Friday, June 22, 2012

Downtown Milwaukee Gets My Vote!!

There are lots of things to like about Milwaukee!  I'm speaking about the very downtown areas of the city: Juneau Town, Historic 3rd Ward, Kilbourn Town.  The Milwaukee River cuts the city in half, but that didn't seem to deter the settlement and growth of the city.  Instead, the River was its lifeblood, bringing industry and commerce into the city, which sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

Building after building, block after block, are designated National Historic Sites, listed on the National Historic Register.  All of these fabulous, large historic buildings give the city a certain gravity and permanence. 

I took a few hours today to walk the town, with a short list of must-see's, but an open mind and eye for the unexpected treasures along the way. 

First on my list was lunch at the Rock Bottom Brewery, which sits on the west bank of the river, just a few blocks west of the Pfister hotel.  I walked west on Mason Street until I hit the river, then headed north one block on the River Walk to Wells Street.  From this vantage point, I had a nice view across to the Rock Bottom Brewery and other nearby buildings.

I shared a view looking south and west from the Wells Street Bridge with an icon of Milwaukee culture, The Fonz.

Lunch was a delightful bowl of chicken noodle soup, packed with noodles, vegetables and chicken, with a big chunk of Italian bread, served by an outrageously cute and friendly waiter.  Now I was pleasantly full and ready to start this walking tour. 

My objective was the old Pabst Brewery on W. Juneau Ave.  The walk was about a mile, on pleasant streets.  Part of my route took me on Old World 3rd Street, where biergartens and restaurants lined the street. 

Nearby was the Usinger's Sausage building and a block later, a cheese shop. 

I cut one block over so that I could see the enormous Bradley Center, home to the Milwaukee Bucks before I turned left onto Juneau Ave.  Another two blocks uphill and I could see the enormous turreted brewery building and the large Pabst sign spanning the street ahead.

Very impressive!  Large empty and derelict warehouses with loading docks surround this original building for blocks all around, no doubt the results of more than a century of expansion, now the victims of the times.  Pabst Blue Ribbon was my dad's beer of choice.  In 1996, they shuttered this brewery, as production was moved to other locations.  Today the facility houses the original Stirnewirt Pub, a gift shop, and gives one hour tours of the original brewery building.  The statues of King Gambrinus and Captain Frederick Pabst still stand in the gardens of the pub.
Stirnewirt Pub, at the original Pabst Brewery

I walked back to the hotel on a different route, walking past the giant county courthouse complex, the Bradley Center, and then to the River Walk at the State Street bridge.  The downtown area has all of these really great signs giving directions and distances to important and interesting historic sites.  At this corner a sign pointed one block east to the historic Pabst Theater.

Milwaukee was the birthplace of the American League.  I had no idea!

Very nice city!  So much to see, I need to come back!

It's was an amazing day yesterday, and another nice day today.  Tomorrow:  Rock and Sole Half Marathon!!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. My hubby always has PBR in the fridge so it was cool to see the original brewery.

    How went the marathon?