It’s 2pm and we’re famished. My fiance and I are walking up and down the streets of Milwaukee looking for a bite. First of all, it feels like the Hilliest City in the Entire World. This is probably because we’ve been living in Chicago for the past year, also known as The Flattest City in the Entire World (no official title designated yet). So when we see a hill, we’re defeated. And hungry and defeated is definitely not a good thing.
It was Memorial Day weekend, and we thought it’d be a great idea to visit a new city for a couple of days. We took the Amtrak to Milwaukee ($42 round-trip per person, glorious getaway) and booked a night at the very modern, very chic Aloft Hotel for $50 through Hotwire.com (if that travel deal doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what does). The thing we forgot was that, with a meager 600,000 people compared to Chicago’s 3 million, Milwaukee was a quiet town — and by “quiet town”, I mean everything was closed on Sunday. Including the four sandwich joints we found, and which were left with impressions of our squished faces up against their clean glass windows.
Immediately deemed the City with No Sandwiches, Milwaukee became our 24-hour paradise. It was like Chicago, but no people, no noise, and a serious hang-up for cheese. Don’t get me wrong, though: none of those things were bad. I mean, I sure do love cheese.
- The Milwaukee Art Museum, the most beautiful architecture I have possibly ever seen in an art museum. Stand outside it at 10am, 12pm or 5pm and watch the enormous building’s “wings” open and close.
- The famous brewery tours, which we missed out on due to the holiday weekend, making the City of No Sandwiches also the City of No Beer (for a weekend, at least).
- The seafood, which will ALMOST make you think you’re back on the East Coast again. We tried Molly Cool’s, which was just a short walk from where we were staying. I think the St. Paul Fish Company looked pretty amazing, too.
- The Historic Brady Street, a fantastic little walking area with vintage houses, retro shops and lots of locals.
- The Spice House, which you can follow your nose to. It’s right near Aloft and Molly Cool’s.
My soul is in travel, but I hadn’t been anywhere in ages. Even my new home, where I’d only been living for 11 months, had started to feel old. The past few holidays had been spent driving from Chicago to New York with a car full of gifts, animals, and road rage. With a new condo under our belt, grad school apps submitted and a wedding on the horizon, we desperately needed a getaway, and though it took us a full day of wandering, I finally got my sandwich while watching the sun set over the Milwaukee River. Nothing could’ve been better. Except, maybe, for an ice-cold brewery tour beer.