When you mention Milwaukee to a room full of Chicagoans, you’ll likely get one of three reactions: never been there, I went for Summerfest/Brewers game or what’s there to do around that way?
Well, it turns out, there is a lot going on in America’s brewtown and shame on all of us for not driving up there more frequently. Several lovely rivers run through it (and the parks serve beer), the local supper clubs alone are a reason to visit (and locals recommend you drink an Old Fashioned while you dine) and the art scene is modern and mighty (and, of course, beer, via the bars at corner grocery store taverns, can be easily obtained).
Milwaukee’s culture–its housing structure even–proffers a history of America that is steeped in alcohol and sprinkled liberally with German seasonings. And that sort of history and neighborhood-ness is something that all Chicagoans can understand. The home of the Brewers is not a baby Chicago. To describe it thusly is grossly unfair. Milwaukee is, simply, Milwaukee.
It is with that spirit that we sent writers, and asked locals, to describe to us the goings-ons of a robust Midwestern city, in the same spirit with which we tackled Detroit last summer.
The Brew City is only an hour-and-a-half away by car or by Metra. The food is good. The liquor is better. The art is new. The buildings are old. The city is segregated. The music is on the cusp. The neighborhoods are welcoming.
Our contributors have mapped out the best ways to enjoy this great city: where to go, who to see, what to drink and how to get there. The former mayor of Milwaukee said it best: “I remember thinking the fastest way to Germany from Chicago was to go to Milwaukee. It still is—and it’s the least expensive.”
Ready for your roadtrip? Let us know when you go. (Adrienne Samuels Gibbs)
Getting There and Hanging Out
Design and Architecture
Food and Liquor