The best places to eat and things to do in Milwaukee: a local guide

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At one point, the Milwaukeeans started to realize that they loved it here. Over the past two decades, the city has shed its inferiority complex, removing the old narrative that it was stuck in the shadow of Chicago and replacing it with a trumpeting intimate charm. Of course, it’s no coincidence that the rise in civic pride correlates with the city’s growing fortunes. Milwaukee has spent the new millennium upgrading itself, redeveloping its downtown after years of stagnation, maximizing its abundant waterways, adding a streetcar system, and building a popular new arena.

Fortunately, these improvements did not come at the expense of the historic character of the city. Yes, here you’ll find craft cocktail bars, ax throwing bars, late night ramen, and all the usual indicators of a flourishing creative class. But what makes Milwaukee special is the intersection of the old and the new, its marriage of blue-collar traditions, Old World comforts, and modern innovations. And if you’ve never been there, it’s also a much greener city than you might imagine, with a popular park system and a spectacular lakeside that’s heavily used during the summer.

Meet Evan Rytlewski

A native of Milwaukee, Evan is the web editor for the nonprofit Radio Milwaukee. For over a decade he was an artistic writer and music editor for the city’s alternative weekly Shepherd Express.

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