Five Milwaukee Activities for All Hours of the Day...and Night

Jun 3, 2013

While Milwaukee may never gain the reputation of being a city that never sleeps, there is a lot more going on during a full 24 hour day than many of us might expect.

Need an idea for a daytime activity? Try a walk in Forest Home Cemetery.
Credit (Brian Zalewski/Flickr)

While there are no longer the large numbers of 3rd shift workers there once were at the height of the city’s industrial boom, there are still many people who work hours off the normal pattern.

As writer Dan Murphy found out, there are places that cater to them and anyone else who might be up and about at 3 in the morning.

Murphy discloses other things to do or experience during the daylight hours as well that might be off your radar. Murphy’s article, "24 (Unorthodox) Hours in Milwaukee," is in the current Milwaukee Magazine, its 2013 City Guide issue.

Start with sunrise at Veteran's Park

Other than early morning joggers and bikers, Murphy says there aren't many other Milwaukeeans taking advantage of the "amazing view" of the sun coming up over the lake.

"Watching downtown wake up is cool," he says. "I would recommend it to anyone."

Take in the smells at Peter Sciortino's Bakery

As late night revelers on Brady Street know, Peter Sciortino's Bakery is whipping up delightful treats in the early hours of the morning. After the bars close, these bakers are hard at work, prepping delicious breads and pastries for the next days' crowds - all the while providing passers-by with a tempting whiff.

Murphy says get there early in the morning to beat the crowds and get first pick of the toasty loaves.

Head over to Zad's

From its exterior on 2nd Street, you might be intimidated to enter this seeming dive bar.

"You know, in my experience, you're rolling the dice when you go into a 6 a.m. bar," he says. "You're not really sure what' you're going to get, but Zad's was a pleasant surprise."

Murphy says it's clean and friendly inside, and filled with third-shift workers for whom the wee hours of the morning are happy hour.

Spend the day wandering Forest Home Cemetery

The founders of Milwaukee established Forest Home Cemetery in 1850 and since then, it's been the place to be buried for Milwaukee's elite, including Frederick Pabst, General Billy Mitchell, and three of the four original founders of Harley-Davidson.

"It's a Who's Who in the history of Milwaukee," Murphy says, "and it's gorgeous."

Indeed, its 200 acres offer trees, manicured walkways and beautiful headstones and mausoleums, creating a "weird oasis in the middle of the near South Side," he adds. Plus, the cemetery and its Landmark Chapel are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Get a night cap at Roman's Pub

Located in the heart of Bay View on KK, this neighborhood pub has some serious credentials. Murphy says it was listed as one of the country's top 100 beer bars by Draft Magazine. It's owned by Mike Roman, who Murphy describes as a gruff-but-charming beer expert.

"It has an interesting feel," Murphy says. "It's just a corner pub, but the tap list is astonishing."