by Jeffrey James Keyes
I grew up in the Bay View neighborhood on the southside of Milwaukee in the 80s and remember frequently taking the #15 bus north and under the iconic Hoan Bridge to shop at the Shops at Grand Avenue (275 W. Wisconsin Ave. Tel: 414-224-0655. www.grandavenueshops.com), see a play at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre (108 E. Wells St. Tel: 414-224-1761. www.milwaukeerep.com), or hit old East Side coffee shops like Rochambo Tea & Coffee House (1317 E. Brady St. Tel: 414-291-0095. www.rochambo.com), Fuel Café (818 E. Center St. Tel: 414-347-3835. www.fuelcafe.com), or Comet Café(1947 N. Farwell Ave. Tel: 414-2737677. www.thecometcafe.com). The Milwaukee I grew up in was a bit of an 80’s version of Happy Days with Laverne and Shirley bustling in the breweries off in the distance. The 30th most populous city in America, with a population of a little over 600,000 people is known as “A Great Place on a Great Lake” and the “City of Festivals.” I grew up sailing on old wooden schooners on Lake Michigan, dancing to local bands at Summerfest (the World’s Largest Music Festival) on the Henry Maier Festival Park (639 E. Summerfest Pl. Tel: 414-273-2680. www.milwaukeeworldfestival.com), and taking art and performance classes at a variety of local nationally recognized theaters and arts institutions. As an adult, looking at Milwaukee through a business lens I was struck by much the city has grown over the years. In addition to the kitsch, nostalgia, and charm Milwaukee has truly grown into an effervescent city perfect for meetings, conferences, and special events at an incomparable price point.