With all of the traveling that I do it dawned on me that I haven’t taken the time to talk about my hometown! My husband and I don’t often go out when we’re home because we prefer to stay in, cook dinner together and enjoy a nice bottle of wine. Recently I decided that we were going to enjoy a few date nights and days right here in Milwaukee. What I learned is that there are a lot of really amazing places to dine and fun things to do here and I don’t always need to rush out of town to enjoy myself. Today I’m sharing with you some of the best date ideas for Milwaukee so that if you live here or if you come for a visit you will have a good idea of how to plan your time with your honey!
The Traditional Date
Let’s start by talking about some traditional date ideas….dinner and drinks on a Friday night in Milwaukee can present you with a lot of options. Here’s what I suggest: pretend you’re in Europe for the night and stop by Fauntelroy for a French inspired meal. Their French onion soup is rich and delicious, the cheese plate will pair perfectly with any of their wine selections and the Steak Frites will make you feel like you’re sitting on a sidewalk in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant itself is cozy and perfectly decorated like a bistro in France. They even offer a great happy hour during the week where you can try their Grand Royale burger at a discount!
Follow up your meal with drinks at Café Benelux around the corner in the Third Ward. This hot spot is also one of my favorite brunch locations in the city. This restaurant is perfect if you love a unique beer because they offer a huge selection of Belgian beers on tap or in bottles to meet every flavor profile. Their patio is also really great in the summer because it’s on the rooftop and you can people watch with ease. In the winter they transform the rooftop with Lux Domes that look like igloos and are perfect for parties of 8 with fun food and beverage packages.
The Afternoon Lunch Date
Milwaukee offers a variety of fun activities around the city from museums to a variety of other cool things to do as a couple. I recently had the chance to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum where I learned all about the past, present and future of these iconic bikes. If you’re an extreme enthusiast you can even sit on a live bike, fire up the engine and learn how to shift through the gears on the bike.
My favorite afternoon attraction is the Milwaukee Art Museum. The museum was recently renovated and features over 31,000 works of art dating back to 1888. Some notable pieces come from Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Paul Gauguin. They also feature a constant flow of special exhibits including the most recent collection of European Masterworks. Also notable of the art museum is the Burke Brise Soleil which is a movable wing that sits atop of the building. The wings open and close based on wind speed and certainly creates a unique attraction in the Milwaukee skyline.
Right next door to the art museum is Discovery World, perfect for your inner-child. This fun-house of sorts features Les Paul’s House of Sound, an aquarium and a virtual reality exhibit! If you’re looking for more of an experience on your day-date, check out Discovery World.
Before or after your museum visit you can stop by the Milwaukee Public Market and grab a bit to eat. The market is one of my favorite lunch spots in the Third Ward and features a variety of food vendors, artisan goods, and they even offer cooking classes. Some of my favorite lunch spots include Margarita Paradise for tacos, St. Paul Fish Company for the best lobster roll around and Thief Wine Shop for a glass of wine. You can even take some goods home including candies, spices and cheese from Wisconsin.
The Sunday Brunch Date
Brunch is something that I don’t do often enough but am always a sucker for a fancy Bloody Mary! I don’t eat eggs so it really limits my breakfast fare but I love that brunch combines lunch favorites with a breakfast spin. Smoke Shack is a great place for a Sunday Brunch Date, also located in the Third Ward. While I love their lunch and dinner plates, they really spice it up with their Sunday blue brunch featuring live music! I love to go here because it reminds me of being in Memphis or Kansas City. If you head here on a brunch date you must try their Biscuits and Gravy with pulled pork or their amazing Fried Chicken ‘n’ Poblano Waffles! And don’t forget the classic Bloody Mary with smoked sausage and cheese to top it off. Brunch is a great way to get out of the house on a Sunday for some time together over tasty food and conversation about the week ahead.
The only thing better than a date with your bae is a date with 2 other friends for a classic double-date! More often than not my husband and I double-date on the weekends because it’s a great chance to catch up with friends. A great place for your next double date is Onesto, also in the Third Ward. (Do you see a trend here?!) Since I’m a fan of all things Italian, and because I really feel like Italian’s know how to have fun, Onesto is a great spot to enjoy some tasty pasta, sharable appetizers and a delicious bottle of wine. Their menu features these delicious ‘jars’ with spreadable things like tapenade or fig and gorgonzola cheese. They also offer a great selection of meats and cheeses priced per person served on board with things like olives and nuts.
For dinner I suggest the Bolognese or their Acorn Squash Risotto. Both offer a burst of flavor in every bite and who can honestly pass up risotto?! The pasta served with the bolognese is freshly made in house and is complemented by freshly grated Parmesan. And of course, you cannot pass up one of their indulgent Italian desserts!
Onesto offers a great atmosphere for a double-date, and will make you feel like you’re in Italy.
The Fancy Date
This is probably one of my favorite kind of dates! It’s not too often that I get to get all dressed up for a hot night out on the town with my husband. Our all-time favorite fancy date destination is Harbor House, located right near the art museum. Harbor House offers amazing views of Lake Michigan and the art museum and features a delicious fresh seafood menu. They also serve up some of the tastiest crab cakes that I’ve ever tasted.
Harbor House offers an amazing happy hour with great deals on wine, cocktails and oysters if you’re interested. I always like to show up early for my reservation and sit at the bar for a glass of wine in an intimate setting. After I enjoy my crab cake appetizer I always go for the Grilled Shrimp and Filet entree and I always ask for the French beans that they prepare so perfectly. And it wouldn’t be a meal at Harbor House without dessert; they make the BEST Key Lime Pie. No joke, I wish I had the recipe because it seriously is more amazing than their crab cakes!
Harbor House also offers a great lunch menu as well as brunch. For $45 you can get all you can eat seafood, omelettes and desserts as well as a Bloody Mary Bar! You can check out all of their menus online. Plus check out their other events happening throughout the year including their annual Lobsterpalooza!
Another great fancy date option is Morel, a farm-to-table restaurant located in Walker’s Point. If you prefer something a little more unique you can enjoy a meal at Morel where they offer unique dishes with lamb, trout and duck. They also offer a great wine list and cocktails with catchy names.
Of course there are plenty of other ideas and options out there for your next date but I hope that you take some of my suggestions into consideration! New restaurants are always popping up around the city but these are some of my favorite spots for date-night/day.