For most people, last Saturday was just like any other. But to the wonderful people of Brew City, April 14 was cause for celebration. 4-14 corresponds with the Milwaukee area code 414, so what better date is there to celebrate Milwaukee Day?
I’ll give you a hint: There isn’t one.
Being the die-hard Milwaukeean that I am, I set out to enjoy a day full of all things Milwaukee. My roommates and I planned an afternoon packed with places to go and things to do, and by the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that there aren’t enough hours in Milwaukee Day to cover it all.
We began our adventure by heading north to Kopp’s Frozen Custard in Glendale to taste some of the best frozen custard around. Not only is its food and dessert delicious, but the restaurant has been a staple of this city since its opening in 1950. There’s something truly magical about being part of history while stuffing a gooey grilled cheese into your mouth at the same time.
We took our pictures next to the restaurant’s iconic black and white cows and then hurried off to enjoy our frozen treats at Lake Park before they melted. I forgot how relaxing it is to get away from the noise and commotion of downtown and take a stroll along the lakefront. Being so close to Lake Michigan is one of my favorite things about this city, even with the smell.
Once we finished our custard, we moseyed over to Cans Bar & Canteen on East Kenilworth Place to grab a local brew to help us digest. I had never been to Cans before Saturday, a surprise since it is on the same block as my two favorite places of the East Side: Sil’s Mini Donuts and Beans & Barley.
The atmosphere was extremely casual, with a small stage up front for music and arcade games in the back. The tattooed staff was balancing their time between serving customers and preparing for the bar’s Milwaukee Day party, featuring local musicians Weekend Natives, Boy Blue, The Delta Routine, Hugh Bob and The Hustle, Jayk, and The Gazettiers. The event also showcased local art and apparel.
Before heading back to campus, we stopped at another Milwaukee gem, Downtown Books. Since the original location was closed to make room for another hotel on Wisconsin Avenue, I had yet to visit the new store. At 624 N. Broadway St., just around the corner from the old place, it isn’t hard to find. I was happy to see the cats, Milo and Merlin, but I was a little bummed the charming nooks and crannies that made the original so wonderful were no more.
The owners had to do some serious downsizing because of the move, and as a result, the book selection has some gaps. Not to worry, though, Downtown Books is working on opening additional locations so all of the old store’s inventory can be displayed.
Milwaukee Day 2012 was a lovely mix of my usual stomping grounds and territory never explored before. There are so many places in this city I need to visit before I graduate and move away, and my Milwaukee Day adventures only skimmed the surface.
There’s only 22 days left until finals are over. We better get cracking.