Photo credit: Phil Landowski

Tips from a Local: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

TFAL is a feature where local residents share tips and insights regarding their town or city.  Today’s expert is Michele Radi.  Michele is a “proud Milwaukee commuter for 15 years, and  graduate of UW-Milwaukee, Ph.D in 2016. Mother of 6, including a special needs child. I also have a transgendered daughter.”

If someone was in town just for a day, and wanted three really fun or interesting things to do, what would you suggest to them?

Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World, Public Market

What are your favorite non-chain-restaurant places for cheap lunch on the go?

Downtown, weekdays, Food Trucks- Streetza, Taco Shack, so many choices

Which touristy things are worth doing in your city/town? Which ones are all hype in your opinion and are safe to skip?

All hype? Hmmm hard to say- depending n your interest the Milwaukee Art Museum COULD be considered “hype” (it was in a Transformer movie, BUT- it is amazing. . .I can honestly say that any of the summer festivals or Summerfest would be well worth the time and money spent. An underrated attraction here in Milwaukee are the trips offered at Discovery World- sails on the Dennis Sullivan ship, which are not expensive, and really awesome. The Milwaukee River cruises offered on the Edelweiss Boat cruises are amazing and reasonable

Any special suggestions for visitors about clothing or footwear to be worn in your area?

Good walking shoes, not crocs, unless you are going to the Lake (Michigan) then crocs and capri pants’shorts- so you can wade in

 How is your city/town in terms of accessibility and acceptance?  Would you personally characterize it as easily navigable for a single parent with young children in tow?  For the mobility impaired?  Would you say that it is accepting of racial diversity and of LGBT people?

It depends- the Betty Brinn is a Children’s Museum, very hands on and of course, child acceptable. Discovery World, also very VERY inclusive of both typical developing children and special needs (my son is autistic). I had a temporary mobility issue, sprained Achilles tendon, and found that my access to the Milwaukee Public Museum and Discovery World, was unimpaired. Racial diversity. . .sadly, on paper, Milwaukee is one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States. However, there are, shall I say, pockets? of acceptance, and they center around downtown. UW-Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, mostly Brady Street (Lower East Side), RiverWest (a neighborhood) and Bay View(another neighborhood) are VERY safe places for my LGBT sisters and brothers of any race or ethnicity.

Where is the best place to buy reasonably priced non-tacky souvenirs?  To buy kitchy tacky souvenirs?

Brady Street! Also, at any of the festivals held from June through September

What is your favorite day trip from city? (Out and return same day.)

Plan a day at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Betty Brinn or all three (they are that close) snack at any location, but hit Alem for Ethiopian Food or The Pasta Tree for Italian, stop for custard at Kopp’s on Silver Spring- head home on 43

What are your three favorite places in your city?

Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World, Milwaukee Art Museum

Any faux pas to note?  Tips on how not to irk or otherwise offend the locals?

Use the term “bubbler” if you need water to drink that is not from a bottle (a “water fountain” is something in the middle of a mall that you throw coins in and make a wish)- and say something nice about the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers

Please feel free to add anything you wish that I may not have thought to ask about but that you want to share.

Milwaukee is a great city- be prepared to see a ton of things, and if you venture past the small amount of information I have included here, feel free to look up Milwaukee Neighborhoods, this is a CITY of such diverse areas, each with a proud tradition. Do not be intimidated by mass media depictions. This is a Midwestern “big city”- you can stand in line at a store or shop and have conversations with people you have never met, will never meet again. . .and they will be awesome conversations. Frozen custard and butter burgers are huge here, as are ethnic festivals- if you come in the summer, goodness, look at your options, Summerfest, a music fest, is 10 days, starting the last Thursday in June, Bastille Days in July, Italian Fest, Pride Fest, German Fest, Irish Fest, Harvest Moon Fest. . .so many to choose from, and you will not be disappointed by any.

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