Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson Museum attracts around 300,000 visitors each year.
Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson Museum attracts around 300,000 visitors each year.

Rapid review: Harley-Davidson Museum

March Madness is here, and the basketball action heats up in Milwaukee this week as the Bradley Center hosts the Midwest and West regional rounds of the "big dance." With fans flocking from near and far, the editorial staff at thought we'd help greet our new visitors with a week's worth of features and guides to everything that makes our city a great place to visit.  It's "Welcome to Milwaukee Week" at

Harley-Davidson Museum
400 W. Canal St., (414) 287-2700

Harley-Davidson's history spans 107 years in Milwaukee, but the museum dedicated to it is a much newer local institution. The Harley-Davidson Museum opened in 2008 on a 20-acre plot in the Menomonee Valley, an historically industrial area near Downtown.

Fittingly, the industrial architecture of the 130,000-square foot complex was crafted to reflect and complement the feel of the neighborhood and features exposed brick, steel beams and glass wall that allows for a lot of natural light.

The museum is home to more than 450 motorcycles and its exhibits display engine parts, photographs, videos and advertising materials that trace the roots of a company that celebrates its history like few others.

When to go: The museum is open Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: Adult tickets cost $16; children (5-17) cost $10. H.O.G. members, seniors, military and students pay $12.

Attractions: The first floor features famous bikes from pop culture, such as replicas of the "Easy Rider" bikes, Elvis Presley's first motorcycle (complete with paperwork on which Presley's job is noted as "self-employed vocalist") and customized bikes such as "King Kong," a 13-foot monstrosity that brings a smile to everyone who drifts past it.

Other highlights include interactive exhibits, video and a gallery dedicated to racing and hill-climbing bikes,…