first official concert without an audience in the renamed Bradley Symphony Center on Feb. 6, and opened its first full season with audiences on Oct. 1.  

More information: The Bradley Symphony Center is at 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. Upcoming MSO performances include music screenings of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” Nov. 26-28 and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” Dec. 3-5 with live orchestra accompaniment, Holiday Pops Dec. 10-12 and Handel's "Messiah" Dec. 16 and 18-19. 

The concert hall has wheelchair seating on both levels and offers assistive listening devices and Braille and large print program books for all performances. Call (414) 291-7605 or see mso.org.

RELATED: Yo-Yo Ma, movies, and 8 more reasons to get excited about Milwaukee Symphony's 2021-'22 season

Pabst Theater

Milwaukee's last remaining 19th century theater, this European Opera House-style theater was built in 1895 by Captain Pabst and today is a National Historic Landmark. Architect Otto Strack designed it in the German Renaissance Revival style, and it was one of the country's first all-electric theaters, also boasting air conditioning and fireproof construction — a safeguard against the disaster that destroyed the previous opera house on the grounds. The opulent theater features marble throughout and a 4,000-pound chandelier. It plays host to dozens of events every year, from concerts to plays, including annual "A Christmas Carol" performances by the Milwaukee Rep. 

More information: The Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., is managed by the Pabst Theater Group. Upcoming shows include the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Nov. 14 and the BoDeans and The Gufs on Dec. 29. The Pabst requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours. Masks are required for guests under age 12. Call (414) 286-3205 or see pabsttheatergroup.com.

The Rep's "A Christmas Carol" runs Nov. 30-Dec. 24. Tickets start at $15. Call (414) 224-9490 or see milwaukeerep.com.

Milwaukee skywalks tour 

Milwaukee’s skywalks aren’t as extensive as those in Minneapolis, but the city still has 1.75 miles of enclosed bridges that allow you to travel between downtown buildings without going outside while also providing a unique view of the city. Historic Milwaukee offers a two-hour walking tour of the system that focuses on not only the skywalks but also the city’s history, historical buildings and new developments like the repurposing of the old Grand Avenue mall where the tour starts.  

More information: Historic Milwaukee’s Skywaukee Tours are offered at 1 p.m. Saturdays November through April. Tours begin at the Plankinton Arcade in Grand Avenue at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. They are accessible and cover about 1 mile. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-11 and free for kids 5 and under. Masks are required. See historicmilwaukee.org.

Milwaukee Public Market 

Inspired by Seattle’s Pike Place Market — and with a sign to match — Milwaukee’s market features more than a dozen vendors selling everything from cheese and spices to pastries and chocolate, plus a variety of cuisine to enjoy onsite, including seafood and barbecue. The market also plays host to cooking classes in a demo kitchen.  

More information: The market, 400 N. Water St., is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (Anodyne Coffee opens at 7 a.m. and On the Bus opens at 9 a.m.). The Hop has a stop on E. St. Paul Ave. on the south side of the market. Call (414) 336-1111 or see milwaukeepublicmarket.org.

More: Pat’s Rib Place opens this week at the Milwaukee Public Market

Sherman Phoenix

Part food hall, part shopping center, Sherman Phoenix rose from the ashes of a burned BMO Harris Bank building in 2018 following the 2016 unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood. Nearly 30 businesses — many owned by Black entrepreneurs — fill the space today, offering everything from spring rolls and wings to haircuts and manicures.

More information: Sherman Phoenix, 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave., is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Call (262) 228-6021 or see shermanphoenix.com. 

More: Sherman Phoenix celebrates reopening with Gov. Evers in attendance

Koz’s Mini Bowl 

Milwaukee’s original mini bowling spot, Koz’s has been a south side institution for more than a century. First opening in the 1880s as a tavern, the bar began offering mini bowling in 1947. Pins are still set by hand on the four lanes in the back, and the beer is still cheap and available in pitchers at the bar in the front, which has the other trappings of a good neighborhood bar: a pool table, dartboard and jukebox.  

More information: The bar and bowling alley at 2078 S. Seventh St. is open 6 p.m.-close Monday-Friday and Sunday and 2 p.m.-close Saturday. For two-hour lane reservations, call (414) 383-0560. 

Usinger's & Wisconsin Cheese Mart

Milwaukee wouldn't be Milwaukee without sausage and cheese, and you can conveniently get both at two shops on Old World Third St. Grab some Usinger's sausages from the company's storefront at its original manufacturing plant, which dates to the early 1900s. Note the German murals on the walls and say hi to the elves in the front window who change clothes with the seasons. Then head a few doors down to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart for an aged cheddar to pair with your sausage.

More information: Usinger's, 1030 N. Old World Third St., is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Call (414) 999-0220 or see usinger.com/visit-usingers.

Wisconsin Cheese Mart, 1028 N. Old World Third St., is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Monday. See wisconsincheesemart.com.

SafeHouse 

One of those spots that always pop up on “things to do in Milwaukee” lists, the SafeHouse is worth a visit at least once for its spy-themed fun that begins with a speakeasy-style entrance. That entrance is in an alley and requires visitors to say the secret password or pass a “clearance test” (usually something silly or embarrassing) that is broadcast on TVs in the restaurant. The restaurant and bar — which got a facelift after Marcus Corp. acquired it in 2015 — includes spy-themed diversions and artifacts, plus a Magic Bar with a magician performing tricks.  

More information: The SafeHouse’s entrance is at 779 N. Front St., the alley south of Wells Street across from the Pabst Theater. Look for the red door marked by a placard that says International Exports, Ltd. It’s open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-close Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The bar and restaurant is family friendly before 8 p.m. Reservations are available. For more information, call (414) 271-2007 or see safe-house.com

More to explore in the future 

America's Black Holocaust Museum, 401 W. North Ave., seeks to educate visitors on Black history, including the ongoing legacy of slavery and the Jim Crow era. Founded in a storefront in 1984 by James Cameron, who survived a lynching in Indiana in 1930, the museum moved to its own building in 1988. It’s been closed since 2008 but is set to reopen in a new space in February as part of a $17.7 million redevelopment project in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Call (414) 209-3640 or see abhmuseum.org

North Point Lighthouse and Museum, 2650 N. Wahl Ave., provides a glimpse into Milwaukee’s maritime history and offers views of surrounding Lake Park and Lake Michigan from its 74-foot tower. The lighthouse is closed for the rest of 2021 after a flood caused damage this summer, but tours are typically offered from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  

Contact Chelsey Lewis at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @chelseylew and @TravelMJS and Facebook at Journal Sentinel Travel.

RELATED: Bucket list: 25 top things to do in Milwaukee

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Source : https://www.jsonline.com/story/entertainment/2021/11/04/things-do-inside-milwaukee-when-you-have-visitors-town/8571677002/

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