Planning a Trip
By Plane -- The General Mitchell International Airport (tel. 414/747-5300; www.mitchellairport.com) is 6 miles south of downtown, a 15-minute drive on I-94 West to I-794 East. One-way transportation to downtown costs $13 via Airport Connection shuttle service (tel. 800/236-5450; reservations recommended); $2 via the local Transit System (Rte. 80 serves the airport); $7 via Amtrak to its station at 433 W. St. Paul Ave.; and $30 via taxi.
By Train -- Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) provides service from Chicago (trip time: 1 1/2 hr.) and Minneapolis/St. Paul (6 1/4 hr.) to its station at 433 W. St. Paul Ave.
By Car -- Milwaukee is 90 miles from Chicago, a 1 1/2-hour drive, and 80 miles from Madison, also a 1 1/2-hour drive. Both cities are reached via I-94.
By Ferry -- The Lake Express Ferry (tel. 866/914-1010; www.lake-express.com) offers high-speed car and passenger service from Muskegon, Michigan (trip time: 2 1/2 hr.). One-way fares are $70 for adults, $40 for children, $80 for autos.
The Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau has an office inside the Midwest Airlines Center at 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, 53203 (tel. 800/554-1448 or 414/273-7222; www.visitmilwaukee.org).
The Milwaukee County Transit System (tel. 414/344-6711; www.ridemcts.com) offers service downtown and into the suburbs for $2. From early June through mid-August, the MCTS operates a free Trolley on a downtown Milwaukee loop, hitting all the big attractions and popular shopping, dining, and lodging locations. During lakeside festivals like Summerfest, MCTS provides downtown Shuttle service between events, hotels, and city parking lots for $3 round-trip. If you plan to venture outside the immediate downtown, it's best to drive.
Special Events & Festivals
There are dozens of festivals held throughout the year. The biggest and best include Summerfest (tel. 800/273-FEST [273-3378]; www.summerfest.com), with over 700 bands on 11 waterfront stages for nearly 2 weeks in late June and early July; and Irish Fest (tel. 414/476-3378; www.irishfest.com), in mid-August, the world's largest Irish cultural festival. In early August, the Wisconsin State Fair (tel. 800/884-FAIR [884-3247]; www.wistatefair.com) features entertainment, auto races, exhibits, fireworks, and more.