Best- (and worst-) kept secrets of the Milwaukee 7

Christie McCowen

Widely becoming known as “America’s best kept secret,” the Milwaukee 7 holds many unique sights and opportunities within its limits.
These cultural landmarks and commercial gems are local wonders, but won’t stay that way for long.
If you’re just in the neighborhood, or looking to make a more permanent move, take some time and check out these hidden wonders of Wisconsin – all within the Milwaukee 7.7. Miller Brewing Company
Girl in the Moon Gift Shop
4251 W. State St.
Milwaukee, Wis. 53208
The brewery isn’t actually a secret, but it does hold some of its own – like the specific strain of grain that Miller brought with him from Germany.
Don’t believe me? Take the tour. Running daily, every hour on the hour, you can tour the home of Milwaukee’s Best, as well as many other city favorites.
The tour is free and begins in the Miller Brewing Company visitor center and concludes in the Miller Inn – also known as the Beer Garden – with three tall and frosty free samples if you are of age.
Not 21 yet? Take the tour anyway, and enjoy the rich history of the brewery as well as the free pretzels and soda.
Tours generally run year round from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

6. Racine Art Museum
441 Main St.
Racine, Wis. 53403

The Racine Art Museum contains the third largest collection of contemporary crafts in North America. The museum focuses on various forms of crafts such as ceramics, glass, fibers, wood, and like the work currently on display on the lower level, metals.
The works are from either a permanent collection or part of a traveling exhibition.
Unique to RAM is their tradition of displaying the works and collections of living artisans, who come to the museum and present or discuss their works on display.

5. Whole Foods Market
2305 N. Prospect Ave.
Milwaukee, Wis. 53202

Named in the top five of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2007, this store has become the world’s leading natural and organic foods store.
Located on the corner of North and Prospect Avenues on Milwaukee’s East Side, this store offers it all at competitive prices with amazing quality.
Don’t believe me? Stop in yourself. There’s something for everyone: a beer and brat station, made-to-order sushi bar, all-natural meats, free wireless in the lounge, fresh produce, a chocolate fountain, and the vino-pass station where you can buy a wine pass and sample wine in the store.
With stores located in Milwaukee, Madison, and 191 other places in North America and the U.K. you never know when you might come across one. The Whole Foods Market of Milwaukee is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

4. Alterra at the Lake Caf
1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.
Milwaukee, Wis. 53202

Alterra at the Lake Caf was formerly a 19th-century pumping station. A historically significant place, the building sat empty for years until Alterra converted it into what it currently is today – a great little spot full of bright colors, the sound of espresso machines, and fantastic fair-trade coffee – which is for sale on the website – and even better lemon poppy seed muffins.
Also serving sandwiches and lunchtime goodies, Alterra at the Lake is a relaxing break from school, work or life in general.
All of the machinery is still housed in its original places, in working condition as far as I’ve been told. When the weather warms up, Alterra becomes the perfect place for a picnic with a view of Lake Michigan.

3. S.C. Johnson
1525 Howe St.
Racine, Wis. 53403

S.C. Johnson, a family company. Again, not the biggest secret, but what isn’t commonly known outside Racine County is that two of the original buildings of S.C. Johnson’s corporate headquarters in Racine were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
From the outside, it is only the streamlined appearance of the buildings and their windows made of glass tubes that strike you as something more that ordinary.
The administration building and the first floor of the research tower are still used today, along with the original furniture that Wright also designed.
The administration building, as well as the parking lot outside it, features Wright’s controversial tree-like concrete columns.
Also designed by Wright was Herbert E. Johnson’s personal residence in Wind Point, called “Wingspread,” which was considered by Wright to be the best and most expensively built house of the time.

2. The Historic Third Ward

Don’t let appearances fool you! Hidden beneath its manufacturing and warehouse past, Milwaukee’s Historic Third is the home to many of the finer things in life.
Amongst the restaurants, specialty stores, condominiums and office buildings lies the highest concentration of art galleries in the city.
Matched with artists, graphic designers, and the Broadway Theatre Center, the Historic Third Ward hosts many excellent opportunities for jump-starting almost any career.
If that doesn’t draw you in, check out the area’s Riverwalk project, a 2007 American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design recipient.

1. GMR Marketing
5000 South Towne Drive
New Berlin, Wis. 53151

What does Miller Time, bring-your-dog-to-work Fridays, free samples as far as the eye can see, casual dress everyday, and the potential to break right out of college and into a career that deals with celebrities on a regular basis add up to?
A career at GMR Marketing. I know, this may not sound like the ideal work situation, but who am I kidding? From the creative atmosphere, to the inviting employee base, GMR Marketing is amazing!
I was only there for a few hours, but it doesn’t take long to get a good sense about the company.
In the ’70s, GMR started with its first client, the Miller Brewing Company.
Specializing in live marketing, a process by which products, in real time, make their way into the hands of the right people, GMR has expanded their client list to include Xbox, Axe, Visa, Alltel, Best Buy, McDonald’s, Major League Baseball, as well as Pepsi, Mercedes-Benz and New Balance.
But it doesn’t stop there.
GMR’s passion for what they do has helped to make them the one of the best of the business, and it’s all about “the live moment.”
Interested? GMR not only hires talented people right out of college, but they also offer internships and shorter-term “field staff” positions.
Places like GMR, where you truly enjoy the work that you do, are hard to find. What makes an applicant stand out?
“It’s the extra things that make the difference,” like hobbies, extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs.
For more information, contact GMR Human Resources at

For more information on these or any of the other fabulous attractions of the Milwaukee 7, visit or