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Destination: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Destination: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
By Rochelle Caviness - December 12, 2002

Milwaukee Wisconsin, as a whole, has undergone a vast revitalization in the last several years. This vital and engaging city is situated along the banks of Lake Michigan, and is, in every regard, a modern metropolis. From live theater to natural history museums, Milwaukee has something to offer every visitor, no matter what their age or intersts.

Getting Around Milwaukee

Milwaukee can be reached by air, car, train, bus, and even by boat. If you don't drive, the city has a full complement of taxis, and has an excellent public bus service. You can get to just about anywhere in Milwaukee via the Milwaukee Country Transit System. However, in the downtown area especially, you will need to take care as to which stop you wait for the your bus on. There is a bus stop on almost every corner, but not every bus stops at every bus stop. Consequently, you'll need to find out in advance where to stand if you might have difficulty reading the signs that are displayed at each stop, detailing what buses stop at that particular stop.

In addition to the county buses, there is also a trolley service the operates in the downtown area. This trolley is less expensive than the bus, but it operates in a limited area. Information on the trolley service can also be found on the above mentioned website.

Milwaukee has a long history as the brewery capital of the Midwest. There are still many breweries located in the city, and most of these breweries offer guide tours. Touring a brewery is a 'must-see' if you truly want to get a feel for Milwaukee's past.

Miller Brewing Company

Free tours of the brewery start every half-hour, and they begin with a fifteen minuet video presentation on the brewery. Throughout the tour you will get to explore the history of the Miller Brewery and its founder. Most importantly, you'll get to see how the beer is made, bottled, and packaged. This tour is highly auditory, and the guide offers a running commentary throughout the tour. This is a walking tour that takes you in and out of several building. The tour is not fully wheelchair accessible.

During the tour you will also be offered the opportunity to visit the Brew House, where the batches of beer are mixed. To get to the observation area, you will need to climb 56 stairs. More importantly, you should be aware (and the guide will point this out to you) that the inside of the Brew House tends to be about 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. In the winter this is not a big deal, but in the summer when it is 90 degrees outside, this may be a reason to skip this optional portion of the tour!

At the end of the tour you are invited to sample three different types of beer. Be forewarned, you will be carded, even if you elect to sample the no-alcohol beer. Soda is also available.

History and Art Museums

Garden Tours

Milwaukee is situated in a region know for its cold winter months, so you may not expect to find many gardens to tour in the area. While Milwaukee does not offer as many year-round garden touring opportunities as you might find in a southern state, it does offer two outstanding options, the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory and the Boerner Botanical Gardens.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Before you end your visit to Milwaukee, you'll want to attend one of the performances put on at the Milwaukee Rep. This acting company's repertoire ranges from classics to modern musical comedies such as the "Oil City Symphony." Nothing compares to a live performance, and you're bound to be pleased with whatever The Rep happens to be performing during your visit.

Of special note, The Rep is extremely friendly to the visually impaired. Programs are available in large print. The Rep's performances are held in four different theaters, the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, Stiemke Theater, Stackner Cabaret, and Pabst Theater. On specific days, The Rep offers one "audio-described performance" of their current Quadracci Powerhouse Theater production. The descriptions are provided live, and you are able to listen the description via a small receiver that fits unobtrusively in your ear. As well, you can get a large print or audio script synopsis of the performances held at the Quadracci Powerhouse and Stiemke Theater's. In addition to being extremely accessible to the visually impaired, The Rep's is equally accommodating to individuals with other disabilities.

Where to Eat in Milwaukee?

For information on where to eat while you are in Milwaukee, check out the following article: Milwaukee: An International Dining Wonderland.

Where to Stay in Milwaukee

Milwaukee offers a wide range of accommodations ranging from bed and breakfasts to five-star hotels. On my most recent visit to Milwaukee, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, located at 333 W. Kilbourn Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. The accommodations where superb, as was the hotels staff. I've been told that this hotel is very friendly to guide dogs. And, I was particularly gratified by the level of assistance I received from the hotel's concierge, who patiently helped me decipher the county's bus routes, and where I need to stand to catch the right bus. The accommodations at this hotel where superb, and I had an all-around wonderful stay. Best yet, this hotel is an easy walk away from most of the attractions in the downtown area.

Be sure to visit the Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau's, where you'll also find detailed information about all that Milwaukee has to offer.

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