The Milwaukee area’s vast array of standout group off-site venues represents everything from its rich history to its impressive lineup of cultural experiences.
Following are six of the area’s top attractions, including an acclaimed museum, a must-visit zoo, a popular performance arts center and a delicious local brewery where planners can throw memorable events ranging from a 20-person luncheon to a 1,000-person gala.
The Milwaukee Public Museum is a natural history museum located downtown with three floors of indoor exhibit space that includes life-size dioramas, mummies, dinosaurs and a planetarium.
The museum’s Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, dating to 1965, is a walk-through diorama of the city at the turn of the 19th century.
“Depending on your space selection, groups could find themselves dining underneath a 36-foot-long humpback whale skeleton or on the cobblestone streets of the newly reimagined Streets of Old Milwaukee,” said Jill Engl, the museum’s director of events.
With 80,000 square feet of event space, including a 212-seat lecture hall, the museum regularly hosts presentations, meetings, receptions, galas, tradeshows and conferences for 10 to 3,500 people. On-site catering is available to work with planners on the perfect menu. Unique experiences may coincide with events at the museum, Engl added.
“Add an interactive, planetarium educator-led sky talk or giant film for 260 guests in our six-story Dome Theater and Planetarium, the largest in Wisconsin, or schedule a docent-led tour of the Streets of Old Milwaukee for a guided stroll into Milwaukee’s past,” she said.
Pending availability, groups can also enjoy browsing limited-engagement exhibits during the event. This spring, for example, from Feb. 10 through May 28, guests can experience Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.
The museum also provides complimentary themed scavenger hunts for groups on request.
Also located in downtown Milwaukee, in buildings that are certified historic structures on the National Register of Historic Places, is Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery.
“Best Place offers a unique slice of architectural history,” said Mark R. Bertieri, the venue’s marketing coordinator.
Original architectural details and furnishings remain, including ornate woodwork, carvings and brickwork, stained-glass windows, statues, painted murals and Captain Pabst’s original roll-top desk.
The venue’s halls and courtyards are available for an array of events that accommodate up to 600 people, from banquets and conferences to seminars and tradeshows. Spaces, including Blue Ribbon Hall, Captain’s Corner and the speakeasy, possess an Old-World charm.
“The Prohibition-era speakeasy was once an infirmary, possibly haunted by a few friendly spirits,” Bertieri said.
While food is not available on-site, Best Place works with some of the Milwaukee area’s best caterers.
“We can also incorporate one of our famous beer history tours along with a breakfast, luncheon or dinner in connection with your event or simply during a meeting break,” Bertieri added.
The brewmaster and brewer at Raised Grain Brewing Company are University of Wisconsin graduates with medical degrees and a keen interest in brewing, according to Tammy Tritz, executive director of the Waukesha Pewaukee CVB.
“Each of them is in the medical practice but equally active in the beer industry,” she said. “Raised Grain is a two-time gold medal winner at the U.S. Open Beer Championship.
Not bad for two doctors!”