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Milwaukee is considered one of the most livable big cities in America, with an affordable cost of living, ample jobs and a variety of amenities. It's the largest city in Wisconsin and also one of the largest in the Midwest United States. Milwaukee is well-known as a city of breweries, with a tradition of beer dating back to the 1850s. Today, it's one of the largest beer suppliers in the nation.
The History of Milwaukee
Native Americans, including members of the Algonquian and Sioux tribes, originally inhabited the area that's now Milwaukee. In fact, the city's name is derived from an Algonquian word that translates to "pleasant land."
In the 1830s, the city was established as three separate settlements named Juneau Town, Kilbourntown and Walker's Point. A number of settlers were attracted to the area because of its natural harbor on Lake Michigan's western shore. After a disagreement over bridges and a small-scale civil war, the three settlements joined and became the city of Milwaukee.
Because of Milwaukee's location on the water and near railways, it became a prominent industrial and transportation center. During the nation's major waves of immigration, Milwaukee welcomed a large influx of German and Polish immigrants, whose cultural influence can still be seen clearly in the city today.
Things to Do in Milwaukee
Milwaukee's lakeside location makes it a popular place to enjoy water sports, including windsurfing and sailing. Henry Maier Festival Park is located on the lake and is one of the main settings for the city's numerous events. A longstanding tradition at the park is Summerfest, a local music festival that started in the late 1960s.
You can also explore the city's cultural attractions, including the Milwaukee Art Museum. The museum hosts a variety of pieces by both local and iconic artists, including Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. Or explore natural and human history exhibits at the Milwaukee Public Museum, which has been in business for over a century.
Because the city has an extremely active beer scene, you can tour a large number of breweries, brewpubs and nanobreweries. Milwaukee's brewery tradition dates back to the mid-1800s, when its large German immigrant population began establishing breweries modeled after the ones in their home country. Today, the city lays claim to the oldest brewery in America, the Milwaukee Brewery.
Here are just a few of the great neighborhoods that Milwaukee has to offer:
Brookfield has a storied history, with Caroline Ingalls (mother of author Laura Ingalls) among its early settlers. Brookfield was also home to another famous resident, Chicago mob leader Al Capone. Today, it's a quiet, family-friendly community with many traditions and events.
Lincoln Village was originally founded by as the city's Polish community during the late 1800s, and it's evolved into a friendly community of people from all over the world. The neighborhood's Polish roots are reflected in one of its historic landmarks, the Basilica of St. Josaphat.
Whitefish Bay is popular with young families, thanks to good schools and a tight-knit community. Many of the neighborhood streets are named after California cities, including Santa Monica and Hollywood.
Historic Third Ward
This historic Milwaukee neighborhood experienced a massive revitalization in the past decade, with old warehouses being transformed into lofts full of character and with scenic views of the city. Thanks to the arrival of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, the Historic Third Ward has become home to many small galleries and creative shops.
Milwaukee Public Schools, which operates on a magnet school-based system, serves the city's public schools. This means that you can enroll your child in any one of the many specialized programs, featuring study paths focusing on topics like art, career education, language immersion and and technology.
If you're planning to pursue higher education in Milwaukee, the city has a variety of colleges and universities, both public and private.
Resources for Moving to Milwaukee
Here are a few quick resources to help make your move to Milwaukee as easy as possible:
- Utilities: The main electricity provider in Milwaukee is We Energies, and the city manages public water and sewer services.
- Garbage and Recycling: Trash is collected once a week, while recycling collection schedules vary.
- Transportation: Public transit options in Milwaukee include bus, light rail and commuter rail. You can also use public transit to easily access other major cities nearby.
The median home price in Milwaukee is significantly lower than the national average, so you'll be able to explore a variety of affordable housing options. Because Milwaukee has a number of distinct neighborhoods, there's a wide range of home styles and sizes to choose from.