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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

May 2011 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

In this issue:

Welcome to the May issue of USATourist News Magazine. This month we're visiting the Midwestern city of Milwaukee which is located just north of Chicago. Summers are particularly adored here because of the nice weather and many choices in outdoor activities. No matter what you like there really is something for everyone.

City of Festivals

This eastern Wisconsin city sits on Lake Michigan. The Native Americans called this land "Milliocki" which means "gathering place by the water" and today that meaning continues - especially over the summer months when the city comes to life with non-stop festivals which explains why Milwaukee is known as the City of Festivals.

Beth on a Harley

Beth experiences the thrill of sitting on a new Harley Davidson.
© Beth Blair

Beer and food tours

Another thing Milwaukee is famous for is its massive beer production. My family recently explored Milwaukee and while we didn't get a chance to tour the breweries, there are plenty of chances to learn about the city's beer history, see the beer making process and, of course, sample the brews. Check out Milwaukee Brewery Tours for information on breweries in the area.

Speaking of tours, a must-do for any pizza lover is a stop at Palermo's Pizza. During the tour, guests learn about this local Milwaukee business which originally started out as a small bakery and has since expanded into a thriving frozen pizza factory. You will enjoy viewing the factory floor where the frozen pizzas are made before your very eyes. The best part is finishing the tour with a hot slice of pizza!

Museums for every age

If you're traveling with little ones the Betty Brinn Children's Museum allows the tots to play and burn off energy with kid-sized everything. My kids' favorite section was the Home-Town where dozens of children immersed themselves in role-playing jobs such as working at a post office, WaterStone Bank and shopping in Sendik's Food Market.

Discovery World is one of the coolest museums my family has ever been to. The museum features hands-on science and technology experiments, freshwater exhibits, learning labs, fresh and saltwater aquariums. The highlight: getting to lie on a bed of nails!

If there is one museum that impresses all ages, it's the Harley-Davidson Museum. Visitors will explore the history, technology and people behind the brand every step of the way as they meander through the various exhibits which range from vintage through modern day motorcycles. Don't forget to stop in the onsite shop for Harley-Davidson merchandise.

Northpoint Lighthouse

The refurbished Northpoint Lighthouse is a monument to the important role that Lighthouses have played in U.S. maritime history.
© Beth Blair

When you visit Milwaukee Public Museum, expect to stay for a while. The exhibits are extensive and fascinating. Some highlights for us included the Puelicher Butterfly Wing; it's one of the most active butterfly gardens we have ever visited and my personal favorite was the museum's first exhibit in 1965: The Streets of Old Milwaukee. The darkened, gas lit lanes are lined with twenty-five furnished mini-shops and businesses that visitors can peer into and see how life used to be lived.

Light on the shore

Lighthouses have always played an important role in the safety of Lake Michigan's ships and other watercraft. Today, that history is celebrated at Northpoint Lighthouse. Newly restored, this lighthouse is not only breathtaking but also full of artifacts and photos of the days when it was active. Visitors can take a tour and climb to the top of the 74-foot lighthouse tower for beautiful Milwaukee views.

Where to chow

It should be no surprise Milwaukee is booming with terrific restaurant choices. You can't go wrong with Chili Lili's. As the name implies the focus here is chili, but it's not your traditional soupy Midwest chili but rather based off Cincinnati chili which is a thicker concoction and loaded with flavor. You can mix and match the seven to twelve chili flavors and the cornbread is out of this world! Chili Lili's is located right across the street from Milwaukee's Maier Festival Grounds (aka Summerfest grounds) and over the summer the patio is open so you can enjoy the day as you dine.

Spin Milwaukee is like no other restaurant and while the food is delicious (I highly recommend the meatloaf) the main reason you will want to visit Spin is the fun atmosphere: a swanky bar, lounge, music and the highlight - table tennis! Your party can reserve a table and enjoy an evening of ping pong. There are twelve tables plus one in the middle which is reserved for the pros and surrounded with stadium seating.

Miss Katie's Diner (1900 W. Clybourn St.) is a classic 1950's-style diner with traditional menu items such as omelets and pancakes.

Milwaukee Public Market in Historic Third Ward has been open to locals since 2005. Find a multitude of lunch choices, a wine shop and Wisconsin-grown products. This is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Hilton City Center

The indoor waterpark at the Hilton City Center makes this hotel a great place to stay with your kids.
© Beth Blair

Where to stay

Like any big city, Milwaukee has an abundance of lodging choices. I recommend the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. Not only is it a nice, centrally located hotel that is within walking distance to several restaurants and a drugstore, but it has the indoor Paradise Landing water park inside the hotel.

The closest airport

I like to point out the local airports in and nearby the city we're featuring since oftentimes an alternative airport is a better choice with lower airfare and fewer crowds. The medium-hub General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) is the area's only airport but it is a terrific option. MKE services 56 cities non-stop and has 10 airlines, including low-fare Southwest. If you have time, grab a pretzel roll bratwurst at Usinger's (a local restaurant), visit the Gallery of Flight which is dedicated to airline history and Wisconsin aviation pioneers, and roam Renaissance Books, a used book store. In addition, MKE is a great alternative airport if Chicago is your destination.

For more information on this wonderful city, be sure to check out the Visit Milwaukee website.

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Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair


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