Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Milwaukee, a city guide for meeting professionals. Located just 90 miles north of Chicago on beautiful Lake Michigan, with attractions, amenities, and a culinary scene rivalling its illustrious neighbor to the south, Milwaukee is being heralded as "Chicago Lite" by today's meeting planners.
Only a 10-minute drive from downtown and served by all domestic airlines, Milwaukee's award-winning General Mitchell International Airport not only serves Wisconsin, but is fast becoming the preferred airport for northern Illinois due to its ease and accessibility. A quick Amtrak ride from Chicago and within a day's drive of 1/3 of the U.S. population, Milwaukee is ideally located as a Midwest meetings destination.
Milwaukee also wins high marks for walkability, having 150 restaurants within a half mile of the convention center. Just a stroll down the three-mile long RiverWalk, the bustling Milwaukee Public Market anchors the Historic Third Ward, the city's trendy former warehouse district, featuring some of the best restaurants, pubs, boutiques, galleries and theater complex. Further north along the RiverWalk, Milwaukee's German heritage is celebrated in legendary Mader's restaurant and specialty cheese, sausage, and spice shops.
Milwaukee's compact, budget-friendly convention campus features three unique venues, the compact, three-story Wisconsin Center with its 189,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 37,500-square-foot ballroom and 20 breakout rooms, the historic Milwaukee Theatre and the UWM-Panther Arena. The newly renovated Hilton Milwaukee City Center and Hyatt Regency Milwaukee offer more than 1,200 rooms in the heart of downtown at average daily costs of lodging and meals among the lowest in Milwaukee's competitive set.
Attractions rivaling those in a big city double as great off-site venues in Milwaukee. Delegates thrill to the roar of motorcycles in the world's only Harley-Davidson Museum, where indoor and outdoor spaces accommodate groups of all sizes. Along with events in the breathtaking, vaulted atrium of the lakefront Milwaukee Art Museum and at adjacent Discovery World, meeting space at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino's new 381-room hotel now brings the casino's total to 60,000 square feet And nothing serves up more fun and value-added to summer conventions than nonstop music and ethnic festivals at the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park on Lake Michigan in the Third Ward.
Along with a lively theater and performing arts scene, Milwaukee earns national kudos for its numerous James Beard-recognized restaurants and chefs, including the current Midwest Best Chef Justin Aprahamian of Sanford restaurant. James Beard semi-finalist David Swanson, chef/owner of Braise, is founder of Milwaukee's restaurant-supported agriculture movement, supplying restaurants around the city with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients from more than 40 Wisconsin farms at incomparable value.
Add in the natural beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline, professional sports and entertaining brewery tours for a meetings destination with an unexpected "wow" factor.