THINGS TO DO AROUND THE DEER DISTRICT:
Open-air pedestrian square next to the Fiserv
The Plaza is the official name for the square located between the Fiserv and the Deer District buildings, housing The MECCA, Good City, Drink Wisconsinbly, and Punch Bowl Social. During the playoffs, it becomes a raucous place to watch the game on the 40-foot screen that’s hoisted at the north end of the space; all other times, it becomes an event space for things like a Bloody Mary festival, a Movies Under the Moonlight outdoor screening series, a Christmas market, and even early morning yoga and exercise classes during the week. If you're looking to take a selfie in front of those Bucks statues, this is where you'll find them.
Multi-level adult playground with bars, bowling, games
Punch Bowl Social is a small chain that combines all kinds of activities into one giant "adult playground." The Deer District's location is spread over two floors, with multiple bowling alleys, private karaoke rooms with cheese decor, shuffleboard, bocce ball, arcade games, bar games… basically anything you'd possibly want to play while drinking. Initial reviews on the food are mixed, so plan to grab a bite elsewhere and then play the night away here with giant Scrabble and a glass of boozy punch or a mocktail from one of the many bars inside.
Historic sausage factory with 70+ varieties
The other foodstuff you probably associate with Wisconsin is, of course, Bratwurst -- and you can get that at Usinger's which, located right next to the Cheese Mart, makes this one of the tastiest blocks in the city. The business started in 1880 in this very same spot, and the retail shop's marble display cases and tile floors are all original. Pick up some fresh sausages on your way out of town or grab some summer sausage and snack sticks while you're here for noshing. Even the Brewers' famous announcing Bob Uecker recommends Usinger's.
Locally owned spice shop with Milwaukee-themed blends
Directly across the street from Usinger's is The Spice House, where you can buy fresh spices and spice blends. Founded in 1957 by Ruth and Bill Penzey (yes, those Penzeys) on Galena Street, they moved to this location on Third in the ‘70s thanks to the area’s old world charm. A number of spice blends relate to Milwaukee neighborhoods or companies, like the spicy Milwaukee Iron named in honor of Harley-Davidson. Gift boxes like a collection of popcorn seasonings or specialty salts are great presents for parents who have everything else.
Second location of a local favorite brewery, with boozy tours
Located a couple blocks west of the Fiserv is Milwaukee Brewing. This recently opened second location is bright, spacious, and has a taproom, so it's exactly the opposite of its older sibling. Tours are $12 and run over an hour, taking you on the catwalks above the brewing equipment. It's a long tour, but don't worry: you get to drink beer the entire time, including the popular Louie's Demise and 9.2% ABV O-Gii imperial wit brewed with local Rishi Tea. If your samples make you hungry, Glass + Griddle (a greenhouse-like restaurant and beer hall) is located in the same building.
Downtown walkway along the water, dotted with art and bars
The Riverwalk runs on both sides of the Milwaukee River right through the middle of downtown, just a couple blocks east of the Fiserv. If you head south on the west bank of the river, you'll go through Pere Marquette Park, past the beautiful Milwaukee County Historical Society, and run into Gertie the Duck and her ducklings. On the east bank is the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, its outdoor Peck Pavilion that hosts concerts and movies, and the infamous Bronze Fonz. All along the way, you'll pass restaurants and bars with patios on the river, making for an unusually scenic bar hop once you’re ready to break away from the Deer District.