This Midwest City Is The Ultimate Vacation Spot For Food Lovers

Overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a city steeped in rich history and tradition. Far beyond its widely recognized cheese and beer roots, this midwestern culinary destination has carved out a name for itself in the food world — and it's not slowing down any time soon.

Proud of its German heritage, vibrant music festivals, decades-old breweries, and thriving farmers markets, it's no surprise that the "Cream City" has recently become a go-to for famous chefs, restauranteurs, and foodies looking for the next big thing. Whether it's historic eateries that have stood the test of time or innovative kitchens working to push the boundaries of modern cuisine, Milwaukee is in the midst of a gastronomic renaissance. And with an exciting mix of upscale dining experiences and laid-back restaurants dotted around town, the city is sure to offer an unexpected yet delightful haven for food enthusiasts of all wants and needs.

A cheesy, yeasty affair

Let's get one thing straight: In Milwaukee, cheese isn't just food — it's a culture. A tradition that sees both locals and tourists indulging in the finest delicacies, Milwaukeeans' love of dairy dates back over a century. Initially, Wisconsin's dairy industry attracted expert European cheesemakers emigrating to United States. From there, the art continued to grow. And, by the 1920s, there were nearly 3,000 cheese factories operating in the state. Today, spots like the Wisconsin Cheese Mart keep the story alive. Offering everything from locally sourced aged cheddar to brie, gouda, and beyond, it's easy to get your fill and enjoy some local delicacies at the same time.

And what better way to enjoy some of the state's rich assortment of cheeses than to pair them with a cold brew? Luckily, Milwaukee has you covered there, too. The city's history is overflowing with stories of iconic breweries — some of which have even evolved into landmarks. With a beer culture that's both authentic and vibrant, there's a reason Milwaukee earned the moniker "Beer Capital of the World": They love beer, and they also know how to make a great one.

With household names like Eagle Park Brewing Company, Lakefront Brewery, and the Milwaukee Brewing Co., each offers its own unique twist on the drink — from playing around with new flavor combinations to creating their own gluten-free brews — which makes Milwaukee the perfect place for seasoned beer lovers to try something new, always with a refreshing pint in hand.

Milwaukee's rich dining scene

But Milwaukee's culinary journey doesn't end with cheese and beer — that barely scratches the surface. In spite of being the punchline for many jokes — most of which compare it to its bigger, more famous neighbor, Chicago — Milwaukee hasn't let these stereotypes slow it down in terms of dining. On one hand, when it comes to laid-back dining, the city's brimming with flavor. Love the taste of a good BBQ? Speed Queen Bar-B-Q is for you. Curious about the city's "beer and brat" tradition? Stop by The Vanguard for a taste of their scratch-made sausages. Looking to venture outside of the U.S. for some international cuisine? Triciclo Peru and La Dama will never disappoint. Ready to top things off with a sweet treat? Head over to Kopp's Frozen Custard for a dessert. 

Fine dining enthusiasts won't be disappointed either. With popular spots like Birch, known for its wood-fired menu, and Ardent, a 2016 James Beard finalist where seasonal ingredients come to shine, Milwaukee's fine dining is more than fine, it's spectacular. And don't forget Odd Duck – a staple in the city with its small plates, craft cocktails, and unassuming attitude, it's inspired many a gourmet adventure. Simply put, Milwaukee's up-and-coming dining scene is hard to ignore — and you don't want to miss out.