City Report: Milwaukee
Words and Photos by Kevin Sparrow
City: Milwaukee, WI
Nickname: Brew City, Cream City, or City of Festivals.
Claim to Fame: Beer and Brats, Pabst, Miller High Life, Harley Davidson and the Calatrava designed art museum.
History in 100 Words (or less): Milwaukee is a blue collar city made from blood, sweat and beers. Milwaukee was first settled by Europeans at the turn of the 19th century, originally formed by three towns called Juneautown, Kilbourntown, and Walker’s Point separated by the Milwaukee River. In 1846, all three cities grew to such an extent that they merged to form Milwaukee. German immigrants made the population boom in the mid-1800s, and the influence remains to this day. Milwaukee is famous for its cream colored brick buildings that were made in the Menomonee River valley.
Random Fact: Milwaukee is home to America’s oldest bowling alley, the Holler House, first opened in 1908 with the original wooden lanes and manual pinsetters still in service.
City’s Terrain: Milwaukee is surprisingly hilly. Slow, gradual hills that tire you out over time. The Milwaukee River cuts directly through downtown creating valleys to traverse, and contribute to green spaces within the urban area. Be careful crossing the bridges when it rains or snows, they can get remarkably slippery.
Top Shops: Ben’s Cycle, Cory The Bike Fixer, Rainbow Jersey and Wheel and Sprocket are great shops that you can trust. All of these shops have friendly staff that know their bike tech. They would rather see you ride away happy than make a sale.
Best Watering Holes: The Best Place, The Swingin’ Door, The Polish Falcon, Foundation Tiki Bar, Burnhearts, The Cactus Club, Sabbatic.
Authentic Local Food: Comet Cafe, Fuel Cafe (Buttafucco), Cafe Corazon, Honey Pie, and Nessun Dorma are excellent, locally owned and operated choices.
Coffee: Fuel Cafe is one of Milwaukee’s oldest coffee shops. When you think of coffee in Milwaukee it’s hard not to think about Fuel. Stone Creek Coffee, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co, and Colectivo Coffee Roasters are some other great sources. Do not be surprised to find some great coffee here.
Must See: The Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, located just northwest of downtown. Have a pint and take a tour of the place where Jacob Best started the local brewery that his son Phillip and Captain Frederick Pabst made into the largest brewer in the nation at one time. The old sign and cat walk are still intact, and tours are just $8.
Don’t miss the Milwaukee Art Museum, with four