A September 2002 trip
to Milwaukee by billmoy
Quote: Milwaukee proudly proclaims itself as a "Genuine American City".
Milwaukee holds the annual Summerfest by the lake. This festival always draws star musical acts.
Milwaukee is about two hours north of Chicago (depending on how fast you drive) so you can do Milwaukee as a day trip.
The lobby is fairly nondescript, with even more nondescript hallways leading to the elevators. The standard rooms in the Sheraton are fairly spacious and comfortable, although the decor is a bit dated. You can always count on toiletries like soap, shampoo, lotion, etc. There is an indoor pool and jacuzzi that is very popular with the kids (don't try going on a Sunday morning unless you enjoy getting splashed by lots of flopping young kids). The workout room is small but is comfortably stocked with towels, magazines, water cooler and a TV. Seemingly every nook and cranny of the hotel has at least one issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine.
I am not sure why anyone would want to stay here unless you have business in Brookfield. This is not a knock against the hotel though, which is certainly decent enough. Downtown Milwaukee is not too far away (about a 15 minute drive), but I am more of an "urban" person who likes to walk around town. Staying in this area will naturally limit your time about central Milwaukee. You will need a car to get around here, although the Sheraton does free parking to guests with its surface parking lot.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 5, 2002
375 South Moorland Road
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53005
Champps bills itself as an upscale casual dining restaurant, although I think the image of a sports bar is more appropriate. The staff seems pleasant and efficient enough, appropriate for this type of establishment. You would think a sports bar would be swimming only with guys, but there were a fair amount of women here as well.
Food is served until only a certain time in the evening, so if you arrive really late you can only get drinks and an eyeful of sports programming. There is a daily happy hour and various special nightly themes for visitors.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 5, 2002
1240 S Moorland Rd
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53005
Restaurant | "Applebee's"
Applebee's has a décor that is part sports bar, part family restaurant. You will be greeted once you enter by a wait staff member, and we found the overall service to be friendly and efficient. I imagine the wait can be a few minutes at peak hours, but we were immediately seated during lunchtime on a Sunday afternoon.
The fairly diverse menu features steaks, fish, chicken, burgers, drinks, appetizers, and desserts. I ordered a full order of riblets, which are a bargain at about ten dollars. You get a huge plate of barbeque pork riblets with your choice of sauce (the honey mustard that day was excellent), with tiny cups of beans, coleslaw, and a heap of crisp and well-seasoned fries. You can sit in a cozy booth or at elevated tables that usually face a TV showing a sporting event. This particular Applebee's was also a popular take-out place, as its location in the Mayfair Mall apparently draws that type of crowd.
I have seemingly shocked some of my colleagues who think that I would never ever eat at a chain restaurant. Indeed, I have eaten at another Applebee’s and found the dining experience to be similar, but still inferior to the Mayfair branch. On this particular time and date, Applebee’s was the right call for me.
Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar
2500 N Mayfair Rd
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226
The Burke Brise Soleil "wings" of the Quadracci Pavilion opens and closes at noon every day, as well as during the opening and closing times for the museum itself. It is a magnificent, graceful object that deserves as much notice as it should get. Some may say that it is a relatively small object and is merely the new entry to the museum, a la Pei's glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. But what an entrance! Stare upward once you step into the Grand Reception Hall, where you will marvel at the play of light through the Brise Soleil and the structural elements. True, it is not a high-rise or an entire building, but the pavilion stamps Milwaukee as a legitimate world-class city that may eventually step out of the long shadow of nearby Chicago.
One should not forget that this is actually a pretty good art museum. The original galleries have a bit of a brutalist design scheme, housing a permanent collection that features European and American artists from many eras. There is also a smattering of Haitian, African and Asian art. Outsider art also has found a surprising niche here.
Just north of Calatrava's museum addition is the War Memorial Building, designed by noted Finnish architect Eero Saarinen (famed for his work on the St. Louis Arch and the TWA Terminal at New York City's JFK Airport. This is actually the original part of the museum building (constructed 1955-57 with associate architect Maynard Meyer of Milwaukee). A tiled mosaic by artist Edmund Lewandowski of Wisconsin embellishes its west exterior. This artwork commemorates World War II and the Korean War. Other parts of its exterior are currently scaffolded. The interior is sparsely decorated, with an information desk, glass cases for medals and displays, and a counter for Milwaukee tourism brochures. There is an elevator with access to offices and a "back door" entrance to the main museum. There are lavatories on the lower level open to the public. An addition to the museum, opening in 1975, was designed by the local firm Kahler Fitzhugh and Scott.
As befitting a world-class art museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum is now open seven days a week (it was formerly closed on Mondays). It is open late until 8PM on Thursdays. The Images Cafe, with some excellent views of the lakefront, is a pleasant place for a bite to eat. If you have only a little time, visit during the last hour for free admission into the regular galleries.
Milwaukee Art Museum
750 North Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
The Arid Dome features plants from North and South America, Africa, and even the Canary Islands. You will spot very colorful and boldly shaped cactus here. The Tropical Dome holds over 1,200 species of flora as well as some birds and iguanas. The rainforest plants and fruit trees here are, as one can imagine, quite colorful and diverse. The Floral Show Dome features five seasonal exhibitions each year.
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is open every day from 9am to 5pm, including holidays. However, the Floral Show Dome is closed for about two weeks between exhibition changes. There is a pop machine, but try to eat before visiting or you may be looking longingly at some of the flora!
Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory
524 South Layton Boulevard
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53215
Attraction | "Miller Park"
The stadium has your mandatory modern color scoreboard, along with a section in left field for popular team mascot Bernie Brewer. Even if the game is a dull one, the always amusing "sausage race" during the 7th-inning stretch livens things up. Yes, four people dressed up as cartoonish sausages (bratwurst, Polish, Italian, hot dog) race down the foul line in a live version of those animated scoreboard races. If you are looking for more edible versions, there are plenty of food stalls in the stadium along with souvenir stands.
The plaza adjacent to Miller Park has bronze statues dedicated to Milwaukee baseball greats Henry Aaron and Robin Yount. There are also plaques commemorating workers who died during a tragic construction accident in 2000. Helfaer Field, a deluxe field for youth baseball and softball, is located adjacent to the main stadium. This is actually the site of old County Stadium, the former home field for many great Brewers teams over the years. Surface parking lots engulf Miller Park, but locals make the best of the situation by holding "tailgate party" cookouts before games.
Miller Park is west of downtown, near a leafy residential neighborhood. If you are really hot for baseball stadiums, you can even take a tour of Miller Park when there is no game for a nominal charge.
Miller Park/Milwaukee Brewers
One Brewers Way
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53214
The exterior is capped by a saucer-like roof with a shade of blue that is reminiscent of many domes in Santorini. The low but massive blue dome really jumps out at passersby, although Santorini domes are usually taller. The aisles of the interior plan are in the shape of the Greek cross, with equal lengths, but contained within the circular whole. Groupings and rows of seating have numerical significance as related to the number of apostles, etc. The main and upper levels can hold about 1000 people, a surprisingly large number in such a relatively small space. Colored glass windows are incorporated along the perimeter of the building, allowing for wonderful lighting effects within the interior. The space feels airy and cozy at the same time. The interior also contains a banquet hall and classrooms. An exterior sunken garden surrounds most of the church.
Tours are available on Tuesdays and Fridays, although we were fortunate enough to get a look inside after the Divine Liturgy Sunday service. If you do take the official tour, you can also pay a bit more for a Greek lunch or dessert.
If you are a big fan of Wright's works, you can swing by here while on your way to see some of his other projects in Wisconsin like Taliesin and the Johnson Wax headquarters.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
9400 West Congress Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53225