Thursday, March 7, 2013

Milwaukee River Walk

Take a walk on the "culture" side of Milwaukee.  You probably don't think of the Milwaukee River Walk as the place to get in some exercise during the winter, but it's excellent as long as you don't need to push a stroller (lots of stairs=not child friendly).  They do have an effort underway to add accessibility ramps and in some places today, I saw them.  They do a pretty good job at keeping it cleared and the view is nice, no matter where you go.  There are surprisingly very few people using it this time of year.  And did you know it made the 2011 list of Great Public Spaces as designated by the American Planning Association?

This beautiful walking space is about 3 miles long and runs on both sides of the river.  Where to start?  I like to park near Pere Marquette Park because it's kind of central to the river walk and you get free wifi at that park so if you're inclined to check in with yelp or trip advisor, you can see where you can walk for attractions or lunch.  There are also picnic tables and benches there with a nice view.  If you show up during office hours, the Milwaukee County Historical Society building is right there so you can visit and use the restrooms while you look inside.  If you've never been inside that building, put it on your list of great things to do.  It's a gorgeous old building with historical photos, books, and interesting architecture.  Plus, it gives you a nice view of the river walk.
view of river walk through Historical Society window (upstairs)
Unfortunately, no matter where you start, you'll probably have to pay for parking.  Free parking is tough to find, at least in the downtown area.  At least most spaces are available with credit card, so if you don't have cash, you can pay with plastic.  You could park at one of the riverfront restaurants, if you plan to eat.  Another option- take the bus and then you can start at one end and walk to the other, finding a bus stop nearby.  Have you tried Milwaukee transit's trip planner?  You can get maps and route information online.

Since the walk was created, there has been an addition of interesting sculptures, art work, and tiles.  There are several locations between Juneau and Wisconsin where you can pick up a free River Sculpture! 2012 card that tells you what you are seeing and where it's located.   The sculptures represented in it are made by Wisconsin artists.  There are also useful signs that include stories about the history of the river and the spaces along it.  I learned that students created the tiles you'll see under your feet as you walk.  They depict children's views of what the river represents.
The Fonz is at Wells St.
One of the tiles created by students

It was a bright sunny day today when I was there.  The river is frozen in most places, but there were few tracks on the ice.  The ones I saw were likely made by fox or coyotes, and waterfowl.  It makes it very picturesque.  Enjoy my photos and then go see it for yourself!  Another beautiful space we can be proud of!
A few geese were resting on the fresh snow
Look for these useful signs in the downtown portion of the walk 

So many beautiful buildings line the river

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