Milwaukee Travel Guide
The Milwaukee Riverwalk © Sulfur
Milwaukee is Wisconsin's largest city. It began as a Native American settlement, and was then an outpost for French fur traders and missionaries. But its real boom took place in the 1800s, when waves of German immigrants settled in the city, bringing with them the art of beer brewing. Milwaukee went on to become known as the beer capital of the world as well as a major commercial and manufacturing area. Although a few major breweries have relocated, Milwaukee's brewpub culture remains strong, as does its German heritage. It is perhaps its immigrant background that makes Milwaukee feel like a small town of friendly neighbourhoods. Residents take an active part in their community, and welcome visitors to experience their city.
Milwaukee is situated on Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes, so vast it appears no different from the ocean when walking along the shore, although without the waves. While surfing is not an option, almost all other water activities are, including sailing, powerboating, jet-skiing, dinner and cocktail cruises as well as some of the best shipwreck diving in the area. If lounging in the sun sounds more appealing, visitors can head to Bradford Beach, a long strip along the lake packed with swimmers and sunbathers in the summer.
For adventures of the shopping and dining kind, the other waterfront is the place to be. The RiverWalk system of promenades and bridges meanders along the Milwaukee River, linking the central downtown area, including the financial and Westown districts, and the Historic Third Ward. Westown is a hot spot for entertainment, with a variety of upscale restaurants, clubs and hotels as well as an upmarket shopping mall, convention centre, professional sports arena and various performing arts venues. The Historic Third Ward, a rehabilitated warehouse district with trendy lofts and stylish boutiques, is perfect for an afternoon stroll, as is the nearby Brady Street neighbourhood, which offers a more eclectic experience. Its tattoo parlours and alternative clothing shops, vestiges of the 1960s, when the area was a counter-culture haven, are now mixed with galleries, diverse nightlife spots, cafés and fine restaurants. After touring the city, visitors in need of a respite ought to try one of the three favourite local indulgences - beer, brats and frozen custard - without which a trip to Milwaukee would be incomplete.