As the largest city in Wisconsin, Milwaukee comes with its fair share of metropolitan benefits: excellent and diverse restaurants, myriad opportunities for nightlife, neighborhoods to fit every preference, and the small one-of-a-kind shops that rely on large populations for support. But sometimes, you need a little reprieve from the city life — a trip into nature or another place to forget the bustle. Here’s where Milwaukeeans go to seek solitude.
Oak Leaf Trail
The state’s busiest bike trail, the Oak Leaf system sees about 500,000 people every year. It travels along lake Michigan and connects to other trails through scenic parts of the city, such as the Beerline Trail that cuts through Riverwest and the Brady Street neighborhoods — both of which are popular among college students and young professionals for their lively atmospheres and ample apartments for rent. Not all trail segments are connected, but there are scenic portions throughout the city, giving access to bikers everywhere.
Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes)
These three iconic domes transport you to climes around the world: the desert, the tropics, and a floral paradise. And just outside of the domes lie the acclaimed Boerner Botanical Gardens, for another opportunity to treat your eyes to growth and greens.
Milwaukee County Zoo
Spanning 200 acres, the Milwaukee County Zoo holds more than 2,500 animals and 300 species. In a city predominantly inhabited by seagulls — and don’t forget the ducks, closer to the lakeshore — the variety of life inside the zoo is a welcome sight.
Milwaukee Public Museum
Typically, the museum Milwaukeeans urge attendance to is the Milwaukee Art Museum — the Santiago Calatrava-designed masterpiece that watches over the shores of Lake Michigan. But the Milwaukee Public Museum, near the heart of downtown, offers its own unique experience. In a break from modern-day life, tour the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, to see where the city got its start. Go back even further in time with dinosaurs and archeological finds, or explore geology, anthropology, zoology through interactive exhibits. (Don’t miss the howler monkey waiting to greet you in the rainforest room.) Before departing, make time for a magical visit to the Butterfly Room.
As a part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, Downer Woods is the perfect place for a mid-semester stroll to clear your head. Comprising 11 acres, the natural area is heavily monitored and stewarded to contain only native species and holds well-maintained trails. Plus, it’s less than a mile from the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Park.
If you’re looking for apartments for rent in Milwaukee, keep these city reprieves in mind when you focus your search.