MKE: ON THE CREATIVE MAP

(pronounced ‘mill-e-wah-que’)

A rich heritage, a thriving culture, and long history have created myriad references and nicknames for Milwaukee.  “MKE,” “The Brew City,” and “The Good Land” are only a few of the common phrases used to describe the 30th most populous city in the United States.  Once the home of four of the world’s largest breweries, “The Brew City” characterizes one of Milwaukee’s dominant industries. A unique yellow brick abounds in downtown warehouses, homes and other buildings, evoking the name “Cream City.” Numerous summer festivals have Milwaukee coined as “The City of Festivals,” and the season includes Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival.  But, there are other characterizations of Milwaukee, such as being named a 2013 Top 12 ArtPlace in America, and the 6th best college destination for mid-sized metropolitan areas.

Milwaukee has other distinct features, often described in a single breath as a small city and big town. The atmosphere is friendly and down-to-earth with a subtle Midwestern charm (think America’s Heartland), and there is a genuine sense of community. And while the general attitude is small-town oriented, Milwaukee has many attributes that you’d find in a large city, such as professional sports teams, museums and galleries, and an incredible variety of restaurants and retailers. Friendly, livable and affordable, the city embraces college students, with several colleges and universities close to the downtown area.


Lake Michigan provides a spot to cool off during the warm spring and summer months, and is a great place to bike, run, or rent a paddleboat. In winter, the lake is quietly beautiful, with frozen sheets of slowly moving ice, and Lafayette Hill nearby for sledding. Milwaukee’s Lake Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park, and has miles of beaches and adjacent parks.

Once known as a brewing and manufacturing mecca, Milwaukee has truly become a dynamic, contemporary city with strong support for the arts. The Historic Third Ward is one of the fastest-growing residential, commercial, and creative areas in Wisconsin. The internationally renowned Calatrava expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum, in large part funded by the community, is a sight to behold. The museum graces the lakefront and is within walking distance of MIAD. Theater companies and dance troupes thrive here, as do music groups of every variety. Public sculpture can be found along the Riverwalk and in many places throughout the city. Milwaukee also hosts highly popular, quarterly Gallery Nights, with galleries and museums staying open late to feature discussions with artists, designers, and curators. 

So, if you’re looking for a place on the creative map, MKE is it.

For more information on Milwaukee: www.visitmilwaukee.org

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