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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

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Our exciting city looks pretty good.
Our exciting city looks pretty good. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Milwaukee is 7th most exciting city in the nation? Some not so sure

So exactly how did a little know real estate website determine that Milwaukee is the 7th most exciting city in the nation?

Some people weren't exactly sure why Milwaukee ranked so high although they'll take the compliment. 

(New York City, by the way, was No. 6.)

It says a lot when some residents who have lived here all their lives received the good news today in a similar fashion:

"Uh...'most exciting'? Exactly what did they mean by that?"

Or: "Most exciting? What were they basing it on?"

The source of the list was something called the Movoto real estate blog that used a number of criteria before releasing its "10 Most exciting Cities in America" list to the media.

Some of the categories used for determining the final list were things like park acreage for person, percent of the population between 20 and 34 years old, big box stores per square mile, population diversity and even number of bars per square mile.

(If it had just been bars, I don't think anybody would have questioned the city's high ranking.)

But because Milwaukee apparently was considered "more exciting" than places like Chicago, New Orleans or Los Angeles that didn't even make the list, some people had obvious questions.

On various social networks, the "most exciting cities" list was scrutinized with a cynical eye by some of my Facebook friends.

"They must mean 'terrifying instead of 'exciting'," wrote one friend.

Others wondered how a Midwestern city with sub-standard weather most of the year and daunting social problems could make such a list. Another raised questions about the lack of diversity in Milwaukee and high unemployment in some areas that seemed to go against the idea of an exciting metropolitan city with progressive attitudes.

"They must have only asked white people with good jobs," said another cynical post.

But several people reacted to the news with a fair amount of civic pride, saying "Way to go!" or "I agree! Milwaukee is a great place!" or otherwise congratulating the website for recognizing the often hidden treasures of our city.

Things like Summerfest, Miller Park, Milwaukee County Parks – including the Mitchell Domes – new bike trails and other attractions were cited.

"Milwaukee has always been one of the best cities to live in, glad someone noticed!" was a particularly exuberant reply.

Frankly, I'm not sure if the criteria used to compile the list was appropriate for an ambiguous "most exciting cities" category in the first place. Several of the things attributed to Milwaukee – diversity of the people, youth of the population, museums per square mile, etc. – don't really seem accurate if you test the information based on available data or personal experience.

It strikes me more as a list designed to get some buzz in the media by choosing some unlikely cities and getting those local communities excited about their ranking in a poll they never heard about before.

A brief moment in the spotlight for an obscure ranking isn't the same as being one of the most exciting cities in the nation; I suspect most Milwaukeeans probably already realize it. As we enter the warmer season in town where many of the outdoor activities available actually do rank among the best anywhere, we don't need a bunch of empty hype to make us feel good about ourselves.

At least, not all of us.

For those who do, enjoy being No. 7 for as long as it lasts.

Talkbacks

olderwiser | May 15, 2013 at 8:41 a.m. (report)

Milwaukee is definitely exciting enough for me. I've lived here all of my life with the exception of four years at college. Have visited other similar sized cities to compare and actually have enjoyed those as well. I find that we are not as 'walkable' as other cities. Many attractions are too scattered for me to visit a museum, restaurant, bar, outdoor cafe, sporting event, outdoor festival, etc. with one park of the car. Otherwise...I give Milwaukee a "like".

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hardgeminiguy | May 3, 2013 at 11:12 a.m. (report)

Many excellent restaurants helps and several great museums. world great architecture, too-old and new.

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