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Milwaukee’s A Hoppin’

By Bill Malcolm

Milwaukee is a fun vibrant city withits own unique identity. Just 90 miles north of Chicago, it was settled by Germans and their influence persiststoday. Milwaukee is so well run theMayor of Portland just came to town to get tips on dealing with thehomeless. The historic Third Wardand nearby Walker’s Point have manyLGBTQ venues from which tochoose. The stunning architecture ofthe Milwaukee Art Museum’s

Quadracci Pavilion (designed bySpanish architect SantiagoCalatrava) alone makes the cityworth a visit. Indeed, the “CreamCity” is named for its many buildingsof that colors. Few U.S. cities have

preserved their historic buildings (andrepurposed them) as well asMilwaukee has.


Make your first stop theMilwaukee Art Museum if only togaze at the stunning building which

hangs like a giant ship over LakeMichigan. The recent Darrell Ellis:Regeneration exhibit chronicles the

many talents young New York Cityartist who died at 33 fromcomplications from AIDS. New exhibits for 2024 include:

Larry Bell’s Iceberg

museum-to- Present-first-American-survey-exhibition-ofacclaimed-british-artist-idris-khan/

Take the Streetcar around Town. Shop ‘til you drop in the historic

Third Ward just south of downtown. Eat Wisconsin’s foodiespecialties like brats at the

Milwaukee Public Market. Or have afresh squeezed carrot juice andgarden salad at the Green Kitchen in

the Market. Enjoy wine or a localmicrobrew or have a microbrewedcoffee. And pick up some Wisconsin

cheese to take home.

Work out at the Wisconsin Athletic Club.Visit the Harley DavidsonMuseum to learn about the history ofthis customer focused company andthe culture it created. They also have

a nice restaurant.Try one of the 20 food vendors atthe nearby 3rd Street Market Hall.Enjoy at Lakeshore Brewery HazyIPA at one of the many bars.

Visit the Milwaukee CountyHistorical Society Museum to learn about the beer culture in the citywhere beer made Milwaukee famous.


Who says gay bars are dead?The new POP video bar (124 W.National) is the first new bar in the

city since 2010 and is a fun, airyplace. It also features a full-servicerestaurant. Try the pizza.

Other nearby bars (all in WalkersPoint include Woodys and LaCage

Niteclub. Kruz is where you will findthe leather crowd.

Woody’s has two for one specialon Thursdays and features a friendly

crowd.Women will like the Walker’s Pintbar, one of only 25 lesbian bars left in

the U.S. according to a story on POPin Our Lives Magazine (Nov./Dec.

2023 issue). Our Lives is Wisconsin’sonly LGBTQ publication and is based

in Madison.The Harbor Room is nearby andis also fun. You can take the Green

Line Express bus to the bars inWalkers Point from downtown or the

Third Ward.


Enjoy the historic HomewoodSuites just north of the MilwaukeePublic Market. It’s in the historic Button Block Building made of red sandstone from the Apostle Islandsin Lake Superior. The repurposed

building features lofty ceilings, theoriginal wood floors, and more. Did I

mention the free laundry machines? Built in 1892, the building’s

sandstone is over one million years old.


Milwaukee has its own lingo youmay not be familiar with including

Bubbler: Milwaukee-speak for awater fountain;

Kringle: A large round pastry made in Racine Brats (pronounced

Brawts): A spicy pork sausage on a

bun;Cheese curds: Rubbery tasting

bits of cheese shaped into a small

ball. They can be fried or fresh and

now come in many flavors;

Drumlins: A long oval hill created

by glaciers. They are found west and

north of the city; M’waukee – the locals don’t

pronounce the l’s;And they are from WES-KAHNSIN

(a very nasal accent). Also called



Amtrak has seven trains eachway from Chicago which take 90minutes and make three stops.

There is also one (soon to be two)trains to St. Paul, Minnesota. Theintercity buses and trains all use the

sleek Multi-Modal terminal whichalso features Bubblr shared bikes,

Milwaukee Public Transit buses, theBadger Bus to Madison, Amtrak,Greyhound, MegaBus, and the Hop

Street Car. Why more cities don’t have such a facility is beyond me.

The terminal is clean, bright, featuresrestrooms, and even sells tickets.

General Mitchell InternationalAirport (MKE) is the city’s

international airport (and also has anAmtrak station). It’s an under-used,

uncrowded airport and a greatoption even for those in northern

Illinois.They feature a “decombulationarea” after TSA to regroup, the only

one in the country. Don’t miss the aviation history museum. Old timers

will remember Northwest Orient,North Central, Midwest Express, and Ozark Airlines. Did someone say

chocolate chip cookie? (It was ahighlight of the Midwest Airlines



Shepherds Express is the weekly which features a LGBTQ section.

OurLives is the state’s LGBTQpublication.

VISIT Milwaukee has several tips

including Things to do: https://


Major events: https:// including the PrideFest in

June.View a digital guide: https://

There are few cities left thathave such a unique character and

identity. Milwaukee is one of themand is worth a visit.

Bill Malcolm is North America’s

only syndicated value travel

columnist who focuses on value

travel, use of transit, and off beat

things to see and do for the

LGBTQ+ community. He is a native

of nearby Madison and


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