For more than a year, Americans have been in full quarantine mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel itch has been building inside of all OutTravelers. Well, the good news is that as the number of fully vaccinated Americans continues to grow, it is now perfectly safe for vaccinated OutTravelers to finally scratch that travel itch. Located along the glittering shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a welcoming, inclusive, entertaining, and fun-filled destination for all OutTravelers and is easy to access via car, train, or a quick plane ride. With vibrant art, exuberant nightlife, and robust LGBTQ+ Pride activities, Milwaukee ranks as a top choice for OutTravelers post-pandemic.
Book Your Stay at the Pfister and Surround Yourself with Vibrant Arts
Artist-in-Residence at the Pfister Hotel, Nykoli Koslow
Conveniently located in downtown Milwaukee, the Pfister Hotel has been a hospitality icon since 1893. The historic and elegant Pfister prides itself on its gracious service and impeccable style, which means OutTravelers staying at the hotel are in for a mind-blowing expeirnce. Not only does the hotel offer one of the most luxurious stays in the Midwest, it is also steps away from cultural attractions like the Milwaukee Art Museum, Sculpture Milwaukee (a rotating exhibition of world-class sculptures along downtown Milwaukee's main thoroughfare), and the Grohamnn Musum (an art museum dedicated to works about human labor).
What’s more, the hotel maintains a long-standing committment to the arts. In addition to its extensive Victorian art collection, the hotel hosts an extremely successful Artist-in-Residence program that offers talented artists a working studio as well as an art gallery that is open to hotel guests and the public. This year, the program welcomes its first trans artist, Nykoli Koslow. Koslow blends figuration with abstraction while experimenting with gender, sexuality, and agency. Plan your artsy stay at the Pfister when in Milwaukee and surround yourself with vibrant artworks by Koslow!
Leap into the Hip Nightlife Scene
Trixie Mattel, Co-owner of This is it! Photo by Bird Lambro
Steps away from the Pfister Hotel in the city's East Town neighborhood is This is it!, the oldest LGBTQ+ bar in Wisconsin now co-owned by Drag Race Hall of Fame inductee and All Stars Season 3 winner Trixie Mattel. If you are a Drag Race fan, then you are in massive luck — the bar frequently throws events hosted by Drag Race alums; this summer alone, the bar is welcoming Ongina, Ra’jah O’Hara, Kennedy Davenport, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, Mayhem Miller, Mariah Paris Balenciaga and Jasmine Masters! In addition to the star-studded drag shows, the bar also hosts Moonlight Karaoke every Monday and movie screening on Tuesdays with local drag queen Dora Diamond. Additionally, the state’s only LGBTQ+ night for those eighteen and older takes place at this legendary bar every Wednesday night with a drag show at 10:30 p.m. Don’t miss out and grab your squirrel friends for a visit when you’re in town!
For even more LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs, head two miles south from East Town to the Walker's Point neighborhood to continue the party!
Trixie Mattel Performs at PrideFest
Feel the Pride at PrideFest
Although Milwaukee may have once been known for its beer barons and manufacturing roots, the modern city is fabulously diverse and welcoming. Since 1988, the city has been throwing the state’s biggest LGBTQ+ event called PrideFest each June to celebrate each layer of the LGBTQ+ rainbow. Besides floats, drag queens, and musical performances, the entirely volunteer-run PrideFest also has a Health & Wellness section for organizations to present their services and resources that serve the LGBTQ+ community and underserved groups within the community. While this year's in-person festivities have been postponed due to the pandemic, PrideFest will be hosting an online version of its popular Health & Wellness section and everyone is allowed access for free. Before PrideFest in Milwaukee returns in person next year, why not get a taste of it online beforehand?
There is, of course, so much more to Milwaukee, including a world-class dining scene, historic live music venues, top-notch shopping, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Book your first trip to Milwaukee today and enjoy what this proud lakeside city has to offer!