I love Milwaukee. I don’t have any history here except for the past 6 years or so. I didn’t spend any time in Milwaukee as a child, except to visit cousins for holiday meals. Perhaps because there has always been a rivalry between Milwaukee and Madison (one the biggest city, the other the capital), and because I grew up closer to Madison, Milwaukee was never much on my radar.
When Gerry and I decided to establish a base in WI, (we seemed to spend a lot of time here between summers and my family) we ultimately were drawn into the urban lifestyle of downtown Milwaukee. Suburbs were never an option. We finally settled on our “condo” (I hate that word so I am going to call it my “apartment.”) in the Fifth Ward.
Fifth Ward doesn’t mean much to most Milwaukeans either, so it isn’t important except to be precise. It’s also known as Walker’s Point. Our apartment is on the river, looking at the “Third Ward” which is a place Milwaukeans are familiar with and so for expediency’s sake, we say we are in the Third Ward. That would be “the Historic Third Ward”.
The Third Ward (and I have never seen it written with the numeric) is an area between downtown Milwaukee, I 794, the lake and the river, that used to be a warehouse district. The buildings have been converted into lofts and other ritzy dwelling options, perfect for young, especially single, urban professionals and older empty-nesters. You don’t see many children down here at all, except of course in the summer – when the festivals fill their park on the lake shore weekend after weekend.
There are lots of restaurants, art galleries, trendy shops and theaters in this district. That’s the attraction. The people who live here get to walk to all these places, and the rest of the city makes an outing of it. The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design insures, along with Marquette University and UW-Milwaukee, that there are innumerable young people here to populate the bars and maintain the area’s reputation as a happening place to be.
Which is not to say that it isn’t a lot of fun living here. We really like it. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in Milwaukee. I love to walk and there are so many places to wander around and look at – and naturally take pictures.
The icon of downtown Milwaukee is the Santiago Calatrava designed Milwaukee Art Museum. The beaches on Lake Michigan, the parks, Summerfest, the Harley Davidson Museum are all within walking distance of our apartment.