The geography and harsh climate of homogenous Middle America limits the availability of diverse, romantic setting escapades throughout the region. Also, the industrial heartland and its cities have been absolutely decimated by job losses, crime, foreclosure, and the decay of manufacturing. Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and St. Louis are not exactly thriving metropolitan areas identified with romance.
Perhaps the misery is what shall make this guide all the more important. Ironically, productive escapism is often critical to preserve one’s sanity and ultimately, his or her relationship.
Certainly, Midwest travel activity centers upon the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
Milwaukee residents and Wisconsin natives travel well and love the Great Outdoors. Southeast Wisconsin is a major transportation hub to the Upper Midwest providing excellent access to Middle America via road, rail, and waterway.
Milwaukee revelers also benefit from their 90-mile proximity to the City of Chicago. Essentially, Mil Town residents may easily achieve access to the region’s World Class political and social capitol without being gouged by World Class cost-of-living prices.
Indeed, we must argue that strong tourism is to be discovered within a two hundred and fifty mile radius of Milwaukee County.
The 250 mile distance mandate is quite appealing in terms of creating the picture perfect getaway fantasy – yet allows for a relatively quick return home if those romantic dreams degenerate towards the ultimate nightmare.
Wisconsin’s positioning between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River will prove to be ideal as we present our top-five Romantic Getaways from Milwaukee:
#5 Romantic Getaway from Milwaukee: Southwest Michigan
Things to Do: Sunsets, Lake Michigan Beaches, Wineries, Skiing, Bed and Breakfasts, Antiques. Chicago, Indiana Dunes State Park and Outlet Mall Shopping are nearby and en route.
Things Not to Do: Chicago Bottlenecks. Arguments with Significant Other. Letting the Secret Out
Getting There: I-94 East to Chicago for 90 miles. I-90 Chicago Skyway to Indiana Toll Road; Reconnect with I-94 East at Lake Station to Southwest Michigan. Travelers may continue onto I-196, U.S. 31, or the Blue-Star Highway that follows the shores of Lake Michigan. The trip is approximately 200 miles from Milwaukee. The Lake Express Ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI is available from May 1 to November 1. Travel time is 2 ½ hours.
Interestingly, Southwest Michigan and the Wolverine State publicity do not rival the exquisite merit of these travel locations. The Great Lakes State is largely perceived as a decrepit municipality that has been absolutely devastated by the reeling automobile industry. Certainly, Joe America does not associate Michigan with gorgeous beaches, intimate bed and breakfasts, lush foliage, cherries, romantic villas, and wineries.
Southwest Michigan is arguably the greatest travel secret in America.
The mystery undergirds a quaint atmosphere – where couples may easily relax above the fray of crushing crowds. New Buffalo, St. Joseph, South Haven, and Saugatuck are all perfect getaways lining the opposite shores of Lake Michigan from Milwaukee and Chicago.
The area’s climate is moderated by the Great Lakes, while the fertile soil and wintertime snow pack are ideal for growing and preserving grapes. Southwest Michigan is home to a plethora of wineries and trails offering romantic tasting and tour packages.
Adventurous partners may also continue along U.S. Highway 31 to Traverse City – the cherry capitol of the world, and/or Mackinac Island State Park which has been honored by National Geographic as a top-ten location.
Mackinac Island may only be reached by ferry from the I-75 Mackinac Bridge area. Transportation at this locale is limited to bicycling, foot traffic, and horse carriages.
Southwest Michigan is 200 miles from Milwaukee and requires travelers to battle Chicago bottlenecks during the winter months while ferry service is shut down. The distance and urban mayhem that must be combated along the route will challenge any weak relationship. Visitors must ensure that both partners are ready to accept the invitation.
The minor tiff that explodes into a raging tempest would be disastrous at a location that is hours away from home – while the crushing scenario is being exacerbated by ridiculous, peak-hour Chicago traffic.
#4 Romantic Getaway From Milwaukee: Door County, Wisconsin
Things to Do: Bed and Breakfasts, Natural and Peaceful Solitude, Lambeau Field
Things Not to Do: Yuppie Behavior
Getting There: I-43 North 84 miles to Manitowoc. Exit at Wisconsin route 42, and proceed 76 miles to Door County. The trip is 150 miles.
Door County is the small Wisconsin peninsula that protrudes into Lake Michigan from Green Bay. The landscape is dotted with lighthouses, beaches, and museums. The area provides excellent, rustic change-of-season fall color, wintertime cross country skiing, and year round outdoorsmanship. This is beautiful country.
Cheese Heads that bleed Packer Green may also set off the trip with the required pilgrimage to Lambeau Field at Green Bay. Although the hallowed grounds are not typically equated with romance – Packer Football is Religion in Wisconsin. We must speculate that at least one member of the relationship will revel on the grounds of this historical testament to Football Lore, regardless of season.
Couples may access Door County from the City of Green Bay via Wisconsin State Route 57 off of Interstate 43.
Door County is 150 miles from Milwaukee and the sparsely populated area spans approximately 50 miles from north-to-south. The uppermost Washington and Rock Islands may only be reached via ferry. The distance, solitude, and lack of action packed, urban environs will enable romantic couples to focus primarily upon the relationship – hopefully generating another fresh set of memories.
#3 Romantic Getaway from Milwaukee: Galena, Illinois
Things to Do: Bed and Breakfasts, Antique Shopping, Quaint Atmosphere, Mississippi River
Getting There: I-43 South 75 Miles to Beloit; Exit at I-90/39 East/South and follow I-39 to U.S. 20 West at Rockford; Take U.S. 20 – Grant Highway West 80 Miles to Galena. The total trip is 165 miles.
Galena is the only Midwest enclave to consistently appear near the top of every single “beautiful place” list in the United States of America.
Digest the aforementioned piece of information and note the purposeful omission of our “Things NOT to do” header. Visitors that cannot appreciate Galena may not carry the benefits of actually maintaining any semblance of a pulse.
Ice Age glaciers that steamrolled Middle America into flat land prairie bypassed Jo Daviess County and the Upper Mississippi River region. Prominent rolling hills, valleys, and bluffs have remained in tact for centuries. Of course, Galena History is maintained – in step with the preservation of Northwest Illinois topography.
85% of the buildings are located within a National Register Historic District.
The town that “time has forgotten” served as a prominent hub for all nineteenth-century Illinois political activity.Ulysses S. Grant arrived at Galena as a penniless soldier to work for his father in 1860. The humble gentleman was to leave town and return as the revered Civil War General U.S. Grant. Ulysses S. Grant and accepted the 18th Presidency shortly thereafter – without the awkward spectacle of campaigning for the post.
Strikingly, Galena remains unchanged ever since.
#2 Romantic Getaway From Milwaukee: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Things to Do: Skiing, Mansion Tours, Embrace the Tourist Mindset
Things Not to Do: Saturate Travel Itinerary with Lake Geneva Visits. Wage war versus arrogant Chicagoans.
Getting There: I-43 South for 35 miles to Elkhorn. Exit onto U.S. 12 to Wisconsin 50 West at Lake Geneva. Lake Geneva is 55 miles from Milwaukee.
The Wisconsin outdoors are often invaded and overrun by legions of caustically conspicuous, highbrow Chicagoans. Lake Geneva is the ultimate example.
Lake Geneva is Chicago’s Playground.
In fact, the earliest recordings of white settlers are synonymous with names that are easily identifiable to the Chicago Native. The area was “discovered” by the Kinzie family traveling between Fort Dearborn and Wisconsin’s Fort Winnebago.
Rugged, Northern Illinois pioneers settled the terrain – before giving way to wealthy Chicago Captains of Industry. The stately, Victorian mansions lording over the picturesque hills and foliage surrounding Geneva Lake serve as the second homes of Chicago’s elite. Indirectly, the city rose to prominence as a consequence of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Upper class Chicagoans fled to Lake Geneva in order to bide time amidst the aftermath-rebuild of this disaster.
Lake Geneva is hailed as the “Newport, RI of the ‘West’.”
The enclave is a hotbed for skiing, shopping, and outdoor revelry. Although accommodations range from the intimate bed and breakfast towards the exclusive franchise hotel – lodging is always in short supply throughout the summer months and key winter holidays.
The popularity of the Geneva Lake resort area is its one true downfall.
All Wisconsin and Illinois couples must tread lightly. Perhaps your beau has already vacationed at Lake Geneva – with somebody else.
#1 Romantic Getaway from Milwaukee: Chicago, Illinois
Things to Do: Museums, Opera, Plays, Lake Michigan Beaches, Architectural Tours, Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue Shopping, Night clubs. Everything.
Things Not to Do: Act like you are from Wisconsin.
Getting There: I-94 East 90 Miles to Chicago.
Chicago is a World Class City.
The critical factor for ‘Sconsin couples is to mitigate the aura of intimidation that will inevitably arrive while descending upon a 3,000,000 person metropolis that historically dominates the Mil Town’s machinations at population 600,000.
Chicago is indeed a city of distinct neighborhoods – but this sprawling locale can never be fully explored with one trip. Plan accordingly by dividing the Windy City into its requisite sections that compliment your ideas of romance. Wisconsin tourists must arrive with an airtight game plan to effectively manage and dismiss the “deer in headlights” look that identifies a primary target for criminal activity. Let us evaluate:
Chicago Loop: This is downtown Chicago within the perimeter of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) elevated tracks (El) that circle the center of the city. The Sears Tower, LaSalle Street finance, Chicago’s Theater District, and Marshall Fields (Macy’s) shopping are located here. The Loop is bustling during the daylight hours – but relatively quiet after sun down.
North River – Michigan Avenue: North River is the area directly across the Chicago River from the Chicago Loop. Michigan Avenue and Oak Street offer the high-end retailing that rivals any location in the world. The area is electric with nightlife and is very accommodating to out-of-towners. Rush, Ontario, and Ohio streets are lined with upscale nightclubs and restaurants – while the atmosphere at Division presents a bar scene that is more collegial.
North Side: Wrigleyville, Lakeview, Lincoln, Park, and Old Town are all eclectic neighborhoods bordered by the North River section, Sheffield Avenue-Halsted Street, and Irving Park Road. DePaul students and trendy, Chicago socialites frequent these North Side bars, clubs, and fashionable boutiques.
BoysTown, located at Belmont and Halsted is highlighted by rainbow themed light fixtures and is the center of LGBT activity in the Midwest. Straight couples must recognize that all is not exactly what it seems at Belmont.
South Side – West Side: Hyde Park is the home of Barack Obama and The University of Chicago. The neighborhood is an epicenter for intellectual thought and Chicago’s Black, upwardly mobile community. Hyde Park is accessible via U.S. 41 – Lake Shore Drive. Lake Michigan, 47th-57th Streets, and Cottage Grove Avenue border the section.
The West Loop between downtown and The United Center is a gentrified area of lofts, art galleries, and tucked away lounges. The home of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios still retains its gritty, industrial warehouse type of appeal.
Lakefront: U.S. 41 Lake Shore Drive provides the best access to the lakefront. The Field Museum, John G. Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium complex may be of interest at McFetridge Drive just south of downtown.
Oak Street and North Avenue are the most popular Lake Michigan beaches and the key stretch from Navy Pier to Fullerton Avenue (Best skyline views) is always congested during the summertime months. Private intimacy is best found at Chicago’s lakefront south of Interstate 55 and Soldier Field.
Romance is what you make it.
The Top – 5 Romantic Getaways from Milwaukee, Sources:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/
The City of Chicago, http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/webportal/home.do
A Guide to Romantic Getaway in Wisconsin, http://www.excellent-romantic-vacations.com/romantic-getaway-in-wisconsin.html
The State of Wisconsin, http://www.wisconsin.gov/state/home/app?COMMAND=gov.wi.state.cpp.command.LoadPortalHome