Are you thinking about moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin? If so, make sure to keep reading! We have all the reasons you should be moving to Milwaukee!
Milwaukee is a very affordable city and one in which not only the food and beer are pretty cheap, but the housing is relatively cheap as well. The cost of living in Milwaukee is 13% lower than the national average and 9% lower than the Wisconsin average, which is saying something considering how cheap the midwest and Wisconsin are in general.
2. Great Restaurants and Groceries
Milwaukee is home to a great number of delicious restaurants, including many which still have German, Irish, and Polish influences. Whether you want to eat cheap or eat fancy, there are restaurants with all sorts of different cuisine and with different price ranges. The groceries here, in addition to being relatively cheap, are of pretty great quality thanks to Wisconsin’s many farmers. Overall, there is a lot of great food to be had in Milwaukee.
3. Good Cheese
If everybody thinks of one thing when they think of Wisconsin, then it is likely dairy. Wisconsin does indeed have not just a lot of dairy farms (and a lot of cows on said dairy farms), but a lot of great and inexpensive dairy products as a result. Milwaukee is no exception, and there is a lot of great cheese, ice cream, and custard to be found there. Kopp’s custard stands as one of the best custard places in the U.S., and there are numerous great creameries and cheese stores throughout the city and the surrounding area. It truly is a cheesehead paradise.
4. Bountiful Beer
Milwaukee is well-known as a headquarters of sorts for beer. The companies of Pabst, Miller, Blatz, and Schlitz brewing have all at one time or another had huge success in Milwaukee, and currently, Miller still has a huge distillery in Milwaukee. They even have tours of the place with complimentary beer at the end.
In recent years, Milwaukee has become home to a huge number of craft breweries. Sprecher in particular comes to mind. (Sprecher also makes some of the best root beer and cream soda in the country and offers tours of their facilities that are a lot of fun. ) There are dozens, if not hundreds of craft beer places in Milwaukee now, especially in the more recently revitalized areas of the city. No matter what kind of beer you want, whether it’s craft beer or commercial or anything in between, someone in Milwaukee is brewing it.
5. Lake Michigan & the Milwaukee River
Lake Michigan surprises many who come to Milwaukee with its sheer expansiveness. To many, it looks more like an ocean. In this same vein, Milwaukee is home to several beaches. Throughout the summer, Lake Michigan is the perfect place to cool off or enjoy the sun. In addition, it offers good fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities. The harbor in Milwaukee is huge. Many apartments and condos have excellent views of Lake Michigan, and skyscrapers in downtown Milwaukee look over a huge expanse of the lake.
In addition to Lake Michigan, Milwaukee has one more significant water feature: the Milwaukee River. The Milwaukee river used to be polluted for a long time, but in recent decades, significant efforts have been made to clean it up. Now, the river is the site of a lot of new developments. Restaurants, stores, and apartments are now built alongside the river to have great views of it.
The Milwaukee Riverwalk is a walkway that runs along the river and passes by many local businesses, and it is both safe and beautiful. The river also offers more than just aesthetic beauty now though: kayaking is also becoming increasingly popular along the river. Efforts are even being made to make the river safe enough to swim in. The Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan are certainly both huge boons for the city of Milwaukee in terms of both aesthetics and activities.
6. Full Four Seasons
Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, some people enjoy having a full four seasons every year, which is something that Milwaukee and the surrounding area certainly do offer. Summer in Milwaukee is gorgeous for the most part, although sometimes it can get up into the 90s. For the most part, the summer is sunny and the daily highs tend to be in the 80s, making for great swimming weather. The lake also provides a cool breeze during the summer. In the fall, beautiful colors are everywhere as the leaves change color, and crisp, cool weather ranging from the 60s to the 70s moves in, making for very cozy sweater weather.
The Winter weather in Milwaukee can certainly be somewhat harsh for those who aren’t used to it, but it can be fun if you embrace it. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding, and cross-country skiing are all popular winter activities in Wisconsin and can provide really fun times outdoors out in the snow. Having snow around during the holidays also really enhances them in my experience. And while snow can seem daunting at first, the truth is that the city of Milwaukee and the suburbs around it do a pretty great job of plowing the streets early in the morning after a night of heavy snowfall.
7. Fun Festivals
When the winter is finally over and all the snow has melted, then is the time that Milwaukeeans get out and enjoy an abundance of festivals and other fun events. Milwaukee is sometimes even referred to as the “City of Festivals” due to the great selection of events that one can attend every year. One of the biggest of these festivals is Summerfest, a music festival that features dozens of artists, including both those that are very famous and well-known and local artists trying to get their first big break. Some other festivals worth mentioning include:
- Milwaukee Night Market
- Juneteenth Day Celebration
- Polish Fest
- German Fest
- Milwaukee Brewfest
- The Wisconsin State Fair (fried cheese curds abound at this place)
There are many, many more festivals than these that go on in Milwaukee. One of the biggest events of the year is the Fourth of July. The fireworks that the city launches on the 3rd to commemorate the 4th are spectacular, and you can see them from virtually any high point in the city. Also worthy of special mention is Oktoberfest, a celebration of German culture that is held both in Milwaukee itself and in many of the communities surrounding it, featuring tons of beer and pretzels and lots of dancing and music.
8. Varied Economy
Milwaukee has a pretty varied economy, meaning that not just one or two companies are providing the majority of jobs in the country. The job market is steady in Milwaukee, and there is only a 5.5% unemployment rate. There are many large employers such as Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, and Harley Davidson, but there are also a lot of smaller and mid-sized employers that provide a lot of the jobs in the city.
9. Superb Suburbs
While college students and young people without children will often be best off living inside the city in one of its revitalized districts like the Historic Third Ward, some people (such as families with kids) will want a little more land and a little bit of a bigger house than can be found within the middle of the city. Some people also just want to live somewhere a little quieter, but also desire to have a short commute to where it’s all happening downtown. The suburbs naturally make for a good choice. They also vary significantly in price and amenities, creating a wide variety to choose from for soon-to-be Wisconsinites.
Luckily for these sorts of people, Milwaukee has numerous suburbs surrounding it, almost all of which are excellent. Glendale, Brookfield, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, and Shorewood (as well as others) all are great places to live, and many of these communities developed alongside the rest of Milwaukee and share its rich history. These suburbs also tend to have better schools than Milwaukee itself, which is worth noting for those who have kids. There is a type of community for everyone in the Milwaukee Metropolitan area, whether you want to live somewhere more rural like Cedarburg, or in a more dense community like Shorewood, with its apartments and bungalows.
10. Unique Cultural History
Milwaukee is a relatively old city, and as such, it has a long and storied history. Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, Milwaukee grew largely as a result of immigration by German, Polish, Irish, and other European immigrants. This led Milwaukee to develop in some ways that are significantly European. This includes the incredibly well-developed park system of the city, the architecture, and the breweries and food influences that persist in the city today. The blending of cultures that has occurred in Milwaukee has led it to not just have a unique history but to remain a unique and interesting city even today.
11. Excellent Music and Art
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra stands out as one of the world’s premiere orchestras, and as its name implies, it is based in Milwaukee. Milwaukee also has many other great groups to listen to, many of which perform in a wide variety of historical venues such as Turner hall. Milwaukee has no shortage of music!
12. Historical Architecture
Having been founded in 1846, Milwaukee has had a lengthy history. As a result, the city of Milwaukee has seen the creation of a lot of unique, historical, and beautiful buildings that span the city’s skyline. Many of these buildings are still in excellent repair due to Milwaukee’s significant efforts in preserving and restoring these great places. Some of these great places include:
- The Allen Bradley Clock tower is the largest four-faced clock tower in the West. It stands out among the skyline as a distinctive landmark.
- Various Frank Lloyd Wright Houses line West Burnham Street. Some of these homes are even available to tour!
- The Mackie Building is a victorian masterpiece full of arches and stained glass, and the look is made complete by gargoyles on the corners of the bell tower.
- The Milwaukee Public Library is a huge library built in the Neo-Renaissance style and has been recently updated to have thousands of square feet of green roof.
- The North Point Lighthouse is a unique site that you can tour year-round!
- The Pfister Hotel is reminiscent of European architecture and has been the hotel of choice for famous and influential people for over 100 years!
- Turner Hall is a National Historic Landmark and remains a popular concert venue to this day.
- The Milwaukee Boathouse is one of the most unique homes anyone will ever see, and is a quirky Milwaukee landmark.
13. Milwaukee is a growing city
Milwaukee, like many rustbelt communities in the 1980s, did see some population stagnation and decline for a few decades. But in recent years, Milwaukee has started to increase in population again. From 2021 to 2022, Milwaukee saw a population increase of 0.5%. which may not seem huge, but reflects a shift in the perception of Milwaukee by many people. Young people in particular are beginning to move to Milwaukee in larger numbers, going to show how in many ways, Milwaukee has become ‘cool’. It certainly helps that the real estate and rent prices in Milwaukee are cheap compared to the national average and that there are so many colleges as well.
Whatever the reason/reasons are for Milwaukee’s recent growth, the fact is that much of the city has been renovated and revitalized in recent years, including both the riverfront and much of the lakefront area as well. This bodes very well for the future of the city, and Milwaukee is certain to continue growing in years to come.
14. Friendly People
Located where it is, Milwaukee and its surrounding communities are no strangers to the concept of Midwestern friendliness. People in the area are generally more laid back than in some other big cities, and very willing to talk and make friends with everyone. In general, people also tend to be very polite, whether you are at the grocery store or walking on the street in your neighborhood. People are so friendly in Milwaukee and Wisconsin in general, that when you get invited to a party, you may not be able to leave without continuing your conversation for another half an hour unwittingly.
15. Cool Museums
Milwaukee has a lot of really unique museums. The Harley Davidson Museum, the Milwaukee Public Museum of Natural History, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Discovery Center are all great museums that stand as pillars of Milwaukee’s cultural offerings and stand as landmarks in downtown Milwaukee.
16. Professional Sports Teams
While Milwaukee wasn’t able to steal away the Packers from Green Bay, it remains the home of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, the MLB Brewers, and the NHL Admirals, meaning that whether it is summer, fall, or winter, there is always a home team playing in Milwaukee. The newly built Fiserv Forum is a spectacular place to watch the Bucks play, and the energy at the games is palpable.
17. Local Colleges
Milwaukee is home to excellent colleges, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Marquette University. These colleges provide amazing educational opportunities right in downtown Milwaukee.