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Introduction Region

The Milwaukee Riverwalk ©Sulfur

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.

Climate Info

Milwaukee has a humid continental climate, characterised by precipitation throughout the year, hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Summers (June to mid-September) are warm and pleasant, with temperatures averaging between 52°F (11°C) and 81°F (27°C). Summer receives frequent rain with an increased chance of thunderstorms, resulting in muggy conditions. Winters (December to early March) are quite cold, and snow is common and plentiful throughout the season. Average temperatures drop to between 16°F (-9°C) and 30°F (-1°C) in January. Due to its proximity to Lake Michigan, Milwaukee experiences 'lake-effect' conditions, which increase snowfall. In the summer, areas along the lakeshore are often comparatively cooler than inland, and in the winter, they are slightly warmer.

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Getting Around

Many tourist attractions in downtown Milwaukee can be explored on foot and the skywalk network in the city centre conveniently protects pedestrians from the elements. However, if visitors wish to travel a bit farther, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) operates buses on more than 50 routes in the city and surrounding region. Single tickets can be bought on board, but exact change is required. Multiple-ride tickets and weekly or monthly passes can be bought at outlets such as supermarkets throughout the city. The Milwaukee Trolley Loop in the city centre is aimed at tourists and stops at major attractions. The Milwaukee Intermodal Station is the city's transport hub, with Amtrak trains connecting to Chicago as well as long distance buses. Cycle rickshaws also operate in the city, and a ferry service runs across Lake Michigan to Muskegon. 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.

General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)

LocationThe airport is located five miles (8km) south of Milwaukee.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

The Milwaukee Country Transit System operates several lines to the airport: Route 80 connects to downtown Milwaukee from around 5am and after midnight, while the GreenLine runs to Bayshore Town Center between around 4am and 2am. Adult cash fare is $2.25.

Car Rental

Car rental companies represented at the airport include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

Metered taxi service is available from the taxi pick-up station located outside of Baggage Claim 3.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include a lost and found, various dining and shopping options, conference and banquet rooms, UPS mail drops, ATMs, public phones, a children's play area and an aviation history museum.

Car Parking

All parking lots cost $2 per hour, however daily rates vary from $23 in the hourly lot to $7 in the SuperSaver lot. All parking is within walking distance of the terminal, with the exception of the SuperSaver lot, which is served by a free shuttle. Passengers arriving via Amtrak can park in a special lot for $7 per day.

Miller Park

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 ava
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Miller Park ©Spaluch1

Miller Brewing Company

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 g
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Entrance to Miller Brewery ©Coemgenus

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

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.

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Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory ©Sulfur

Lambeau Field

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
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Lambeau Field ©JL1Row

The House on the Rock

Sticking up out of nowhere in the flat Wisconsin landscape, the House on the Rock is a truly unique tourist attraction. The house itself was built by eccentric millionaire Alex Jordan Sr., both in homage and retaliation to renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who had dismissed his arch
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Infinity Room of the House on the Rock ©Richie Diesterheft

Wisconsin Dells

About two hours' drive from Milwaukee is Wisconsin Dells, which takes its name from the distinctive sandstone formations in the glacial gorges of the Wisconsin River.

The city bills itself as the 'Waterpark Capital of the World', and with more than 20 indoor and outdoor parks
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Street in Wisconsin Dells ©Runner1928

Travel Guide powered by, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. All rights reserved. By its very nature much of the information in this guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevant authorities. Globe Media and UNIGLOBE Travel does not accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.

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