Milwaukee is a city full of festivals, flavors, and rich cultural heritage. In addition to all its charms, the city is a great base to take a trip from whether you’re a Milwaukee resident or visiting on vacation.
So, we’re looking beyond the city limits to share the best weekend destinations with you!
At City Tours MKE, we love sharing our hometown with old and new faces. Our Milwaukee Tours are created with local knowledge to showcase the city’s highlights, from the Milwaukee Brewery Tour’s tasty beers to landmarks on our Iconic Milwaukee Tour.
But even we like a weekend away sometimes!
If you’re planning a visit to one of the United States’ most culturally diverse capitals, get in touch! Our friendly team is happy to help plan a hassle-free trip to Milwaukee, and its surrounding areas, so you see the best of the Midwest.
But, for now, let’s take a look at the top 5 destinations you can visit for a weekend getaway from Milwaukee…
1. Madison, Wisconsin is a Great Weekend Trip from Milwaukee
While Milwaukee may overshadow Madison, the state’s capital city is not to be missed. Built on an isthmus — a strip of land — between two lakes, Madison is packed with history and art.
Start at the towering Wisconsin State Capitol and grab a bite in the cozy college-town coffee shops.
You can stroll around the waterfront’s manicured Olbrich Botanical Gardens or rent a bike to explore the city’s multiple bike trails.
With five lakes to enjoy and plenty of outdoor activities, this quintessential Midwestern city is well worth the 70-minute drive from Milwaukee.
2. Visit Door County, Wisconsin on a Weekend Getaway
Head 2 hours and 25 minutes north of Milwaukee and you’ll arrive at Door County.
Located on a peninsula between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, this beautiful stretch of land is known for its parks and 300 miles of shoreline.
If you like lighthouses, you’re in luck! Amongst all the outdoor activities Door County has to offer, there are 11 historic lighthouses in the area.
We recommend visiting one of them at sunrise or sunset for unforgettable views.
If you want to try the local flavors, get in on Door County’s famous Cherry Bounce.
The city is famous for its cherries and locals soak them for months in alcohol on sugar to make this boozy drink with a kick.
3. Race to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for a Weekend Trip
Home to the famous Road America, Elkhart Lake has been hosting races on the world’s fastest permanent track since the 1950s.
Speed freaks can head over to the track to see motorsport races from May through September.
If you want to go at a slower pace, step into the vast expanse of Kettle Moraine State Forest.
Visitors can picnic, hike, swim, ride, or camp — and more! — in the 22,000 acres of prairies and glacial hills.
Open all year round, the park is an outdoor wonderland in any season.
4. Enjoy Apostle Islands, Wisconsin on Your Weekend Vacation
If you’re looking for unbeatable views and idyllic beaches, look no further than Apostle Islands. The northernmost town on our list, the Apostle Islands is a group of 22 islands on Lake Superior.
Drive 3 and a half hours north of Milwaukee to Apostle Islands and set sail on pristine waters.
This is a must-see spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
There are many ways to explore the islands, whether you prefer cruising around the islands, swimming in sea caves, or hiking to Lost Creek Falls, Apostle Islands is a breath of fresh air.
An ideal place to unwind and lose yourself in nature!
5. Cross the Border to Minneapolis, Minnesota on Your Weekend Away
While Minnesota and Wisconsin may have a long-standing history of college football rivalry, we’ve still got a soft spot for our neighbors to the west of Milwaukee.
Just a 5-hour drive across the border, Minneapolis is another cultural capital of the Midwest.
Pick up some souvenirs in the vast Mall of America or take in the city’s latest exhibition at the Walker Arts Center and stroll around the free Sculpture Garden.
The city also has loads of lakes, but the roaring Saint Anthony Falls is the only natural waterfall on the Mississippi River and it’s located in the middle of downtown!
That brings us to the end of our top 5 weekend destinations from Milwaukee. If you’re inspired to start packing and want to visit Milwaukee before your mini-vacation, let us know.
We’re ready to welcome you to the city to share its unmissable attractions before you head out of town.
We’ve been sharing our hometown’s history with travelers since 2013 and have plenty of epic Milwaukee Events and Activities to give you a taste of!
There’s always a festival happening, Why is Milwaukee Known as the City of Festivals? and beer flowing, which makes for a lively, communal atmosphere. We can’t wait for you to experience it.