Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is known primarily for its breweries. The smell of malt is everywhere. However, the brewing industry no longer dominates the city, and Milwaukee has become a modern industrial metropolis. Positioned on the shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a very attractive city whose downtown is a mixture of fine modern and well-restored older buildings. Milwaukee has become a perennial favorite for tourists from all over the world, averaging more than five million visitors a year.
Milwaukee's growing economy owes much to its ability to evolve alongside technological changes. The strong economy is bolstered by the strength of Rockwell International, General Electric's Medical Systems operation, and other high-tech firms expanding in Wisconsin. Milwaukee also houses the state's largest banking organization, Marshall & Ilsley Corp., as well as Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, the fifth-largest life insurer in the nation. Milwaukee is a major center for mutual funds and investment management, serving as home base for the Nicholas Funds, the Strong Funds, the Heartland Funds, and many others. As a result, Milwaukee law firms
are mostly focused on intellectual property, patent prosecution, litigation, real estate, and finance.
There's no place better than Milwaukee in the summer. Today, Milwaukee boasts an ethnic festival season that is second to none, full of good food and music. These include the Irish Fest in August; the Indian Summer festival, presented by the state's many Native American tribes; and in November, an all-ethnic-background celebration at Milwaukee's International Folk Festival, the largest indoor ethnic festival in the nation.
The Milwaukee County Zoo, among the finest in the country, is situated on 200 wooded acres. Home to approximately 2,500 animals-representing 300 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and invertebrates-the zoo features roaming buffalos and exotic animals like the leopard shark, red panda, Malayan tapir, and the rhinoceros hornbill. The Milwaukee Zoo is recognized as one of the finest zoological parks in the world.
If you are looking for a place to celebrate summer with music, you will love Summerfest, the world's largest music festival. Summerfest is an annual 11-day music blowout that takes place on 75 acres along the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. Featuring 13 stages of live music all day and night, a variety of food, shopping, and children's activities, Summerfest is the summer destination. For a smaller venue, many of the same artists will appear at the outdoor Marcus Amphitheatre on the Summerfest grounds at the Wisconsin State Fair or indoors at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
A not-to-be-missed international event is The Great Circus Parade. Featuring 75 historic circus wagons, the parade travels from Baraboo to Milwaukee on the Great Circus Train, making brief stops on its two-day journey across Wisconsin. Once the train reaches Milwaukee, it stays for five days at the Great Circus Parade Showground on Milwaukee's lakefront. There, people can see the circus wagons up close; visit the 750 horses on a tour of the Grand Horse Fair tent; take elephant, camel, and zebra rides; view the historic lithographs in the Bicentennial Big Top; and even attend circus performances under the Circus Parade Big Top.
For much of its history, Milwaukee has been touted as the "beer capital of the world." The city has been home to some of America's largest brewers: Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, and Blatz. Though Milwaukee is no longer the official beer capital of the United States, its remaining breweries proudly continue the tradition brought to Wisconsin a century and a half ago. Schlitz made Milwaukee famous, but a new crop of microbreweries like Sprecher and Lakefront, along with giant macrobrewery Miller, continue to quench the thirst of beer drinkers statewide. A fascinating way to learn about how Milwaukee brewed its beer in the past, and how it will brew it into the future, is to take one of the several brewery tours around town. After the tour works up a powerful thirst, the breweries will reward you with a few rounds of their freshest beer. Milwaukee also offers a wide variety of microbreweries and pubs that will keep you coming back over and over again.