Born and raised a Minnesota girl, Nettleton came to Milwaukee only 8 years ago. The differences between Milwaukee and, say, Minneapolis, where she’s lived all her life, are marked. Here’s why she loves Milwaukee.

East coast influence

The architecture, city planning, dining and aesthetics have a palpable East Coast influence that isn’t found on the west side of the Mississippi. Or maybe even the west side of I-41. Outdoor dining, retained architecture, use of stone and brick, pleasing landscaping make a city more than livable—it’s enjoyable!

Cute small towns and tidy farms

Y’all call ’em “small towns” and “villages,” but in other parts of the country, we call them “suburbs.” Milwaukee’s are charming: Main Street-centric, with a delightful sense of place. And, the farms around the North Shore and west to Lake Country are pristine and maintained with pride. It’s delightful driving around Milwaukee. 

Residential architecture

The neighborhoods of Milwaukee display a range of distinctive architectural styles that are uncommon in other urban areas and that add cultural and historical insights to a bike ride or a walk.

The lakefront

The beaches, the kites, the lagoon, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the dining, the boats—some Great Lakes cities turn their backs on their lakes, but Milwaukee had the foresight to cultivate the lakeshore for public use. Even if you rarely get out of your car to get your feet sandy or wet, driving along Lake Michigan is a pure joy.


Regular old ice cream now seems tepid. Kopp’sHefner’sLeon’sLeduc’sNorthpoint, even Culver’s…custard is my last meal when I leave the city to travel and my first snack when I return to say hello to the lake again.

This article first appeared in Milwaukee Magazine

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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