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Welcome to Milwaukee


Milwaukee is Wisconsin's largest city. It began as a Native American settlement, and was then an outpost for French fur traders and missionaries. But its real boom took place in the 1800s, when waves of German immigrants settled in the city, bringing with them the art of beer brewing. Milwaukee went on to become known as the beer capital of the world as well as a major commercial and manufacturing area. Although a few major breweries have relocated, Milwaukee's brewpub culture remains strong, as does its German heritage. It is perhaps its immigrant background that makes Milwaukee feel like a small town of friendly neighbourhoods. Residents take an active part in their community, and welcome visitors to experience their city.

Milwaukee is situated on Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes, so vast it appears no different from the ocean when walking along the shore, although without the waves. While surfing is not an option, almost all other water activities are, including sailing, powerboating, jet-skiing, dinner and cocktail cruises as well as some of the best shipwreck diving in the area. If lounging in the sun sounds more appealing, visitors can head to Bradford Beach, a long strip along the lake packed with swimmers and sunbathers in the summer.

For adventures of the shopping and dining kind, the other waterfront is the place to be. The RiverWalk system of promenades and bridges meanders along the Milwaukee River, linking the central downtown area, including the financial and Westown districts, and the Historic Third Ward. Westown is a hot spot for entertainment, with a variety of upscale restaurants, clubs and hotels as well as an upmarket shopping mall, convention centre, professional sports arena and various performing arts venues. The Historic Third Ward, a rehabilitated warehouse district with trendy lofts and stylish boutiques, is perfect for an afternoon stroll, as is the nearby Brady Street neighbourhood, which offers a more eclectic experience. Its tattoo parlours and alternative clothing shops, vestiges of the 1960s, when the area was a counter-culture haven, are now mixed with galleries, diverse nightlife spots, cafés and fine restaurants. After touring the city, visitors in need of a respite ought to try one of the three favourite local indulgences - beer, brats and frozen custard-without which a trip to Milwaukee would be incomplete.

Information & Facts


Milwaukee has a humid continental climate. Summers are warm and pleasant, though thunderstorms can be frequent. Winters are quite cold, and snow is common and plentiful throughout the season. Due to its proximity to Lake Michigan, Milwaukee experiences 'lake-effect' conditions. In the summer, areas along the lakeshore are often comparatively cooler than inland, and in the winter, they are slightly warmer. Tornado season is from March to June, and the wettest month of the year is August.

Getting Around

Many tourist attractions in downtown Milwaukee can be explored on foot. However, if visitors wish to travel a bit farther, the city has a relatively good bus system operated by MCTS. The standard fare is $1.75, and a variety of discounts and passes are available. Taxis often queue at hotels and other attractions, though visitors should not assume it will be easy to hail one on the street. In recent years, Milwaukee has worked hard to make the city bicycle-friendly, and there are now 45 miles (72km) of bike lanes.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers football team, is a landmark among America's football stadiums. When it underwent extensive renovations a few years ago, fans pleaded for the preservation of its trademark features. Today, its retro style and original seating bowl are balanced by modern facilities and services, despite the disadvantages of an outdoor stadium in Wisconsin's notoriously cold winters. If visitors can get tickets (and stand the cold) watching the Packers play at home is an amazing experience. If not, a tour of the stadium, where some of the greatest legends in football have played, is the next best thing. When attending a football game at Lambeau Field, don't forget to come early for a barbecue and join the tailgate party in the parking lot!

The Miller Brewery, established in 1855, is a landmark in Milwaukee, and visitors can participate in a free, entertaining, one-hour guided tour of the brewhouse, packaging centre and historic caves on the premises. Tours conclude with samples either at the old Miller Inn or in the beer garden (seasonal).

Miller Park is the home of major league baseball's Milwaukee Brewers. Opened in 2001, the ballpark combines state-of-the-art features, including a unique fan-shaped convertible roof, with the 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' nostalgia of America's pastime. Ballpark tours are available, but if visitors are able to get tickets, there is perhaps no better way to experience the best of America than by watching a ballgame with popcorn and a hot dog on a warm summer evening.

The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is commonly referred to as 'the Domes', due to its memorable architecture. Its three giant glass vault-like structures are bursting with diverse plant life. Visitors can explore a different habitat - arid, tropical or floral - in each dome.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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