15 Reasons Why Milwaukee Is Better Than The Last City You Lived In

We all think our hometown is the crème de la crème, but trust me, unless it’s Milwaukee, it’s not. Here are reasons why, defending Brew City’s honor through award-winning restaurants and pubs, countless music and art events, a diverse mix of neighborhoods, and our love of coming together for every and any festival in the city.

1. 1. Home to the world’s largest music festival, you’ll lose yourself in the Summerfest groove

Milwaukee’s Summerfest hosts 11 days with over 1,000 performances of the greatest varieties of music. Indulge in the beauty of being on the shores of Lake Michigan with your favorite bands spread across 75 acres. Summerfest is also home to infamous ice cold beer, marketplaces with fun shopping options, and every kind of food imaginable (mostly fried). Welcome to the best 11 days of your life. It’s the best party you’ll ever go to, and it all takes place in the great MKE.

2. 2. The Henry W. Maier Festival Park is the anchor to MKE’s festival pride

We’re happy to have the Henry W. Maier Festival Park as a permanent festival venue that allows us to host some of the largest celebrations in Wisconsin. If Summerfest just isn’t enough to satisfy your festing needs, enjoy a variety of events all summer long at this great venue with Polish Fest, Festa Italiana, Mexican Fiesta, German Fest, Irish Fest, Arab World Fest, African World Festival, PrideFest, and Indian Summer.

3. 3. …. and if you haven’t figured it out by now, we are THE City of Festivals

What can we say? We crave the festival mayhem, and maybe 900,000 people at Summerfest isn’t your preferred scene… so we’ve got more options for you easy-goers.
Chill on the Hill is pretty self-explanatory. Lay out your blankets and enjoy local music every Tuesday from June to August in the great Bay View park.
Jazz in the Park is a free outdoor music scene every Thursday from June through September offering big band, funk, R&B, blues, reggae, jazz and more. Even better is that it’s produced by a non-profit organization, so you can feel good about supporting the event!
Bay View Gallery Night supports over 200 artists with 45 different venues to travel to. Artwork is displayed across town in a variety of locations; travel to Colectivo, The Outpost, Café LuLu, and many others to satisfy your artistic cravings.
Locust Street Festival brought to us by the Riverwest community holds an annual Beer Run partnered with the COA Youth and Family Centers. Local food vendors and 6 stages of music will keep you busy all day from 11AM to 8PM.
Bastille Days is one of the nation’s largest French festivals that takes place in Milwaukee’s Cathedral Square Park for 4 days. Come enjoy chef and wine demos, French cuisine, an international marketplace, and live music (of course).
Brady Street Festival hosts 4 stages of live entertainment along with a BMX Stunt Team, the Casablanca Rumble V Pro Wrestling Ring, and the CFSC Bounce House. Enjoy jewelry and pottery crafters, local food vendors, and tasty beer.

If you haven’t found an event to spark your interest yet, THERE’S MORE. Take advantage of Milwaukee’s variety of music and arts celebrations, which are usually free admission, and find which ones hit home for you (although there’s usually a recurring theme of beer, food, and music… you’re welcome)

A more detailed list of festivals can be found at MKE’s festival guide

4. 4. Nothing can compare to The East Side

This is Milwaukee’s pride and joy. Defined in Wikipedia as “a cultural and trend-setting center of the city since at least the 1960s,” the rustic historical atmosphere cannot be recreated anywhere else. East Side events include The Summer Soulstice Music Festival, The Tomato Romp (first in the nation!), The Milwaukee Film Festival, and others. Local businesses, restaurants, and bars flood the East Side streets and make it a great area for UW-Milwaukee students to explore and enjoy with a location close to downtown and the lake. The epitome of the East Side is Brady Street. It is famous for it’s annual festival, but it is also home to many other events such as the Art Walk, the Pet Parade, and the East Side Music Tour. It is often defined as its own culturally-diverse community reflected in the ethnic cuisine and original coffee shops.

Explore Brady Street and East Side life more!

5. 5. Our Public Market is one of America’s Best

Central to the Third Ward, the Milwaukee Public Market offers high-quality artisan foods through over 15 different merchants ranging from cheese and wine specialties to authentic ethnic food. Vendors offer the freshest varieties of cuisine in downtown Milwaukee. The market also has private rental spaces to host weddings, meetings, and other celebrations. We love coming for the fun, busy atmosphere and the down-to-earth distinction that the market has above any other typical grocery store.

6. 6. Our parks system is a Gold-Medal winner

Our parks have received awards of Best Urban Bike Trail, Best Public Park, Best Place for Skating with highly accredited recognition of excellence in park & recreation management, outstanding aquatic facilities, enhancement to park systems, etc. Basically our parks system kicks ass. We know you nature lovers can’t resist.

The list is extensive, so here’s some examples to dip into what you can expect from our glorious parks:

The Domes offer you to experience a desert oasis, a tropical jungle and special floral gardens all in one location.
The Boerner Botanical Gardens is an internationally renowned horticultural showplace in the Milwaukee County Parks.
The Wehr Nature Center lets you explore prairie, woodlands, wetlands, an oak savanna, and Mallard Lake within 200 acres of Whitnall Park. Trails connect these different communities of Wisconsin wildlife habitats for over 5 miles.
Seven Bridges Trail is a 2-mile nature trail in Grant Park (one of the oldest parks in Milwaukee County) with a series of bridges and walkways going through a set of ravines hosting native flora and many migratory birds.

7. 7. The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the top in the country

Whether you’re capturing the exterior beauty or snapping a selfie from inside, the Milwaukee Art Museum is home to over 30,000 works of art. Explore four floors of over forty galleries of art and appreciate works ranging between antique ages to the present in the Museum’s Collection. No way you could resist a photo-op each time you’re inside or outside of it. This landmark is pretty well-known even to non-Milwaukeeans, but is this really a surprise since it’s rated the 15th best art museum in the country? (The answer to this is no).

8. 8. You’ll never be thirsty in Brew City…

Some call us the beer capital of the world. If you love beer, MKE won’t let you down. We even have a history of beer festivals to show how dedicated we are - Milwaukee Firkin, Milwaukee Brewfest, Wisconsin Beer Lovers Fest… just to name a few. Looking for something fun to do? Take a brewery tour or three. Milwaukee Distillery, MillerCoors, Milwaukee Brewing Co., Sprecher Brewery, Lakefront Brewery, Pabst Brewery, and Brenner Brewery all offer tours in the Milwaukee area alone. Who knew beer was a synonym for Milwaukee? We did. And we’re proud of it.

9. 9. … and we have more bars than grocery stores

Although we do have some kick-ass local grocery stores, we also have a kick-ass bar scene. Water Street is known for being a bar hotspot with over 15 bar options including Coyote Ugly (if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s recreated with bar-dancing beautiful ladies), but our abundance of bars and taverns don’t stop there. Milwaukee is estimated to have 8.5 bars per 10,000 households, just behind New Orleans with 8.6. Not bad for being cheeseheads. Cheers, Milwaukee.

“Wisconsin culture is the whole notion of what the Germans call gemütlichkeit—living the good life. It’s this notion that Wisconsin people are fun-loving people; they don’t take themselves too seriously.” - Jim Draeger

10. 10. We have Sobelman’s

Recognized as the home of Milwaukee’s Best Burger and Best Bloody Mary, Sobelman’s has two locations in Milwaukee to go above and beyond satisfying your tastebuds. Dave and Melanie Sobelman bought out one of the original Schlitz taverns and transformed it into the clean, friendly, cozy pub & grill we have today. Don’t let the chicken-fried bloody mary overwhelm you - they still have a good variety of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, and fish fries.

11. 11. We have Leon’s

Yet another local food attraction, Leon’s brings you the greatest custard all year round made fresh daily. Since 1942, this family owned and operated landmark reels people into our Midwestern territory to get a taste of the finest custard. And yes, we still crave Leon’s even when it’s below zero in February.

12. 12. And we have 2 miles to represent one of the best river towns in America

Outside Magazine named Milwaukee one of the best river towns in America, and we have the RiverWalk to back that claim up. Many consider it to be the heart of our downtown with two miles of our city’s fabulous restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and nightlife along the Milwaukee River.
We like to indulge in colorful eye candy through the RiverSculpture: an outdoor art gallery that stretches across many blocks with permanent and temporary rotating pieces to create a whimsical feel to our strolls.

13. 13. We can always find beauty in our neighborhoods

There’s more to Milwaukee than just the Third Ward and downtown area. Milwaukee offers an array of culturally diverse neighborhoods, each holding up its own community with pride.

BAY VIEW ~ Overlooking Lake Michigan on the southeast shore of Milwaukee, Bay View has got to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing places to live in the city. The South Shore Frolics, one of the oldest festivals in Milwaukee, hosts a free three-day summer festival with live music, fireworks, and a parade held in the Bay View neighborhood. Residents pride themselves with favorite local boutiques and coffee shops in the surrounding area.
RIVERWEST ~ Home to many UW-Milwaukee students and dense with co-ops and non-profit organizations, Riverwest has a very unique feel to it. It is a prime neighborhood for festivals including Locust Street Days, Center Street Daze, Rockerbox, The Riverwest 24 (Milwaukee’s only 24-hour annual bike race), and the Riverwest Art Walk (the state’s largest walking tour of artists’ homes, studios, and galleries)!
>>>Local restaurants are also prided with their originality. Stonefly Brewery and restaurant serves award winning beer and quality food (including vegetarian options) along with a consistent lineup of entertainment with live music and shows. This is your new favorite brunch spot; you won’t need any convincing once you’ve walked in to the laid-back, artistic atmosphere.
AVENUES WEST/UNIVERSITY HILL is a campus neighborhood, as its name suggests, to Marquette University on the west side of Milwaukee. Notable places in the Avenue West area include the Gesu Church, Pabst Mansion, and The Rave/Eagles Club.
WALKER’S POINT lies south of the Third Ward, iconized by the Allen-Bradley clock tower (world’s largest four-faced clock). The Esperanza Unida community-based non-profit organization is located in Walker’s Point known for it’s beautiful mural displayed on the building. “Milwaukee’s most diverse and vibrant neighborhood” offers many attractions such as the Harley Davidson Museum, antique shops, and farmers markets.

These examples are just a sliver of how our communities represent a diverse city.

14. 14. We like to ride bikes in our underwear to promote positive self-body image

Every summer Milwaukee hosts several Underwear Bike Rides as a fun way to promote positivity in loving our bodies! This is a relatively new Milwaukee event, soon to turn into a tradition, that attracts all body shapes and sizes to ride for acceptance and happiness.

Get more info at http://mkebke.com/milwaukeeunderwearbikeride/ !

15. 15. Milwaukee is Milwaukee

Milwaukee will never be Chicago, or Denver, or New York, and it doesn’t want to be. When someone ask us where we’re from, we excitedly identify ourselves by saying “I’m a Milwaukeean.” We don’t deny the faults in our city; regardless of where you travel in the world, there’s always room for improvement somewhere. No matter what negative points of view outsiders may have of our beloved hometown, we choose to give our undivided attention to the rugged uniqueness of Milwaukee. Maybe it’s the feeling of being in completely different worlds in one city. You could be shopping for the best authentic Hispanic food at El Rey on the south side, and then drive 15 minutes to Bradford Beach, and then drive 20 minutes from there to your local Outpost Foods on the west side. Just like that you’ve crossed between 3 entirely different atmospheres, not to mention whatever was in between. Milwaukee has a lot to offer when it comes to exposure of cultures, and being a proud Milwaukee Public School graduate, I can say there is no other city like Milwaukee when it comes to being best friends with every type of person imaginable - the hipsters, the political activists, the art lovers, the LGBT community, the sports enthusiasts… you get the point. And although we refuse to let these categories label us as people (because they don’t), they represent pieces of us. We might be the arts and crafts geek, or the class president, or the passionate feminist, but we integrate our personalities into the community as a whole where we all end up identifying as one type of person: a Milwaukeean. That is why we love our city. Because we all contribute to defining what Milwaukee really is, and in turn Milwaukee defines us.

16. A Final Sidenote

Gather your thoughts on Milwaukee with this short 2-minute video dedicated to appreciating the beauties of our city.

For more raw emotion and thoughts on Milwaukee, I’ve stumbled across a couple of blogs that may be of some interest to readers. The titles are links to the blogs, enjoy!

Thanks for the Love, MKE
Lo’s Life in the MKE
Dear MKE

I’d like to end the post by saying there are millions of other hidden Milwaukee treasures to be explored that were not included in this post. This post was created for a college English project and was not intended to ignore, overlook, or imply importance of any aspect of Milwaukee over others. I do not own or have any rights to the photos or videos incorporated in this post.

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