Thousands of people are headed to Crusherfest this weekend, and that’s incredibly exciting for our city.
If you’re new to South Milwaukee, welcome! And if you’ve been here before, welcome back!
Here are 10 things to do while you’re in town … and anytime of the year, really. Let’s go, turkeynecks!
- Visit Grant Park. From the terrific Seven Bridges urban nature trail to the bustling beach area — including burgers, custard and beer at Ferch’s Beachside — to the county’s oldest golf course, this iconic park is a community treasure. Discover it for yourself this weekend.
- Check out the Crusher display at the South Milwaukee Library. Get a look at a teenage Reginald Lisowski in old South Milwaukee High School yearbooks, and see old newspaper clippings, programs, and other items from his professional wrestling career, thanks to this partnership with MEARS Monthly Auctions. The library, 1907 10th Ave., is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and weekdays.
- Work off that turkey leg. Bike or walk (or drive) the Oak Creek Parkway, with a stop at the Mill Pond, site of the former mill, around which our city was born. On Sunday, join a walking tour — “Suburban Soles — Nature Thru the Lens,” observing nature through photography, starting at 10 a.m. at Grant Park Area 5.
- Eat local. Get on Yelp for a list of our local restaurants. From authentic local Mexican, Chinese, Italian and Jamaican food to gastropub and American staples to sausage to rolled ice cream, there are a lot of local dining options to consider, after you check out the vendors at Crusherfest, of course (many of which come from South Milwaukee, including Azteca Restaurant and Milwaukee Gourmet House, China Chef and The Tap Room). Pro tip: Try the garlic bread at Barbiere’s Italian Inn South Milwaukee, just feet from the statue.
- Drink local. Start your day with a coffee at my favorite local coffeehouse, and then try our very underrated collection of bars in South Milwaukee, from sports bars like Moran’s Pub and The Tap Room, to neighborhood taps like Slick Willie’s and Tracker’s Pub & Grub. Pro tip: While at Moran’s, say hello to Milwaukee’s Most Okay-est Bartender. Then stop by Van Eimeren-Kolonka American Legion Post #27 for a drink — and thank a veteran.
- Shop local. Check out some of our terrific local retailers. You’ll see some at Crusherfest itself, including Gecko Leatherworks and Milwaukee Sausage Co., but there are plenty of others on Milwaukee Avenue on beyond. Stained glass? Yep. Award-winning jewelry? Check. Local flowers (hello, Parkway Floral and Mari’s Flowers)? Absolutely. Military collectibles, disc golf supplies, local art and game stores? Sure. (We have two game stores, Pink Bunny Games and Board Game Barrister.) Disc golf accessories, at Acetime? Of course. A terrific locally owned Ace Hardware? Indeed. Our small retailers are the backbone of South Milwaukee — see for yourself. (And be sure to buy tickets to the upcoming South Milwaukee Garden Tour when you’re at the flower shops.)
- Take a trip to the past, with a drive through the historic Grant Park neighborhood. Some of my favorite homes in the city can be found along Fairview, Hawthorne and Emerson Avenues. Our oldest homes — and oldest church and cemetery — are near Fairview and Hawthorne.
- Bless your dog. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1314 Rawson Ave., is hosting Bark’s at St. Mark’s on Sunday, with a church service starting at 9 a.m. Details here. Then head to Crusherfest for the polka mass!
- Attend a Crusherfest after party. It’s on Saturday night at Borak Entertainment, our new nightclub, just a block from the statue, where you may also be able to get a dance lesson or two.
- Take in the market, and a show (next time). OK, there aren’t any public performances this weekend at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, but I can’t leave this off a “must-do” list in South Milwaukee. We are rightfully proud of our PAC, and you can see why with their recently announced 2019-20 season. More details here. And I must plug the South Milwaukee Downtown Market, held every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. into October, at Crusher Plaza. Check out more than 40 vendors, grab dinner, listen to weekly live music and get a picture with Da Crusher! We take live outdoor music seriously in South Milwaukee, too …