Teddy Roosevelt took a bullet in the chest outside the Milwaukee Theatre in 1912, but he was so enamored with the place that he plugged the hole with his thumb and marched back in to give an 80-minute speech. Built in 1909 over the same space where the Milwaukee Industrial Exposition Building once stood, the cultural center has persevered to become one of Wisconsin’s most colossal and elegant theater destinations. The venue sports two-tiered seating with optimal sightlines from each of its 4,086 patrons' seats.
Established in 1926, The Eagles Club was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places 60 years later. Today, the theater’s six distinct venues, from the vast, opulent Eagles Ballroom to the gritty and intimate Rave Bar, leave room for a half-dozen acts every night, and more on nights when the musicians spontaneously embark on solo careers midshow.
There aren't a lot of theater stages that can claim to have hosted presidential speeches—and fewer yet for which that president was William Howard Taft. Opened in 1883, the Grand Opera House has seen performances by the likes of Mark Twain, Harry Houdini, and John Philip Sousa, among other culture-makers of distant generations. Across a century and a quarter, the magnificent auditorium has played the parts of a vaudeville venue and a movie theater, and it wasn't until the mid-'80s that the stage resumed its duties as an opera house. After a sweeping referendum, the city acquired and restored the building, and in 1986 it reopened with a new staging of The Bohemian Girl—the same work that had first lifted its curtains more than a 100 years earlier. Today, 660 can enjoy the opera house's historic magnificence: an enormous, staggered chandelier, cherubic murals across the ceiling and flanking the balcony, and an unmatched ambiance of crimson and gold grandeur.
Keggers creates a lively atmosphere for casual parties and get-togethers. Its outdoor beer garden hosts live music events where patrons can sit at a wooden bar or lounge on the patio and sip a variety of beers including Miller Light, Spotted Cow, and Leinenkugel. For more intimate gatherings, the Lyric Room is available for rental as an event space with a 100-person capacity and entertainment capabilities for bands, DJs, or your fledgling mime act.
In the 1930s, big bands and lauded musicians played a famous bar called Weilers and would one day become Memories Dinner Theater. The music bounced off the very same 2,500-square-foot maple dance floor, tamarack log ceiling, and twin stone fireplaces that remain today, though Memories has since expanded its entertainment options beyond song and dance.
As guests feast on three-course meals, the theater's roster of top-notch actors tackle dramas, musicals, audience-interactive murder mysteries, and comedies. The laughs continue on Chicken Comedy nights, when funnyman Rob Haswell hosts renowned comedians whose jokes keep diners chortling in between bites not of rubber, but of broasted chicken and food from an unlimited buffet.
In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.