Discover Milwaukee & Madison
- Where to Go
- The Best of Milwaukee and Madison
- The Best Wisconsin Weekends
- A Perfect Week in Door County
- Wisconsin for Recreationists
- Rustic Road Tripping
- Made in Milwaukee
- Madison Weekend
- Sports: The Packers and Beyond
- Out on the Town in Milwaukee
- Say Cheese!
- Four Days in the Mad City
- A Wisconsin Family Road Trip
- Wisconsin’s Best Brews
The two sibling cities perfectly realize the scope of what the state is and so much more. Cows? Sure. Naïve country folk? Well, you’ll hear “gosh” a lot and have perfect strangers chat you up at bus stops and restaurants.
When the two cities reveal their true Midwesterness is when you’ll be most appreciative. You’ll be utterly befuddled when, at a four-way stop-sign, a local will wave everyone through while waiting patiently — proof that urban can be lovely and polite.
The state capital is personified in its earnest politicos, earth-friendly neo-hippies, and overworked grad students. In Madison, everything is worthy of a community watchdog committee. The people of Milwaukee, on the other hand, roll up their sleeves and get to work; they don’t have to debate — things are, after all, “cooler by the lake.” Milwaukee and Madison have a contentious relationship at times — like any siblings — but they have many things in common, including being woefully overlooked and underappreciated by outsiders.
Aw-shucks humble, these two cities would never think to brag on their superlatives, yet there are many. Madison and its surroundings are perennial winners in “Best Places to Live” rankings and Milwaukee was even named “America’s Sexiest City” recently. Together they help keep Wisconsin in the top five most livable states.
Surrounding both cities are splendid sights. For your picture book clichés, moo-cow farmlands provide the best agricultural tourism of the state, especially south and west of Madison (Monroe and New Glarus). Anachronistic tiny towns such as Cedarburg and Mineral Point seem straight out of a 19th-century daguerreotype. Even the North Woods resort experience can be found at Lake Geneva, the place where generations of Chicagoans have relaxed for the summer.
Whatever you’re looking for, these two cities have got it. And, assuredly, it always comes with a handshake and a smile.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition