What to Do on a Layover in Milwaukee, WI

General Mitchell Airport | © VISIT Milwaukee
General Mitchell Airport | © VISIT Milwaukee
Photo of Victoria Borisch
Freelance Writer19 February 2018

Don’t fret if you see General Mitchell International Airport as a stop on your flight itinerary. While Wisconsin is considered by some to be a “flyover state,” there is plenty to do both within and outside of Milwaukee’s main airport. Flying through the city also has the added perk of not having to deal with the stress of Chicago O’Hare, so if you find yourself with a few hours to kill on your layover in Milwaukee, take a look at these suggestions.

If you have 3 hours…

Feeling discombobulated after your flight? The Milwaukee airport has a dedicated recombobulation area to help with this. In the grand scheme of travel, three hours isn’t that much time, so it might not be worth the effort of leaving the airport. The interfaith meditation room is a great place to find some peace and relaxation during your short stay in Milwaukee. For those looking for something a little livelier to kill time, head over to the Leinie Lodge in Concourse D and pour yourself a pint of one of Leinenkugel’s local brews, or grab a friend and play a game or two of ping pong at the table installed in the airport.

Ping Pong at General Mitchell International Airport | © VISIT Milwaukee

If you have 5 hours…

For those who have a little more time on their hands and don’t want to be stuck in the airport, some of Milwaukee’s top tourist attractions are within a reasonable driving distance. For motorcycle enthusiasts, the Harley-Davidson Museum can be reached from the airport in approximately 15–20 minutes by car. To save time, tickets for general admission into the museum and behind-the-scenes tours are available for purchase in advance. The Miller Brewery is also within a 20-minute taxi drive from the airport. Tours take place regularly throughout the day, and visitors will get a taste of Miller’s 155-year-old brewing history.

Harley-Davidson Museum | © VISIT Milwaukee

If you have 7 hours…

If the weather is pleasant and there is a bit of time, take a trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo. It is home to more than 3,100 animals from all over the world, and it is considered to be one of the finest zoos in the country. With exhibits spanning over 190 acres and a number of wildlife shows and attractions, there is plenty to keep anyone with a long layover entertained.

Milwaukee County Zoo | © VISIT Milwaukee

If you have 12 hours…

Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward is reachable within 15–20 minutes by car and is a perfect spot to head to for those with a lot of time to spend in the city on a layover. Spend some time exploring the historic neighborhood, and pick up some local Wisconsin cheese from the Milwaukee Public Market. You won’t have to go too far from this area to also tour the Great Lake Distillery, which is Wisconsin’s first distillery since Prohibition. Finish the day off with an authentic German dinner at Mader’s Restaurant, and catch a show at the historic Pabst Theater.

Milwaukee Public Market | © VISIT Milwaukee

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