Back in July, I had the chance to spend the weekend with some of my favorite people, in one of my favorite cities. It honestly feels like it was a month ago, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to tell you about it. It was a great girls’ weekend filled with amazing food and so much fun.
Our trip was sponsored by Visit Milwaukee, and we couldn’t have asked for a better host. We stayed at Potawatmi Hotel & Casino, which has an amazing city skyline view and has a really convenient central location so you can really maximize your time experiencing everything that Milwaukee has to offer. My only complaint is that we didn’t have enough time to do everything.
I started my weekend a little early, and visited with my best friend who happens to live just outside of Milwaukee in Brookfield. We made a quick trip to Ikea and had lunch at Bel-Air Cantina. They have tons of dairy free taco options and some really killer guac. I also had an awesome mezcal Paloma, which I plan to replicate at home really soon.
After checking into our rooms, we started our weekend with a Wisconsin tradition – Friday night fish fry at Lakefront Brewery. A lot of their beers are vegan-friendly, and the fried fish option (with the exception of the coleslaw) was dairy free and amazing. There was live polka music and community-style seating that really took the Wisconsin-feels to a whole new level.
After dinner, we headed to German Fest. For those of you who don’t know, Milwaukee is the king of summer festivals, and I think there might be festival every single weekend in the summer. Summerfest is obviously a huge one, but I love the more food-centric, heritage-based festivals like German Fest and Bastille Day. If you are in Milwaukee in the summer, you have to attend at least one.
After Germanfest we wandered around, hit up a few bars and ended at Milwaukee Ale House, sitting on the balcony, overlooking the water. It was the perfect place to unwind and catch up since we only get to see each other one or twice a year.
The next morning, we got a quick breakfast at the lakefront’s iconic Collectivo Coffee. I’m not going to lie, the crowd was crazy and no one in the restaurant knew what ingredients were in the food. I ended up getting an egg sandwich that was delicious, but it definitely wasn’t dairy free. I wasn’t even able to order it without cheese. There were a few vegan options that would have been safe, but I was starving and overwhelmed by all the people there. It was a major fail on my part. The iced coffee was amazing and totally dairy free.
From there, we walked to the Milwaukee Art Museum. It was an absolutely perfect day for walking, and it only took us about 15 – 20 minutes (I think). The museum was awesome, and there was such a wide variety of art that it really made the visit fun. Plus, I love a nice quiet museum (as long as I haven’t been on my feet for four days straight like when we were at the Louvre), and, even after living in Milwaukee and visiting a million times, I had never been there.
Next, we hiked to the Milwaukee Public Market, and browsed the crowded shops before eventually deciding to get a bloody Mary with beer chaser. After that we shopped a little more while sipping an lavender almond milk iced latte. I picked up my favorite Fox Pointe seasoning from The Spice House and vegan chocolate chip cookie. And, before we left, we sat down and sampled some wine flights. It was not a bad afternoon.
We uber-ed across town to the Brady Street festival and stopped at Glorioso’s Italian Market before heading back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner in Wauwatosa.
While dinner at any pizza place isn’t ideal for a dairy free diet, dinner at Pizzeria Piccola was still delicious. The employees were super helpful and made my bolognese without cheese. We also had salad, some really great bruschetta and a lot of wine, but the best part of the restaurant was the outside patio. Gorgeous ambiance and fun, live music.
We were supposed to stop by the beer gardens at Hoyt Park, but we ran out of time, so we hopped across the street and had margaritas at Jose’s Blue Sombrero until it was time to head back to the hotel.
And, our weekend wouldn’t have been complete if Ashleigh didn’t teach me how to play slots, and I was so happy that there was a smoke-free area in the casino. It made the experience so much better.
By the time Sunday rolled around, we were all ready to get home to our kiddos. We had planned on going to Sweet Diner or Blue’s Egg for brunch, but it just didn’t happen.
Dairy free travel tips:
No matter how much I love living here, Wisconsin makes it especially hard to live dairy free. I know it’s part of the culture, so I try to give my home state a break. Larger cities like Milwaukee tends to have more dairy free and vegan-friendly options, but I still make sure to clarify everything when we’re eating out. If you’re looking for more information on dining out, these tips are a great place to start.