Animals abound at this family-friendly year-round attraction.
Monkeying Around at the Milwaukee Zoo
Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo / M. A. Nepper

On Lake Michigan, the onetime industrial city of Milwaukee is still booming, with a busy, high-rise downtown, nearly 100 miles of bike trails along the shore, fun summer festivals, and stellar architecture, in the form of the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum. All are family friendly, but perhaps most notably, it’s also home to one of the nation’s best zoos—open 365 days a year.

The Hotel Metro

Eight miles from the zoo, this family-friendly eco-hotel has a “green” rooftop spa and free bicycles (helmets included).

Milwaukee County Zoo

Put your sneakers on and make a day of it at the Milwaukee County Zoo, home to red pandas, penguins, and hundreds of other exotic creatures. Take a seven-minute spin on the scenic Safari Train, or if you’re ready to take flight, try the Sky Safari—a chairlift-style cruise over animal habitats.

Capitol Café Pancake House and Restaurant

The large “big-apple” pancake serves three.

Mama Mia's Italian Cuisine

Stop into this institution (since 1954) for a family-style Italian dinner. Don’t miss the garlic bread!