3 Unique Teambuilding Activities in Milwaukee for Your Next Event
Cooking class at Milwaukee Public Market
Milwaukee’s reputation as a premier meetings and events destination is only increasing. The city is set to debut a newly expanded Baird Center (formerly Wisconsin Center) that will double the facility’s space to total more than 1.3 million square feet this May. The convention center elevates the Wisconsin Center District campus, which also includes the UWM Panther Arena and the Miller High Life Theatre.
Big events are coming to town in 2024 too, including the Republican National Convention, which will be held at both Fiserv Forum and the Wisconsin Center District.
As many meetings and conventions groups—both repeat and new—venture to Wisconsin’s biggest city in 2024, they shouldn’t miss a chance to branch out of the meeting room and network while participating in some only-in-Milwaukee experiences. From cooking classes with local chefs and paddling along the Milwaukee River to volunteer opportunities that keep its natural surroundings pristine, these teambuilding ideas in Milwaukee will excite and engage attendees.
Cooking Classes at Milwaukee Public Market
Just over a half mile from the Baird Center is Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward district, teeming with restaurants, art galleries, shopping, theaters and more. One of the biggest attractions in the district is Milwaukee Public Market, which is a unique food destination featuring a variety of vendors, from those selling artisan products to freshly prepared food.
Groups visiting Milwaukee shouldn’t miss a trip to Milwaukee Public Market, even if only to try unique local products like hand-dipped chocolate from Kehr’s Candies, in business since 1930; locally owned, small-batch roaster Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. for a morning or afternoon pick-me-up; or a meal from Café Benelux where the unique culture of Lowlands Europe is on display, featuring from-scratch menu items inspired by The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Milwaukee or one of the cafe’s award-winning Belgian biers, among other vendors.
If more time is open on the agenda, Milwaukee Public Market is known for its cooking classes. Located on the second level, the state-of-the-art Madame Liane Kuony’s Demonstration Kitchen regularly hosts classes taught by the building’s vendors, top chefs in the area and independent instructors. Planners can work with Milwaukee Public House to arrange a private teambuilding cooking class in the kitchen, where attendees can channel their inner foodies while networking in the process.
Pedal Tavern and Paddle Tavern Tours
One of Milwaukee’s nicknames is “Brew City,” and it’s well-known for the homage it pays to the humble pint (the city’s MLB team is aptly named the Milwaukee Brewers). Therefore, sampling the local beer seems like a must for attendees that enjoy the craft beverage scene. There are many ways to do so in Milwaukee, but a ride on land or water with Milwaukee Pedal Tavern or Paddle Tavern Tours—sister companies—are some of the most unique.
The Pedal Tavern Tour allows groups of up to 16 to bike their way through downtown Milwaukee and explore the bar scene and local sights around Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward and Fifth Ward/Walker’s Point neighborhoods. Tour guides can recommend pub stops or groups can customize a tour for up to two hours. Riders will also receive drink specials at each bar. For corporate groups, the Pedal Tavern fleet includes six bikes, each with a capacity of 16, making it possible to accommodate groups of 96. Whether a local corporation or visiting for a group meeting, it’s a unique way to explore the history of Milwaukee and bond with co-workers or new connections over a pint.
On the Paddle Tavern Tour, groups will take to the waters of the Milwaukee River and paddle through the city, seeing the sights from a different vantage point while networking. Up to three boats of 14 people each can be acquired for private rental. Two Duffy boats are also available, which can fit 12 people each. Groups can opt to bring their own beverages and snacks, and a captain and first mate will take care of the hard work. Tours typically last up to two hours, though custom tours can be arranged, with alternate drop-off points on non-peak days. According to Paddle Tavern Tours, some groups make at least one stop to a local river bar, though how often—if at all—a group wants to stop is up to them.
Bars & Rec Venues
Sometimes a low-stakes game is the perfect teambuilding activity following a long day of meetings. Bars & Rec in Milwaukee is a group of activity bars with immersive experiences and teambuilding activities at-the-ready for groups. Highlights of their venues include the following:
- Amped: Located in the Brewery District, Amped actually has two dedicated meeting and event spaces, which can serve as the spot for an offsite professional meeting during the day, and then transition to a karaoke-filled evening when business is done. The 9,000-square-foot venue can host up to 250 people and features 10 various-sized suites outfitted with state-of-the-art AV equipment, colorful furniture and decor, and a user-friendly karaoke system. Teambuilding-specific games include Name-That-Tune Bingo, City Photo Hunt Challenges and more, and planners can work with the staff to create a custom event.
- AXE MKE: If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ve probably heard of it. Axe-throwing has grown in popularity as a team outing across the country, and AXE MKE is Milwaukee’s version of the game. There are 12 lanes that can host up to 99 guests, and axe masters on staff help participants land that perfect bull’s-eye.
- Game Show MKE: Whether you have a competitive group or are just looking for some fun nostalgia, Game Show MKE in the Brewery District treats your crew to live-hosted tests of skill that are reminiscent of day-time game shows, including timed challenges and trivia games. The venue can accommodate up to 36 guests.
- Nine Below: Located in the heart of Milwaukee’s East Side, Nine Below is build-your-own mini golf with a full bar and catering options. This is where the creativity of your attendees can shine, and the course is different every time you play. The venue for up to 179 includes 18 customizable mini golf holes and over 200 obstacle options of varying themes and sizes.
- NorthSouth Club: In Walker’s Point, up to 299 guests can step into NorthSouth Club to experience either axe-throwing or deck shuffleboard for a fun event. The venue comes with 16 axe-throwing lanes and seven deck shuffleboard courts, plus a full-service bar. Pros for both games are on staff to walk attendees through the best tips and tricks for each activity.