"Not Your Father's Milwaukee" Top 5 Page for this destination Milwaukee by gerblunk

Milwaukee Travel Guide: 532 reviews and 827 photos

Full disclosure: I love this city. My great-grandfather came here in the early 20th Century to open a manufacturing firm. The firm is long gone, but generations of us have called this lovely metropolis home, and I have no intention of leaving - at least not willingly.

One of my personal favorite Milwaukee activities is to show my hometown to someone who has never been here before, and witness the surprise on their faces when they realize that it is nothing like what they expected. The beer that you so often hear associated with us is really part of our history. But Milwaukeeans have a knack for weaving our colorful history of beer barons and eccentric industrialists into what you see today - a 21st Century city. The three great old breweries that ring Milwaukee's Downtown, Schlitz, Pabst and Blatz no longer produce beer. Blatz is the only beer name that's also a verb, as in , "Bob got really Blatzed last night," but it's now made somewhere in California or Texas or something. We still have the old brewery buildings, but today they're condos and office parks, and are some of the most interesting architecture in town.

Drive the length of our lakefront, north to south, and see the most park-like lakefront of any Great Lakes city. At Veteran's Park you can rent kites to catch the Lake Michigan winds. Pay a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum and see what Time magazine named design of the year in 2001: the Calatrava - designed addition. Make time to take in the museum's collection, however, for it is every bit as worthy as the famous building that houses it.

Take a spin to the near South Side, and visit Mercado El Rey for a lunch counter that rivals the best taquerias in San Francisco. The South Side was built by Polish immigrants and rebuilt by Hispanic and Asian immigrants. Here you'll find the variety in ethnic cuisine that you see in the "big" cities: Laotian, Peruvian, Serbian, Puerto Rican, Mexican. The South Side is a virtual museum of 19th century religious architecture: the Basilica of St. Josaphat, the only Polish basilica in the US; St. Anthony's, an old Polish church that has Sunday services in seven different languages; the twin guilded towers of St. Stanislaus.

Head north of Downtown along Martin Luther King Drive to the Black Holocaust Museum, a one-of-a-kind musuem that chronicles that Black experience in the United States. Stop by Speed Queen for excellent open pit barbeque or Jake's Deli for corned beef so good it will justify your trip to Milwaukee, right there.

Above all, talk to locals and soak in the ambience. Go into just about any bar or restaurant and you're likely to find a cast of characters fit for an episode of "Seinfeld." My friends from other cities say that Milwaukeeans are friendly; I witness amazing random acts of kindness on a daily basis in this City. In my grandfather's time they called it "gemutlicheict," or "good will." The word is more-or-less dead, but the feeling is not.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Forget everything you may have heard - this is a great city.
  • Last visit to Milwaukee: Jan 2004
  • Intro Updated Jan 23, 2004
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Reviews (15)

Comments (2)

  • mancera's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2004 at 9:57 AM

    I like Milwaukee and the way in which it can be described by the native one that loves his home, I wanted to know something about to that city; soon I will travel to the E.U.A., and probably could go to that pretty city :o)

  • kaloz's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2004 at 8:29 PM

    Fun page, now I know where to get a babuschka and an educational brewery tour.

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