Getting to Milwaukee
- 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
General Mitchell International Airport (5300 S. Howell Ave., 414/747-5300, www.mitchellairport.com) is southeast of downtown, near Cudahy. It’s best reached by traveling I-94 south and following the signs. From downtown, head south on 6th Street North; it should get you to WI 38 (Howell Avenue). Named for a native-son Army Air Corps general who was run out of the armed forces for his outspokenness, it’s not bad as airports go. Nearly 100 cities are reached direct from Milwaukee; more than 225 flights per day depart.
A genuine treat for Milwaukee-bound travelers is the chance to experience what is doubtless the nation’s best domestic carrier, Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines. Travelers who try Midwest Airlines vow they’ll never step aboard another cattle carrier again. How can you compete with double-wide leather seats throughout the whole cabin, exquisite meals, and genuinely solicitous service? (The prices are competitive, too!) Nonstop flights are available to all major and minor airports in the nation. The airline offers excellent package deals including airfare, car rental, and accommodations from a dozen major U.S. cities. For information on Midwest Airlines, call 414/570-4000 or 800/452-2022, or visit www.midwestairlines.com.
Milwaukee County Transit System buses run to the airport; almost any bus can start you on your way if you ask the driver for transfer help. A taxi from downtown costs $15–20 and takes 20 minutes. Airport limousines cost half that.
For all ground transportation questions, call the airport’s hotline, 414/747-5308.
Greyhound (414/272-9949) is at 606 North James Lovell but should be in the renovated Amtrak depot by the time you read this. Buses leave up to a dozen times daily for Chicago; buses also go to Minneapolis, Madison, and certain points in central Wisconsin. A few other intercity coaches have offered service to similar areas, but their consistency in scheduling leaves much to be desired.
Up the street from the Greyhound station is the Badger Bus hangout (635 N. 7th St., 414/276-7490). Buses leave this location for Madison seven times daily. Badger Bus also leaves from Mitchell Field International Airport and heads to downtown Milwaukee before leaving for Madison six times a day.
The Southwest Airlines of bus service—MegaBus (www.megabus.com/us)—started in 2006 between Milwaukee and Chicago, as well as Minneapolis. Fares are a couple of bucks but there are no ticket offices, terminals, or sometimes even service. It is imperative to check the website for pick-up information.
Amtrak service between Milwaukee and Chicago is oft-debated but never seems to die. With a multimillion dollar facelift to its terminal (done by the time you read this, one hopes), it looks to be good to go for a long time.
At present, seven trains operate daily, with hefty fares of $21 one-way on off-peak weekdays, $31 on the weekend. Service to Minneapolis is less imperiled; one train still leaves daily. The Amtrak station (433 W. St. Paul Ave., 414/271-9037) will also house Greyhound.
Discussions have been endless about whether to link Chicago’s Metra service through Kenosha and Racine to Milwaukee and, possibly, outlying suburbs; it would be slower than Amtrak but also much cheaper. Other experimental train service west toward Madison will likely, sad to say, never be realized.
Long-debated high-speed ferries from Milwaukee to Muskegon, Michigan, are finally running with Lake Express (866/914-1010, www.lake-express.com). Three round-trips make the zippy 2.5-hour run across the lake: leaving Milwaukee at 6 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. Rates (one-way/round-trip) are fairly reasonable: $50/85 adults, $24/40 children under 16. Add $59 for your car. Service starts in early May and tapers off in late October. The terminal is in Milwaukee’s south-side neighborhood of Bay View. A passenger-only hovercraft service between Milwaukee and Chicago, with a possible stop in Racine, has been proposed from this new pier.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition