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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

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In Travel & Visitors Guide Commentary

Pittsburgh has its charms, but Trenni Kusnierek prefers Milwaukee.

In Travel & Visitors Guide Commentary

A good baseball team isn't the only asset in Milwaukee's favor, but it helps.

A Tale of Two Cities: Milwaukee vs. Pittsburgh


With the Pittsburgh Pirates in town this weekend, and the fact I lived in the ʻburgh for five years, OnMilwaukee.com has asked me to compare Milwaukee to the Steel City.

Since fantasy football season is upon us, I thought Iʼd do it in a CBSsportsline.com-inspired matchup style. Iʼll give the lowdown on a number of categories and give my opinion on which city has the "edge" in a head-to-head throwdown.

Let's get started ...

BASEBALL ATMOSPHERE
Letʼs face it, Milwaukee hasnʼt had this much fun on the diamond since mullets and Members Only jackets were in style. (Oh wait, I still see those at the ballpark!) At the time of this posting, the Brewers had sold out a franchise record 19 straight and 34 total games.

All three games against the Pirates are also sellouts. Brewers fever is all over Milwaukee. You canʼt walk into a store, restaurant, bar, etc., without seeing a number of true blue fans or bandwagon jumpers donning a Brewers hat, T-shirt or jersey.

The talk of the town in late August is (honestly!) more about the boys of summer and less about the men of fall. On the contrary, the Pirates have once again fallen victim to Steelers training camp. My friends in the ʻburgh canʼt tell you the score of the game, let alone the Bucs' place in the standings. PNC Park is one of the most beautiful in all of baseball, but when you can hear a pin drop, pretty isnʼt enough. While the Brewers are quickly approaching 3 million fans for the year and an average of more than 37,000. The Pirates are averaging just over 20,000 a night and probably wonʼt reach 2 million tickets sold. As the Brewers make a playoff push, the Pirates are just riding another one out.

EDGE: Milwaukee

OVERALL SPORTS SCENE

I am a die-hard Brewers, Bucks, Golden Eagles and Packers fan. In my mind nothing beats a Brewers game on a warm summer night (or hopefully a chilly October one!), a fall Sunday in Green Bay, or a day-night double header of hoops at the Bradley Center.

With that said, Pittsburgh has been one hell of a sports town the last few years.

The lone exception being the Pirates, the other "big three"-- Steelers, Penguins, and Pitt Panthers experienced tremendous success during my tenure in Pittsburgh. The city was alive and kicking all winter long thanks to a Super Bowl and NHL playoff appearances. Nothing cures the winter blues like touchdowns and lighting the lamp. I cannot even begin to describe what it was like to become a hockey fan or cover a team going all the way.

Plus, all three sports venues (Heinz Field, Mellon Arena, and PNC Park) are downtown and the "Pete" (aka Pittʼs Peterson event center) is right on campus. The locations alone allow the city to really get involved in the game, even if you donʼt have a ticket to get in the door.

EDGE: Pittsburgh

DOWNTOWN

I used to describe downtown Pittsburgh like this: During the day it seemed like a bustling metropolis with heavy auto traffic and people crowding the streets. Turn the clock forward to 5 p.m., though, and I'd swear someone called in a bomb threat. An overhead view of the city would reveal folks running to the exits. Itʼs a shame too, because downtown Pittsburgh is beautiful in its architecture and location on the Three Rivers.

One of the main reasons I moved back to Milwaukee was my longing for city life. OK, OK, we are not even close to New York City or Chicago, but compared to Pittsburgh, weʼve got it pretty good. Considering we are a "mid-sized" city, Milwaukee has a really great downtown. It is convenient and walk-able; we were rated 13th out of 40 cities in walk-ability. Pittsburgh was not ranked at all.

Milwaukee also has a decent number of available taxis. On any given night you can hail or call for a cab and will be whisked to your destination in 10-15 minutes. In Pittsburgh -- forget about it. Give yourself an hour or more. Better yet, use a car service.

Milwaukee has a plethora of apartments, houses, and condos in the Downtown area for a wide price range. On the flip side, Pittsburgh is still sorely lacking in quality city housing. In the heart of downtown, there are a handful of luxury high rise apartments, but mid-range housing is few and far between.

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Talkbacks

briant560 | Aug. 25, 2008 at 9:37 a.m. (report)

At least you guys can claim Jeffrey Dahmer...

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JIMNWI | Aug. 25, 2008 at 9:10 a.m. (report)

I have to disagree with the Pitt having better Shopping. Since we are so close to Chicago, Most of the highend retailers figured out long a go that we can just go to Chicago for it. I live in Oak Creek and within about 30 minutes I can be to Old orchard (on a good traffic day) Since the Pitt like MPLS are a million miles from any other major city, they get Saks, NM etc. If we were in the middle of no where, I would lay money on it that we would have them too.

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pmdishwash | Aug. 25, 2008 at 8:53 a.m. (report)

I completely agree with this comparison. I grew up in Pittsburgh, but have lived most of my "adult" life in Milwaukee. Downtown Pittsburgh feels more like a big city (skyscrapers, architecture), yet Milwaukee has much more going on downtown (Third Ward, Water Street, theaters). I think a lot of it has to do with geography, as rivers/hills/cliffs separate many of the neighborhoods in Pittsburgh from downtown, while Milwaukee is less scattered. Overall, I think they're both great cities. Neither is overwhelming, but each has hidden gems that you'd never find in bigger cities.

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AndrewJ | Aug. 25, 2008 at 8:16 a.m. (report)

"It's nice to know you can always discover a laid back scene where jeans and t-shirt are just as accepted as a sundress." Just make sure that sundress isn't too short, or low cut.

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SteelyMcBeam | Aug. 24, 2008 at 12:14 p.m. (report)

Trenni, Highly disappointed. I agree with the baseball atmosphere category. However, if you add in some cold IC lights in the parking lot and the Zambellis; the Burgh beats out any other baseball parks post-game atmosphere. As for the downtown and nightlife categories, Erotica and Blush give Pittsburgh an even score with Milwaukee overall, but the Tennysons Bare-aoke pushs the Burgh to the victory.

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