Milwaukee Lakefront and Iroquois Boat Cruise

Milwaukee Travel Blog

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Downtown from the lagoon

So today instead of going out of town like I tell myself I'm going to do on Tuesdays, I decided to just walk around Milwaukee and then take an informational boat tour.  It was one of those rare nice days here in Milwaukee...yippee!  First stop for my day was to go to Alterra on the Lakefront.  Alterra's is a local coffee shop that when I first moved here had like 3 locations and now seems to have locations popping up everywhere.  I actually don't drink coffee, so I just got a croissant and chilled out with the 50 or so other people hanging out.  I really like this location of Alterra because it is always so busy and I am always wondering why these people aren't at work!  What I don't like about this location is that you are right by the lakefront, but can't actually see the lake.

Art Museum from the boat ride
   (A small tidbit of history that I read somewhere: The building Alterra is in is in an old water pumping station from the 1800s and the county leased the space to Alterra for cheap.)  So, anyway, I have to say that my croissant wasn't that great, it was a little too chewy.  I should have stuck with the bountiful garden muffin which is what I usually get and it is quite yummy!  So I finished up my chewy croissant and headed out to the Milwaukee Harbor Pier.  I love this pier though I don't go out to it that often.  Whenever I go and look at the water I can imagine I am somewhere great and exotic and not in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I took Nichelle (my barbie that I use as a flat stanley type thing) with me and took some pictures of her on the pier.
The patio at Harbor 550 (open to the public)
  All the fishermen looked at me like I was crazy!

After I finished up at the pier I walked up towards the Art museum and passed the Juneau Lagoon and the Milwaukee Yacht Club.  They were having sailing lessons going on so I watched that for a little bit.  Man, I wish I had learned to sail when I was a kid (or an adult)!  Of course being from Columbus, OH there is no water to sail on!  I have taken my nieces and nephews paddleboating on the lagoon and it was entertaining for them, but it's a little boring to me.  I want to try out the hydro bikes though.

Today being such a nice day, I passed people flying kites, riding tandem bikes and a number of folks on segways.  The kites and the bikes are available at stands in the park behind the lagoon.

Sail boat lessons in the inner harbor
  I have always wondered where they get the segways, but today I would find out.    I walked out past the Art Museum to what used to be Pieces of Eight, but is now Harbor 550 (the address).  Now this place is Milwaukee's only real lakefront dining and it has an awesome patio that can be used by the public.  I haven't been since the change-over, but Pieces of Eight was a disappointment.  The food was average, the service below average and the prices above average.  That being said, it's still a great place to have drinks in the evening because the location is unbeatable.  Hopefully, the food and service are better now.  I will make a point to make it back there this summer.  Anyway, onward to Discovery World.
Alterra on the Lakefront
  I have never been inside of Discovery World because I am waiting for my nieces and nephews to come back into town to take them.  I did however discover Segways!!!!  Yep, if you are ever in Milwaukee and want to take a Segway tour...head to Discovery World.  Now, just past Discovery World is a new park.  It's nice, but last time I was there I was stalked by a coyote so at this point I turn around.  

 It's only eleven o'clock by now, but I need to eat lunch before my 1pm boat tour so I give Koby a call and see if he wants to meet me at Swig, a restaurant in the Historic Third Ward.  I am surprised how close the 3rd Ward is to me; I make it there at the same time as Koby and he drove!  We decide to eat inside at a table next to the windows that open up.

Swig
  Now, I loved Swig when it was on Water Street, but it was kind of out of place there, so this is a better location.  Of course, the location on Broadway used to be Sauce and I really liked that place too.  We were super early for lunch so the service was excellent, actually, the staff outnumbered patrons when we first arrived, but it had drawn a crowd by the time we left!  We finished up eating and I declined Koby's offer to give me a ride to the boat tour.  The tour departs right by the Chase building on the riverfront and the walk was like 5 - 10 minutes.  I stopped briefly at the Milwaukee Public Market to pick up a cashew bar from the C Adams Bakery - Yum!!

Apparently, this 1pm tour on the Iroquois is not a hot ticket because there were just 15 or so people on the ride - which is fine with me.

Sailboat lessons in the lagoon
  I usually take the Edelweiss Margarita Cruise which is all you can eat tacos and margaritas and that boat ride is crowded!  I was looking forward to this informative tour so I could learn more about the buildings in Milwaukee.  The boat ride was $14 which isn't much and you don't get much information.  The guide said things like "On your left are condo buildings!"  So, needless to say I didn't learn anything new!  He did confirm something I had suspected though.  There is this bridge right in the middle of the river which appears to go nowhere, but back in the day when the railroad was running, it rotated to allow trains to cross the river and then rotated back to its current position to allow boats to travel the river.
Bridge opening for us to pass
  Kinda interesting!  Also fun, is watching the streets either lift or open to allow our boat to pass under the bridges.  Fun for us, but since I have been at the bridge waiting numerous times, I know that it's not so fun when you are in your car trying to get some place!

So anyway, my first Milwaukee tourism for my travel blog was a little bit of a let down.  I was really hoping to get some good informative information on this tour (like the one in Chicago, which is fantastic).  Oh well, this is just Milwaukee!   So on my walk home I decide I want some ice cream.  I can't think of a single place downtown to get ice cream except the Chocolate Factory in Grand Avenue Mall, but I've already passed that.

Harbor 550
  Then I remember this little place on Old World Third Street right by where the other boat cruises leave from.  I walk all the way there 10 minutes or so and the owner is just sitting on a chair by the door.  "No ice cream," he tells me.  Apparently, over the weekend the power went out and all the ice cream melted!  Darn the luck! 

sweetsummerdaiz says:
I love that you blog about Milwaukee! I do the same for cities near me as they are under-represented, too. Your blogs will help me when I visit!
Posted on: Sep 14, 2009
homeres says:
Yes I took one of those boat rides last month, it was wonderful...sangria with a bunch of happy people : )
Posted on: Sep 07, 2008
jebailey76 says:
Milwaukee isn't a bad city. Maybe, I should check it out:)
Posted on: Jul 17, 2008
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Downtown from the lagoon
Downtown from the lagoon
Art Museum from the boat ride
Art Museum from the boat ride
The patio at Harbor 550 (open to t…
The patio at Harbor 550 (open to …
Sail boat lessons in the inner har…
Sail boat lessons in the inner ha…
Alterra on the Lakefront
Alterra on the Lakefront
Swig
Swig
Sailboat lessons in the lagoon
Sailboat lessons in the lagoon
Bridge opening for us to pass
Bridge opening for us to pass
Harbor 550
Harbor 550
Discovery World
Discovery World
Discovery World
Discovery World
Segway Tour sign
Segway Tour sign
Entrance to the Pier
Entrance to the Pier
The Pier
The Pier
View to the North from the pier
View to the North from the pier
View to the south from the pier
View to the south from the pier
Nichelle at the Pier
Nichelle at the Pier
Milwaukee Public market
Milwaukee Public market
Inside the Milwaukee Public Market
Inside the Milwaukee Public Market
Bridge Raising the street
Bridge Raising the street
Condos on the left
"Condos on the left"
The bridge to nowhere
The bridge to nowhere
More Condos on the left - plus the…
More Condos on the left - plus th…
Hoan Bridge
Hoan Bridge
Hoan Bridge
Hoan Bridge
Pulbic Market from the boat ride
Pulbic Market from the boat ride
Discovery World from the boat ride
Discovery World from the boat ride
Me!
Me!
Milwaukee Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Small plate dining
Swig is a hip restaurant in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. This place really is at its best in the summer when they roll the windows up (garage sty… read entire review
Milwaukee
photo by: nik2blessed