Founded in 1846, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was built by beer barons who created powerhouse brands, such as Miller High Life, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schlitz.
Today, only Miller is still brewed in Milwaukee, but a new generation of craft breweries has helped maintain the city's reputation as a welcoming spot for artisans. A city of neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and events, Milwaukee pulses with culture.
Getting on the Global Map
In 2001, Wisconsin's largest city got a major boost internationally, when famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava chose the glittering Lake Michigan shoreline as the site of his first project in the USA. To view his Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum, simply look up to the skyline, where white wings stretch more than 60 meters from tip to tip. Inside, the 27-meter-high glass-walled reception hall features a glass-blown chandelier by famed glass sculptor Dale Chihuly as well as the best views of Lake Michigan in town.
Within the museum's permanent collection are 22 works by Georgia O'Keefe in the largest gallery dedicated to the U.S. artist outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a world-class folk art collection.
Windhover Hall, the grand entrance hall for the Quadracci Pavilion at Milwaukee Art Museum
For a taste of the local commitment to farm-to-table cuisine, look no further than Walker's Point, a former industrial area near the downtown. The warehouses have been transformed into restaurants and artisan food and beverage purveyors. Among the rising stars is Braise, credited with launching the country's first restaurant-supported agriculture program, matching chefs with the Dairy State's farmers. Dishes are crafted around what's in season, so it's rare to order off the same menu twice. Hungry for more? Sign up for a class or farm dinner hosted by Braise.
Clock Shadow Creamery is one of the country's few urban creameries, turning out quark – a creamy-style of cheese – and cheese curds that are so fresh they squeak. The neighboring Milwaukee Brewing Company is a solar-powered, craft brewery. Tours are by appointment or you can stop by Saturdays from 5 to 7 p.m.
Walker's Point, a restaurant row of transformed warehouses
Just south is Bay View, a neighborhood known for its coffee shops, art galleries and trendy restaurants. The twice-annual Bay View Gallery Night in June and September showcases the creative community and brings out musicians and the city's most-skilled artists selling their wares.
Arts-minded shops line the streets of the Historic Third Ward, home to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and boutiques retailing everything from letterpress stationary to funky footwear.
Entering the Historic Third Ward District in Milwaukee
From Jazz to Polka
For nightlife, Milwaukee offers options in the city and nearby suburbs.
Camp Bar is in Shorewood, a suburb immediately north of Milwaukee and a favorite with locals. Popular music clubs include The Jazz Estate on Milwaukee's East Side and Caroline's Jazz Club in Walker's Point. To slip into Milwaukee's earliest days of drinking, stop by Wolski's Tavern, which opened more than 100 years ago.
In town on a Friday night? You can't miss the fish fry (a Milwaukee staple, with fish – choices of smelt, perch or cod – served alongside coleslaw, rye bread, tarter sauce and applesauce) paired with a polka performance and views of the Milwaukee River.
More experiences nearby