My top 10 things that I love about Milwaukee!!
I’ve lived in Milwaukee for 3 years, and I still love it! This is the short list of what makes this city so great to me. Minus some editing I’m here to proclaim my love for this great city.
10- Locally owned businesses
There are so many here and they are well supported. I moved here from a chain city and the local businesses were far and few in between and left to struggle and usually die. Granted, that still holds true in Milwaukee, but sometimes I think it’s because the level of competition and expectation of a grand product/s and service is high. A few things that come to mind is the small bakeries like Peter Sciortino’s, Canfora, and Cranky Al’s (no average white bread here), the craft breweries (Lakefront, Milwaukee Brewing Co), and the local coffee businesses (Alterra, Anodyne, Stone Creek) just to name a few. I feel the city of Milwaukee appreciates the days of quality over quantity still, and I believe that is the cornerstone of the rest of this list.
My belief to a happier life has been the choice of being car free. I’ve been that way for over 6 years, and it wouldn’t be possible in Milwaukee without the value of “the bus” provided by the Milwaukee County Transit System. Being car free gives me a ton of disposable income allowing me to support the businesses I patronize everyday. Though I don’t ride the bus daily (mostly in the winter) it gives me the piece of mind given inclement weather or a breakdown of my bike; its vast and frequent number of lines of service with bike racks will get me home dry or back to the shop for a repair at Cory’s. Let’s hope funding continues, and the chipping away of an A+ system doesn’t wreck it.
8- Green Bay Packers
The first Super Bowl I remember watching was Super bowl XVI between the 49ers and Bengals. With growing up just the road from Cincinnati it was the first time I really relished what football was all about and I became a fan from that point. I watched the Bengals be a powerhouse through the 80’s and then just take a dive for the cellar for nearly 20 years. I ended up being stuck with being split Colts/Bengals fan for a long while, and could never get over over how the Colts fans were so fair weather and “fashionable”. The buzz in Indy when they won it didn’t even feel right.
I’ve always been a closet Packers fan and didn’t even think much about it when I moved here. Low and behold my first night living in Milwaukee the Pack had a Monday night game in Denver. I ended up catching the 4th quarter and a game winning overtime throw by Favre. The fans were rabid. I was a fan by the time I laid my head to sleep my first night here.
They should be ranked higher on my list, but the important thing is that if I ever left Wisconsin I can still find a way to follow them in another major city, or via satellite, so I guess it’s their fans who ranks #8 on my list.
I think the reason why small towns are treasured are because of the tight knit history of the town and how its people have kept traditions and trades important. Milwaukee basically is a huge cultural merger of small towns, er neighborhoods, of Irish, Italians, Polish, Germans, and more that have kept their traditions alive to keep this city as a whole treasured. Together we find ourselves celebrating those traditions at the many festivals (please note I don’t count the ones on the Summerfest grounds), shops, and restaurants that fill those nooks and crannies on the corners off the beaten paths of Milwaukee. Such great history and quality foods here that makes me salivate for more.
6- The parks/lake
I think about this post every time I bike home from Bay View/ Walker’s Point/Third Ward and roll past between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the lake harbor. The skyline shines down and the moon/lights glisten off the rustling waves with that glorious piece of landmark architecture next to me. It can’t be described in words, but alas it’s breathtaking each and every time. I feel like I leave the city without having to go more than a few blocks and I’m surrounded by lush forest, and along many bike paths I can enjoy this all the way out of the metro area. The people who have designed and groomed this city have done an amazing job, and for the Midwest, you can’t make it much better by having a beautiful coastline to go along with it. When I bring my family up I have the hardest time trying to tie together why I love this city so much, but if I could get them on a bike for a couple of hours; I think they would have a much better understanding.
5- 88 Nine
I brought “my radio station” with me when I moved here three years ago. Technology allowed me to continue to listen to one of the most unique radio stations in the country that was practically born in my backyard. WOXY.com which was based out of Oxford, OH for the longest time was one of the first terresttial stations to go online. They played real radio, great music, and had a real community backing it. Unfortunately it withered away, and I was left to some serious issues in how to replace it.
I checked out 88 Nine, Radio Milwaukee a few times. I liked things about it, but overall it didn’t come close to replacing my old friend, WOXY. After dabbling with some other options I got reacquainted, and at some point we really hit it off. Happiness for me is trusting someone to put the light on the most diverse and best music there is to offer, and I trust them every single day. I’m much happier when my face is being rocked off by Marcus, Jordon,
Rachel Rose, Tarik, and all of the rest off those hard working guys and gals, and community supporters out there that make it possible.
With doing a trivia show I have the utmost confidence now that the music I’m delivering is the best. I have 88 Nine. I have happy.
4- Romans’ Pub
It’s not always the biggest selection in town that gets the props, it’s who gives you the best beer and experience in the same place. When I first heard and checked out what Romans’ was all about I was skeptical. It took me 6 months to finally figure out it was worth my time to check out this south side dive bar looking place to get good beer. It was a little far, but I had to at least take a peak. On a cold December day a couple years ago I took the bus down and to my surprise I walked into a busy crowd. I made my way through the patrons to get my first beer, and had to sit with some strangers. It turns out I walked in on the Christmas party! There are generally a more than a few people who sniff these parties out to grab some free grub, drink some cokes, and check out. So, with being a new face they assumed I was a party crasher. I made some new friends that night and met my most favorite bartender/owner in Milwaukee, Mike Romans.
Fortunately each visit is a little out of my way so it’s more appreciated. Every time I leave trying a new fresh beer, and a great story or two. You feel a history at Romans’. They have a great deck. Didn’t I mention he has 31 beers on tap. Don’t order the Miller Lite. “Ball wash!!”. That is why I love this place.
3475 Kinninkinnic Ave., MKE WI
3- The community
When I think about this item I think back to one evening in particular at the Milwaukee Art Museum. MAM After Dark is a once a month gathering at the Art Museum that usually has a local event/exhibit tied with their feature exhibit. Besides the pleasure of having several of my good friends there, I was just in awe of the crowd that came out. Every demographic was represented, the energy was electric, the masses, the music, the dancing – I feel like I was in a different world, not just down the street. I believe I posted on Twitter that this was just an average night in Milwaukee. I go art nights in the Third Ward and I leave early because of a good problem, it’s too crowded. The charitable support among the community I know is strong. The outreach of this community saves entire families directly. This community is not just in my circle, but seemingly is ingrained in the fabric of this city.
For every negative this city has, there are at least another 12 positives to cancel it out.
2- Cory the Bike Fixer
I can’t say enough about this bike shop. When I moved from Indianapolis one thing I was going to miss the most was my bike mechanic, but in the end I traded a bike mechanic for a dream team. I ventured into Cory’s a few months after I moved here I think after seeing their ad on a divider at Pick ‘N Save that still exist actually. The biggest selling point at Cory’s is the two years free service with a purchase of a new bike. This is unheard of in the industry, and is perfect for me since I’m mechanically declined. I bought my first bike there in February 2008 and semi-retired it 5,000 miles later. Since then I have purchased 3 more bikes putting a total of over 10,000 miles of well maintained service to the road.
Cory pretty much has added one employee for every year of being open 14 years ago, and they all take Cory’s laid back but professional approach to making cycling a recreational and fun lifestyle/hobby/exercise (how ever you want to slice it).
Group rides and frequent parties at Von Trier makes being a customer at Cory’s a benefit and a friend to his excellent team of sales and service. I realize that my crazy biking goals could and would never be possible without them and leaving Milwaukee would likely end my biking days. I’m that confident and dependent on them. They simply rock Milwaukee.
Thanks Cory, Ian, Jared, the Andy’s, John, JD, Devon, Stephanie, and all the rest who have kept me rolling.
1- So much to do!
This one doesn’t take much explaining, and I’ve already written enough above. It’s not too often I leave Milwaukee to visit family, but every time I do I seem to miss a ton of events. It’s also quite often even on weeknights that I have a multitude of choices of things to do. It took a bit to make the connections to make this possible. I remember a time where I actually kept a calendar of events every time something popped up so I wouldn’t forget because I was bored. Now, I just go with the flow. I realize every time I do something I’m missing something else. A good problem to have I say. This is why I love Milwaukee. The end.