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Best of Milwaukee 2021 | City life

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BY ANN CHRISTENSON, ARCHER PARQUETTE, CAROLE NICKSIN, CHRIS DROSNER, LINDSEY ANDERSON RIOS, ALLISON GARCIA & BRIAN ROSENWEIG


This story is part of our THE BEST OF MILWAUKEE characteristic. Get your copy of the number, HERE.


MKE THING WE LOVE

Hoan light shows

Every Saturday night, the 2,600 steel-attached lights of Milwaukee’s most famous bridge dance to life, sending rainbows, lightning and waterfalls across the city skyline. The show is fascinating before you even tune in to the synced music on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, which we highly recommend. That’s what the Light the Hoan organization promised when it started raising $ 3.5 million for the lighting project, but it’s one thing to hear a “light show on a bridge.” 150 feet tall ”and it is quite another to see it. -CD

Photo by Kristine Hinrichs Photography

BEST MATERIAL SAME

Fog and modernism

Lakeside fog is a frequent sight in Milwaukee, and sometimes it behaves really strangely. Linda Lipin captured this memorable photo of the U.S. bank building appearing to cut a square path through a June morning haze, and WISN meteorologist and local Twitter star Mark Baden (@Mark_Baden) made him famous. The image has been retweeted over 400 times.

Photo by Linda Lipin

BEST PROMOTION

Vaccine gifts

When COVID-19 vaccines became widely available this spring, organizations and businesses in Milwaukee joined the effort to disseminate them. Some, like Black Husky Brewing, Shawarma House, and The Iron Horse Hotel, offered free food or drink to those vaccinated. And a big thank you to the Brewers and Bucks, who handed out vaccines during their games. The Bucks even raffled off tickets to a Finals game for people who got vaccinated at a clinic hours before departure. Unrelated side note: Is it bad to shoot 30 times in a row while wearing disguises in order to have a better chance of winning Bucks tickets? Because I feel a little dizzy. – AP

BEST COMMUNITY GARDEN

Alice’s garden

Alice’s Garden Urban Farm is a magical oasis, a place to connect with the Earth and cultivate a closer relationship with food. The farm next to Johnson Park, which has been used for urban agriculture since 1972, contains 127 rental farm plots and brings together teens, community volunteers and local residents to learn growing practices that are easily overlooked in the era of packaged convenience and fast food. Executive Director Venice Williams helped boost the visibility of the farm (named after Alice Meade-Taylor, former Milwaukee County UW-Extension Manager) with additional programs such as summer concerts and performances. guided walks in the labyrinth of the garden. She also sells products made in Alice’s Garden – such as muscle cream and bath salts – at farmers’ markets and local stores. A fruitful garden, indeed. – THAT

Photo by Veronica Kunath

BEST NEW FEDERAL DAY

juinteenth

This year’s Juneteenth had a little extra energy. Milwaukee was one of the first cities in the North to celebrate the liberation of the last slaves in the United States, and this 50th anniversary of this inaugural 1971 commemoration came as many were eager to participate in community events again with the shrinking cases of COVID. It also happened when Juneteenth became a federal holiday. This act of Congress was opposed last year by Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who nonetheless showed up for a while at the Milwaukee celebration – the rare exception to the good vibes of Juneteenth. -CD

Photo by Léon Brown

BEST NEW OUTDOOR LEISURE

Pickleball under I-794

Pickleball is a lot like mini-tennis or mega-ping-pong, and now you can play it in the shade of I-794 across from the Milwaukee Public Market. The newly constructed courts are part of the “Clear the Passage” project aimed at improving the area between the third quarter and the city center.

Photo by Getty Images
Portrait by CJ Foeckler

BEST LUMINOUS IDEA

Barbara cerda

WHEN BARBARA CERDA walked with her daughters in April 2020 to explore her South Side neighborhood’s ‘little free library’ offerings, just weeks after the peak of the March pandemic closed many public libraries, she noticed two problems. The small libraries in her neighborhood had very few books, and in the few books she found she didn’t see herself, her daughters, or her Latinx community, but mostly white authors and characters.

The solution? A relentless community project, and a bit of magic.

Carrying the nickname ‘Barby the Book Fairy’, what started as an isolated effort to supply her small neighboring library with books through personal and community donations quickly turned into a multi-neighborhood plan to bring books. free on the south side.

“People I didn’t even know started contacting me to donate their books,” Cerda says. “And that’s where I started to focus my efforts on buying books written by black and brown authors for blacks and browns.”

There is now a growing network of volunteers and donors, an expanding map of small libraries, and even a city grant to support the effort.

“What struck me the most was seeing how this project planted a seed,” says Cerda. “People from other neighborhoods come out and become their own ‘book fairies’.” – BR

BEST SHOW

Swan Boats

Swan Boats added a bit of charm to the Veterans Park when they arrived a few years ago, but seeing them lit up at night – a novelty introduced this year – is pure magic. It conjures up images of amusement parks from the turn of the last century, men in seersucker blazers and women in long dresses stealing a kiss while floating on the pond. Another great sight to see on the Milwaukee shore.

Photo from Visit Milwaukee

BEST FURRY NEW MILWAUKEEANS

Meet the three new residents of the Milwaukee County Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee County Zoo

Dragee

This bushbaby (aka a galago mohol) was so small when it was born on April 4 that zookeepers couldn’t even tell if it was male or female. Months later, we were still waiting for the reveal of the genre of Jellybean.

Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee County Zoo

Hair

Quinn and Seamus, two prehensile tailed porcupines from the Small Mammals building, became the proud parents of Bristle on May 11. Zookeepers describe her as “daring, sassy and spirited.”

Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee County Zoo

Kumo

This Japanese macaque was born on May 15, the third child of its mother, Negai. Its name means cloud in Japanese.

BEST LEMONADE

Pandemic changes that have lasted

In The Great Rethinking of 2020 some really good ideas were put forward, and a bunch of them focusing on people rather than cars seem to stick around for good. Parking spaces converted to parklets and terraces generally do not return. And the city has expanded its Active Streets program, which blocks traffic for travelers on two wheels or on legs to create what Mayor Tom Barrett has called more of a “small town experience.” Plus, you can have an old-fashioned mix by a pro while enjoying these public spaces since the state has legalized take-out cocktails as well.

BEST DIVERSION MEDIUM PANDEMIC

The Tosa monolith

Remember when monoliths started appearing in exotic locations last fall? Well, someone – or something – placed one in Wauwatosa County Park on a gray, snowy weekend in early January. The 9-foot-tall object was only reinforced cardboard and paint, but it captured our sense of mystery and whimsy during a pandemic winter where these items were scarce.

Photo by Chris Drosner

BEST PLACES FOR A SELFIE

@lord_dutcher

Selfie WRLD MKE

Turns out, this nationwide franchise that’s all about selfies actually has some pretty good lighting. 16700 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield

@ambre_weissert

Selfie Hop

Another immersive – and sometimes suitable for dogs! – studio experience for the Instagram set. 2410 N. Farwell Ave.

@_ekarlos

Black Cat Alley

Home to over 20 murals, including many artists from Milwaukee. Between Kenilworth Place and Ivanhoe Place on Prospect Avenue.

@emmasdilemmasstyle

The Terrace Villa

Make your friends believe you’ve taken a trip to Italy by taking a photo at this Italian-style mansion. 2220 N. Terrasse Ave.

@chic_color_closet

Eastern Spa

The exterior of this brick building was painted in the perfect shade of millennial pink. 718 E. Wells St.

@pocahauntedhaus

The Bronze Fonz

A classic photoshoot, and for good reason. No one is cooler than the Fonz. East side of Riverwalk near East Wells Street


Illustration by Kervin Brisseaux

BEST HOTEL

Iron horse

Yes, the cool theme, the gorgeous rooms, the perfect Walker’s Point location. But it’s The Yard patio that keeps us coming back.

BEST PARK IN THE COUNTY

Lake park

The views of Lake Michigan, the North Point Lighthouse, and the winding, wooded trails are the highlights here. Plus, free concerts all summer long.

BEST HIKING

Ice Age Trail

Hiked through the entire state of Wisconsin, or just parts of our woods corner. Either way, you are off on a scenic journey.

BEST BEACH

Bradford Beach

Come for the waves, stay for a game of beach volleyball. This beach is Milwaukee’s hottest spot every summer.

BEST WINTER SPORTS PLACE

Urban Ecology Center

Sure, ice skating, cross country skiing and winter walks are a delight, but the Urban Ecology Center really sets itself apart by educating visitors about our local habitat.

BETTER INSTALLATION OF INDOOR ACTIVITIES

Adventure rock

Adventure Rock has built a community for its climbers. Gyms are so popular that the owners opened a third location in 2020 to meet demand.

BEST ONE DAY TRIP

Baraboo and Devil’s Lake

Climb up the cliffs of the state park and you will see a view comparable to that of a small mountain. Plus, the lake is there to cool off after this whole hike.







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