1.) FISERV FORUM IS FOR THE BIRDS!
Home of the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University basketball, and countless other concerts and performances, Fiserv Forum is actually the world’s first bird-friendly sports and entertainment venue, certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program (LEED).
2.) FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT RIGHT HERE IN MILWAUKEE.
The Burnham Block Houses are six of Wright’s American System-Built Homes, constructed in 1916. Known for their unique architecture, these homes were designed to be affordable, without sacrificing the more nuanced design elements.
3.) AN INLAND LIGHTHOUSE.
The North Point Lighthouse wasn’t always located where it is now. In the 1870s, the lighthouse was moved to its present location, 100 yards inland, after shore erosion caused 16 feet of the building’s front yard to fall onto the beach below. The current structure, which hosts fascinating tours, was placed in its current location in 1888.
4.) FROM CENTRAL PARK TO LAKE PARK.
Lake Park was designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Known for his work on Central Park, among scores of other park systems nationally, Olmsted designed Lake Park–along with Riverside Park and Washington Park–with the goal of marrying the beauty of the park’s natural surroundings with open spaces for activity and passive reflection.
5.) HARLEY-DAVIDSON’S ONLY MUSEUM.
Milwaukee is known the world over as the home of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. However, it is also home to the motorcycle company’s only museum in the world. The 20-acre Harley-Davidson Museum campus immerses visitors in the history of the 120-year-old iconic bike brand.
6.) AMERICA’S BLACK HOLOCAUST MUSEUM.
Founded by the only known survivor of a lynching, Dr. James Cameron, the new iteration of America’s Black Holocaust Museum honors his vision. The museum also has a vast online catalogue that attracts millions of viewers from over 200 countries.
7.) BIG BONED MUSEUM.
The Third Planet exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum is home to one of the largest dinosaur skulls ever recovered. The Torosaurus skull was found on an expedition to the Hell Creek Badlands in eastern Montana in 1981.
8.) SPIRITS WITH A TWIST.
Voted one of the five most haunted bars in the country, Shaker’s Cigar Bar is not light on thrills. Located in a former speakeasy, Shaker’s pays homage to its history with seasonal tours, inviting visitors to explore the building’s mafia roots and haunted history.
9.) UNDER THE DOMES.
The world's largest conoidal domes, Mitchell Park Domes, share Mitchell Park with the site of the 1795 cabin of French-Canadian fur trader Jacques Vieau, later the father-in-law of fur trader Solomon Juneau, who became Milwaukee's first mayor.
10.) HAPPY, HAPPY HIPPOS.
In 2020, the Milwaukee County Zoo opened its new Dohmen Family Foundation Hippo Haven which features a 3,500-square-foot beach area. The zoo is one of only a dozen zoos in the country to offer underwater viewing of the hippos.
11.) JUST FOR LAUGHS.
Milwaukee’s comedy scene has exploded over the last couple of years. With venues dedicated to comedy like Milwaukee Improv, The Laughing Tap, and more drawing local and national comics, the city’s comedy scene has never been so robust. The Pabst Theater Group also attracts top national acts like Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia, Chelsea Handler, Hasan Minhaj, and more.
12.) OLDEST BOWLING ALLEY.
The Holler House is home to the oldest sanctioned bowling alley in the country. Opened in 1908, the business has been run by the same family since its inception and has hosted a series of high-profile visitors, including Jack White, Joe Walsh, and Larry the Cable Guy.
13.) MUST BE LUCKY.
Milwaukee’s Irish Fest is the largest celebration of Irish culture in the world. And yes, that includes Ireland. The four-day festival celebrates Irish and Celtic music, artistry, literature, and spirits. Guests are invited to take an Irish language lesson, learn about the works of William Butler Yeats, or sample Scotch whiskey.
14.) ELEPHANTS GALORE.
The Oriental Theater is an East Side landmark admired throughout the city. It was constructed in 1927, borrowing elements from Indian, Moorish, Islamic, and Byzantine architecture. Now nearly 100 years old, the building features eight porcelain lions, huge Buddha statues, and hundreds of elephants hidden throughout the theater's interior.
15.) THE ART OF WORK.
The Grohmann Museum on the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus features the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work. With works dating back to 1580, the collection of more than 1,500 artworks documenting the evolution of organized work.
16.) PINK SQUIRRELS AND BLUE TAILS.
A two-time James Beard Award semifinalist, Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge was the first cocktail lounge in Milwaukee, and possibly the state of Wisconsin. Not much is known about the original owner, mixologist Bryant Sharp, but he's credited with inventing the Pink Squirrel, the Blue Tail Fly, and the Banshee.
17.) FIZZY LIFTING.
The word Sprecher is synonymous with top-tier gourmet root beer throughout the region, but the brewing process for the company’s line of beers and sodas is unlike any other. Sprecher fire-brews their products to caramelize the flavors, providing for an enhanced drinking experience.
18.) PLAYING WITH A PURPOSE.
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum along the lakefront offers children a chance to learn in an interactive and hands-on way, developing concepts of science, math, problem solving, and social skills. The museum provides a space where children and grown-ups can learn together in an inclusive and accessible way.
19.) TICK TOCK.
The Allen-Bradley Clocktower was completed in 1962 as the largest four-sided clock in the world, larger than London’s Big Ben. The clocktower was surpassed in 2010 by Abraj Al Bait in Saudi Arabia but remains the second largest four-sided clock in the world.
20.) FESTING WITH A BANG.
Before the World’s Largest Music Festival, Summerfest, claimed the southern stretch of the Milwaukee lakefront with its famed Big Bang fireworks, a bang of a different kind inhabited the site. The grounds, now filled with music of every genre and ethnic festivals, was a Nike missile site.
21.) CLICKITY CLACK.
Milwaukee was birthplace of the QWERTY typewriter. In 1868, Christopher Latham Sholes patented the machine that became the standard for keyboards beyond the life of the typewriter. Today, keyboards everywhere are oriented in the QWERTY style of Sholes.
22.) CITY OF STEEPLES.
Basilica of St. Josaphat is one of only 85 Basilicas in the country and, at the time of Pope Pius XI’s declaration in 1929, it was only the nation's third. Built from the repurposed shards of a Chicago post office, the church was eventually sold to the Franciscan Friars, who lobbied the pope to declare it a Basilica.
23.) MILWAUKEE'S MOST ENTERTAINING DISTRICT.
In 2022, the curtain was raised on the Milwaukee Theater District, a collective of nine theaters and supporting businesses located in a walkable cluster in the downtown area. With more than 15,000 seats, the Milwaukee Theater District ranks No. 1 in the country for the highest number of theater seats per capita.
Article originally published on 4/26/2023