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Old 10-21-2014, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,111,324 times
Reputation: 7075

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I have a potential job opportunity in downtown Milwaukee and have never been to the Milwaukee metro area at all. I want this thread to be focused on the metro area, not just the city itself. So, I want to get some input from people with regard as to whether I should pursue this or not.

Currently, I am living in Fairfield County, Connecticut (NYC tri-state area) and seriously don't like it here. It's extremely expensive, too fast paced, and there aren't that many gay men around here around my age. It's mostly wealthy families and elderly. Old money. I'm 30 years old, gay, single, young white collar professional. Also, the traffic here is unbelievably bad, even on weekends. Everywhere you go, it's just congested and people love to honk their horns. Ugh.

Basically, I want to live in a place that's affordable, meaning I can purchase a home/condo for under $200K, isn't fast paced, has friendly people and plenty of gays aged 25-35 for dating. Not a ton, but just enough. I don't care about nightlife or urban living. I want peace and quiet. I want a small house on a small lot in a quiet neighborhood that isn't family oriented. Obviously safe, too. I like driving a car everywhere.

Also, just a few questions:

1. Is the Milwaukee area depressed feeling in general?
2. Is it an okay place for a New Englander to settle in without much culture shock?
3. Are people around there generally live and let live when it comes to gays?
4. Would I fit in, as a white collar professional person?
5. Is the rush hour traffic terrible?
6. Is the overall quality of life good?
7. I'm a liberal. Hopefully that's okay.

Another thing to note is that my younger brother will be moving to the Sheboygan area (from CT) with his girlfriend in a couple weeks to start his career. They just bought a house there. So, it would be a nice plus to be able to drive just an hour away and visit him!

So, overall, should I pursue this? I would probably be earning $60-$70K.

For reference, I have been to the Buffalo, NY area and really liked it a lot. For some reason, I think the two metros are similar, but I could be wrong.

Opinions, thoughts, advice and insight are welcome!

Thanks
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Old 10-21-2014, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Cole Valley, CA
250 posts, read 107,583 times
Reputation: 515
1. Is the Milwaukee area depressed feeling in general?

No.

2. Is it an okay place for a New Englander to settle in without much culture shock?

Shouldn't be too bad.

3. Are people around there generally live and let live when it comes to gays?

Depends on the neighborhood.

4. Would I fit in, as a white collar professional person?

Again, depends on the neighborhood.

5. Is the rush hour traffic terrible?

"Terrible" might be a bit strong, but it is pretty bad during rush hour. Seldom bad otherwise.

6. Is the overall quality of life good?

I think so, for the most part.

7. I'm a liberal. Hopefully that's okay.

That's not OK, but people in MKE shouldn't mind too much.

Generally, it is a pretty nice city. With your requirements, I think you'd be best to focus on the East Side, Bayview, Walker's Point or Wauwatosa. The East Side and Bay View are gay friendly, mostly liberal, lots of cafes and restaurants and close to the lake with lots of parks. Also close to downtown if you want to go to fine arts and the museums. All of these neighborhoods are already nice, but are also still growing and developing in a positive way. Nice open-mic and a nice community feel. Pretty decent walking neighborhoods. Walker's Point is similar to the East Side and Bay View and also near the Third Ward and Milwaukee's "official" Gay neighborhood with the gay bars and such.

Wauwatosa is another nice neighborhood, but a bit different than the others I mentioned as it has more of an upscale feel to it. Think less open-mic cafe and more wine bar. It is also further from the lake than the others and perhaps a bit more family oriented and old-moneyish.

All of these neighborhoods have both busy strips and quieter residential areas.

Much of the rest of Milwaukee is ghetto, or blue collar PBR meat and potatoes, or chain stores and strip malls.

Milwaukee overall pros: friendly, community oriented
Milwaukee overall cons: Poor weather (both summer and winter), not many road trip options, low on natural beauty.

Last edited by Dapper Zoom; 10-21-2014 at 10:08 PM..
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
1,423 posts, read 1,279,045 times
Reputation: 1702
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
I have a potential job opportunity in downtown Milwaukee and have never been to the Milwaukee metro area at all. I want this thread to be focused on the metro area, not just the city itself. So, I want to get some input from people with regard as to whether I should pursue this or not.

Currently, I am living in Fairfield County, Connecticut (NYC tri-state area) and seriously don't like it here. It's extremely expensive, too fast paced, and there aren't that many gay men around here around my age. It's mostly wealthy families and elderly. Old money. I'm 30 years old, gay, single, young white collar professional. Also, the traffic here is unbelievably bad, even on weekends. Everywhere you go, it's just congested and people love to honk their horns. Ugh.

Basically, I want to live in a place that's affordable, meaning I can purchase a home/condo for under $200K, isn't fast paced, has friendly people and plenty of gays aged 25-35 for dating. Not a ton, but just enough. I don't care about nightlife or urban living. I want peace and quiet. I want a small house on a small lot in a quiet neighborhood that isn't family oriented. Obviously safe, too. I like driving a car everywhere.

Also, just a few questions:

1. Is the Milwaukee area depressed feeling in general?
2. Is it an okay place for a New Englander to settle in without much culture shock?
3. Are people around there generally live and let live when it comes to gays?
4. Would I fit in, as a white collar professional person?
5. Is the rush hour traffic terrible?
6. Is the overall quality of life good?
7. I'm a liberal. Hopefully that's okay.

Another thing to note is that my younger brother will be moving to the Sheboygan area (from CT) with his girlfriend in a couple weeks to start his career. They just bought a house there. So, it would be a nice plus to be able to drive just an hour away and visit him!

So, overall, should I pursue this? I would probably be earning $60-$70K.

For reference, I have been to the Buffalo, NY area and really liked it a lot. For some reason, I think the two metros are similar, but I could be wrong.

Opinions, thoughts, advice and insight are welcome!

Thanks
Your earnings won't be an issue there.

Out of all the neighborhoods, Bay View might suit you best. Milwaukee as a whole is extremely liberal, so no worries there. Milwaukee is one of the most LGBT friendly cities I've ever been in.

At first I was thinking of suggesting a western suburb like Greenfield, Greendale... But that is big time family area. Down in Bay View, you will find more of a single, artsy feel to the area.

For 200k, you should be able to find a nice house, especially if you want it to be on the smaller side. Keep in mind that property tax in the Milwaukee area is very high.

Traffic on surface streets is better than most cities, but the freeways are almost always under some kind of major reconstruction. For the next few years, it's the Zoo interchange which is on the West wide of the city.

As far as depression, winter is tough up there, but you are used to it coming from CT... That trapped feeling tends to make people irritable, especially in March/April when winters SHOULD be over with, but tend to linger.

It sounds like it would be a good move, especially with a family member being nice and close.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,111,324 times
Reputation: 7075
I actually love long, cold, GLOOMY winters with LOTS of snow. I also like my summers to be hot as hell and humid. Just like in CT.

That sucks that there's not much natural beauty. Here in CT there's lots of natural beauty, with hills, forests, coastline, rivers, valleys, etc.

The only thing that sucks is that the job requires all employees to wear business formal attire five days a week. UGH!
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:16 AM
 
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,166 posts, read 4,193,328 times
Reputation: 2707
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
I have a potential job opportunity in downtown Milwaukee and have never been to the Milwaukee metro area at all. I want this thread to be focused on the metro area, not just the city itself. So, I want to get some input from people with regard as to whether I should pursue this or not.

Currently, I am living in Fairfield County, Connecticut (NYC tri-state area) and seriously don't like it here. It's extremely expensive, too fast paced, and there aren't that many gay men around here around my age. It's mostly wealthy families and elderly. Old money. I'm 30 years old, gay, single, young white collar professional. Also, the traffic here is unbelievably bad, even on weekends. Everywhere you go, it's just congested and people love to honk their horns. Ugh.

Basically, I want to live in a place that's affordable, meaning I can purchase a home/condo for under $200K, isn't fast paced, has friendly people and plenty of gays aged 25-35 for dating. Not a ton, but just enough. I don't care about nightlife or urban living. I want peace and quiet. I want a small house on a small lot in a quiet neighborhood that isn't family oriented. Obviously safe, too. I like driving a car everywhere.

Also, just a few questions:

1. Is the Milwaukee area depressed feeling in general?
2. Is it an okay place for a New Englander to settle in without much culture shock?
3. Are people around there generally live and let live when it comes to gays?
4. Would I fit in, as a white collar professional person?
5. Is the rush hour traffic terrible?
6. Is the overall quality of life good?
7. I'm a liberal. Hopefully that's okay.

Another thing to note is that my younger brother will be moving to the Sheboygan area (from CT) with his girlfriend in a couple weeks to start his career. They just bought a house there. So, it would be a nice plus to be able to drive just an hour away and visit him!

So, overall, should I pursue this? I would probably be earning $60-$70K.

For reference, I have been to the Buffalo, NY area and really liked it a lot. For some reason, I think the two metros are similar, but I could be wrong.

Opinions, thoughts, advice and insight are welcome!

Thanks
Milwaukee would work very well for you. I used to live in Buffalo (and until recently visited for big chunks of time 3-4 times per year, to visit my long-distance husband) and my husband lived in Norwalk for a year (so I visited a few times for significant stretches of time).

The other posters have already covered important ground, but I'll add in a few more things.

1. Some parts of Milwaukee can look depressing, especially in the winter, but the neighborhoods best suited for you are very attractive and vibrant places. There are many good neighborhoods for LGBT people. My husband and I live in Bay View--there are many singles but also lots of couples. The East Side, Downtown, and Third Ward also have a mix of LGBT couples and singles, but singles seem to predominate. These areas are more densely populated, have more medium-rise and high rise buildings, more students and upscale people in their 20s and 30s. Bay View has more medium-rise and low-rise development and is less densely populated, though some parts (such as KK Ave. between Lincoln and Russell) have more upscale multi-unit housing. Another densely populated place with lots of LGBT singles is Shorewood, a very liberal suburb just north of the East Side. It's a bit quieter than the East Side, but has lots of amenities. Shorewood is more of a place for houses, but there are some condos there, too, especially along/near Oakland Ave. There are LGBT folks all over the city and suburbs, but other neighborhoods with emphasis on couples include Sherman Park and Washington Heights. Like Bay View, these places have more free-standing houses at affordable prices.

2. The East Side is probably the most accommodating neighborhood (or set of neighborhoods) for out-of-towners. The northern part of the ES has a lot of UWM students and homeowning professionals; the Brady Street and Prospect Avenue areas have more of a mix with lots of professional singles; and the East Town and Yankee Hill areas just north of downtown have a very high concentration of professional singles. It's comparable in many ways to the Elmwood District/Delaware Park area in Buffalo, but larger and more built up.

If you want a house, Shorewood and the East Side have nice houses, but they are pricey. If you can deal with a condo, you may be able to find an older one for less than $200,000. Whitefish Bay, a suburb north of Shorewood, has lots of professionals--mostly married/coupled, but quite a few singles, too. Houses are very costly there, but it is a somewhat liberal-moderate community with lots of out-of-towners and quite a few LGBT folks. Another community to consider is Glendale, a suburb to the west of Shorewood and Whitefish Bay. It's a quiet suburb with lots of professionals, and house and condo prices are very reasonable. It's more politically moderate than Shorewood, but still skews left of center in many elections. I know a lot of LGBT couples in Glendale, and they enjoy it.

Other areas mentioned have good showings of out-of-towners, though some--like Bay View--skew heavily to people born and raised in Wisconsin. You won't be made to feel unwelcome (my husband and I are from western states), but you will probably notice more that you're not from here. Bay View is a little like North Buffalo around Hertel, but more vibrant. House prices in Bay View are reasonable, and the area is generally quiet. For a quiet place with affordable houses, you might take a look at Fernwood, a small neighborhood just south of Bay View (sometimes considered part of Bay View), on the lake just north of St. Francis (a suburb). There aren't too many condos on BV, but there are some, and I'm guessing you should be able to find something in your price range.

3. No need to worry about the gay thing in these neighborhoods. My husband and I have been in our house in Bay View for a year--in back of us is a gay male couple with a kid; three houses down is a single lesbian; across the street is a lesbian couple. And these are just the people we know about.... Even in less LGBT-heavy areas, people are generally "live and let live."

4. The white-collar professional thing is fine, especially in the East Side, Shorewood, Downtown, etc. Like I said, think Elmwood Avenue, Delaware Park, Buff State, and the new developments in downtown Buffalo, but a bit bigger. The East Side is home to the U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Downtown has Marquette University as well as various companies such as Northwestern Mutual, Manpower, various law firms, etc. Bay View is a bit more blue collar in legacy, but there are plenty of professionals, students, hipsters, etc. Washington Heights and Wauwatosa also have lots of professionals and a good variety of houses.

5. Rush hour isn't terrible. It's probably comparable to Buffalo--some routes are awful, others are okay. If you live and work in the East Side, you won't have to worry about it. The traffic is nothing like what I saw in Norwalk. Especially Norwalk on a Saturday on US 1, when it's bumper-to-bumper everywhere and just getting to the store is horrible.

6. The quality of life is good or great for most people, but there are some bad and mediocre neighborhoods where the quality of life is low or middling. If you have a decent job/income and live in an appropriate neighborhood, you'll be fine.

7. Yep, lots of liberals here of different kinds. Milwaukee has a very strong socialist legacy, too, and it often shows.

Milwaukee has lots of great things to offer. It's similar in some ways to Buffalo, but generally more prosperous and vibrant, I think. It's also a bit larger (city and metro) than Buffalo, but it isn't sprawling and congested like the Greenwich-Stamford-Norwalk-Westport corridor.

Last edited by Empidonax; 10-22-2014 at 06:04 AM..
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,111,324 times
Reputation: 7075
Well that's good.

Just keep in mind that I do not want to live in a heavily LGBT community, or yuppie community with upscale apartments and bars and all that. I am more introverted and like QUIET and low density neighborhoods. But as long as they're not family oriented neighborhoods. I don't want to be living in the center of nightlife or whatever. I'm 30 now and only getting older and don't care about that stuff anymore. I want to live in a more "settled" neighborhood.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
1,423 posts, read 1,279,045 times
Reputation: 1702
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
Well that's good.

Just keep in mind that I do not want to live in a heavily LGBT community, or yuppie community with upscale apartments and bars and all that. I am more introverted and like QUIET and low density neighborhoods. But as long as they're not family oriented neighborhoods. I don't want to be living in the center of nightlife or whatever. I'm 30 now and only getting older and don't care about that stuff anymore. I want to live in a more "settled" neighborhood.
I think no yuppies equals no Whitefish Bay and no Shorewood... Lots of families in there too.
The east side is a lot of early 20-somethings partying it up... And yeah, the party scene gets old quick.
St. Francis, while very stable and predictable, has a lot of families.
Bay View might be the most LGBT prominent of them all.
I guess you have to kind of figure out what area's main trait is the most tolerable.

St. Francis might be the lowest density of them all. Tons of single-story, single family homes.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
493 posts, read 574,677 times
Reputation: 1353
Because you have a potential job and some nearby family, Milwaukee might make sense for you. Other than that, I wouldn't say that it stands out in a good or bad way based on any of your criteria.

The answers to your questions would be pretty much the same if you asked about moving to Indy, KC, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St Louis et al.

In Milwaukee and most other upper-midwestern, mid-sized metro areas you will probably notice:
colder winters
plenty of liberals in the city and inner-ring suburbs, more conservatives out in the boonies
slower (and IMO more annoying) drivers and a slower pace of life in general
a generally lower cost of living
more racial segregation
some "redneck" culture, although that is the exception rather than the rule

You should be able to find an area that meets your needs. I think someone suggested Wauwatosa, which sounds like a good place to check out. Greendale is also kind of a neat inner-ring suburb.

This may have changed in recent years, but I would say that other than Bay View and Walker's Point (generally known as an LGBT area) most of the south side and many southern suburbs may be a little more socially conservative and "old school Milwaukee." The east side and neighboring suburbs like Shorewood tend to be a little more open and progressive. The western suburbs (Brookfield and the rest of Waukesha county other than Waukesha itself) have more of a new money feel to them and tend to be very family oriented.

For reference, I grew up in Milwaukee, lived most of my adult life in Massachusetts and recently moved to the Twin Cities.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,111,324 times
Reputation: 7075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegas_Cabbie View Post
I think no yuppies equals no Whitefish Bay and no Shorewood... Lots of families in there too.
The east side is a lot of early 20-somethings partying it up... And yeah, the party scene gets old quick.
St. Francis, while very stable and predictable, has a lot of families.
Bay View might be the most LGBT prominent of them all.
I guess you have to kind of figure out what area's main trait is the most tolerable.

St. Francis might be the lowest density of them all. Tons of single-story, single family homes.
Well, if I do this, I would just rent for a year anyway, and get to know the area, then make a better decision. I would have my brother there in Sheboygan to drive down and help me move!
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
3,451 posts, read 3,394,206 times
Reputation: 2890
FYI - this person has asked similar questions of just about every city in America over the last several years. Repeatedly and often. I have to doubt the sincerity of this, quite obviously.

But the southside recommendations make the most sense, if anyone else with similar questions is reading this. And yes, there are many beautiful spots to go on road trips, including arguably the 2 most beautiful regions of the Midwest (Lake Superior shore/northwoods and Driftless). Discounting those, you're basically saying that everywhere in the United States outside either coastal region is "low on natural beauty." Which, from a Californian, would make sense I suppose, but it isn't the reality.
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