Because Milwaukee sits almost 100 miles from the great city of Chicago, you might wonder if Wisconsin's largest city is worth the extra journey north? But it is. Sitting on the banks of mighty Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is picturesque. You'll find that many of its 95 miles of bike lanes skirt the scenic waterfront. Plus, the city is into the finer things — craft beer, for instance. And while we're on the topic, did you know that Milwaukee is a major beer-producing city? Miller (now MillerCoors) and Pabst Blue Ribbon both got their start here. So did those epic Harley-Davidson motorcycles, examples of which can be found at the Harley-Davidson Museum. The city also boasts loads of ethnic restaurants, and independent shops will plant permanent smiles on culture hounds' faces. (And, in our opinion, these local shops are better than the sleek storefronts along Chi-town's Magnificent Mile any day.)
From hearty comfort classics to authentic German beers and Polish fare, Milwaukee offers plenty of filling dining options to help you get through notoriously cold Midwestern winters. To start, try a world famous Usinger's bratwurst on downtown Milwaukee's Old World Third Street. Afterward, wash it down with a cold pint at one of several traditional German restaurants, including Mader's and Old German Beer Hall.
And for those looking for classic American fare, there are plenty of eateries specializing in just that. Outside of downtown Milwaukee in the Southgate neighborhood, diners can indulge in a homemade frozen custard and a sloppy joe-style hamburger at Leon's Frozen Custard Drive-In. Should you crave an American-style breakfast (with some Old World flair), stroll over to Blue's Egg — which sits 6 miles west of downtown Milwaukee. And when you're looking for an upscale twist on American comfort food, slow down and enjoy a seven-course meal at Sanford Restaurant. In addition to entree options like a chargrilled elk loin and citrus seared Alaskan halibut, diners can also savor internationally inspired dishes, such as lamb kefta and orange creme brulee.
But a visit to the largest city in Milwaukee would not be complete without sampling some of the region's delectable cheeses. Although the state proudly produces nearly 3 billion pounds of cheese (which equates to 25 percent of America's cheese production) annually, in Milwaukee, it's all about the cheese curds. These tasty morsels can be found at a number of Milwaukee restaurants and cheese shops, including Wisconsin Cheese Mart in Westown and West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shoppe in the Historic Third Ward.
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