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Beer, bikes and beautiful sights are part of what make Milwaukee famous. Nestled against the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee got its name from a Native American word meaning "fine land" or "gathering place by the water." The city is generally regarded to have three founding fathers. In 1818, French-Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area. In 1834, George Walker settled south of the river and Bryon Kilbourn took the west side of the river. The three men had a bit of a rivalry but after years of disagreements, they put their squabbles aside and joined to incorporate the city of Milwaukee in 1846. In 1848, refugees ...

Beer, bikes and beautiful sights are part of what make Milwaukee famous. Nestled against the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee got its name from a Native American word meaning "fine land" or "gathering place by the water." The city is generally regarded to have three founding fathers. In 1818, French-Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area. In 1834, George Walker settled south of the river and Bryon Kilbourn took the west side of the river. The three men had a bit of a rivalry but after years of disagreements, they put their squabbles aside and joined to incorporate the city of Milwaukee in 1846. In 1848, refugees arrived in Milwaukee from an unsuccessful revolution against the German monarchy. With them, the Germans brought their culture and cuisine, leading to Milwaukee being pegged the "German Athens." Milwaukee was once home to four of the world's largest breweries - Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller - and was the number one beer-producing city in the world. Brewery tours are a great way to learn about this heritage and brewpubs are a good place to enjoy some taste testing. Opened in 2008, the Harley-Davidson Museum salutes America's largest motorcycle maker. Down by the waterfront is a piece of art that can stop folks in their tracks. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the Milwaukee Art Museum glistens in white marble and glass with a huge wing-like sunscreen called the Burke Brise Soleil hovering over it. The brise soleil moves up and down according to the sunlight and looks like a giant bird unfolding its graceful wings.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Last Thursday in June until Sunday after the Fourth of July for annual Summerfest, said to be the largest music festival in the world