By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published May 29, 2007 at 5:15 AM

The Milwaukee 7, was formed in September 2005 to create a regional, cooperative economic development platform for the seven counties of southeastern Wisconsin: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha and Washington.  In this series, Gregg Hoffmann profiles each of the counties and highlights their unique attractions and appeal.  

Milwaukee County is the most populous and diverse of the seven-county southeast Wisconsin region.

Its attractions and choices number too many to list here, but let's try to touch on a few.

First, the city of Milwaukee, the largest municipality in the county, offers a wonderful blend of old world charm with the new. Its architecture alone reflects that with city hall, The Pfister Hotel and other historic buildings that could just as well be in Europe. Yet, blocks away on the shores of Lake Michigan sits the internationally acclaimed addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava.  To the west of Milwaukee's downtown is another innovative building, Miller Park, with its retractable roof, which serves as the home for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The city's lakefront offers beautiful views and recreation possibilities. You can feed the ducks and geese during the winter or feed yourself at the Bradford Beach concession stand in the summer. Or go just a little farther north, and you can drink some java or, once again, grab a bite to eat at Alterra at the Lake in the old pumping station.

Let's get off the feeding frenzy for a moment. You'll also find museums and other attractions along the water front, which offer something for people of all ages. If you go to the northern suburbs, you'll find great parks in Doctor's Park, Big Bay and others, cruise down to the southern border to take a hike in Grant Park or to the western edge and enjoy cross country skiing in Whitnall Park

Explore the city's ethic neighborhoods; from the Hispanic influence of the Historic Mitchell Street to the African-American character of Bronzeville and others to get a feel for the rich diversity of the city.

The suburbs in the county offer attractions from the Boerner Botanical Gardens in the southwest or easily head to the northeast to the Audubon center. When you're in the middle of those beautiful areas, you forget you're even in an overall urban environment.

Getting back to the feeding frenzy, Milwaukee has become known as a city of great restaurants. You have to try at least one German restaurant, with Mader's leading the list. The Lake Park Bistro offers fine cuisine and a park-like setting on a bluff over-looking the vast Lake Michigan. If you want to try something with more of a contemporary flare checkout Roots, which provides a one of a kind view of this dynamic city. Again, this only is a start of the many choices that are easily accessible throughout the entire county.

"Can't miss" events during Milwaukee's remarkable summers include Summerfest and ethnic festivals on the lakefront and downtown, the weekly Jazz in the Park concert and many more. If you're a recreational sports fan, bike along the shore of Lake Michigan or golf at one of Milwaukee's sixteen public golf courses. If you love the theater, you'll find several, including the Milwaukee Rep, the Third Ward's Broadway Theater complex or the Marcus Center for the Arts and it many stages.  

The arts truly set the overall Milwaukee region apart from other urban areas its size. Nearly 300 arts and cultural organizations are located in the seven-county region, prompting American Style magazine to select the area as one of the top 25 arts destinations in the United States for the fourth year in a row. Milwaukee County leads the way for the region. The United Performing Arts Fund is one of the largest united arts funds in the United States.

The region's cultural attractions include theater, music, ballet, opera, visual art and history museums. There are also sailboat races, a world-class zoo, fishing contests and parades.

In the mood to hear a great concert by one of the hottest recording artists be sure to tune in to the historic Pabst Theater, Shank Hall, the Miramar Theater or Rave/Eagles Club.

If this writer had to pick five must-see places during one day in Milwaukee County, he would start at Lake Park to watch the sun come up over Lake Michigan (c'mon, you've only got one day, so get up early). After catching a breakfast at Ma Fishers or any of the other great morning places, tour the Art Museum and its movable wings, the Burke Brise Soleil.

From there, it's an easy jaunt to see the Historic Third Ward and its unique shops. You'll still have time to see the latest exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the more than 1700 animals at the county zoo or the stately furnishings of the Pabst mansion in the afternoon. If you're on the West Side, catch some lunch at Jake's or Gilles (you might see baseball commissioner Bud Selig at either location).

At night, take in one of Milwaukee's four professional sports teams; baseball's Brewers, basketball's Bucks, hockey's Admirals or indoor soccer's Wave, or a concert or play. After the game, hoist some of Milwaukee's finest at one of the cozy neighborhood pubs that can be found throughout the metro area.

You'll probably have to schedule another day, because there is still so much to see. Or, you might consider moving to Milwaukee County permanently, and if you are a business person, locating your business here.

Milwaukee County is a natural magnet for business. The city ranks 10th among cities nationwide in the number of corporate headquarters per capita.

Affordable land and leasing costs, abundant fresh water, low business costs and easy access to financing, technical assistance and efficient transportation have helped local businesses succeed and grow.

You'll find a variety of institutions ready to help with financing and other necessities. And, you'll be able to tap into an educated workforce, and technical assistance through UW-Milwaukee, Marquette, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee Area Technical College and other educational institutions.

Milwaukee County has numerous choices in terms of playing, working, learning and living and we hope this gives you a glimpse and leaves you wanting more.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.