Welcome to Milwaukee: Brew City basics
March Madness is here, and the basketball action heats up in Milwaukee this week as the Bradley Center hosts the Midwest and West regional rounds of the "big dance." With fans flocking from near and far, the editorial staff at OnMilwaukee.com thought we'd help greet our new visitors with a week's worth of features and guides to everything that makes our city a great place to visit. It's "Welcome to Milwaukee Week" at OnMilwaukee.com!
Here in Milwaukee, we like to think we're a pretty friendly, laid-back and welcoming people.
We know a thing or two about throwing a party (perhaps you've heard of our annual bash, Summerfest?) and we sure do like entertaining out-of-town visitors -- just ask any Harley-Davidson rider that attends the regular Milwaukee reunion rallies.
If you're visiting us this weekend for the NCAA Tournament, we're pretty sure you'll have a good time.
With games Friday and (hopefully) Sunday, most of the weekend will probably be spent at the Bradley Center. But, if you're looking for something to do in between games -- or in between beers -- check out the OnMilwaukee.com Weekend Preview or one of our many guides to area bars, restaurants and attractions, activities or events.
In the meantime, here are a few quick things to help you through your few days in Milwaukee:
Milwaukee has a long and rich history, dating back to the early days of the French fur trade. Over the years, we've been known as the breadbasket and machine shop of the world thanks to our background in grain exports and foundry work. Our Brewing tradition is unlike any other American city and today, we're a city looking ahead to an exciting future.
If you want to get a look at Milwaukee's past, try swinging through the Milwaukee County Historical Society, located just around the corner from the Bradley Center at 910 N. Old World 3rd St.
Most Downtown hotels will have some sort of shuttle service available to get you to and from the Bradley Center. If not, our arena is a quick walk from wherever you may be staying and you'll be surprised to find out that our city is pretty walkable.
Still, if you're looking for a lift, try calling United Cab at (414) 220-5000 or Yellow Cab (414) 271-1800. If you're heading out after the game, you shouldn't have a hard time finding a cab along the street of our many entertainment districts.
If you're not staying Downtown, you can also hitch a lift to the games on a Milwaukee County Transit System bus.
Remember to wait for a green light before crossing. The local authorities are sticklers when it comes to jaywalking.
If shopping is your game, there are a couple can't miss options. For necessities, the Downtown Shops of Grand Avenue will work just fine. Otherwise, the Bayshore Town Center (about a 15-minute dive north of Downtown) or Mayfair Mall (about 15 minutes west) have wide arrays of shops and stores.
If you're looking for something a little more local, take a quick stroll into the Historic Third Ward, just south of Downtown. Grab a bite to eat at the Milwaukee Public Market, browse the various shops and boutiques or sneak in a quick drink at any one of several Third Ward bars. Brady Street, just east of Downtown, has more good shopping options.
Beer. Beer. Beer.
Perhaps you've heard that Milwaukeeans enjoy the occasional malted beverage ... you may also know that at one time, this city produced a pretty big percentage of the nation's beer supply. Giants like Pabst, Blatz and Schlitz are long since gone -- only Miller remains among the giants -- but we still know how to crack open a cold one. Miller, 4000 W. State St., along with local microbrewers Sprecher, 701 W. Glendale Ave., and Lakefront, 1872 N. Commerce St., offer terrific brewery tours, which also include post-tour sampling.
If you're into fine art or history, you'll love Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells St., is considered one of the nation's finest natural history museums. Along the Lakefront, get hands-on and interactive at Discovery World, 500 N. Harbor Dr., and if you're interested in the Impressionists, visit the Milwaukee Art Museum, 700 Art Museum Dr., adjacent to Discovery World. The Betty Brinn Children's Museum is across the street at 929 E. Wisconsin Ave.
For more options, be sure to check out our museum guide.
Invoking a higher power
If your team needs a little "divine intervention" before second-round games Sunday, this link will help you find a religious service in the area. The Milwaukee Archdiocese also has a handy search for Catholic Mass on its Web site.
Wanna talk sports?
Sustinance is key
Chances are this will be a long but fun weekend. Be sure to grab a good meal -- Milwaukee is packed with delicious restaurants, featuring just about every kind of dish imaginable.
Make sure you have a brat (BRAH-t). It's a staple of our local diet and you'll be able to pick one up at the Bradley Center or even from local bars and street vendors. Visit Usinger's, 1030 N. Old World 3rd St., if you want to take some home.
Friday's in Milwaukee mean fish fry. A couple pieces of tasty fish, frensh fries, rye bread and cole slaw will make you feel like a local.
If you're looking for some late-night grub, give George Webb a shot. With locations all over the city (including one right Downtown across from the Hyatt), you can grab a tasty and inexpensive breakfast, a burger or a bowl of chili any time of the day or night.
We've also got your usual assortment of chain restaurants and fast food. For a late, late night pizza, try Pizza Shuttle, (414) 289-9993 -- a Milwaukee institution.
If you hear somebody say "bubbler," don't worry -- a bubbler is what you'd probably call a drinking or water fountain ... be sure to take a stroll along Milwaukee's RiverWalk and stop for a picture with the Bronze Fonz (at Wells Street on the east bank) ... Milwaukee's Airport, Gen. Mitchell International (MKE), is located about 10 minutes south of Downtown. Most hotels either provide a shuttle or an connect you with a service. ... The Intermodal station -- where you can catch Amtrak, Greyhound and other transit -- is located on St. Paul Avenue at North 4th Street, just a few blocks south of the Bradley Center.
There's obviously a lot more to the city than what's listed here. So, if there's something you want to know, just ask; Milwaukeeans are friendly people and we're always happy to point visitors in the right direction.
You can also be on the lookout for Public Service Ambassadors -- dressed in easily-recognizable blue shirts or jackets -- who will be able to provide directions and suggestions.
I have to agree with hifiloi on this one. There are plenty of local restaurants and shops that deserve a mention more than the Grand Ave.
Along with Pizza Shuttle a couple other great late night food places include Real Chili and Oakland Gyro's.
Im not so sure that sending new visitors to the mall or George Webbs is the best way to spread tourist spending through MKE...
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