A local’s guide to Milwaukee
- By Evan Rytlewski
- Photos by Jenny Bohr
At some point, Milwaukeeans began to realize they love it here. Over the past two decades, the city has shed its inferiority complex, retiring the old narrative about being stuck in Chicago’s shadow and replacing it with one trumpeting homey charms. Of course, it’s not a coincidence that the surge in civic pride has correlated with the city’s rising fortunes. Milwaukee has spent the new millennium leveling up, redeveloping its downtown after years of stagnancy, maximizing its abundant waterways, adding a streetcar system and building a prized new arena.
Thankfully, these upgrades haven’t come at the expense of the city’s historic character. Yes, you’ll find craft cocktail lounges, ax-throwing bars, late-night ramen and all the usual bellwethers of a thriving creative class here. But what makes Milwaukee special is the intersection of old and new, its marriage of blue-collar traditions, Old World comforts and modern innovations. And if you’ve never been, it’s also a much greener city than what you may be picturing, with a prized park system and a spectacular lakefront that’s put to great use during the summer.
Meet Evan Rytlewski
A Milwaukee native, Evan is the web editor for the nonprofit Radio Milwaukee. For more than a decade, he was an arts writer and music editor for the city’s alt-weekly Shepherd Express.
Want to get in touch?Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Explore more of Milwaukee
- There’s no sugarcoating it: Winters can be rough. The city shines in the summer, which it marks with street parties and ethnic festivals.
- Even if you’re lukewarm on baseball, American Family Field, where the Brewers play, is a must. Relatively cheap tickets are available for most Brewers games, and the tailgating before is often downright epic.
- Summerfest, a marathon of 11 days of music spread across eight big stages on the lakefront, is an incredible value proposition. Daily lineups are a touch thinner than at festivals such as Coachella, but Lizzo, the National, Brandi Carlile and Lil Uzi Vert have headlined recently. Tickets start around $20.