A friendly Midwestern atmosphere prevails in Milwaukee, which is not so much a city as a large collection of neighborhoods situated on the shores of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin's largest city is an international seaport and the state's primary commercial and manufacturing center. Modern steel-and-glass high-rises occupy much of the downtown area, but they share the skyline with restored and well-kept 19th-century buildings from Milwaukee's early heritage. First settled by Potawatomi and later by French fur traders in the late 18th century, the city boomed in the 1840s with the arrival of German beer brewers, whose influence is still present. Milwaukee is known as a city of festivals, the biggest being Summerfest (the "World's Largest Music Festival"), held in late June and early July.
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Things You Can't Miss
A 2001 addition to the museum has a brise soleil, or sunscreen, which resembles a pair of wings and opens in the morning and closes at night.
The Harley-Davidson Museum features over 450 bikes and plenty of chances to climb on. Grab a bowl of booyah at the Motor Bar and Restaurant.
Mary Bergin / Alamy
There’s an ice-cold treat at the end of the Miller Brewing Co. tour. Drink up in the outdoor beer garden or the Bavarian-style inn.
Chuck Eckert / Alamy
Billed as the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest is an 11-day, 11-stage event featuring 800 acts from around the globe, plus a zip line.
Kim Karpeles / Alamy
Karl Ratzsch’s is one of Milwaukee’s oldest and most beloved restaurants. Celebrate the food of the Germans who settled and built this city.
This pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is home to the Public Market, fun shopping, restaurants, bars and lots of galleries and museums.
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