If you think the Cream City–Milwaukee’s nickname–has something to do with the dairy industry, think again. Milwaukee is called the Cream City because of the color of the bricks made from clay quarried in the area.
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As early as 1846, the year Milwaukee was incorporated, people from as far away as New York said the cream-colored brickwork cast a “peculiar light and cheerful aspect” to the buildings.
You can find Cream City brickwork all over Milwaukee. Besides the lovely colored bricks, Milwaukee has a great deal to offer its visitors.
Milwaukee is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, one the largest freshwater lakes in the world. With a depth of 923 feet at some points and temperatures that rarely rise above 65 degrees, Lake Michigan is not to be missed.
You can rent almost any kind of watercraft or take a tour on a commercial fishing vessel for a day’s fun and adventure. If you are looking for a chance to paddle, Milwaukee is a perfect city for a kayak or canoe.
There are three rivers in the area–the Milwaukee, the Menomonee and the Kinnikinic. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the name of the last one–just call it the KK and folks around town will be able to help you find it.
Sure, Chicago is just about 90 miles down the highway, but do you want to deal with those expensive rent prices? Instead, rent something cheap in Milwaukee and you’ll be able to check out the awesome festivals that can be found any time of the year in Milwaukee.
Summerfest, an annual music festival located at Henry Maier Festival Park on the shore of Lake Michigan was first held in 1968. Summerfest is the world’s largest music festival and runs for eleven days beginning in late June.
Some of the other festivals are: The Lakefront Festival of Arts, a fabulous showcase for hundreds of artists from around the country, Bastille Days which has some amazing food, Pridefest, Festa Italiana, Polish Fest, Locust Street Festival of Music and Art, Milwaukee Film Fest, Oktober Fest and Garlic Fest.
As the Visit Milwaukee website says, “Milwaukee is the city that beer built, and now you can see how Milwaukee builds its beer. From macro to micro, fruit beers to gourmet sodas, take an individual brewery tour.
Or hop on a beer tour bus for a guided expedition through multiple breweries to see how Brew City is still earning its name!” The Sprecher Brewery tour is fun for the whole family and the root beer is delicious.
Dating back to 1888, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collections include more than 31,000 works ranging from antiquity to the present and include paintings, sculpture, prints, video art, textiles and more.
The museum’s various works are among the nation’s finest. Visiting the Harley Davidson Museum is a one of a kind excursion that presents the company’s rich history and motorcycles with a variety of interactive exhibits.
If you are traveling with children, the Milwaukee Public Museum is a must. As their site states, “Featuring more than 4.5 million objects and a variety of exciting exhibits, this is considered one of the best natural history museums in the United States.”
A favorite is The Streets of Old Milwaukee, one of the first walk through dioramas in the world. This display gives visitors of view of an autumn evening around 1900. There is even an old-fashioned candy shop that sells real candy.
Some of the other museums in Milwaukee are the Haggerty Museum of Art–located on the Marquette University campus, the Lynden Sculpture Garden, the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum.
The Historic Third Ward is home to art galleries, performing arts venues, restaurants and boutiques; shopping includes the indoor Milwaukee Public Market which boasts fresh produce, cheese and multiple fish vendors.
While driving around Milwaukee you will surely notice three conspicuous glass domes located in the center of the city. This is a botanical park unlike any other in the world.
Mitchell Park Domes allows you to venture into a tropical paradise, a desert landscape and a seasonally themed dome–all connected by walkways. It is a gardener’s dream!
There are several parks in Milwaukee that were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of modern landscape architecture. Olmstead was the chief landscape architect for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and visited Milwaukee a few times before being commissioned to design public spaces there.
He envisioned the parks as a system, or network, and this idea can be seen in Lake, Riverside and Washington Parks. Olmstead also designed Manhattan’s Central Park.
And if you happen to be in Milwaukee for the Fourth of July, head to the lake. Milwaukee Lakefront fireworks are always scheduled on the third of July so the rest of Milwaukee’s communities can host celebrations on the fourth.
Whitefish Bay, a small community on Milwaukee’s north shore boasts a celebration of our country’s birth with games, food and music during the day, culminating with a spectacular fireworks display at night. With so much to do in Milwaukee there is no reason not to schedule multiple visits!