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Why I’m Going Back to Milwaukee

Posted By in The Americas | 5 comments

Why I’m Going Back to Milwaukee

Spend five minutes Googling Milwaukee and you’ll realize that every blogger and writer covering the city is trying to let readers in on the same secret: Milwaukee is amazing but not many people seem to realize it. I was fortunate enough to spend four days in Wisconsin’s capital for BlogHouse in June, and here are just a few reasons why I’m already plotting my return to this underrated city.

So. Much. Cheese.

I’ve always loved cheese. I’ve been known to decline a proper dinner in favour of big hunks of brie stacked on crackers or smoothed over fresh bread. After being relatively deprived of really good cheese while living in Asia over the past few years, my obsession with it has only further intensified.

Looking back, I’m fairly certain that every meal or snack I ate during my four days in Milwaukee involved cheese in some way; whether it was a crumbly mature cheddar as part of an appetizer, or even the Wac Mac sandwich I ate at the Milwaukee Public Market for lunch (and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a grilled cheese-style sandwich filled with mac n’ cheese).

Milwaukee is the only place outside of Canada that I’ve ever seen cheese curds. I thought we Canadians had perfected the serving of the cheese curd – layered with French fries and gravy – but the deep fried cheese curds I tried in Milwaukee had me reconsidering if poutine is the only proper way to enjoy them. They tasted a bit like mozzarella sticks, only way better.

Cool Breweries

Aside from cheese, beer is the easily second thing that comes to mind when most people think of Milwaukee  – apparently Wisconsin is actually home to more bars than grocery stores. Although the city’s reputation for beer was built by big brands like Pabst, Blatz, and Schlitz, it’s microbreweries that have been strengthening its status in recent years.

As you might expect, a number of Milwaukee’s breweries also offer tours. You might think that once you’ve seen one brewery tour you’ve seen them all – I know I did- but tours of Lakefront Brewery of truly one-of-a-kind. Most of the brewery’s guides also work as stand-up comics and the result is informative and engaging tours that blend rapid-fire jokes with genuinely interesting facts about the brewing process.

Seriously Awesome People

I’ll admit that describing a place as offering a mix of big city sophistication and small town charm is a bit of a cliché, yet that was exactly my impression of Milwaukee.

When our BlogHouse group descended on the Milwaukee Public Market to take a paparazzi-like level of photos, I feel like we might have been met with annoyance or suspicion in a different capital; but in Milwaukee people were friendly and earnestly curious about what we were doing. Similarly, when our group hit the Uber Tap Room, a café attached to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, a few customers sitting along the bar immediately started offering unsolicited beer recommendations.

I can remember dozens of other little moments like these ones throughout trip – moments in which the locals felt like one big family collectively welcoming me into a home that they’re deeply proud of. (Plus there’s just something impossibly disarming about those Upper Midwestern accents).

There’s A Lot More to Do

While I’m so grateful to have participated in BlogHouse, it did mean that a good portion of my time in Milwaukee was spent in a conference room and as a result, I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I would have liked. For example, I only caught a glimpse of the Milwaukee Art Museum, known for the crazy cool sunscreen on its roof which opens and closes like a set of flapping wings.

My trip also fell a little too early to experience Summerfest, touted as “World’s Largest Music Festival.”  The festival, which features performances by more than 800 different bands, is held over eleven days in June and early July each year.

Plus, let’s be honest, there was only so much cheese and beer I could reasonably consume over a few days – so next summer, I’m definitely going back for more.

Have you been to Milwaukee?

 

Big thanks to the sponsors of BlogHouse Milwaukee: Visit MilwaukeeTravel Wisconsin,  Potawatomi CasinoFlipkey, and the Bartolotta Restaurant Group

5 Comments

  1. thegrownupgapyear July 15, 2015

    I worked at a summer camp in Milwaukee and I ate SO much cheese! I agree though, it's a great place to hang out 🙂

  2. Joseph September 4, 2015

    Hey, Jessica! Glad you liked Milwaukee!

    I've been living out here for three years now and there is still a lot I have yet to see myself. You should definitely come back in the summer time – there are WAY more festivals than just Summer Fest! There is the Harley Davidson Festival, Art Festival, Indian Summer Festival, German Festival, Italian Festival, Mexican Festival, Irish Festival and many more! LakeFront Brewery is by far the best brewery tour, in my opinion, but there are a couple of other ones, too. The art museum is pretty neat; you should also check out the Milwaukee Public Museum as well.

    Glad I found your blog through reading one of Nomadic Matt's posts. People like you have inspired me to travel and I hope I get to do so within this next year. Cheers!

  3. Samantha February 22, 2016

    Hi Jessica,

    I am a Wisconsin native, I live about an hour north of Milwaukee in Oshkosh! I’m glad you were able to visit Milwaukee and I hope you do get back to have a second visit. I can recommend a couple of places for your next visit: Milwaukee Brewing Company (a small brewery in the Third Ward with excellent food), Sobelman’s (a pub well known for its huge Wisconsin Bloody Marys), Brady Street (an area with funky shops and cafes, and the newly renovated Milwaukee Art Museum. Also, if you have the time to get outside of Milwaukee, visit historic Cedarburg. This small town north of Milwaukee has several wineries (we like alcohol in Wisconsin obviously), adorable shops, and many delicious restaurants.

    Hope you are able to make the trek back to good old Wisco!

  4. Milwaukee Fun March 15, 2016

    Glad you enjoyed Milwaukee! Although there is a lot to do (when its warm out) beer, cheese, and the city market are all great choices. Hope you come back again, soon!

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