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Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsinmarker and 23rd most populous in the United Statesmarker. It is the county seat of Milwaukee Countymarker and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michiganmarker. Its estimated 2008 population was 604,477. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 1,739,497 as of 2007. Milwaukee is also the regional center of the seven county Greater Milwaukee Area, with an estimated population of 2,014,032 as of 2008.

The first Europeans to pass through the area were French missionaries and fur traders. In 1818, the French-Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846 Juneau's town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the City of Milwaukee. Large numbers of German and other immigrants helped increase the city's population during the 1840s and the following decades.

Once known almost exclusively as a brewing and manufacturing powerhouse, Milwaukee has taken steps in recent years to reshape its image. In the past decade, major new additions to the city have included the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Midwest Airlines Centermarker, Miller Parkmarker, an internationally renowned addition to the Milwaukee Art Museummarker, and Pier Wisconsinmarker, as well as major renovations to the Milwaukee Auditoriummarker. In addition, many new skyscrapers, condos, lofts, and apartments have been constructed in neighborhoods on and near the lakefront and riverbanks.


The Milwaukee area was originally inhabited by the Menominee, Fox, Mascouten, Sauk, Potawatomi, Ojibwe (all Algic/Algonquian peoples) and Ho-Chunk (a Siouan people) Native American tribes. French missionaries and traders first passed through the area in the late 17th and 18th centuries. The word "Milwaukee" comes from an Algonquian word Millioke which means "Good/Beautiful/Pleasant Land", Potawatomi language minwaking, or Ojibwe language ominowakiing, "Gathering place [by the water]". Early explorers called the Milwaukee River and surrounding lands various names: Melleorki, Milwacky, Mahn-a-waukie, Milwarck, and Milwaucki. For many years, printed records gave the name as "Milwaukie". One story of Milwaukee's name says,
"[O]ne day during the thirties of the last century [1800s] a newspaper calmly changed the name to Milwaukee, and Milwaukee it has remained until this day."
The spelling "Milwaukie" lives on in Milwaukie, Oregonmarker, named after the Wisconsin city in 1847, before the current spelling was universally accepted.

Milwaukee has three "founding fathers", of whom French Canadian Solomon Juneau was first to arrive in the area, in 1818. The Juneaus founded the town called Juneau's Side, or Juneautown, that began attracting more settlers. However, Byron Kilbourn was Juneau's equivalent on the west side of the Milwaukee River. In competition with Juneau, he established Kilbourntown west of the Milwaukee River, and made sure the streets running toward the river did not join with those on the east side. This accounts for the large number of angled bridges that still exist in Milwaukee today. Further, Kilbourn distributed maps of the area which only showed Kilbourntown, implying Juneautown did not exist or that the east side of the river was uninhabited and thus undesirable. The third prominent builder was George H. Walker. He claimed land to the south of the Milwaukee River, along with Juneautown, where he built a log house in 1834. This area grew and became known as Walker's Point.

By the 1840s, the three towns had grown quite a bit, along with their rivalries. There were some intense battles between the towns, mainly Juneautown and Kilbourntown, which culminated with the Milwaukee Bridge War of 1845. Following the Bridge War, it was decided the best course of action was to officially unite the towns. So, on January 31, 1846, they combined to incorporate as the City of Milwaukee and elected Solomon Juneau as Milwaukee's first mayor.

German immigration

Drawing of Milwaukee in 1854
A great number of German immigrants increased the city's population during the 1840s, and continued to migrate to the area during the following decades. Milwaukee has been called the "Deutsches Athen" (German Athens), and into the twentieth century, there were more German speakers and German-language newspapers than there were English speakers and English-language newspapers in the city. The German heritage and influence in the Milwaukee area is widespread. To this day, the Greater Milwaukee phone book includes more than 40 pages of Schmitts or Schmidts, far more than the pages of Smiths.

During the middle and late 19th century, Wisconsinmarker and the Milwaukee area became the final destination of many German immigrants fleeing the Revolution of 1848 in the various small Germanmarker states and Austriamarker. In Wisconsinmarker, they found the inexpensive land and the freedoms they sought. Over the next ten years over a million people left Germanymarker and settled in the United States. Some were the intellectual leaders of this rebellion, but many were impoverished Germans who had lost confidence in the government's ability to solve the country's economic problems. Others left because they feared constant political turmoil in Germanymarker. One prosperous innkeeper wrote after arriving in Wisconsin: "I would prefer the civilized, cultured, Germanymarker to America if it were still in its former orderly condition, but as it has turned out recently, and with the threatening prospect for the future of religion and politics, I prefer America. Here I can live a more quiet, and undisturbed life." One journalist commented in the Houston Post that "Germany seems to have lost all of her foreign possessions with the exception of Milwaukee, St. Louismarker and Cincinnatimarker."

The Poles

Although the German presence in Milwaukee after the Civil War remained strong, other groups made their way to the city. Foremost among these were Polish immigrants. The Poles had many reasons for leaving their homeland, mainly poverty and political oppression by Germany (many immigrants came from the German part of Poland). Because Milwaukee offered the Polish immigrants an abundance of low-paying entry level jobs, it became one of the largest Polish settlements in the USA.

St. Stanislaus Catholic Churchmarker and the surrounding neighborhood was the center of Polish life in Milwaukee. St. Stanislaus was the first Polish church in urban America. As the Polish community surrounding St. Stanislaus continued to grow, Mitchell Street became known as the "Polish Grand Avenue". As Mitchell Street grew denser, the Polish population started moving south to the Lincoln Village neighborhood, home to the Basilica of St. Josaphatmarker. Other Polish communities started on the east side of Milwaukee and Jones Island, a major commercial fishing center settled mostly by Poles from the Baltic Coast. Today, St. Stanislaus is staffed by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which intends to restore the historic edifice.

There were about 30,000 Poles in Milwaukee by the late 1880s compared with over 50,000 Germans—a considerable number, placing the group in second place among the ethnic immigrant communities.

Milwaukee has the third largest Polish population in the U.S. at 57,485 (9.6%), behind New York Citymarker 213,447 (2.7%) and Chicagomarker 210,421 (7.3%). The city experienced a major increase in its Polish population during the last 10 years. The city also holds America's largest celebration of Polish culture and cuisine at Polish Fest.

Other immigrant groups from Europe

In addition to the Germans and Poles, Milwaukee received large influxes of other European immigrants from Lithuania, Italy, Ireland, and Bohemia, as well as many Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. By 1910, Milwaukee shared the distinction with New York Citymarker of having the largest percentage of foreign-born residents in the United States. Milwaukee also has a very large Serbian population with many Serbian restaurants and Serbian churches along with a American Serb Hall. The American Serb Hall in Milwaukee is known for it's Friday fish fry's and popular events, many U.S. presidents have visited Milwaukee's Serb Hall in the past.

African-American migration

Also during this time, a small but burgeoning community of African Americans who emigrated from the south formed a community that would come to be known as Bronzeville. As industry boomed, the African-American influence grew in Milwaukee.


During the first half of the twentieth century, Milwaukee was the hub of the socialist movement in the United States. Milwaukee elected three socialist mayors during this time: Emil Seidel (1910-1912), Daniel Hoan (1916-1940), and Frank Zeidler (1948-1960). It remains the only major city in the country to have done so. Often referred to as "Sewer Socialists", the Milwaukee socialists were characterized by their practical approach to government and labor.

Historic neighborhoods

The historic Third Ward
In 1892, Whitefish Baymarker, South Milwaukeemarker, and Wauwatosamarker were incorporated. They were followed by Cudahymarker (1895), North Milwaukee (1897) and East Milwaukee, later known as Shorewoodmarker, in 1900. In the early 20th century West Allismarker (1902) and West Milwaukeemarker (1906) were added, which completed the first generation of "inner-ring" suburbs.

In the 1920s Chicagomarker gangster activity came north to Milwaukee during the Prohibition era. Al Capone, noted Chicago mobster, owned a home in the Milwaukee suburb Brookfieldmarker, where moonshine was made. The house still stands on a street named after Capone.

With the large influx of immigrants, Milwaukee became one of the 15 largest cities in the nation, and by the mid-1960s, its population reached nearly 750,000. Starting in the late 1960s, however, Milwaukee, like many cities in the "rust belt," saw its population start to decline as a result of various factors, including the loss of blue collar jobs and the phenomenon of "white flight."

Nevertheless, in recent years the city has begun to make strides in improving its economy, neighborhoods, and image, resulting in the revitalization of neighborhoods such as the Historic Third Ward, Lincoln Village, the East Side, and more recently Walker's Point and Bay View, along with attracting new businesses to its downtown area. The city continues to plan for revitalization through various projects.

Milwaukee's rich European history is evident today. Largely through its efforts to preserve its history, in 2006 Milwaukee was named one of the "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In 2007, the Census Bureau released revised population numbers for Milwaukee that showed the city gained population between 2000 and 2006, making this the first period of population growth since the 1960s.

Historic Milwaukee walking tours provide a guided tour of Milwaukee's historic districts, including topics on Milwaukee's architectural heritage, its glass skywalk system, and the Milwaukee Riverwalk.


Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee
Milwaukee lies along the shores and bluffs of Lake Michiganmarker at the confluence of three rivers: the Menomonee, the Kinnickinnic, and the Milwaukee. Smaller rivers, such as the Root River and Lincoln Creek also flow through the city.

Milwaukee's terrain is sculpted by the glacier path and includes steep bluffs along Lake Michigan that begin about a mile (6 km) north of downtown. In addition, southwest of Milwaukee is the Kettle Moraine and lake country that provides an industrial landscape combined with inland lakes.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 251.69 km² (96.9 square miles). 248.8 km² (96.1 square miles) of it is land, and 0.9 square miles (2.2 km²) of it is water. The total area is 0.88% water.


Panoramic view of Downtown Milwaukee at night, grid system visible
The city runs largely on the grid system, although in the far northwest and southwest corners of the city, the grid pattern gives way to a more suburban-style streetscape. North-south streets are numbered, and east-west streets are named. However north-south streets east of 1st street are named, like east-west streets. The north-south numbering line is along the Menomonee River (east of Hawley Road) and Fairview Avenue/Golfview Parkway (west of Hawley Road), with the east-west numbering line defined along 1st Street (north of Oklahoma Avenue) and Chase/Howell Avenue (south of Oklahoma Avenue). This numbering system is also used to the north by Mequonmarker in Ozaukee Countymarker, and by some Waukesha Countymarker communities.

Milwaukee is crossed by Interstate 43 and Interstate 94, which come together downtown at the Marquette Interchangemarker. Interstate 894 bypass runs through portions of the city's southwest side, and Interstate 794 comes out of the Marquette interchange eastbound, bends south along the lakefront and crosses the harbor over the Hoan Bridgemarker, then ends near the Bay View neighborhood and becomes the "Lake Parkway" (WIS-794).

One of the distinctive traits of Milwaukee's residential areas are the neighborhoods full of so-called Polish flats. These are two-family home with separate entrances, but with the units stacked one on top of another instead of side-by-side. This arrangement enables a family of limited means to purchase both a home and a modestly priced rental apartment unit. Since Polish-American immigrants to the area prized land ownership, this solution which was prominent in their areas of settlement within the city came to be associated with them.


Milwaukee's location in the Great Lakes Region means that it often has rapidly changing weather. The warmest month of the year is July, when the average high temperature is 82 °F (28 °C), with overnight low temperatures averaging 66 °F (19 °C); January is the coldest month, with high temperatures averaging 27 °F (-3 °C), with the overnight low temperatures around 13 °F (-11 °C). Of the 50 largest cities in the United States, Milwaukee has the second-coldest average annual temperature, next to that of Minneapolismarker.

Milwaukee's proximity to Lake Michigan causes a convection current to form around mid-afternoon in light wind regimes, resulting in the so-called "lake breeze", a smaller scale version of the more common sea breeze. The lake breeze is most common between the months of March and June. This onshore flow causes temperatures to remain milder near the lake compared to inland locations.
As the sun sets, the convection current reverses and an offshore flow ensues causing a land breeze. After a land breeze develops, warmer temperatures flow east toward the lakeshore, sometimes causing high temperatures to be reached during the late evening. The lake breeze is not a daily occurrence and will not form if southwest to northwest winds generally exceed . The lake also acts to moderate cold air outbreaks along the lakeshore during winter months.

Despite Lake Michigan, overnight lows in downtown Milwaukee are often much warmer than suburban locations because of the urban heat island effect. Also, more snow falls in Milwaukee than surrounding areas, because of periodic episodes of lake effect snow. Onshore winds cause higher daytime relative humidity levels in Milwaukee as compared to other cities at the same latitude.

Milwaukee's all-time record high temperature is 105 °F (41 °C) set on July 24, 1934. The coldest temperature ever experienced by the city was -26 °F (-32 °C) on both January 17, 1982 and February 4, 1996. The 1982 event, also known as Cold Sunday, featured temperatures as low as -40 °F (-40 °C) in some of the suburbs as little as 10 miles (16 km) to the north of Milwaukee.

Workers spread salt manually on ice
The wettest month is August, because of frequent thunderstorms. These can at times be dangerous and damaging, bringing hail and high winds. In rare instances, it can bring a tornado to the more inland parts of the city. However, almost all summer rainfall in the city is brought by these storms. In spring and fall, longer events of prolonged, lighter rain bring most of the precipitation. Snow commonly falls in the city from early November until the middle of March, although it has been recorded as early as September 23, and as late as May 31. The city receives an average of 47.0 inches (119 cm) of snow in winter, but this number is highly variable.

In 2000, 49.5 inches (126 cm) of snow fell solely in the month of December.



As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 596,974. Its estimated 2008 population was 604,447. As of 2000, there were 232,188 households, and 135,133 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,399.5/km² (6,214.3 per square mile). There are 249,225 housing units at an average density of 1,001.7/km² (2,594.4 per square mile).

There are 232,188 households, of which 30.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.2% are married couples living together, 21.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% are non-families. 33.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.50 and the average family size is 3.25.

According to the 2000 Census, there were at least 1,408 same-sex households in Milwaukee which accounts for 0.6% of all households in the city. Although this number is slightly lower than other cities in the region such as Chicagomarker and Minneapolismarker, Milwaukee continues to be noted for its generally accepting attitudes towards the LGBT community. As a result, many gay-friendly communities have developed in neighborhoods such as Walker's Point, Bay View, Historic Third Ward, Riverwest, and the East Side. In 2001, Milwaukee was named the #1 city for lesbians by Girlfriends magazine.

In the city the population is spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $32,216, and the median income for a family is $37,879. Males have a median income of $32,244 versus $26,013 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,181. 21.3% of the population and 17.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.6% of those under the age of 18 and 11.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line. At 43% in 2007, Milwaukee has the second highest black male unemployment rate in the country behind Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker.

Race in Wisconsin and Milwaukee
Race Milwaukee Wisconsin
White 43.6% 91%
Black 39.5% 6.48%
Native American 0.8% 1.3%
Asian 3.6% 2.21%
Pacific Islander 0.05% 0.09%
Other race 7.3% N/A
Two or more races 2.1% N/A
Hispanic 14.9% 3.35%
Note: Hispanics may be of any race.

Race and ethnicity

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 45.2% of Milwaukee's population; of which 40.9% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 38.7% of Milwaukee's population; of which 38.4% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indian made up 0.7% of the city's population. Asian Americans made up 3.3% of the city's population; of which 3.2% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 10.0% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.0% of the city's population; of which 1.4% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 15.1% of Milwaukee's population.

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey, 38.7% of Milwaukee's residents reported having African American ancestry and 20.9% reported German ancestry. Other significant population groups include Polish (9.0%), Irish (6.5%), English (2.7%), Italian (2.7%), French (2.1%), with Hispanics totaling at 15.1%.

The metropolitan area was cited as being the most segregated in the U.S. in a Jet Magazine article in 2002. The source of this information was a segregation index developed in the mid 1950s and used since 1964. In 2003, a more detailed study was conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukeemarker which found evidence that Milwaukee is not "hypersegregated" and actually ranks as the 43rd most integrated city in America. Through continued dialogue between Milwaukee's citizens, the city is making an effort to reduce racial tensions and reduce the rate of segregation. With demographic changes in the wake of white flight, segregation in metropolitan Milwaukee is primarily in the suburbs rather than the city as in the era of Father Groppi.


The Association of Religion Data Archives reported on the religious composition of the Milwaukee-Racine area as of 2000. Approximately 55% of residents were adherents to one of the 188 groups included in the data.

Of them, 58% were Catholic, 23% Lutheran, 3% Methodist, and 2.5% Jewish. Others included adherents to other Protestant denominations, Orthodox churches, and Eastern religions. Historically African-American denominations were not included in the data.

Milwaukee is home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. The School Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis have their mother house in Milwaukee, and several other religious orders have a significant presence in the area, including the Jesuits and Franciscans. St. Joan of Arc Chapel, the oldest church in Milwaukee, is located on the Marquette Universitymarker campus. St. Josaphat Basilicamarker was the first church to be given the Basilica honor in Wisconsin and the third in the United States. Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christiansmarker, located northwest of Milwaukee, in Hartford, Wisconsinmarker, was also made a Basilica in 2006.

Milwaukee is home for several Lutheran Church Synods, including The Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), which operates Concordia University in Mequonmarker and Milwaukee Lutheran High School, the oldest Lutheran high school in the nation; and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), which was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee and maintains its national headquarters there.

In addition, numerous mosques, synagogues, and temples serve Milwaukee's Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist communities.

Masons have various meeting locations in Milwaukee. The Tripoli Shrine Templemarker and Mosque, located on Wisconsin Avenue, is architecturally inspired by India's Taj Mahal and is home to the headquarters of all Shriner activities in Milwaukee. Completed in 1928, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and one of Milwaukee's most unique landmarks. Shriners, or Shrine Masons, belong to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America.


Higher education

Milwaukee has one of the highest per capita student populations in North America, ranking 6th among U.S. and Canadian cities in number of college students per 100 residents, according to a January 2000 study from McGill Universitymarker

Milwaukee area universities and colleges:

Primary and secondary education

Milwaukee maintains Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), the largest school district in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the nation. As of 2007, it had an enrollment of 92,935 students and as of 2006 employed 6,100 full-time and substitute teachers in 223 schools. Milwaukee Public Schools operate as magnet schools, with individualized specialty areas for interests in academics or the arts. Washington High School, Riverside University High Schoolmarker, Rufus King High School, Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School,Samuel Morse Middle School for the Gifted and Talented, Golda Meir Schoolmarker, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, and Lynde & Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School are some of the magnet schools in Milwaukee. In 2007, 17 MPS high schools appeared on a national list of "dropout factories" - schools where fewer than 60% of freshmen graduate on time. Milwaukee is also home to over two dozen private or parochial high schools (e.g., St. Anthony High Schoolmarker, Divine Savior Holy Angels High Schoolmarker, Thomas More High Schoolmarker, Dominican High Schoolmarker, Messmer High Schoolmarker, Marquette University High Schoolmarker, Milwaukee Lutheran High School, St. Joan Antida High Schoolmarker, Pius XI High Schoolmarker, and University School of Milwaukeemarker among others) and many private and parochial middle and elementary schools.

Of persons in Milwaukee aged 25 and above, 84.5% have a high school diploma, and 27% have a bachelor's degree or higher. (2000)

Government and politics

Milwaukee has a mayor-council form of government with a strong-mayor plan. The mayor oversees a Common Council of elected members, each representing one of 15 districts in the city. Milwaukee has a history of giving long tenures to its mayors; from Frank Zeidler to Tom Barrett, the city has had only four mayors in the last 60 years. When 28-year incumbent Henry Maier retired in 1988, he held the record for longest term of service for a city of Milwaukee's size.

Milwaukee has been a Democratic stronghold for more than a century, with Democrats dominating every level of government, except for its Socialist mayors and (for briefer periods) other city and county offices. The city is split among three state Senate districts, each of which is composed of three Assembly districts. All 12 of the officials representing the city in the State Legislature are Democrats.

Milwaukee makes up the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin's 4th congressional district. The district is heavily Democratic. The Democratic primary for the seat is considered more important than the general election. The district is currently represented by Democrat Gwen Moore.

Milwaukee residents also elect representatives to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. The County executive is Republican Scott Walker.


Milwaukee and its suburbs are the home to the headquarters of 13 Fortune 1000 companies, including Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Manpower Inc., Kohl's, Harley-Davidson, Rockwell Automation, Fiserv, Inc., Marshall & Ilsley Corp., Wisconsin Energy, Briggs & Stratton, Joy Global, A.O. Smith,, GE Healthcare Diagnostic Imaging and Clinical Systems and MGIC Investments. The Milwaukee metropolitan area ranks fifth in the United States in terms of the number of Fortune 500 company headquarters as a share of the population. Brookfield is the leading commercial suburb of Milwaukee. Milwaukee also has a large number of financial service firms, particularly those specializing in mutual funds and transaction processing systems, and a number of publishing and printing companies. The Milwaukee area is also the headquarters of Midwest Airlines, Bucyrus International, the Koss Corporation, Harken, Lesaffre Yeast Corporation, Evinrude Outboard Motors (Sturtevant, WI) and Master Lock. National financial institutions with headquarters in Milwaukee include: Baird, M&I Bank, Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, Metavante, and Fiserv.

Service and managerial jobs are the fastest-growing segments of the Milwaukee economy, and health care alone makes up 27% the jobs in the city. Twenty-two percent of Milwaukee's workforce is involved in manufacturing, second only to San Jose, Californiamarker, and far higher than the national average of 16.5%.

In 2009, five Milwaukee-area companies were selected as leaders in their industries as Fortune magazine recognized “The World’s Most-Admired Companies.” Two Milwaukee companies ranked second in their field: Manpower Inc. in the temporary help industry and Northwestern Mutual in life and health insurance. Johnson Controls Inc., Glendale, placed fourth among motor-vehicle parts firms. Ranked fifth were Fiserv Inc., Brookfield, in financial data services and Kohl’s Corp., Menomonee Falls, among general merchandisers.


Milwaukee became synonymous with Germans and beer beginning in the 1850s. The Germans had long enjoyed beer, and didn't waste any time setting up breweries when they arrived in Milwaukee. By 1856, there were more than two dozen breweries in Milwaukee, most of them German-owned and -operated. Besides making beer for the rest of the nation, Milwaukeeans enjoyed consuming the various beers produced in the city's breweries. As early as 1843, pioneer historian James Buck recorded 138 taverns in Milwaukee, an average of one per forty residents. Beer halls and taverns are abundant in the city to this day although only one of the major breweries—Miller—remains in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee's founding fathers had a vision for the city. They knew it was perfectly situated as a port city, a center for collecting and distributing produce. Many of the new immigrants who were pouring into the new state of Wisconsinmarker during the middle of the 19th century were wheat farmers. By 1860, Wisconsin was the second ranked wheat-growing state in the country and Milwaukee shipped more wheat than any place in the world. Railroads were needed to transport all this grain from the wheat fields of Wisconsin to Milwaukee's harbor. Improvements in railways at the time made this possible.

Entrance to Miller Brewery in Milwaukee

There was intense competition for markets with Chicagomarker, and to a lesser degree, with Racine and Kenosha. Eventually Chicago won out. Due to its superior position on major railroad lines connecting east and west, Chicago had a distinct advantage over Milwaukee. The wheat market though, guaranteed Milwaukee's place as the commercial capital of Wisconsin.

Milwaukee was once the home to four of the world's largest breweries (Schlitz, Blatzmarker, Pabst, and Miller), and was the number one beer producing city in the world for many years. Despite the decline in its position as the world's leading beer producer after the loss of two of those breweries, its one remaining major brewery, Miller Brewing Company remains a key employer by employing over 2,200 of the city's workers. Because of Miller's solid position as the second-largest beer-maker in the U.S., the city remains known as a beer town despite now only representing a fraction of its economy.

The historic Milwaukee Brewery, located in "Miller Valley" at 4000 West State Street, is the oldest still-functioning major brewery in the United States. In July 2008, it was announced that Coors beer would be added to the list of beers brewed in Miller Valley. This created additional brewery jobs in Milwaukee, as its world headquarters moved south from Milwaukee to Chicagomarker.

Besides Miller and the heavily-automated Leinenkugel's brewery in the old Blatzmarker 10th Street plant, the only other currently operating stand-alone breweries in Milwaukee are Milwaukee Brewing Company, a microbrewery in Walker's Point neighborhood, and Lakefront Brewerymarker, a microbrewery located in Brewers Hill. The suburb of Glendalemarker is home to Sprecher Brewerymarker, another locally popular microbrew. Various brewpubs can also be found throughout the Milwaukee area, including Milwaukee Ale House and Water Street Brewery.

Three beer brewers with Wisconsinmarker operations made the 2009 list of the 50 largest beermakers in the United Statesmarker, based on beer sales volume. Making the latest big-breweries list from Wisconsin is MillerCoors at No. 2. MillerCoors is a joint venture formed last year by Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Co. and Golden, Colorado-based Molson Coors Brewing Company. The Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsinmarker which brews Huber, Rhinelander and Mountain Crest brands, ranked No. 14 and New Glarus Brewing Company., New Glarus, Wisconsinmarker whose brands include Spotted Cow, Fat Squirrel and Uff-da, ranked No. 32.


Because of its easy access to Lake Michiganmarker and other waterways, Milwaukee's Menomonee River Valleymarker has historically been home to manufacturing, stockyards, rendering plants, shipping, and other heavy industry.

Reshaping of the valley began with the railroads built by city co-founder Byron Kilbourn to bring product from Wisconsin's farm interior to the port. By 1862 Milwaukee was the largest shipper of wheat on the planet, and related industry developed. Grain elevators were built and, due to Milwaukee's dominant German immigrant population, breweries sprang up around the processing of barley and hops. A number of tanneries were constructed, of which the Pfister & Vogel tannery grew to become the largest in America.

In 1843 George Burnham and his brother Jonathan opened a brickyard near 16th Street. When a durable and distinct cream-colored brick came out of the clay beds, other brickyards sprang up to take advantage of this resource. Because many of the city's buildings were built using this material it earned the nickname "Cream City", and consequently the brick was called Cream City brick. By 1881 the Burnham brickyard, which employed 200 men and peaked at 15 million bricks a year, was the largest in the world.

Flour mills, packing plants, breweries, railways and tanneries further industrialized the valley. With the marshlands drained and the Kinnickinnic and Milwaukee Rivers dredged, attention turned to the valley. In 1869 an initiative was undertaken to channelize the Menomonee River and build a series of ship canals, among which Holtons Canal, the South Menomonee Canal and Burnham Canal are still in use today.

Along with the processing industries, bulk commodity storage and machining and manufacturing entered the scene. The valley was home to the Milwaukee Road, Falk Corporation, Cutler-Hammer, Harnischfeger, Chain Belt Company, Nordberg and other industry giants.

Early in the 20th century, Milwaukee was home to several pioneer brass era automobile makers, including Ogren (from 1919 to 1922) and LaFayette (from 1922 to about 1924).

In 2007, three Milwaukee-area companies were among nine firms honored for manufacturing excellence in the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year competition. Astronautics Corporation of America and Brady Corporation, both of which have headquarters in Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Plating Works Inc., Racine, each received special awards. Privately held Astronautics, a major supplier of government and commercial avionics, was honored for its high-technology research and development program. Brady, a publicly owned manufacturer of signs, labels and other identification and security products, received an award for corporate excellence. Privately owned Wisconsin Plating Works, which provides metal finishing services, received an award for employee and environmental stewardship. Nominated companies were evaluated in areas such as financial growth or consistency, technological advances, product development, environmental solutions, operational excellence/continuous improvement, commitment to employees, and effective research and development.

In 2009, a group of elected officials and business leaders is trying to entice Boston-Power Inc., a Massachusetts-based battery maker, to open a factory in Milwaukee. Milwaukee Ald. Tony Zielinski has introduced a resolution to have the city of Milwaukee appropriate from $1 million to $20 million for a factory for Boston-Power, the Westboroughmarker, Mass.-based manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for laptop computers, personal digital assistants, mobile telephones and other portable devices. Stimulus package funds are included in the $787 billion stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama for lithium-ion battery development, he said. Boston-Power’s interest in locating a plant in Milwaukee stems in part from the area’s manufacturing heritage and that it’s home to Johnson Controls Inc., the manufacturer has been developing lithium-ion batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles and electric vehicles.

Health care

Milwaukee's health care industry includes several health systems. The Milwaukee Regional Medical Complex, located between 8700 and 9200 West Wisconsin Avenue, is on the Milwaukee County grounds. This area includes the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospitalmarker, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, the Ronald McDonald House, Curative Rehabilitation, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin was ranked in the top three children's hospitals in the United States in 2006. Aurora Health Care includes St. Luke's Medical Center, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, West Allis Memorial, and St. Luke's SouthShore. Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare includes St. Joseph's Hospital, Elmbrook Memorial (Brookfield), and others in the Milwaukee area. Columbia St. Mary's Hospital is on Milwaukee's lakeshore and has established affiliations with Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The Medical College of Wisconsin is one of two medical schools in Wisconsin and the only one in Milwaukee.

Other health care non-profit organizations in Milwaukee include national headquarters of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the Endometriosis Association.


Milwaukee is a popular venue for Lake Michiganmarker sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, ethnic dining, and cultural festivals. Milwaukee is recognized for its museums, fine dining and hotels, professional sports, performing arts, gardens and parks, and Milwaukee County Zoological Gardensmarker.


Violent crime in Milwaukee has declined substantially since the late 1990s : For several years, Milwaukee ranked among the ten most dangerous large cities in the United States, although in recent years, it no longer appears even among the 25 most dangerous cities. However, despite its improvement, Milwaukee still fares worse than average when comparing specific crime types to the national average (e.g., homicide, rape, robbery); only aggravated assaults occur less frequently in Milwaukee than the national average. In 2008, under the leadership of Police Chief Edward A. Flynn, Milwaukee's homicide rate fell to a 23-year low, according to the Journal/Sentinel website, which credits targeted policing and cooperation among law enforcement agencies as the main reasons for the decline.Also showing encouraging progress is Milwaukee’s confrontation of gang activity. A story in Milwaukee Magazine documented “tens of thousands of gang members in the city – black, white, Latino and Asian gangs – all involved in some way in the drug trade and almost all riddled with rats - hundreds of informants reporting back to the cops in the Milwaukee Police Department’s Gang Unit.” The unit was reactivated in 2004 after Police Chief Nannette Hegerty was sworn into office. In 2006 alone, the story noted, some 4,000 charges were brought against criminals through Milwaukee’s Gang Unit.Reference



Milwaukee is home to a wide variety of museums:


Science and natural history

  • The Milwaukee Public Museummarker has been Milwaukee's primary natural history and human history museum for 125 years, with over of permanent exhibits. exhibits feature Africa, Europe, the Arctic, and South and Middle America, dinosaurs from 65 million years ago, tropical rainforest, Streets of Old Milwaukee, European Village, Sampson Gorilla replica, Puelicher Butterfly Wing, hands-on laboratories and animatronics. The Museum also has an IMAX movie theater. Milwaukee Public Museum is home to the world’s largest dinosaur skull.
  • Discovery Worldmarker, Milwaukee's largest museum dedicated to science is just south of the Milwaukee Art Museummarker along the lake front, draws visitors of high-tech, hand-on exhibits, salt water and freshwater aquariums, as well as touch tanks and digital theaters. A double-helix staircase wraps around the kinetic sculpture of a human genome.
  • S/V Dennis Sullivan Schooner Ship docked at Discovery Worldmarker Museum is the first schooner to be built in Milwaukee in over 100 years, and teaches visitors about freshwater, the Great Lakes and Wisconsin's maritime history. The Great Lakes Schooner is the world's only re-creation of a 1880s-era three masted vessel.
  • Betty Brinn Children's Museum is geared toward children under 10 and has the philosophy that constructive play nurtures the mind. It has been voted one of the top 10 museums for children by Parents Magazine . It is filled with hands-on exhibits and interactive programs, the museum offers families a chance to learn together.

Social and cultural history

  • Pabst Mansionmarker Built in 1892 by beer tycoon Frederick Pabst, this Flemish Renaissance Mansion was once considered the jewel of Milwaukee's famous avenue of mansions called the "Grand Avenue". Interior rooms restored with period furniture, to create an authentic replica of a Victorian Mansion. Nationally recognized as a house museum.
  • Milwaukee County Historical Society features Milwaukee during the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. Housed within an architectural landmark, the Milwaukee's Historical Society features a panoramic painting of Milwaukee, firefighting equipment, period replicas of a pharmacy and a bank, and Children's world - an exhibit that includes vintage toys, clothes and school materials. A research library is also within the museum. Scenes from the movie Public Enemies were shot here.
  • America's Black Holocaust Museummarker, founded by lynching survivor James Cameron, features exhibits which chronicle the injustices suffered throughout history by African Americans in the United States. The museum closed temporarily in July 2008 as a result of financial difficulties; no formal re-opening date had been set.
  • Jewish Museum Milwaukee is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrating the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture.
  • Mitchell Gallery of Flight, Located at General Mitchell International Airportmarker, Milwaukee's aviation and historical enthusiasts experience the history of General Mitchell International Airport with a visit to the Gallery of Flight. Exhibits include General Billy Mitchell; replicas of past and present aircraft including the Lawson Airline, the first commercial airliner; the Graf Zepplin II, the sistership to the tragically legendary Hindinberg; a 1911 Curtis Pusher, an airplane with the propeller in the rear of the plane; and the present day giant of the sky, the 747. Other exhibits include commercial air memorabilia, early aviation engines and airport beacons.
  • Harley-Davidson Museummarker, opened in 2008, pays tribute to Harley-Davidson motorcycles and is the only museum of its type in the world.

Arenas and performing arts

Milwaukee is home to a number of musical groups and venues, including:

In 1984 ComedySportz was founded in Milwaukee by native Dick Chudnow and has since become a franchise, with numerous venues throughout the United Statesmarker and Englandmarker. In July 2009 the ComedySportz world championship will return to Milwaukee to coincide with their 25th anniversary.

Public art and monuments

Milwaukee has some 75 sculptures to honor the many people and topics reflecting the city's history. Among the more prominent monuments are:

City of Festivals

While Milwaukee had been previously marketed as "A Genuine American City" as well as "A Great Place on a Great Lakemarker," it has earned the nickname, the "City of Festivals."

The city hosts the Wisconsin State Fair, as well as an annual lakefront fair called Summerfest. Listed in the 1999 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest music festival in the world, for the last several years Summerfest has attracted around 840,000 visitors each year to its eleven stages.

Milwaukee is also home to a variety of primarily ethnically themed festivals throughout the summer. Held generally on the lakefront Summerfest grounds, these festivals span several days (typically Friday plus the weekend) and celebrate Milwaukee's history and diversity. In 2008 Riversplash, which markets itself as 'the official opening of summer', kicks off festival season on the last weekend of May. Festivals for the LGBT (PrideFest) and Polish (Polish Fest) communities follow in June. Summerfest spans 11 days at the end of June and beginning of July. Milwaukee hosts the Great Circus Parade in July. There are French (Bastille Days), Greek, Italian (Festa Italiana) and German (German Fest) festivals in July. The African, Arab, Irish, Mexican, and American Indian events wrap it up from August through September.

Milwaukee is also home to Trainfest, the largest operating model railroad show in America, in November.


Milwaukee's ethnic cuisine ranges from German to Italian, Russian, Hmong, French, Serbian, Polish, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian.

Famous Chef Julia Child visited Milwaukee and selected Milwaukee native, Chef Sanford D'Amato to cook for her 80th birthday . Sanford, trained in New York City, is the executive chef for Milwaukee's five star restaurant Sanford, and also Coquette Cafe Milwaukee .

Milwaukee County hosts the Zoo-A La Carte at the Milwaukee County Zoomarker, and various ethnic festivals like Summerfest, Festa Italiana to celebrate various types of cuisine in summer months.


Milwaukee has a long history of musical activity. The first organized musical society, called "Milwaukee Beethoven Society" formed in 1843, three years before the city was incorporated. This was later replaced with the Milwaukee Musical Society.

The large concentrations of German immigrants contributed to the musical character of the city. Saengerbund festivals were held regularly. Also notable is the founding of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in 1899.

More recently, Milwaukee has enjoyed a vibrant history of rock, hip hop, jazz, soul, blues, punk, ska, industrial music, electronica, world music, and pop music bands. Venues such as Pabst Theatermarker, Marcus Center for Performing Artsmarker, the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, Marcus Amphitheatermarker (Summerfest Groundsmarker), Riverside Theater, the Northern Lights Theater, and The Ravemarker frequently bring internationally-known and critically acclaimed acts to Milwaukee. 'Jazz in the Park', a weekly jazz show held at downtown Cathedral Square Park, has become a summer tradition; free, public performances with a picnic environment.The Milwaukee area is known for producing national talents such as Steve Miller (rock), Wladziu Valentino Liberace (piano), Al Jarreau (jazz), Daryl Stuermer (rock), BoDeans (rock), Les Paul (rock), the Violent Femmes (alternative), Die Kreuzen (punk), Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy (punk), Eyes To The Sky (hardcore), Andrew 'The Butcher' Mrotek of The Academy Is... (alt-rock), The Promise Ring (indie), the Gufs (alt rock), and Decibully (indie) .

Municipal wireless

Through its Milwaukee Wireless Initiative, the city has contracted with Midwest Fiber Networks to invest US$20 million in setting up a municipal wireless network city-wide. Under the plan, the city will designate numerous government and public service websites for free access, and city residents will be able to access unlimited content for a monthly fee. Full wireless coverage was expected by March 2008, but delays have been reported.

The city had previously established free wireless networks in two downtown city parks: Cathedral Square; and Pere Marquette Park.

Parks and recreation

Milwaukee County is known for its well-developed Parks of Milwaukee park system. The "Grand Necklace of Parks", designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York's Central Park, includes Lake Park, River Park (now Riverside Park), and West Park (now Washington Park). Milwaukee County Parks offer facilities for sunbathing, picnics, grilling, disc golf, and ice skating. Milwaukee has over 140 parks with over of parks and parkways. Early commissioners conceived of a park system that would form a "green belt", a series of scenic drives and parks, which would encircle the county. Parks were located in outlying areas to allow for population expansion. Commissioners selected land not only for its natural beauty and interest, but also for its fitness for various forms of active and passive recreation.

Henry Maier Festival Parkmarker (Summerfest Grounds)The Henry Maier Festival Park was built on Milwaukee's former Maitland Air Field on Lake Michiganmarker in the Milwaukee Harbor. The grounds were named after Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier, and host many festivals. Summerfest, best-known of the festivals, offers entertainment in late June and early July each year. This international festival features top and local musicians and performers from James Taylor to Metallica, and is one of the largest musical festivals in the world. Additional festivals held during the summer months celebrate Milwaukee's cultural diversity.

Parks and nature centers

The Milwaukee River flows along a scenic route into the city and features a number of low level rapids, and several dams to portage. Access to the river is available at parks and dams along the river and in the city. Within Milwaukee city limits, the use of kayaks or canoes is possible from several access points.

Havenwoods State Forestmarker, of trees, grass, and wildlife tucked away within Milwaukee's urban environment, features an environmental center and naturalist programs. It includes of nature trails, of hiking trails, and of cross-country trails.

Boerner Botanical Gardensmarker, internationally known as a horticultural showplace, serve as an educational and leisure center for gardeners and plant lovers. Housed within the Whitnall Park Arboretum, the garden features landscaped collections of perennials, herbs, and annuals; a rock garden, the largest ornamental crab apple tree collection in the nation; and over 500 varieties of roses.

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatorymarker, also known as "The Domes" is the only horticultural structure of its kind and features three enclosed six-story glass structures that cover one acre of garden space under each dome. Each has its own specialized theme: the Show Dome features five seasonal floral displays each year and each theme dictates the setting, landscape, and design; the Arid Dome features the deserts of the Southwest, Africa, Madagascar, South America, and Mexico; and the Tropical Dome features over 750 species of tropical plants including orchids, economic plants, exotic flowers, lush foliage and waterfalls.

Schlitz Audubon Center provides over of wildlife sanctuary featuring of trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Wehr Nature Center, created and maintained by the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, is a "living laboratory" designed to raise environmental awareness. Field trips, tours, lectures, and demonstrations guide visitors through this special environment and teach about the delicate balance between the woodlands, wetlands, prairie space and lake that make up this area.

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, the Milwaukee Yacht Club, and the South Shore Yacht Club also offer social, educational, and recreational sailing opportunities. The Queens Cup Sailing race departs from Milwaukee to Michigan each summer.

The U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee (formerly the Greater Milwaukee Open) is a PGA Tour event held at Brown Deer Park Golf Coursemarker in the neighboring suburb of Brown Deermarker.

Opportunities for sports fishing are provided by Lake Michiganmarker.

Milwaukee County Zoomarker, modeled after the San Diego Zoo in California, is filled with attractions, such as pony rides, a petting zoo, a safari train, and a zoomobile.

Monarch Trail is a trail that highlights the fall migration of the Monarch butterflies.

Milwaukee Parks outdoor sculptures include Beverly Pepper's Cleopatra's Wedge in Burns Commons and two sculptures by Wisconsin artist Nancy Metz White: "Tree of Life" in Mitchell Boulevard Park and "Magic Grove" in Enderis Park.

During the summer months, Cathedral Park in Downtown Milwaukee is home to "Jazz in the Park" on Thursday nights.

Milwaukee County public markets

The Milwaukee Public Market
Milwaukee Public Market, located in the Third Ward neighborhood, is an indoor market that sells produce, seafood, meats, cheeses, vegetables, candies, and flowers from local businesses.

Milwaukee County Farmers Markets, held in season, sell fresh produce, meats, cheeses, jams, jellies, preserves and syrups, and plants. Farmers markets also feature artists and craftspeople. Locations include: Aur Farmers Market, Brown Deer Farmers Market, Cudahy Farmers Market, East Town Farm Market, Fondy Farmers Market, Mitchell Street Market, Riverwest Farmers Market, Silver Spring Farmers Market, South Milwaukee Farmers Market, South Shore Farmers Market, Uptown Farmers Market, West Allis Farmers Market, and Westown Market on the Park.


Milwaukee has a rich history of involvement in professional and nonprofessional sports, since the nineteenth century. Abraham Lincoln watched cricket in Milwaukee in 1849 when he attended a game between Chicago and Milwaukee. In 1854, the Milwaukee Cricket Club had 150 members. Currently, Milwaukee's sports teams include:

Club Sport Founded Current League Stadium
Milwaukee Brewers Baseball 1969
(moved to Milwaukee in 1970)
National League (MLB) Miller Parkmarker
Milwaukee Bucks Basketball 1968 National Basketball Association Bradley Centermarker
Milwaukee Admirals Hockey 1970 American Hockey League Bradley Centermarker
Milwaukee Wave Indoor soccer 1984 Xtreme Soccer League U.S.marker Cellular Arenamarker
Milwaukee Iron Arena football 2009 af2 Bradley Centermarker
Milwaukee Bonecrushers Indoor football 2008 Continental Indoor Football League U.S.marker Cellular Arenamarker
Milwaukee Bavarians Soccer 2003 National Premier Soccer League Bavarian Soccer Club
Milwaukee Marauders Semi-Pro Football 2005 est. North American Football League Milwaukee Sports Complex
Milwaukee Momentum Women's American Football National Women's Football Association
Milwaukee Bombers Australian Rules Football Mid American Australian Football League

Milwaukee is also the host city of The Point Premium Root Beer International Cycling Classic, presented by Time Warner Cable, which includes the men's and women's Superweek Pro Tour races, featuring top professional and elite amateur cyclists and teams from across the U.S. and more than 20 foreign countries.

Between 1933 and 1994 the Green Bay Packers of the NFL split their home games between Green Bay and Milwaukee.



Milwaukee is home to two airports, General Mitchell International Airportmarker on the southern edge of the city, and the smaller Timmerman Fieldmarker on the north side. Mitchell is served by 14 airlines, which offer roughly 240 daily departures and 245 daily arrivals. Approximately 90 cities are served nonstop or direct from Mitchell International. It is the largest airport in Wisconsin. The airport terminal is open 24 hours a day.[11] Since 2005, Mitchell International Airport has been connected by the Amtrak Hiawatha train service, which provides airport access via train to Chicago and Milwaukee.

Train and bus

Milwaukee's Amtrak station was renovated in 2007 to create the Intermodal Transportation Stationmarker near downtown Milwaukee and the Third Ward. The renovated station is home to Amtrak, Greyhound Lines, and Jefferson Lines intercity bus transportation. Milwaukee is served by the Hiawatha Amtrak express service up to seven times daily between downtown Milwaukee and downtown Chicago, including a stop at the Milwaukee Airport Rail Stationmarker, Sturtevant, WImarker near Racine, WImarker, Glenview, IL. Amtrak operates its Empire Builder passenger train daily between Chicagomarker and the Pacific Northwest, with stops near Madisonmarker, Wisconsin Dells and Minneapolismarker.

The Badger Bus and station in downtown Milwaukee provides bus service between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsinmarker. Stops include the UW–Madison Memorial Unionmarker, Madison Bus Depot, Johnson Creekmarker, Goerkes Corners, Milwaukee 84th St, Milwaukee Bus Depot (downtown Milwaukee), and Milwaukee Airportmarker.

The Milwaukee County Transit Systemmarker provides bus services within Milwaukee County.


Two of Wisconsin's Interstate highways intersect in Milwaukee. Interstate 94 comes north from Chicago to enter Milwaukee and continues west to Madisonmarker. Interstate 43 enters Milwaukee from the southwest and continues north to Green Baymarker. Milwaukee has two branch interstate highways, Interstate 894 and Interstate 794. I-894 extends from the western suburbs to the southern suburbs, bypassing downtown. I-794 extends east from the Marquette Interchangemarker to Lake Michigan before turning south over the Hoan Bridgemarker toward the airportmarker, turning into Highway 794 along the way. Milwaukee is also served by three US highways. U.S. Route 18 provides a link from downtown to points west. U.S. Route 41 and U.S. Route 45 both provide north-south freeway transportation on the western side of the city.


Milwaukee connects with Muskegon, Michiganmarker through the Lake Express high-speed auto and passenger ferry. The Lake Express travels across Lake Michiganmarker from late spring to the fall of each year.


Milwaukee has over of bicycle lanes and trails, most of which run alongside or near its rivers and Lake Michiganmarker. The Oak Leaf Trail, a multi-use recreational trail, provides bicycle trails throughout the city and county. Still pending are the creation of bicycle lanes along major commuting routes, such as the Hoan Bridgemarker connector between downtown and the suburbs to the south. The city has also identified over of streets on which bike lanes will fit. It has created a plan labeling of those as high priority for receiving bike lanes. As part of the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force's mission to "make Milwaukee more bicycle and pedestrian friendly", over 700 bike racks have been installed throughout the city. The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin holds an annual Bike to Work Week. The event, held in May each year, has frequently featured a commuter race between a car, a bus, and a bike; and also a morning ride into work with the mayor. In 2006, Milwaukee obtained bronze-level status from the League of American Bicyclists [8497], a rarity for a city its size.

Starting on June 4, 2009, the Milwaukee County Transit Systemmarker has begun installing bicycle racks to the front of county buses. This "green" effort has been done, in part, with hopes of settling an asbestos lawsuit leveled by the statemarker at the county in 2006. The lawsuit cites the release of asbestos into the environment when the Courthouse Annexmarker was demolished.

Future transportation


A tram system known as the Milwaukee Connector was proposed and passed by the Common Council, but Mayor Tom Barrett vetoed the bill because of problems of cost and availability. A 0.5% sales tax has been proposed for the counties of Milwaukee, Racinemarker, and Kenoshamarker by the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority to fund an extension of the Chicago Metra commuter rail from Kenosha to downtown Milwaukee. The tax would also be used to fund the bus systems in those counties that currently rely on property taxes.

High speed train

In 2009, Wisconsinmarker Gov. Jim Doyle, with seven other governors of Midwestern states and Chicagomarker Mayor Richard Daley have joined in bipartisan support of a high-speed rail network that would link cities around the region. Milwaukee would be connected to Madison and Chicago as part of the first phase of the system. “President Obama’s vision of making high-speed rail a part of our nation’s future transportation network holds great promise,” Doyle and co-signers wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We recognize that a high-speed rail network has the potential to reduce highway and airway congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.” Governors Pat Quinn of Illinoismarker, Jay Nixon of Missourimarker, Mitch Daniels of Indianamarker, Chet Culver of Iowamarker, Jennifer Granholm of Michiganmarker, Ted Strickland of Ohiomarker and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesotamarker were co-signers of the letter. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and mandates high-speed passenger rail and the Midwestern network would include 3,000 miles of existing rights of way to connect cities with trains capable of at least 110 miles per hour. Chicago would serve as the hub, just as it does for freight. The rail network would link large and small metropolitan areas, airports, bus stations and highways.


Milwaukee's only surviving daily newspaper is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which was formed when the morning paper the Milwaukee Sentinel merged with the afternoon paper Milwaukee Journal. The most prominent alternative weekly is Shepherd Express, a free publication. Other local newspapers, city guides and magazines with large distributions include M Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, Vital Source, The Bay View Compass, and Riverwest Currents. is an online magazine providing news and events. The UWM Post is the independent, student-run weekly at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukeemarker. The Onion, a weekly satirical publication, is distributed free in Milwaukee (one of the paper's earliest markets) in addition to nine other U.S. cities.

Milwaukee's major network television affiliates are WTMJmarker 4 (NBC), WITImarker 6 (Fox), WISNmarker 12 (ABC), WVTVmarker 18 (CW), WCGVmarker 24 (MyNetworkTV), and WDJTmarker 58 (CBS). Spanish language programming is on WBWTmarker 38 (Azteca America) and WYTU-LPmarker 63 (Telemundo). Milwaukee's public broadcasting stations are WMVSmarker 10 and WMVTmarker 36.

Other television stations in the Milwaukee market include WMKE 7 (America One), WVCYmarker 30 (FN), WMLW 41 (Independent), WBMEmarker 49 (ME-TV), WWRSmarker 52 (TBN), and WPXEmarker 55 (ION)

There are numerous radio stations throughout Milwaukee and the surrounding area.

Journal Communications (a NYSEmarker-traded corporation), in addition to owning the Journal Sentinel, also owns: WTMJ-TV; WTMJ and WLWK radio stations; and well over a dozen local weekly newspapers in the metropolitan area, all of which establish a highly conservative journalistic lens. As a result, it has been repeatedly criticized for having a near-monopoly in local news coverage., with critics concerned about a certain uniformity of thought and coverage, as well as to lack of coverage of topics unfriendly to Journal Communications interests in such matters as labor disputes.

Sister cities

The city of Milwaukee has several sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International and Milwaukee's Sister Cities:


Although this relationship is not recognized by SCI, officials from Milwaukee and Ningbo have signed an agreement to promote business and cultural ties between the two cities and their respective nations.

In popular culture

See also


External links

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