About the City
At the heart of the American Midwest, Milwaukee is the largest city in the State of Wisconsin and a popular tourist destination, due to its impressive cultural offer and location on the scenic banks of Lake Michigan. Only 90 miles (145 km) north of Chicago, Milwaukee is well suited for expats, with every amenity, convenience and attraction you would find in a major city available combined with a community spirit that will suit the independent expat, couple, or family. Milwaukee is known for its green spaces, with over 140 parks located all over the city providing welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Nicknamed ‘Brew City’ due to the number of independent breweries and pubs, several Milwaukee neighborhoods were named in the top 100 places to live in the United States by a 2011 issue of The Money Magazine. Milwaukee has a population of about half a million inhabitants and is also fairly racially diverse with less than half of the population identifying as white, over 40% as African-Americans, slightly more than 17% as Hispanic/Latino, and 3.5% as Asian, according to the 2010 census.
Milwaukee’s climate can be similar to European cities in the UK, Germany or France. One differentiation, however, is that the climate is generally more humid in Milwaukee, meaning expats moving to Milwaukee can look forward to mostly mild winters and warmer summers.
Summer temperatures for July can rise to around 80°F (27°C) and at night time this does not drop dramatically, only by approximately 50°F (10°C). In the winter, temperatures can drop as low as 12°F (-11°C). These cold, generally snowy winters allow for a great range of seasonal sports to be enjoyed, such as ice-skating, cross country skiing, snowboarding and dogsled riding. In the summer the warm atmosphere encourages Milwaukee residents out into the lakes or onto the many waterways that run through the city.
Before arriving in Milwaukee from locations outside of the United States, it is worth researching the type of area and neighborhood that would be best suited to you. Numerous sites, forums and blogs will give you advice on which neighborhoods offer which amenities. Sites such as Movoto and AreaVibes can be good places to start.
Local knowledge is vital, so ask around friends and colleagues that have lived or visited Milwaukee for advice and, if appropriate, consult your current or future employer as they may have experience with helping their expat employees find accommodation in Milwaukee.
Once you have arrived in the city, local newspaper such as The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have an extensive housing and rental classified sections, and are available both in print from vendors all over the city and online.
Popular neighborhoods in Milwaukee include Bay View in the South Side of the city, which is good for affordable housing for first time buyers. It is a young lively community with markets, restaurants and bars right on your doorstep and an easy commute to the city center. For those wanting to have access to the best in Milwaukee nightlife, the East Side is a good option due to the area's vibrant bar and lounge scene. Those looking for a quieter lifestyle and amenities such as good schools, Whitefish Bay could be a good option and has a village feel. This area is, however, one of the priciest in Milwaukee.