A long weekend in Milwaukee with BlogHouse

//A long weekend in Milwaukee with BlogHouse

A long weekend in Milwaukee with BlogHouse

Downtown Milwaukee

Downtown Milwaukee

Looking back at four days of blogger workshops and outings in one of my favorite US cities.

You might say that 2015 has been a special year for Jetting Around. There was my milestone birthday in Paris, then the blog turned 5 over the summer, and I launched JAM Sessions – a series of performances showcasing world artists, produced my by new company JA Media. I also had my first speaking engagement at the TBEX travel conference in Spain.

With the blog’s anniversary and JA Media projects, I knew early in the year than I wanted to invest in my professional development. That led me to attend a travel writing retreat with Pink Pangea and apply to BlogHouse Milwaukee.


Held annually in different cities around the world, BlogHouse is part-conference, part-social event for new and experienced bloggers. It is organized by Navient Media Group, a team of professional travel writers and digital media experts.

Participants, selected through an application process, attend small-group workshops and one-on-one sessions with mentors. Topics include social media, public relations, writing, photography, video production, website optimization, and more. There are also networking events with members of the travel industry, fun outings, and free time for exploring.

The 2015 BlogHouse was headquartered inside the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. While I didn’t try gambling (worried what it could do to my travel budget), I enjoyed the comfortable room and our bright ‘classroom’ with skyline views.

After intense morning and afternoon sessions, we got to experience the city with the help of BlogHouse partners.

BlogHouse Milwaukee

Welcome reception at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino


Wisconsin’s biggest city (population 600,000) is located on Lake Michigan, just 90 miles/145 km north of Chicago. It is known for cheese and beer production (its nicknames include Cream City and Beer City), Summerfest (often referred to as the world’s largest music festival), and German heritage (48% of Milwaukeeans claim it).

The city combines a laid-back vibe with the cultural offerings of a metropolis. Yet, it seems underrated and constantly in the shadow of its larger neighbor. If you find yourself in the American Midwest, consider a weekend getaway in Milwaukee. There is plenty to see and do – here are some highlights.

Historic Third Ward

The former warehouse district downtown Milwaukee – listed on the National Register of Historic Places – is now home to hundreds of businesses: restaurants, art galleries, clothing boutiques, specialty shops. The Milwaukee Public Market, which opened in 2005 and was modeled after the Pike Place Market in Seattle, features local food vendors and event space.

Historic Third Ward

Historic Third Ward: former warehouse district, now home of local businesses

Milwaukee Art Museum

Located on the lakefront, the museum houses an extensive collection of works from antiquity to the present (paintings, sculpture, photography, decorative objects). It is also noted for the post-modern design of its Quadracci Pavilion, created by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

The structure has movable steel wings on top and floor-to-ceiling windows inside, overlooking Lake Michigan. The wings act as a sunscreen, controlling how much light gets in. They stay open during the day and extend to a wingspan of 217 feet/66 m, which is similar to that of Boeing 747.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Movable steel wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum

Harley-Davidson Museum

The only museum in the world dedicated to the history of Harley-Davidson, the multi-building, 20-acre complex features more than 450 motorcycles and thousands of artifacts (photographs, posters, clothing, trophies, plus video footage and company archives). It also hosts events, such as bike shows and rider gatherings.

Harley-Davidson Museum

One of over 450 vintage motorcycles at the Harley-Davidson Museum

Lakefront Brewery

This craft brewery in the Riverwest district opened in 1987. It is noted for innovation, such as having produced the first government approved gluten-free beer in the US (New Grist) and the second pumpkin beer in the country (Pumpkin Lager). The Lakefront building houses a beer hall, where you can try Wisconsin fish fry and listen to live polka music on Friday nights. Tours are also available.

Wisconsin Cheese Mart

Operating since 1938 on Old World Third Street – the former German downtown of Milwaukee – the retailer carries over 200 varieties of Wisconsin cheese. There is an adjacent Cheese Bar, where you can do a pairing with local brews or attend tasting events.

Wisconsin Cheese Mart

When in Wisconsin… beer and cheese!

[mappress mapid=”48″]

Note: BlogHouse Milwaukee was sponsored by the following companies and organizations: FlipKey, Visit Milwaukee, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Travel Wisconsin, and The Bartolotta Restaurants. Participants paid a program fee, which covered workshops, activities and most meals. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

By | 2015-08-03T00:03:55+00:00 August 2nd, 2015|STORIES|40 Comments

About the Author:

Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.


  1. avatar
    Ewa | Daleko niedaleko August 4, 2015 at 1:59 am

    I have never heard of this type of event but it sounds like fun participating in it. From Milwaukee I would definitely visit the Harley-Davidson museum and the brewery. I like such places :)
    Ewa | Daleko niedaleko recently posted..Blue Lagoon czyli pływanie w odpadach poprzemysłowych może być luksusemMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      The Harley-Davidson museum is one of the coolest ones I’ve been to: the space, collection, fun tours… Highly recommended, even for those who prefer sports motorcycles, like I do. :)

  2. avatar
    PatTravel August 4, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Podoba mi się Milwaukee Art Museum, nawet bardzo mi się podoba
    PatTravel recently posted..TOP 10 – Najlepsze polskie cydry przemysłoweMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 5, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Swietny budynek – i od zewnatrz, i w srodku. Do tego widok na jezioro… Polecam!

      • avatar
        PatTravel August 21, 2015 at 3:53 am

        Jaki typ sztuki wspolczesnej oferuje to muzeum? jakieś znane nazwiska?
        PatTravel recently posted..Kachetia | W dolinie AlazaniMy Profile

        • avatar
          Jetting Around August 21, 2015 at 4:06 am

          W kolekcji są prace m.in. Picassa i Impresjonistów. Obecnie mają też wystawę poświęconą “współczesnym buntownikom,” wśród nich Van Gogh, Pissarro, Warhol.

  3. avatar
    Natalia | Biegun Wschodni August 4, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Coraz więcej odbywa się tego typu konferencji na całym świecie. W Polsce też się mnożą, z każdym rokiem coraz więcej. Chyba w końcu firmy zaczynają dojrzewać do współpracy z blogerami i czuć potencjał w nich drzemiący :)
    Natalia | Biegun Wschodni recently posted..Kuchnia rumuńska na językach, czyli co zjeść będąc w RumuniiMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Zgadzam sie, Natalia. Coraz wiecej krajow i firm odkrywa blogerow – dobrze wiedziec, ze w Polsce tez idzie to w tym kierunku. Chetnie bym sie wybralam na jakas rodzima konferencje.

  4. avatar
    Nie zawsze poprawne zapiski Dee August 4, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Cheese bar? Definitively i have to go to that place, I love cheese. And your photos are great too, you really recommended it.

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Glad you like the photos, Dee! The cheese bar is very cool – not just because of the cheese, but their selection of local beers on tap. Food pairing is the way to go.

  5. avatar
    Leah August 4, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Never has it occurred for me to visit Milwaukee, but it does look like a lovely city. And if there are casinos, I know I’d like it. :-)
    Leah recently posted..One Perfect Day in ParisMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Come visit me in Chicago, then we’ll drive up to Milwaukee. How’s that for a plan? ;)

  6. avatar
    Marcin August 6, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    It’s always nice to go out and meet some great people! Besides, it looks like a great place!
    Marcin recently posted..Weekend w Kijowie. Sceny z miasta, gdzie wygrała rewolucjaMy Profile

  7. avatar
    Connie Reed August 10, 2015 at 6:41 am

    I had never heard of BlogHouse before. I’ll have to check it out for next year. Hopefully, it’ll be somewhere nearby again.
    Connie Reed recently posted..John Dillinger Museum: Crime Doesn’t PayMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 10, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      The last two were in the Midwest, so perhaps they’ll stick to the region next time. Not sure though.

  8. avatar
    lola August 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Cheese Mart…YUM. I love me some cheese. This looks like a great event, Pola.
    lola recently posted..Boston Bacon and Beer Festival 2015My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      Oh yeah, Wisconsin knows cheese! :)

  9. avatar
    Traveling Ted August 11, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Milwaukee is where my mom grew up, and so I spent many a Christmas here at grandma’s place. My favorite festival is Irish Fest, which is next week. Milwaukee also has some great state parks and forests just outside that have spectacular cross-country skiing. Hope you found the seminars informative.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Rock Cut State Park kayak rentalMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 21, 2015 at 4:38 am

      I didn’t realize you had this connection to Milwaukee! Very cool. As far as culture, I recently discovered their theater scene, but hope to catch a few festivals too.

  10. avatar
    Jagoda August 21, 2015 at 4:01 am

    I hvn’t heard about this event. It must be a great and motivating time!
    Jagoda recently posted..Uważaj czego sobie życzysz, bo…. będziesz musiał to zatańczyć!My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 21, 2015 at 4:09 am

      Yeah, every time you get a bunch of bloggers in one room, ideas get swapped. :)

  11. avatar
    Marcin - NRWTrip August 21, 2015 at 4:37 am

    Very nice photo, but I don’t like read English articles ;) Taki mamy ładny język polski…

  12. avatar
    Jetting Around August 21, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Too bad articles in English are not your thing, but glad you enjoyed the photos. Milwaukee is a pretty nice city to photograph.

  13. avatar
    Wiola Starczewska August 21, 2015 at 4:46 am

    450 motocycles and you put just one?!:)

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 21, 2015 at 4:47 am

      That one’s my favorite. ;)

  14. avatar
    malaiduzywpodrozy August 22, 2015 at 6:53 am

    “20-acre museum with more than 450 motorcycles” :D I’d like to see this.
    malaiduzywpodrozy recently posted..Ogród Botaniczny na KrecieMy Profile

  15. avatar
    Marta August 25, 2015 at 10:06 am

    BlogHouse – Great idea!

    “200 varieties of Wisconsin cheese. There is an adjacent Cheese Bar, where you can do a pairing with local brews or attend tasting events.” – it should be a lovely place full of taste! Yummy :)
    Marta recently posted..Kuchnia Tatarska u Alika – SuwałkiMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 25, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Yeah, the cheese place is great. I stop there almost every time I’m in Milwaukee. :)

  16. avatar
    Mike Orobona August 27, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Schlemiel! Schlemazel! Bottlecap Incorprated. I can’t think of Milwaukee without thinking of that.

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 27, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Haha, yes! I need to watch more of that show.

  17. avatar
    Mags August 28, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Bloghouse seems like a great event. I may have to checkout the next one.
    Mags recently posted..Golden, CO & The Buffalo Bill MuseumMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 28, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Cool. I wonder where they’ll have it next year.

  18. avatar
    carly August 28, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    I’ve never heard of BlogHouse before but it looks like a great idea, I’ll have to check it out, did you find it gave you a lot of things to think about to improve your blog?
    carly recently posted..Quito hiking Pichincha and exploring the cityMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Carly. I liked the one-on-one sessions best, because that was the best opportunity to get all your questions answered. As for the regular sessions, some were more advanced than others, so it all depends on what look you’re for.

  19. avatar
    Jeh-C August 29, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Sounds like you’ve accomplished a lot over the last few years. Congrats! I’ve never heard of Bloghouse but it seems like an interesting event.

    If I ever go to Milwaukee, I’m going to have to check out that Harley-Davidson Museum.
    Jeh-C recently posted..Turning The Tides – Saving Our Sea TurtlesMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 30, 2015 at 12:39 am

      Thanks so much, Jeh-C! And good call on the museum – amazing place.

  20. avatar
    travelling chingrita August 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Bloghouse actually sounds like a pretty cool event to attend! Beer and cheese = yumm
    travelling chingrita recently posted..Positive Vibes: Living in the MomentMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 30, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      Quite a nice combo, isn’t it? :)

Comments are closed.