Looking for a great destination to travel with your dog? For dog friendly travel look no further than Milwaukee, Wisconsin! This Midwest city is bustling with great food, entertainment and, of course, beer. Milwaukee is located on the eastern coast of Wisconsin, with beautiful views of Lake Michigan stretched along the cities lakefront.
I have loved Milwaukee since the first time I visited, and I love being a quick drive away! Milwaukee has a great vibe with the beautiful lakeshore, beaches, old buildings, and the various rivers winding throughout the city (there’s 3!). Perhaps you already knew all of this about MKE, but did you know that it is also among the most dog friendly cities in the US? It is, and for good reason! We recently partnered with Travel Wisconsin to put together a dog-friendly itinerary for Milwaukee, and we had no trouble finding plenty of places to eat, drink and be entertained with #WalterBtheJRT in tow! See below for our Dog-Friendly Weekend Itinerary for Milwaukee, our short video recap and our interactive google map!
The bar area at The Journeyman Hotel is dog friendly and on Fridays they host a dog-friendly wine hour from 5-6PM.
Dine al fresco on the patio at Cafe Benelux. Fido will enjoy people watching while you browse through their extensive beer book! Benelux is a region comprised of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg, so you’ll find a host of Belgian beers along with regional favorites such as mussels, pannenkoeken and frites! Was fun for us, since exactly one year ago we were in Belgium stuffing our faces with frites!
Meander across the road to the Wicked Hop for their specialty cocktails and dog-friendly patio!
If you’re feeling up for a nightcap, Camp Bar Third Ward is dog friendly indoors and out. If you’re lucky there’ll be live music!
Enjoy a day of Urban Kayaking on the various rivers that wind through Milwaukee. This is one of the best activities we’ve done on vacation, and can’t recommend it enough! Your dog is welcome to join you on the paddle, just bring a towel to protect the kayak from paws. You’ll want a dog who is calm (so tire them out on that walk!) and use to water. Some size restriction do apply. If you have a large breed dog you probably want to upgrade to a canoe.
On our paddle we headed up the river towards downtown Milwaukee. Along the way there are various bars, restaurants,breweries and great neighborhoods for taking a break. You can tie up to any public dock while you eat and drink your way along the riverfront.
We paddled as far north as Lakefront Brewery and enjoyed their convenient kayak dock and patio complete with water dishes for doggies!
We paddled from 11-4 and our only regret was not doing it all day. We just had the best time! We only stopped at two places but there are so many options and I wish we could have checked out more of the riverfront bars and breweries. Guess we have to go back!
Milwaukee has great bike paths and you’ll find that getting around the city on two-wheels, even with your dog, is easy and fun! We brought our own bikes along with Walter’s dog jogger ($58.00) and bike cart ($95.00 it’s for kids but works really well for dogs!)
The ride will be just shy of 6 miles almost entirely on bike path. Most of the ride will be along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, past the Milwaukee Art Museum and through Veterans Park.
After several miles of heavily wooded bike path on both sides of you, you’ll find a clearing and a magical place known as Hubbard Park Beer Garden will unfold! Its about as authentic of a Wisconsin experience as you can get. There are plenty of water dishes for your furry friend and the relaxed atmosphere is a great way to start your Saturday night.
Enjoy their tap beer served in over-sized mugs and if you’re starting to get hungry you can enjoy one of their giant pretzels!
When you leave the Beer Garden continue biking north towards Shorewood, where you’ll find Camp Bar Shorewood (dog friendly indoors and out, just like the one in the Third Ward).
Camp Bar does not serve food, but we loved the ambiance (think up north cabin) and ended up staying longer than we planned. We got hungry so we opted to order pizza for delivery. They’ll facilitate you placing an order through Falbo Brothers.
Just up the road from Camp Bar is Draft and Vessel, which has now become one of my favorite spots in Milwaukee! It is dog friendly indoors and out, and the open-air concept makes it a great place to relax with your dog on a summer evening. Walter couldn’t believe he got to stay out late and socialize with us and other humans!
End the night with your 6 mile bike ride back towards the Third Ward, where you’ll find several late-night options that are dog friendly.
Enjoy a casual morning walk to Holy Moly Coffee and Doughnuts (just a short walk from the hotel). Pick up a selection of donuts and bike towards the Milwaukee Art Museum. We brought a blanket, spread it out on the lawn outside the museum, and enjoyed lake views while we enjoyed our doughnuts. MaM is not dog friendly, of course, but marveling at it from the outside is pretty amazing, too.
After checking out of the hotel, drive 30 minutes north along Lake Michigan’s shoreline for a Sunday adventure!
Stop in Grafton for lunch at Atlas BBQ! You can either dine on their patio (dogs are allowed but need to be on the outside of the enclosure) or you can order it to go. We opted for food to go!
Make your way to Lion’s Den Gorge, park your car and then enjoy the 15 minute hike along the jagged cliffs! The views are spectacular and the entire park is open to leashed dogs.
Follow the Lion’s Den Gorge trail until you reach stairs (about 300 of them) that will take you down to the beach. If the weather is as nice as it was for us, you can enjoy a swim in Lake Michigan and then play hours of fetch to tire your dog out for the journey home. I could have stayed there all day.
We had an amazing weekend in Milwaukee, and we didn’t even come close to exhausting all of the dog friendly activities, bars and restaurants! The google map below has a lot of additional suggestions, and the list below has a few of the things we really wanted to do, but didn’t have time for.
ADDITIONAL DOG-FRIENDLY PLACES + ACTIVITIES (got something we missed? leave a comment, below!)
Lakeshore State Park – this park has a beautiful location with a lot of water access. The park welcomes leashed dogs. Looks like a great place to take a blanket and a good book.
Roman Coin – this bar is a local favorite, housed in a 128 year old building and is considered a must-see bar in Milwaukee. They are dog friendly after 4PM Tuesday-Friday and any time Saturday and Sunday.