The Milwaukee Art Museum has a far-reaching collection of all types from art to antiquities to contemporary. The original building, War Memorial Center, was built in 1957 and designed by famous architect Eero Saarinen. The second building designed by David Kahler, and opened in 1975, houses the famous Bradley Collection of Modern Art. This wing was recently remodeled and is very attractive. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion opened in 2001 and contains exhibition spaces, the auditorium café and store. I heard him speak at the Arts Club of Chicago about how he designed it to look like a white dove or bird with wings. The wings or Burke Brise Soleil actually open and close at certain times of the day throughout the week. Seeing his building is well-worth the trip to Milwaukee.
The museum is just east of downtown Milwaukee along Lake Michigan at 700 North Art Museum Drive. Make sure to walk across the Reiman Pedestrian Bridge towards downtown to view the amazing architecture as well as along the lake behind the museum.
Not to be missed is the afternoon tea service at the historic Pfister Hotel. It is a short walk from the museum. Located on the 23rd floor in the hotel’s Blu cocktail lounge, this is an elegant tea with wonderful savory bites along with the best scones and desserts. They serve Rishi tea which is a Milwaukee based company. What sets this experience apart from other teas is the presentation by the Pfister Tea Butler who tells the story behind each tea and allows you to smell each one and pick the best one for you. The views of downtown are really outstanding as well.
Another great experience is to visit Mader’s Restaurant for its classic German cuisine. Mader’s has been a popular destination since it opened in 1902. I loved the Bavarian decor and the traditional food. I went for their Sunday brunch buffet which allowed me to try a number of their German dishes! It has been visited over the years by many presidents, actors and musicians. 1041 N Old World 3rd St,
The museum has an attractive restaurant, but I opted to eat at the attractive Harbor House Restaurant located along the water, where I could see the great views of the museum. It is known for its seafood, steaks and raw bar. The food was very good. It is at 500 N. Harbor Drive, across from the Discovery World Museum.
Nearby is Colectivo Coffee. Colectivo, formerly Alterra Coffee, is a local coffee chain that serves wonderful coffee and great pastries from their bakery, Troubadour Bakery, in Bay View. The Lakefront location at 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. is perfect on a beautiful day when you can sit outside and enjoy the weather when you are downtown or at the Milwaukee Art Museum.