19 Wonderfully Random Things About Milwaukee

Called "the Midwest's coolest city" and "America's Best Kept Secret," Milwaukee is much more than meets the eye. You may have heard one of Milwaukee's many nicknames like "Brew City," "Cream City," or the "Third Coast." Here's a quick introduction to those nicknames (and a few we came up with!) to give you a taste of what makes our city special.


  1. The Original Brew City
     A unique combination of beer history, brewing giant Miller Brewing, and modern craft breweries make Milwaukee a beer destination like no other. This is the city that beer built, and you'll see it in over 70 breweries and beer attractions throughout the Greater Milwaukee area.

  2. Bloody Mary Metropolis
    Get that limp stick of celery out of here. In Milwaukee, this iconic brunch beverage goes to the next level with toppings ranging from mini-burgers to lobster claws and even an entire fried chicken. 

  3. Coffee Acropolis
    Milwaukee is home to a passionate local coffee scene that far surpasses most cities of its size. Our coffee and our coffee culture are both strong - skip the green mermaid and check out a local roaster to get your caffeine fix.

  4. Cream City
    No, this has nothing to do with dairy. Light-colored bricks made of clay gave Milwaukee the nickname "Cream City." You'll see plenty of these pale creamy yellow bricks on historic buildings throughout the city. 

  5. Indie Food Mecca
    There are over 150 locally-owned restaurants in downtown Milwaukee, making hand-crafted food easy to find no matter where you go. Milwaukee is also home to 10 chefs recognized by the James Beard Awards.

  6. Homebase of Harley
    Harley-Davidson has called Milwaukee home since the company formed in 1903. It’s not hard to find the iron that still runs through the city’s veins from weekly bike nights at the world's only Harley-Davidson Museum to motorcycle racing on the frozen Lake Michigan waters. 

  7. Old Fashioned Oasis
    This 1960s cocktail never lost popularity in Milwaukee. The Old Fashioned traces its roots all the way back to the 19th century and is most often made with whiskey – but the Wisconsin version is all about the brandy! Try an Old Fashioned the Milwaukee way – sweet (with lemon-lime soda) or sour (with sour mix).

  8. America’s Third Coast
    Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is far from a land-locked Midwestern destination. Six sandy swimming beaches are part of the Milwaukee County parks, and Bradford Beach has been named one of the country's top freshwater beaches. You'll see sailboats, fisherman, surfers, and more out on the water.

  9. Kingdom of Urban Kayaking
    You don't need to leave cell reception behind to find adventure! The Milwaukee River goes through the center of the city before joining up with the Menomonee and Kinnicnkinnic Rivers. Kayak through the heart of downtown for a one-of-a-kind urban adventure, stopping at public docks along the way to visit craft breweries and restaurants.

  10. Where The Feared Deer Roam
    When the Milwaukee Bucks hit the court, everyone knows to "Fear the Deer"! This young and hungry NBA team has a brand new downtown arena, Fiserv Forum, complete with the surrounding Deer District packed with restaurants, bars, and an open plaza always packed with fans.

  11. World’s Largest Music Festival
    Love music? How does the world’s largest music festival sound? It’s Summerfest, and it happens every summer right here in Milwaukee on the shore of Lake Michigan. Over 11 days, more than 900 acts will perform on 11 permanent stages at our lakefront festival grounds.

  12. 24-hour Cycling Spectacle
    The Riverwest 24 is a one-of-kind bike race where cyclists complete as many as laps as possible in 24 hours throughout Milwaukee’s eccentric and tight-knit Riverwest neighborhood. Bonus laps are awarded at creative checkpoints for completing tasks like shaving your head, having a dance party, and even getting a tattoo.

  13. Cheese Curd County
    These deep-fried nuggets of cheddar are the quintessential Milwaukee bar snack and not to be missed. You can even see where fresh curds are made at Clock Shadow Creamery, one of the nation's only urban creameries.

  14. America’s Heart Of Outdoor Art
    On those beautiful, Milwaukee summer days, head outside to soak up the sun and take in stunning public art sculptures and murals. Street art and public installations bring beauty and a sense of community to the city.

  15. Sausage Racing Capital Of The World
    Even when the Milwaukee Brewers are off the field, the action doesn't stop! Cheer on one of Milwaukee's famous racing sausages as they run around the warning track at the bottom of the 6th inning.

  16. Where The Lenten Fish Fry Never Ends
    Nothing kicks off the weekend like fried fish, coleslaw, and a little polka music. Friday Fish Fry is Milwaukee’s way of saying TGIF, and we love a good fish fry all year long.

  17. Home Of The Flying Art Museum On The Water
    The Santiago Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum is one of Milwaukee's most iconic buildings. A photo of the museum's white steel "wings" opening for the day is a must!

  18. Frozen Custard Capital Of The World
    Milwaukee is home to more frozen custard stands per capita than any other city! Although this frozen treat is similar to ice cream, once you try it, you'll see why this richer, creamier dessert is a local favorite.

  19. Home of the Pink Squirrel
    Saveur readers recognized Milwaukee's "destination-worthy old-school bar scene," thanks to historic tied houses, old-school taverns, and a vintage cocktail lounge where famous drinks like the Pink Squirrel were invented.