Out & About: Labor Day in Milwaukee

I’ll be the first to admit that J and I have caught the travel bug recently and have been itching to pack a bag and peace out into the sunset for a new adventure, however with both of us starting new jobs this year and my small mountain of student loans, I’m sad to say extravagant adventures are unfortunately nowhere in our future.  But a girl can dream right? (although I’m sure at this point in the relationship, J would say otherwise after the flood of Groupon Getaway Emails from yours truly on a weekly basis. Oops.)

For a quick and affordable cure for our adventure needs, we made the adult decision to stay somewhat local for the long holiday weekend (which also happened to be our anniversary weekend!) and venture up to Milwaukee to experience the very best the city has to offer in food, entertainment, and beer – can’t forget the beer!  While the trip was short and seemed to go by in a blur, I wanted to share with all of you a few highlights of the trip:

1) Miller Brewery Tour – No trip would be complete unless J and I experienced as many breweries as possible in our vacation destination. And after knowing J for the last five years, I can easily say the kid is a Miller guy through and through, which meant a trip to the Milwaukee Miller facilities was a MUST. The guided tour took us through the packaging and distribution facilities onsite, and oh boy, they certainly have this brew, produce, pack, ship down to a science! We also learned very quickly that we made up a very small, yet enthusiastic, group of Chicagoans present on the tour we were the only people cheering when we were told by our guides that “40% of the 20,000+ pallets manufactured in this facility every day is sent over the border to Chicago.”  Loud and proud, Chicago. Loud and proud.

As soon as the tour was finished, J’s dream came true and we were gifted three free beers from the brewery to enjoy on a beautiful summer afternoon. While I told him to smile for our picture together, I’m pretty sure he was smiling ear to ear because of his free Miller Lites.

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2) Exploring the Historic Third Ward – One thing that J and I really wanted out of the trip was a fairly unstructured itinerary, which of course freaked out both of our inner control freaks like crazy. After unwinding a bit from the work week though, we realized we couldn’t have made a better decision on our weekend schedule! One of the best parts of our trip was spent walking and exploring Milwaukee’s Third Ward – an area that made us feel right at home with its historic architecture, lively bars, and artistic scenery.

One bar worth mentioning – Safe House – provided quite a one-of-a kind experience with its spy-bar themed environment. I won’t give too much away about what awaits you at the bar, but I will leave you with two tips:

-Find the password before you go in. Yes, there’s a password. No, you don’t want to know what they make you do if you don’t know what it is. Yes, I learned the hard way and I’m pretty sure there’s a YouTube video circling the internet of me completing my given task. You’ve been warned.

-The bar will quickly become a fun place to hang around, but there are plenty of other interesting secret spots around the bar that are worth checking out. Like this card covered ceiling. Trust me, you need to check it out!

3) Third Ward Art Festival – On Sunday we kept with our usual Chicago weekend routine of brunching and recuperating from the day before by first stopping at Café Benelux and then walking the Third Ward Art Festival before heading home. After a long day of walking and overindulging the previous day, it’s safe to say the warm sun and laid-back ambiance was a welcome relief to the both of us.

One of the most interesting and unique booths I came across during our post-brunch stroll by the art show was home to Jennifer Lashbrook, an artist who uses paint chips to recreate oil paintings in a pixelated viewpoint. While I could have easily spent hours in her booth and dropped some serious change on her art, I’m happy to say that I was able to walk away with a small piece of her art – a pixelated painting from a well-known artist – to keep at work and spice up my cubicle. Any guesses on the painting? Click the picture below to check out her site!

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As you can tell, this trip was definitely one for the books and was the perfect temporary escape from our daily Chicago lives. How did you guys spend the last weekend of summer?

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