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Old 12-28-2018, 01:20 PM
 
1,549 posts, read 2,981,627 times
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I recently visited Milwaukee for the first time and I was honestly surprised by how much I loved it.

A bit of reference: my family lives in Madison and has been trying to get me to move out there. No thanks. Madison is a nice enough city, but not for me. WAY too cold, too small, kind of a one-dimensonal mentality (i.e. great if you're a college student, or wish you still were, with an exactly ~75-85% left of center outlook on virtually every political issue and want to wear it all on your sleeve), not enough great restaurants (Madison has plenty that are 'reasonably good' but I have not been to any that I call truly great), and, for its size, location, and scale of amenities--too expensive, and especially too pretentious. What I do like about Madison is that it's relatively clean, safe, and it does have a great music scene, especially for its size.

Anyway, during my last visit to Madison I decided to check out Milwaukee because my favorite band was playing at the Pabst Theater. I was thinking it might be a bigger Madison, but it turned out to be nothing like that.

First thing I noticed is that it's structured like a real city (not like the ones we have out West, which are mostly suburban sprawl with some semblance of a downtown). It was easy to get around and full of absolutely gorgeous architecture -- both beautiful old buildings (such as the Pabst) and sleek new ones.

Most of the restaurants I tried were great. Before the concert I stopped by an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner and it was fantastic! Great and cheap beer literally EVERYWHERE was a plus too (3.50 for a craft pint seemed to be the going price for happy hour..that's unheard of here in CA!!!)

And finally, everyone I talked to was very neighborly, welcoming and down to earth. This was everywhere--at the concert, bars, on the bus ride to the airport. This caught me off guard the most, given my experience in Madison and esp. given that Milwaukee's bigger. (Also politics never came up, which I found refreshing.) Milwaukee has to be the least pretentious mid-to-large city I've ever been to, in fact I found it kind of the opposite--a bit self deprecating.

I was also amazed by the housing costs...average price is 100k for a pretty decent sized house, which is less than half the average cost of Madison. Is there a catch? (other than high property taxes, but 2-3% of that is still going to be less than the <1% tax rates of housing costs just about anywhere in CA.) From what I saw, Milwaukee was also very clean and although I know there are probably areas with high crime, I did not feel unsafe there.

Unfortunately, Milwaukee, like Madison, is still probably going to be WAY too cold for me. I don't think I'd last a winter there. If I can stabilize my work from home situation, I'm seriously considering buying a house and living in Milwaukee half the year.

Last edited by Radical347; 12-28-2018 at 02:12 PM..
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:22 PM
 
Location: WI/MN resident
394 posts, read 190,089 times
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Go for it! Milwaukee is a beautiful city. Although I relocated from the city earlier this year, I think it's a great city with lots of potential and an array of activities. My favorite race track, Road America is 70 miles away, and my favorite sports team, the Green Bay Packers are 100 miles away. Solid reasons for me to be in the area, but my business just wasn't as successful there as it is where I am now. Plus, I got extremely tired of living in a hyper-segregated metro, which is the worst component of Milwaukee. Segregation is a big issue here, and opportunities in the inner city are far too limited, but overall the direction of the city is positive and getting better.

Milwaukee is Democratic-dominated (like almost any other urban center), but I wouldn't really consider it "progressive," so you'll be fine here no matter where you are on the political aisle. Good luck! Milwaukee is a great place to live with a major lake unlike Madison.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Winter is not too bad, if you warm yourself up with liquid warmers
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Cole Valley, CA
250 posts, read 107,583 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radical347 View Post
I recently visited Milwaukee for the first time and I was honestly surprised by how much I loved it.
Some good points in your post. I see you are in San Jose. I live in San Francisco having moved here 20 years ago from Milwaukee. I go back once or twice a year to visit my parents, and have many of the same thoughts as you.

IMO, here are some of the pros and cons of Milwaukee:

CON: The weather. It is pretty much awful in one way or another for a large part of the year. The winters are cold and long, and the summers have long periods of high humidity that can drive one insane. Spring and Fall are very nice, but can be short some years. Living in the Bay Area, I miss the change of the seasons a bit, but the ratio of bad to good seasons in Milwaukee is pretty grim. That being said, the city really comes alive in the summer with festivals and events, and everyone's mood is lifted after the long winter and the whole town seems to celebrate.

PRO: You are right, the people of Milwaukee don't (generally) wear their political beliefs on their sleeves. There is a much more diverse range of opinion on these topics than in the Bay Area, so you don't get the echo chamber effect or much of the posturing that you noticed in Madison.

CON: Weekend road trips options are not that great. You can go to Chicago, Madison, Green Bay, Door County, or a few other places. But it does not compare int he least to the options available to Bay Are residents like Wine Country, Yosemite, Tahoe, the Sierra, and many beautiful spots along the coast. Wisconsin just does not have that level of scenic beauty.

PRO: Prices, prices, prices! Even taking into account the difference in salaries, the cost in WI is much, much lower than the Bay Area.

PRO: Sine the real estate is less expensive, people usually have some parties or gatherings much more often. It is a really nice culture to get involved with.

PRO: Much more diversity as far as the type of people you will meet. It always surprises people when I mention this, but I do think it is true. Diversity is given lip service in the Bay Area, but realistically I see the area becoming less and less diverse due to prices. If you go to a random bar in Milwaukee and ask the guy or gal on the next barstool what they do for a living, in Milwaukee it can be just about anything. I don't think this is as true of SF or SJ.

CON: Contrary to your initial impressions, Milwaukee has a lot of really dangerous neighborhoods especially when compared to the Bay Area. They are pretty well isolated, so yo can choose to avoid them most of the time.

PRO: It's pretty easy to meet people, and the town is just the right size so once you meet a few people you'll likely bump into them around town.

I visited for the holidays this year, and for my first time I went to the Pabst Brewery. What a great part of town!
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
4,847 posts, read 6,356,456 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radical347 View Post
First thing I noticed is that it's structured like a real city (not like the ones we have out West, which are mostly suburban sprawl with some semblance of a downtown). It was easy to get around and full of absolutely gorgeous architecture -- both beautiful old buildings (such as the Pabst) and sleek new ones.
Might I ask what you were expecting to find in a city that was established prior to the Civil War? Not to mention a history of brewing and industry? Even cities smaller than Milwaukee in the Midwest are built up.

Milwaukee is criminally underrated.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,937 posts, read 6,545,853 times
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I’ll be taking my first trip there in February or March. Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states I haven’t visited so I’m excited to cross it off the list. Thanks for the post!
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:19 PM
 
1,549 posts, read 2,981,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondurant View Post
Might I ask what you were expecting to find in a city that was established prior to the Civil War? Not to mention a history of brewing and industry? Even cities smaller than Milwaukee in the Midwest are built up.

Milwaukee is criminally underrated.
Not having been to Milwaukee before, I didnít know what to expect. I guess the closest frame of reference I had was Madison, which I donít particularly think of as built-up, even when adjusting proportionally for its size. The Midwestern Cities I am the next most familiar with are Omaha, Des Moines, and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. I didnít find it that similar in structure or mannerisms to Omaha or Des Moines. It was more similar to MSP but even then, I liked Milwaukee better...more cohesive and less pretentious. And yes, after my visit I agree that Milwaukee is criminally underrated.

The availability of good beer was not a surprise, I know of its industry but the prices for said good beer sure were a surprise. I was expecting the beer to be priced similar to, say, Denver which is another city famous for brewing.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Brew City
4,213 posts, read 2,499,142 times
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Welcome to the bandwagon!

I too didn't know much about Milwaukee before my husband was offered a potential job here. I was hesitant at first, did a little internet research, then finally came for my first visit. I was sold. We've been happily living in the Milwaukee area for about 14 months now and we love it!
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Cole Valley, CA
250 posts, read 107,583 times
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Originally Posted by Vegabern View Post
Welcome to the bandwagon!

I too didn't know much about Milwaukee before my husband was offered a potential job here. I was hesitant at first, did a little internet research, then finally came for my first visit. I was sold. We've been happily living in the Milwaukee area for about 14 months now and we love it!
I'd be curious to hear which neighborhood you chose.

Have you been to the Pabst Brewery yet? I'd highly recommend visiting - even just to check out the grounds if you are not a beer drinker.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Brew City
4,213 posts, read 2,499,142 times
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Originally Posted by Dapper Zoom View Post
I'd be curious to hear which neighborhood you chose.

Have you been to the Pabst Brewery yet? I'd highly recommend visiting - even just to check out the grounds if you are not a beer drinker.
We're in Shorewood. Did you have a chance to come through? We have Atwater Beach and is highly walkable.

I've only been to the Pabst restaurant. It's pretty cool down there. We need to take a tour.
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