It’s hard to believe that 25 years ago I returned to Wisconsin following eight years combined in Arizona and California. Looking back on my time since coming back to the Milwaukee area, I have compiled a list of some favorite places and activities.
In my opinion, Milwaukee may indeed be one of the country’s best kept secrets.
Most people have heard of the RiverWalk in San Antonio, but Milwaukee has a great one as well. Built in the 1990s to revitalize the downtown area, the city’s RiverWalk links countless bars, restaurants, breweries, and activities along the Milwaukee River. For anyone wishing to explore downtown, this is a great place to start.
Milwaukee City Hall
Did you know that when this structure was built in 1895 it was the tallest habitable building in the U.S.? This Flemish Renaissance Revival architectural structure proudly sits on the corner of Wells and Kilbourn in downtown Milwaukee. Now that the exterior repairs are done and the building is once again unobstructed, it’s worth the trek to soak in its elegance.
This is an amazing escape on the edge of Shorewood. Originally constructed as a resort for high-society types, it was turned into a public amusement park in 1900. The original tunnels, built in the 1890s, remain in operation and are among my favorite things. There is also Hubbard Park Lodge – a unique restaurant venue for a special occasion, fish fry, or Sunday brunch.
Milwaukee Art Museum
Make no mistake; the Milwaukee Art Museum is the largest in the state, boasting more than 35,000 pieces of art. From the Calatrava wings that rise above the building, to the incredible views of Lake Michigan, MAM is indeed a very special place. Our company, Hamacher Resource Group, hosted its 25th anniversary dinner at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2005 following a daylong series of presentations at The Pfister Hotel – our out-of-town guests are still talking about it!
It’s literally “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” making other music fests pale in comparison. Celebrating its 50th year, it spans 11 days, with 11 stages and over 1,000 performances from over 800 acts. This is a must-attend for anyone interested in great music, fantastic food, and people-watching that is over the top.
Lake Michigan shoreline
Living on Lake Michigan is like living near the ocean, but better. Milwaukee has an awesome beach culture, complete with kite and wind surfers, plenty of sand volleyball courts, plus a marina filled with sail boats and yachts. And when the wind is just right, you’ll even see surfers.
For a city the size of Milwaukee, the performing arts community is incredible – from the ballet to the opera, and our world-renown symphony orchestra to the theater venues scattered throughout the city and surrounding communities (the Pabst Theater remains one of my all-time favorites).
Perhaps Yogi Berra’s advice applies to anyone who hasn’t taken notice of the wonderful sights and sounds of our fair city, “You can observe a lot by just watching.”
Dave Wendland is vice president of strategic relations for Pewaukee-based Hamacher Resource Group Inc.