Ecological Society of America

Location » About Milwaukee

Over 150 years ago, a group of settles came together to form a city on the Southwestern shore of Lake Michigan where the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic, and Milwaukee Rivers converge. The city was named Milwaukee, a word that literally means “gathering place by the waters.” The proximity of these waters provides a “lake effect” that cools the downtown area in the summer especially when wind is shoreward. During early August, temperatures typically range from highs around 80 ° and lows in the low 60s. The average August has 2.3 days with high temperatures exceeding 90 ° and 9.9 days with measurable rain, primarily in the form of thunderstorms.

Photo from the RiverWalk WebsiteNearly all of the city's shoreline has been preserved for public use and offers abundant opportunities for recreational activities including swimming, fishing, sailing, cruising, and windsurfing. In addition, lake- and riverfront area attractions include the 1.6 mile pedestrian-friendly RiverWalk running on either side of the Milwaukee River; the world-renowned Milwaukee Art Museum incorporating maritime design elements and awe-inspiring moveable “wings”, and Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin featuring innovative displays, interactive exhibits, and fresh and saltwater aquariums.

Any visit to Milwaukee should also include a stop at the Milwaukee Public Museum, a modern, natural history/anthropology/history museum that is the fifth largest in the country. This facility houses the Puelicher Butterfly Wing where people stroll among free-flying specimens in a tropical environment, the Humphrey IMAX Dome Theatre where viewers enjoy edge-of-their-seats entertainment, and the Daniel M. Soref Planetariumwhere guests are visually transported to the distant realms of outer space and see the wonders of the night sky. Other attractions located outside of the city but close by include the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

Photo from the Milwaukee Art Museum WebsiteFor outdoor enthusiasts, the area features more parkland per person than any other city in the United States, including Oak Leaf Trail, a 100-plus mile bicycling, running, jogging, and walking trail that encircles Milwaukee County. Lakeshore State Park, a 17-acre area in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, offers recreational opportunities and amenities, as well as educational programs, geared toward the urban population. In addition, the city's park system includes mountain bike trails just 10 minutes from downtown.

Milwaukee is also known as the “City of Festivals”. Those overlapping or taking place around the dates of the ESA Annual Meeting include the Jazz Festival – A Summer Sizzle (8/1-2), the African World Festival (8/1-3), the Wisconsin State Fair (8/1-11), the Arab World Fest (8/8-10), and the Morning Glory Fine Craft Fair (8/9-10). Each of these events will be held at sites that are easily accessible from the Midwest Airlines Center and downtown hotels.

With so much to see and do, one is likely to work up quite an appetite. Fortunately, nowhere is the city's diversity more easily evidenced than in the varied culinary experiences it offers. Milwaukee is a city with abundant dining options, ranging from traditional to exotic. Within the downtown area there are over 100 restaurants, pubs, and microbreweries and concentrations of eating establishments are located within walking distance or a short trolley ride away in the Theater District, on Old World Third Street, and on Brady Street. For Latin flavor, head to Milwaukee 's near south side to find Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Brazilian cuisine. For homegrown flavor, visit the Historic Third Ward's Milwaukee Public Market, featuring specialty food vendors, Wisconsin-grown products, and an open-air market (weekends May to October). Too tired to wander? No problem; casual dining and fast food outlets are located in the Grand Avenue Mall a block from the Midwest Airlines Center and along Wisconsin Street leading to the Marquette University campus.