Express Milwaukee - City Guide 2009 Sun, 21 Dec 2014 00:00:00 EST en hourly 1 Drinking in Milwaukee - The pros and cons of the city's social life I have enjoyed beer in a great many places: breweries, plazas and pubs in Europe; karaoke halls and outdoor restaurants in Southeast Asia; beaches, clubs and parades in South America; and cafes, festivals and ballparks coast to coast right here in the United States. Nobody does beer like Milwaukee. It begins with an utter lack of pretension; Milwaukeeans are true blue. What you see is what you get. And love it or hate it, drinking is what we do best. For better or worse, alcohol also brings out the best and worst of Milwaukee... ]]> Art Lovers At the risk of sounding cliche, Milwaukee's lively art scene really does have something to suit everyone's tastes. For serious connoisseurs of European painting and American folk, decorative and fine arts traditions through the 20th century. the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) and Marquette University's Haggerty Museum of Art boast impressive permanent holdings as well as several temporary exhibitions each year. If you'd rather see European oils, fine porcelain or the work of 19thcentury American craftsmen in a historic setting, head over to the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum... ]]> Performing-Arts Fans ...Milwaukee's theater scene provides programming for tastes that run from classic to eclectic. The Milwaukee Rep features it all within its three spaces-the Quadracci Powerhouse, the more intimate Stiemke Theater and the Stackner Cabaret (featuring musical revues). Next Act Theatre and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre focus on character-driven plays. Then there's Boulevard Theatre, always giving a break to local talent thanks to Artistic Director/resident funny guy Mark Bucher. When it comes to children's theater, First Stage provides a wide variety of entertainment...]]> Film Buffs The UW-Milwaukee Union Theatre maintains an ambitious program of recent and older feature films and documentaries in fall and spring, and hosts such events as the Festival of Films in French, the Latin-American Film Series, the LGBT Film/Video Festival and the Milwaukee Italian Film Festival. Although the Landmark Oriental and Downer cinemas have devoted increasing blocks of time to blockbusters, they can still be counted on for presenting major independent and foreign films. The Times and Rosebud are a pair of old neighborhood houses running an eclectic mix of...]]> Sports Fans Most would agree that surgery, auto repair and law enforcement are best left to professionals. Some might choose to add sports to this list, and for those who prefer to watch rather than do, Milwaukee serves up professional spectator sports year round. Enjoy a brat bedaubed in Secret Stadium Sauce along with a beer or two and cheer on the Major League Baseball Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, one of the finest places to view a ballgame in the nation. Even if the weather outside is frightful, with Miller's retractable roof, every day's a great day for a ballgame... ]]> Readers Though fluorescent-filled mega-bookstores with chain-brand coffee will do in a pinch, Milwaukee's true lovers of the written word prefer the warm glow that emanates from an independent bookstore. Despite tough times for small businesses, city readers can still rely on favorites like Little Read Book in Wauwatosa or the unique Renaissance Books, a treasure trove of old and newer books found right in General Mitchell International Airport. And Mystery One Bookstore not only serves up crime and intrigue, but also regularly brings in authors to sign books and speak directly to their readership... ]]> Comic-Book Fans It's not just Hollywood producers combing the shelves of comic book stores these days. Although big-box McMedia outlets and the ease of Internet commerce have forced the shuttering of several locally owned bookstores, the comic shop has heretofore managed to thrive in Milwaukee. It's all in the experience. Pointing and clicking at the icon for the latest Jonah Hex serial or any of the No Fear Shakespeare graphic novels bleeds all joy out of the comic-buying experience, which is a treat for the senses-the smell of fresh (and old) ink, the visual nuance of a perfectly colored cityscape at dusk...]]> Pet Lovers Milwaukee's independent pet stores mirror the nature of the neighborhoods that house them. Gary's Pet Jungle in Bay View is small-town friendly but big-city quirky. Like the small reptiles he stocks, owner Gary Johnson will occasionally munch on a cricket if a customer asks. In Riverwest, Glass Aquatics is vibrant and urban. The store specializes in aquariums and all manner of saltwater fish, though no doubt students from the nearby UW-Milwaukee dorms have wandered in, confused by the bright sign and disappointed to find clown fish and coral instead of blown glass and "tobacco accessories"...]]> Children - (What to Do With Them?) Milwaukee's drastic seasonal changes are both a blessing and a curse when it comes to keeping kids entertained. Summer and fall are idyllic, with inviting parks and pools spread across the city and hiking trails along the area's rivers. And although the long winter months can drive many of us indoors, they also offer great opportunities for sledding, snowshoeing and ice skating. The gentle slopes of Bay View's Humboldt Park provide perfect spots for young sledders, and Red Arrow Park's outdoor ice rink is an inexpensive, lively skating venue... ]]> Hikers Milwaukee walkers are lucky to have easy access to the Lake Michigan shore and our incredible park system. But there are days when dedicated walkers just have to put on their hiking boots and try something a little more challenging. Fortunately, there are more hiking options than the much-loved Kettle Moraine State Forest in the western suburbs and beyond. The Urban Ecology Center on the East Side is a great place to start reconnecting with the Milwaukee River corridor, which is becoming Milwaukee's Central Park. Once on the trail, it's hard to believe that you're just steps from...]]> Cyclists As summer approaches, what better way to get in shape than by hitting one of Milwaukee's pristine bike trails? Whether on bike, foot, skates or skateboard, Milwaukee gives you more than 100 miles of paved, scenic trails to choose from. You can start off your exercise routine on the East Side, where the Oak Leaf Trail will take you along Lake Michigan by the Milwaukee Art Museum and Alterra. Make sure to take a gander at Milwaukee's serene skyline while you're there. The Oak Leaf Trail winds through many other parts of the city as well. If you're feeling adventurous...]]> Urban Gardeners ...Inspiration can always be found on a tour of Will Allen's Growing Power, through the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, at the Urban Ecology Center, at a meeting of the Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network (MUAN), or by connecting to the Shorewood Victory Garden Initiative, Alice's Garden in Johnson's Park, or the Bay View Garden and Yard Society. To learn more about renting a plot from the county, contact the UW-Extension program. (Space is limited, so you may have to wait a year for some land.)...]]> History Buffs John Gurda created the landmark Making of Milwaukee documentary and the Milwaukee Public Museum offers the beloved Streets of Old Milwaukee. But our city's historic legacy is best experienced up close and personal: on a walking tour. For example, in the warmer months, the nonprofit Historic Milwaukee Inc. offers walking tours of Downtown, the Third Ward, East Town and the Lake Drive mansions, plus a bike tour of Walker's Point and, in the wintertime, a tour through Downtown's skywalks. But why not try something more offbeat...]]> Sharp-Dressed Women If you're sick of the cookie-cutter fashion styles found in Milwaukee's shopping centers, there are alternatives. Although several fashion boutiques have succumbed to the falling economy, a number of survivors remain and feature original designs by Wisconsin natives and people from all over the world. Bay View's charming Paper Boat Boutique & Gallery is housed in beautiful surroundings, with tin ceilings, original artwork and doilies dancing from above. The T-shirts, thermals and sweatshirts give off an enchanted nature vibe, decorated with colorful rainbows, insects, whales, giant octopuses...]]> Sharp-Dressed Men It's been bad news lately on the business pages, and the surly mood is heard in the least likely of places. When the clerk at an exclusive Milwaukee men's store, with custom-tailored suits and shirts and normally nothing on the rack for less than $500, goes on about greedy Wall Street investors and those damn CEOs (i.e. his customers), you know business is down. The Great Recession doesn't mean that looking bad should be an option. And while Milwaukee guys have a reputation as schlubs, there have always been enough sharp-dressed men to keep menswear alive...]]> Under 21 It's easy enough being under 21 in Milwaukee during the summer. The season is so rich with outdoor street, music and ethnic festivals that there's almost always something to do. The long winters, however, are a different story. Once the city moves its drinking indoors, under-agers are shut out. There are still some solid options for students without fake IDs, though. The corner bars and clubs that host some of the city's best music may be off limits, but Milwaukee's biggest, most active music venues are mostly all ages; The Pabst Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom, The Riverside Theater and the Rave...]]> Corner Barhoppers Being a city literally built on the mass consumption of beer, Milwaukee's corner bars and taverns have always been an integral part of neighborhood culture and economy. To be sure, many if not most taverns found within the greater metro area could be classified as classic "corner" bars. However, certain establishments have been open since the peak of the Milwaukee brewery boom in the mid-1900s, some even dating as far back as Prohibition. For the ultimate experience in Old Milwaukee barhopping, try Tony's Tavern in Historic Walker's Point. Save for a television set and jukebox purchased in the 1960s...]]> Clubgoers From catching an awesome club, theater or co-op concert to hanging out with other locals in your favorite neighborhood haunt of choice, Milwaukee's options for fun are increasingly abundant as the sun goes down. While no neighborhood is completely genre-specific, the residents of each do take pride in their own unique flavor. Milwaukee has always been known for impressive bar-per-capita numbers. This is perhaps most evident in the student- and campus oriented East Side, with the Jazz Estate and Vox being the quieter and relaxed alternative to the louder and rowdier BBC and Cans...]]> Foodies Images of the tiny ethnic grocery store and the specialty food shop exert a powerful pull on our inner-foodie-the narrow aisles, the neighborly chitchat at the deli counter or bakery case, that specialty food the place is famous for, the owners and cashiers who know the regulars by name. Mammoth supermarkets the size of a city block offering low prices and convenient one-stop shopping are swallowing these little gems, leaving a homogenized foodscape in their wake. Thanks to conscientious citizens unfazed by the tempting fluorescent glow of corporately owned groceries...]]>