To & In Milwaukee
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Wisconsin is the shape of your left hand when held out in front of you, palm facing away. Milwaukee is roughly below the joint connecting your thumb to the rest of your hand sitting on the banks of Lake Michigan (one of the great lakes). Milwaukee is a speedy boad trip across the lake from Michigan (shaped like your right hand — does Michigan know what Wisconsin is doing? Or perhaps since there is a large body of water involved it is better to assume one state washes the other) or a couple of hours drive north of Chicago (not shaped liked either hand).
Milwaukee is served by General Mitchell International Airport. Milwaukee is also home to Midwest Airlines (formerly Midwest Express). Midwest Airlines has provided us with a special rate for flights during the period around the wedding (June 25 - July 9, 2006). The rate is 10% off their lowest published rate for tickets purchased 60 days or more in advance of the event (July 2nd) or 6% off their lowest published rate for tickets purchased less than 60 days in advance of the event. To take advantage of the discount they’ve provided three options. First, log on to their website and use the promo code “CMZ3488″ when searching for a ticket. Second, you can call Midwest Airlines at 800-452-2022 and provide the promo code “CMZ3488” to the reservation agent. Finally, you can use your travel agent to book your trip by providing the agent with the following information:
Tour Code Box:
Enter Wedding File Number CMZ3488.
6% discount off any published fare (provided all fare restrictions are met).
Enter fare basis code followed by a /CM06 as the ticket designator.
10% off any published fare for tickets purchased 60 days in advance.
Enter the fare basis code followed by /CM10 as the ticket designator.
Additionally, Midwest Airlines has provided us with discount codes for both Hertz and Enterprise car rental agencies. Hertz can be reached on the web or by telephone at 800-654-2240. Provide Hertz with the promo code CV# 02R30003. Enterprise can be reached on the web or by telephone at 800-261-7331. Provide Enterprise with Corporate Discount Number 44B0484 and pin MID. Once again, explore other discounts to which you may have access.
Where to Stay:
There are three hotels in Milwaukee holding rooms with a special rate for the wedding. Because the wedding is the same weekend as the July 4th holiday and Milwaukee’s Sumerfest music festival, rooms are likely to book up fast so make your reservations as soon as possible. When contacting the hotels reference the Levin-Benjamin Wedding scheduled for July 2nd. Do explore using other discounts (such as ABA, AAA or AARP) if you have access to such discounts as they may prove to be a greater discount than the wedding rate. The hotels are:
The Milwaukee River Hilton
4700 N. Port Washington Road
The Radison Milwaukee North Shore
7065 N. Port Washington Road
The Marriott Courtyard Milwaukee Downtown
300 W. Michigan Street
What to Do:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city, is loaded with things to do if you happen find yourself with some free time during the wedding weekend. I’ve included some links and some information on this page. I’ll add to this page as I find things so keep checking back. Note that all links will open in a separate window.
To get things started, I took a spin on Fodor’s website. Fodor’s offers both an overview of the city and a description of some things to do, places to visit, and where to stay. While it wasn’t even what I would describe as a robust list, I was excited to see that The Grain Exchange was listed as something worth visiting. The Grain Exchange is where we will have our wedding reception following the ceremony at Congregation Shalom, Dana’s family’s temple.
Since I didn’t find the info on Fodor’s website fulfilling, I looked elsewhere. I found some more info on AOL’s CityGuide. There you’ll find info on what’s hot around Milwaukee but unlike Fodor’s, CityGuide is essentially locals ranking and voting on their favorites.
But wait a minute. I’m a local… or at least I was. I should be able to make some recommendations myself, right?
Booms, Tunes and other entertainment:
First, Milwaukee is world famous for its annual music festival. Summerfest is one of the largest music festivals in the world and attracts big names to free (well, at least free after you pay entrance to the festival) stages. Check out their website for more information.
Our wedding weekend is, of course, U.S. Independence Day weekend. I’ve seen fireworks all over the world (well, at least all over the US and in Israel) and the fireworks in Milwaukee are among the best I’ve seen. In Milwaukee, just about every county park has their own fireworks and then there is a main citywide fireworks display held at the lakefront sponsored by US Bank.
If you’re a Jazz fan, you should check out Jazz in the Park. Every summer there are free concerts held in Cathedral Square Park, in the heart of downtown.
Laughter is a rich part of Milwaukee’s history as embodied in the invention of Comedy Sportz in 1984. If you haven’t experience this sport yet, you’re missing out.
Eatin’ n’ Drinkin’:
Saturday morning if you’re looking for something to do, you might want to check out the East Town Farm Market. This is no ordinary farm stand - if you get there early enough there are free chef demos using the fantastic locally grown products found in the market.
On his show “Good Eats“, chef Alton Brown once discussed the top sources in the US for fresh herbs and spices. His number one pick was a Milwaukee favorite. Penzey’s Spices may be a bit more expensive than the generic spices you’ll find in the big chain grocery stores but the difference in quality and flavor will blow you away.
As many of you may already know Milwaukee is know for two TV shows from a few decades ago. “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley“. As you’ll recall “Happy Days” took place in Milwaukee in the 60’s and its characters spent a lot of time at Al’s drive in. There is great controversy in Milwaukee over where the real “Arnold’s” is. Some will tell you that Kopps Custard is the real thing, while others will tell you with absolute assurance that the neon Leon’s Frozen Custard is actually the real thing. Personally I think the custard at Kopps is better - especially their Butter Pecan. Their grilled cheese with pickle slices inside is also fantastic. Leon’s on the other hand is just a fun place to visit. Though there aren’t roller-skating waiters, there is still a neon covered custard stand and just about any time of day or night (and night is a better time to visit so you get the full effect of their decorations) there seems to be a crowd at Leon’s. Incidentally, despite the fact that the neighborhood has nearly no Jewish population (its predominantly Polish with a growing Hmong population) The Einstein Brothers’ Bagel’s next door consistently holds the sales record in their chain.
“Laverne & Shirley” on the other hand had the two working in a brewery. Wisconsin and Milwaukee more specifically have an overwhelming number of breweries. Tours of our breweries are a great way to spend an afternoon (not to mention the free samples at the end of the tour). From monstrous to mini we’ve got it all. Check out Miller for a big one and Sprecher for a little one. Sprecher is one of our local brews and isn’t pasteurized which means it can’t be transported very far but it also means its got a much richer flavor. Make sure to try their soft drinks as well (great root beer and the orange soda tastes like a creamcicle).
Tours and Museums:
Not interested in eatin’ n’ drinkin’? Well, Milwaukee is famous for a number of non-food phenomena as well. Harley-Davidson the famed motorcycle manufacturer was founded in Milwaukee in 1903 and still produces the world’s finest two wheel crafts. In addition to tours, Milwaukee also has a number of fantastic museums. For history check out The Milwaukee Public Museum. For art check out The Milwaukee Art Museum (and the new Calatrava wing - both wing of the building and a building with wings). You may not think of Milwaukee when you think of Zoos but it turns out the Milwaukee County Zoo is world renowned. If you prefer Flora to Fauna, check out The Domes our expansive arboretum. For some outdoor nature, check out the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center with its relaxing paths winding through the forest on the edge of lake Michigan.
Nature not your thing? Hard to imagine anything less natural than ice skating in the middle of the summer but if that’s your thing you certainly can at The Petit Ice Rink (home of the Olympic speed skating team). For something completely different, while its not Vegas, Potawatomi Bingo and Casino is an opportunity to try your luck in the heart of the city.
While visiting Wisconsin, you might be interested to learn that famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was a Wisconsin native. Check out “Wright In Wisconsin” for more information about visiting some of his creations around the state.
If you’re looking for an escape from the city, a couple of hours northwest of Milwaukee will get you to Wisconsin Dells the self proclaimed waterpark capitol of the world. Also in that direction, House On the Rock is an extraordinary collection of… well… collectibles.
Milwaukee is home to a number of Synagogues. Generally, the metro Milwaukee area can be divided into three parts (in terms of Jewish enclaves): East Side (where Ariel’s family lives), North Shore (where Dana’s Family lives), and the West Side.
- Lake Park Synagogue (Orthodox)
- Lubavitch House (Orthodox)
- Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study (WITS) (Orthodox)
- Beth Israel (Conservative)
- Congregation Agudas Achim Chabad (Orthodox)
- Congregation Anshe Sfard-Kehillat Torah (Orthodox)
- Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun (Reform)
- Congregation Shalom (Reform)
- Congregation Shir Chadash (Reconstructionist)
- Congregation Sinai (Reform)