When it comes to travel, people often overlook the Midwest. Here are two destinations worth checking out.
Milwaukee, known as “A Great Place on a Great Lake,” usually conjures images of cheese, beer, Harleys and Happy Days, but there’s more to this city than that. The downtown area overlooks glittering Lake Michigan and has been undergoing many transformations over the years. An area once dominated by warehouses, known as The Historic Third Ward, now has beautiful condos, boutiques and restaurants. Further along the lake one finds scenic biking paths, paddle boat rentals and the beach. The lakefront is also home to summer festivals. Many celebrate the ethnic diversity of the city, but the one that stands out is Summerfest, known as “the largest music festival in the world.” Nightlife is more simplistic compared to other major cities. You can easily hop around from place to place without a hassle.
One of the grand attractions is the architectural gem perched on the lake, the Milwaukee Art Museum, constructed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. To me it resembles a ship and a bird simultaneously with wings that open & close throughout the day. If you happen to be passing thru the city, you’ll enjoy the main exhibit now on display thru September 9th entitled “Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec & His Contemporaries.” It showcases bright posters that were once strewn across the Parisian boulevards, essentially the first advertisements which enticed people to go to entertainment venues and indulge in consuming a variety of products.
Up next is the Windy City – Chicago, Milwaukee’s neighbor to the south. Chicago, the third largest city in the States is also situated on Lake Michigan and has one of the greatest skylines. It’s a powerful industry hub with a wealth of attractions. There’s Millennium Park, a great public park with its famous steel sculpture “The Bean” and Crown Fountain, followed by Navy Pier, an outdoor entertainment area with its famous ferris wheel, and we mustn’t forget the Magnificent Mile with its amazing shopping. Another must-see landmark nearby is Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. If you simply want some R&R, head over to the beach close by.
Then there’s the many ethnic dining districts. My personal favorite is Greektown where I enjoy grabbing gyros with cheese fries. If you want something really unique, head over to Alhambra Palace where you feel as if you’ve been transported to the Middle East with belly dancers, hookahs & ethnic dishes! However, Chicago is known for the deep dish pizza and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is where I experienced what is considered to be the best in town. Normally I’m a fan of thin crust pizza like in Europe, but this is the first place I enjoyed the thick crusted pizza pie
Finally, there are the fabulous views! I recommend making a reservation at the Signature Room atop the John Hancock building for a drink & appetizers. The one place I still have yet to explore is Skydeck Chicago, formerly called the Sears Tower. It’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and has The Ledge, a glass floor observation area 1,353 feet above the ground!