We had high hopes for Milwaukee -- but on a scale of 1 to 10, I can only give it a 6.8.
On the plus side:
1. It has a Bronze Fonz! Waaay cooler than a statue of Ralph Kramden at the bus station.
2. Lots of cool old-school architecture. This is their City Hall!
3. Beer. I really don't drink that much of it, but it's a cultural -- almost religious -- experience here in the brewing capital of America. As far as brewery tours go, Lakefront, a local microbrew, is the best. The tour guide is hilarious, they actually tell you how beer is made, and for $7, you get four tokens for 6 oz. beers + a free pint at participating restaurants + a souvenir pint glass. So, between the two of us, Yvonne and I had eight tokens, of which we used three (Yvonne had three sips total). We made some college kids very happy when I gave them our leftovers.
4. Milwaukee has an honest-to-goodness beach. Volleyball and everything. Who knew?
5. The Brewers. Miller Park is one of the very best, and when the Nationals are visiting on a Monday night, you can get sweet seats for about 60% less than face value. Yvonne made a friend -- that's the Polish Sausage from the famous 6th inning sausage races. Yes, he's coming home with us. (Also, Brewers RF Corey Hart hit three home runs.)
6. There's no picture for this, but the people in Milwaukee are sooo nice. I feel like I say this about all the places we go -- maybe it's just that New Yorkers suck. But, really, these down-to-earth Midwesterners are just the best. In Milwaukee, they're even courteous drivers -- everyone obeys the speed limit! And speaking of driving, the roads are never busy! Driving through Chicago, we hit traffic at 2 p.m. on a Sunday. In Milwaukee, we had no traffic even on Monday at "rush" hour. Hell, it took literally one minute to get out of the stadium parking lot. Amazing.
7. The Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. One of the two best pieces of architecture I've ever seen firsthand. This building moves (the wings open and close) and it's moving. As I read in a book about it in the gift shop, it's impossible to feel pessimistic when you're in this building -- and that's me saying that. (More great photos of the museum to come on Yvonne's flickr.)
So by now you may be asking, why only a 6.8? Well, it's pretty dead here. Like D-E-D, dead. Nobody on the streets. We were the only people Milwauking around. Yes, there's the Historic Third Ward that's poking up its head as a chic little shopping district, and there seem to be a lot of restaurants along the water -- but when everything closes at 9 p.m., and the restaurants are deserted even during lunchtime, that's dead. And it's an unfortunate knock on a big city.
Like I said, we wanted to love Milwaukee. But instead, we'll just like it -- from afar.