BY JANET STEINBERG
The jewel of the Great Lakes and Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee has grown from “Brew City” to “New City”. Bold, beautiful, and spectacularly progressive, it is the kind of place where you can best experience the very spirit and values that built America. This city of contrasts and surprises is full of cosmopolitan flair and down-to-earth, Midwestern charm…where an art museum takes flight against Lake Michigan…where the food scene celebrates James Beard award-winning cuisine alongside brats and beer…and where a cemetery is a popular tourist attraction
The very first place I had to visit was the Milwaukee Art Museum with its breathtaking brise soleil by noted “Starchitect” Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava, whose City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain brought him world renown, is the son of an orange exporter with an aristocratic Spanish name.
The Milwaukee Art Museum's $110 million Calatrava-designed expansion is Calatrava’s first North American commission and a signature masterpiece on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Described as a moving sunscreen with a span larger than a Boeing 747, the wing-like brise soleil is a dynamic addition to Milwaukee's skyline.
The Milwaukee Art Museum boasts more than 20,000 permanent holdings that span antiquity to the present and include works by Degas, Monet, Warhol, and Picasso, not to mention one of the largest Georgia O’Keefe collections in the world.
I could have spent an entire day at the Milwaukee Art Museum, but there were so many other wonderful museums to experience: A trip around the world courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Museum; pop culture at the Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design; the Jewish Museum in the historic Helfaer Building; the Grohmann Museum for a fascinating Man at Work Art Collection; and, for those who are ready to rumble, the Harley-Davidson Museum helps you get to know the muscle behind the machines.
Milwaukee also boasts of exclusive hidden treasures found only in this beautiful lakefront city.
Only in Milwaukee can you take a two-thumbs-up photo with the "Bronze Fonz", the undisputed King of Cool. Milwaukee served as the setting for the popular “Happy Days” TV show. In 2008, with the unveiling of the Bronze Fonz, its main character, Arthur Fonzarelli, (aka actor Henry Winkler) came home to stay on Milwaukee’s Riverwalk just south of the Wells Street Bridge.
|TAKE A PHOTO WITH “THE FONZ"|
Only in Milwaukee, can you find a 15th century French chapel where Joan of Arc once prayed. St. Joan of Arc Chapel, on Milwaukee’s Marquette University campus, was reassembled stone by stone from its original location in France. The chapel has a haunted history. According to legend, after praying before a statue, Joan of Arc kissed the stone beneath the statue. To this day, it remains colder to the touch than the surrounding stones.
JOAN OF ARC CHAPEL
And, only in Milwaukee can you check out the final resting place of the country’s most famous beer barons in Forest Home Cemetery. Included among the monumental family plots are those of Joseph Schlitz, Valentin Blatz, and Frederick Pabst.
FAMILY MEMORIAL OF BEER BARON VALENTIN BLATZ
One cannot live (or tour) without food and spirits. Thus we opted to spend the better part of one day tasting the temptations along Old World Third Street. Included in our taste tests were visits to Usinger's Sausage and the new Wisconsin Cheese Mart. (Try some of that made-in-Wisconsin Spring Mustard on the aged cheddar cheese.)
BUY A FAUX CHEESE HAT AT THE CHEESE MART
We saw how pizzas are made on a Palermo Pizza factory tour, and tasted the yummy results after the tour. We lunched on the flavors of the Milwaukee Public Market, from sushi to decadent desserts. And, when we got thirsty, it was off to Lakefront Brewery, an award winning, green microbrewery, and Great Lakes Distiller, Wisconsin's first distillery since prohibition.
|MUNCH, OR LUNCH, AT THE MILWAUKEE PUBLIC MARKET|
Milwaukee’s secrets are almost too good to share, but I’m happy to share them with you.
JANET STEINBERG IS THE WINNER OF 41 TRAVEL WRITER AWARDS AND A TRAVEL CONSULTANT FOR THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY IN CINCINNATI/MARIEMONT, OHIO