Exploring any new place is an adventure to me. When I told friends I was visiting Milwaukee over the weekend, most of them reacted positively and began to go on and on about what a cool city it was. A few raised their eyebrows/rolled their eyes and said, "Oh. Wisconsin. Fun..." But honestly, I can't think of a time that I didn't feel excited to be somewhere new. I'm way too short on time to feel like seeing new things is a bore. Milwaukee lived up to the very pleasant expectations I had for it.
Photos by myself and Emily Theis
We experienced Colectivo on the lakefront and loved the atmosphere of the big and bustling coffee shop, but fortuitously strolled by Alderaan Coffee on Water St. while we were walking back to our hotel, which we loved even more. We also got a million recommendations for Lakefront Brewery, where we ended up celebrating our Wisconsin arrival with an appropriate dinner of cheese curds, macaroni and cheese, and local brews (highly recommend any coffee stout you can get your hands on).
The too-short weekend was packed with Summerfest adventures (a good time to refer back to unreal photo Emily snapped of the babe of all babes, Brandi Carlile, rocking out with her band of twin brothers) and more walking than we anticipated, but Milwaukee—MKE to the locals—gave off great vibes. I felt like I was in a miniature version of Chicago, from the river running through it to the shores of the big lake. As an outsider from the west coast, the similarities between people in midwestern cities across the region amazes me. I'm generalizing, so bear with me. You hear a lot about "southern values," but there's nothing quite like the values people hold here in middle America. The people up here are good. Most will be kind to you, most will not judge you, and most will not give you a hard time. In another life, I could spend all my years between cities in the midwest and not feel like I was missing much.
Still, there remain many streets unexplored and coffee shops un-ordered-from in Milwaukee, and I hope to get another chance to see more of it someday. In the meantime, I'll keep coming back to these snapshots from a perfectly-timed long weekend in the sun when I start to feel stuck in one place for too long.
Check back later this week to see where we stayed!