Why you should visit Milwaukee
It's certainly not a top tourist destination, even within the US, and most people have never heard of Chicago's little sister. Shocking considering its frequent film and TV appearances! I mean, Laverne & Shirley! That 70's Show! HAPPY DAYS!?! If it's good enough to mention in Anchorman ("Baxter, is that you? bark twice if you're in Milwaukee!) or be the main US-destination in Love Actually (where Colin meets all the good-looking girls, just saying), it's good enough for me!
I promote Milwaukee pretty heavily over here and do my best to convince everyone in Switzerland that it's worth the visit. I usually start my sales pitch with "There are so many breweries! Craft breweries! So the beer is good; like really good." And it's true, Switzerland is still getting into the craft beer scene and it's something I miss. And the actual brewery tours! I'm a huge fan of Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery - I've done the tour multiple times now and it's always fun. The best is probably the Friday evening tour, where the guides are already a little drunk (they, along with the visitors, drink throughout the entire tour) and you can finish off with arguably the best Friday Fish-fry in the area (in a traditional German beer hall with the "Brewhaus Polka Kings" band) - I've taken Warren twice now, he loves it. And who could forget New Glarus?!? Although it's not actually in Milwaukee (but it's not far!), this small SWISS VILLAGE is known for its amazing beer!! One of the first stops I made when I moved to Switzerland was to visit the 'original' Glarus. It's very beautiful, but sadly lacking the great beer of its Wisconsin alter ego.
My second selling point is: "it's on Lake Michigan! Which is a Great Lake! You can't even see the other side, it's like the ocean!!" I'm not sure they love this as much as I do, but it is an impressive lake, which offers a beautiful lake front. And over the past few years, it's really been developed nicely. There are beaches, running trails, gourmet restaurants and the iconic art museum with it's wing-like Brise Soleil (designed by Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the Luzern train station! Coincidence?!)
We actually have a huge photo of the Milwaukee art museum hanging in our living room. And I counted at least a dozen Milwaukee/Wisconsin memorabilia items decorating our apartment here - from Milwaukee-print dish towels to Wisconsin-shaped drink coasters to my old car's license plate. And we have several Lakefront brewery beer glasses, obviously. These are the important things that help me retain my Wisconsiness and feel at home, even when I'm 4,000 miles away. I even have a Wisconsin tattoo on my ankle (with a heart over Milwaukee), which I'm beyond proud of.
The final punch in my sales pitch is "Festivals! We have so many festivals! Practically one every weekend in Summer, celebrating different ethnicities (Irish Fest! German Fest! Festa Italiana!) and the WORLD's LARGEST MUSIC FESTIVAL - Summerfest!" How many cities have a designated 90-acre festival ground, with 5 permanent stages and a 23,000 seat amphitheater?!
But there's so much more - the Historic Third Ward, the East Side, all the amazing restaurants and boutiques. And not to mention the surrounding Lake Country area, with my home towns of Oconomowoc (yes, every other letter is an "O") and Delafield. So many lakes! So many cute villages! Buy your ticket now! (For Summer of course, unless you like -30 degree weather and blizzards).
*All photos in the post (other than Milwaukee dish towel) are stock images and not taken by me