Searching For America: Milwaukee
As Lucy continues her journey through American cities, she reaches Milwaukee. Here, in spite of the cold, the city appears to breathe new life into disused buildings. Is how the city’s artistic culture bleeds into everything here? Lucy finds out!
It’s less than a three-hour plane trip from Tampa to Milwaukee, but these two states of Florida and Wisconsin could not be more different. Snow covered the ground and there was a bite in the air thanks to the sub-zero temperatures. But the cold weather didn’t make the city any less welcoming. Northern states –which is where Wisconsin is situated despite being part of the Mid-West class – are much more European in their architecture, which might be why I felt immediately at home. It’s still a new city in contrast to those across the Pond but this feels like a city that has history. It is an eclectic mix of modern high rises, old factory buildings with the remnants of painted brick advertisements clinging on, and houses of Germanic influence that look straight out of Hansel and Gretel.
Maybe I’ve just been in Florida too long, but it was its antithesis in every way, and I loved it
Despite being a completely landlocked state, being situated on the edge of Lake Michigan’s vastness makes it feel as though you were at the end of the world, as though in the Arctic circle where only a short expedition would lead you to somewhere completely untouched and unexplored. The best spot to look out across the frozen water is the Milwaukee Art Gallery. A museum full of incredible art but also art itself; with spiny wings that open and close as the sun rises and sets. The city has so many interesting gems; a watermill-turned coffee shop, a warehouse-turned gastro-experience and a roof-turned football pitch.
Milwaukee is a city of art, in its incredible galleries, but also in its very existence. The very bricks that built it seemed to bleed culture and character. Maybe I’ve just been in Florida too long, but it was its antithesis in every way, and I loved it. I was lucky to see the city tucked freshly under a new blanket of snow, everything was rendered with that magical sparkle that, sure enough, began to slip into a murky sludge two days later. But even that grimy city snow had something special about it, as though waiting to reveal a second side to the city that summer brings. All green and blue and picnics and boating. I’ll have to go back and find out.
It felt genuine and authentic; a city of homes rather than just visitors.
This melting pot of cultures had everything that New York promises without being so totally intimidating in its awe. The food options were limitless; in one short weekend, we jumped from sushi to empanadas, Greek food to pizza, and frozen custard. All of it was phenomenal. It felt like a city where there was no pretence. It felt genuine and authentic; a city of homes rather than just visitors.
Edited by Ryan Gerrett