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Milwaukee Brat House: Wisconsin classics done right

Thursday, October 22, 2015

For the sausage lover (or beer lover) it is almost impossible to go wrong at Milwaukee Brat House.

8 must-dos on a family getaway to Milwaukee

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Milwaukee is packed with things to see and do for families, making for a fabulous fall weekend getaway.

5 reasons Milwaukee is the best city in the Midwest

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Here, five (mostly new) ways the pride of Lake Michigan is prying open our eyelids.

Travel Guide: Milwaukee

Monday, August 10, 2015

Milwaukee is best known for beer, cheese curds and brats but you don’t have to venture far to find other great entertainment options.

Chinese Travel Blogger Likes Chicago But Loves Milwaukee

Thursday, July 16, 2015

One of the most influential travel bloggers in China wrapped up a Chicago visit Wednesday with many nice things to say about what he called a "city of steel."

But after a whirlwind three days of ballgames, festivals, museums and tours, Jun Song said that, all things considered, he'd rather be in Milwaukee.

Song, 47, is on a sponsored 10-day Great Lakes tour to promote foreign tourism. With 55 million blog visitors, his posts could have a big impact among Chinese travelers, the fastest-growing segment of international travelers to the U.S.

Song's road trip started July 11 in Milwaukee. He enjoyed tours of the Miller Brewery and the Harley-Davidson museum, but mostly liked hanging out on the lakefront.

He arrived in Chicago on Sunday, in time to catch the finale of the Cubs-Sox crosstown series at Wrigley Field. Since then, he has taken in everything from deep-dish pizza to the city's skyline, summing up his first visit to Chicago in two words.

"So big," said Song, a Beijing resident.

The tour, which will also take Song through Michigan and Ohio before ending in Indianapolis July 19, is one of five summer road trips funded by Brand USA, a public-private partnership promoting international travel to the U.S. This summer, social media influencers from India, Brazil and France will also tour the U.S., filing reports to their massive followings abroad.

This is the second year for the program, which last year generated nearly 2.6 billion impressions on Facebook alone, according to Talia Salem, who heads up the effort for Brand USA.

"Bringing in influencers and giving them the tools to tell the American story to their audiences is a lot more authentic," Salem said. "They're free to say what they want. That's a risk that we take ... but we feel that the rewards outweigh the risk."

Song blogs under the name dubilaosong, which roughly translated means "one-armed," a reference to his damaged left arm, which he said was injured in a 1999 fireworks explosion in Beijing. His site includes many photos of his travels, hoping to capture local culture for his Chinese followers.

He reflected on the ups and downs of his Chicago visit over croissants and Chinese cigarettes at an outdoor table at the Chicago French Market on North Clinton Street on Wednesday, accompanied by two thirty-something tour guides and a translator brought in for the breakfast chat.

Highlights of his visit included the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, which features a video loop of Chicago faces on 50-foot towers. He also liked the interactive Robot Revolution exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

He was impressed with the atmosphere of Wrigley Field but found the game itself less than scintillating. Post-game revelry at Wrigleyville bars, however, was a home run for Song, who loved the festive energy.

A visit to Lou Malnati's for authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza was also among his disappointments. Song said there was too much cheese and the crust was a little hard. He said he much preferred Pizza Hut of China. The best American pizza he has sampled to date was at a Costco in Seattle.

"Costco pizza I like," Song said, enthusiastically bypassing his translator.

He had better things to say about Chicago hot dogs, which he tried during a visit to Taste of Chicago, flashing an eager thumbs up in approval.

Chinese tourism to Chicago was up 4 percent last year to 133,000 visitors. That is significantly behind the 21 percent growth rate across the U.S.

Overall, Chicago dropped to 10th among U.S. cities for international tourism last year, with 1.3 million visitors, a 5 percent decline, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.

Song said Chicago is not really on the radar for most Chinese people, who only know the city as the home of the Bulls.

This year, the city extended its new "Chicago Epic" tourism campaign to China with a $780,000 digital campaign funded by the Illinois Office of Tourism and Brand USA. The full schedule aired before the state budget stalemate forced Choose Chicago to curtail the campaign last month. This week, Choose Chicago halted all international travel, further hampering efforts to sell the city to foreign tourists.

Choose Chicago didn't fund his stop in Chicago but coordinated the itinerary.

While his blog will convey his preferences, Song said it may still encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Chicago — if only as a stop on the way to Milwaukee.

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News Releases

Trainfest Brings Train Fans of All Ages to Milwaukee Nov 14-15

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

For Immediate Release

Media contacts:

Angela Podewils
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Ken Jaglinski
Trainfest Chair
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Trainfest Brings Train Fans of All Ages to Milwaukee Nov 14-15

MILWAUKEE — November 4, 2015 — America’s largest operating model railroad show takes over the Wisconsin State Fair Park Expo Center from November 14-15. Trainfest is a weekend full of family fun and an opportunity for young and old to immerse themselves in the world of model trains.

The annual two-day public event attracts train hobbyists and families, who come to see and learn more about the hobby of model railroading. Visitors experience nearly 70 remarkable operating railroads from Z to G scale, over 100 manufacturers and hobby dealers, plus artists, photography displays, clinics, and on-site demonstrations.

Run and Ride the Trains at Trainfest

Kids 5 to 99 will be able to run the trains on nearly 80% of the 70+ huge model train layouts at Trainfest. Milwaukee Light Engineering Society (MLES) is returning with their train ride and a football field of track for FREE train rides at Trainfest!

Start Building your Railroad

Kids 7 – 12 can get started on their very own railroad layout at the Make ‘n Take clinic. Compliments of Walther’s, each participant will build a Whistle Stop Station to take home. Spots are limited, pre-registration is required at

Play in the Kids’ Activity Zone

Returning favorites to the Trainfest Kids’ Zone are the highly popular music performances by the Choo Choo Bob Show, 8’ long wooden train tables for tots to play, and crafts. Plus, children can build with LEGO® bricks at the Build and Play area of the Blau Pewaukee Road Railroad, constructed completely from LEGO bricks. All Kids’ Zone activities are free and included in the admission ticket fee.

Learn about the Chicago & North Western

Staying true to its mission of education, Trainfest 2015 begins a new tradition of celebrating historical railroads. In this inaugural year, Trainfest will be celebrating the Chicago & North Western System in conjunction with the C&NW Historical Society, the Milwaukee Historical Society, and the MSOE Grohmann Museum.

The cornerstone of the exhibit is a museum-quality, historical photo display. Acres of the C&NW Archives have been combed to create a comprehensive display of the C&NW’s long proud history. Walking through the display, visitors will travel through time discovering the founding, golden days, and functions of the C&NW system.

Ticket prices for Trainfest range from $3.00 - $18.00 and can be purchased online or at the door.

Trainfest is sponsored by the Wisconsin Southeastern Division, Inc. of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), a non-profit organization. For more information, visit

About VISIT Milwaukee
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists, convention organizers and meeting planners, both nationally and internationally. VISIT Milwaukee has approximately 650 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. In 2014, tourism amounted to $4.9 billion in total business sales in Greater Milwaukee and supported more than 49,000 local jobs. The City of Wauwatosa, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and the Wisconsin Center District are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs.  For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit

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