Take Gus Polinski from Home Alone, the jolly Kenosha “Polka King of the Midwest” who oh-so-kindly offers to drive Kevin’s mom to Chicago in his band’s tour bus headed for Milwaukee. Wisconsinites have appeared on Hollywood screens for decades, usually portraying the home-grown, wholesome, often goofy Midwestern hospitality for which the state is known. But it might not be just a stereotype trope after all.
Milwaukee recently made not one but two lists from Travel + Leisure’s annual America’s Favorite Places survey. The Good Land snagged the title of one of the most underrated cities in America as well as one of the friendliest.
Travel + Leisure conducted the survey by asking readers how they would rank their hometowns across a broad array of categories, including pizza and barbecue quality, “geekiness,” and Christmas lighting. Milwaukee ranked high in its friendliness and as one of America’s most underrated cities.
Travel + Leisure cited its proximity to Chicago as a potential reason why Milwaukee often gets overshadowed. Locals point out that Milwaukee has many of the same attractions – museums, breweries and festivals – and is far less costly than Chicago.
Milwaukee also placed tenth on the list of America’s friendliest cities. Travel + Leisure quotes one local: “The people of Milwaukee are amazing. We live Midwestern hospitality to the core – it’s like a small town vibe in an urban setting.”
And it’s true. Milwaukee has hospitality down to an art. Condé Nast Traveler – the largest and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry – recently named both the Pfister Hotel and Grand Geneva Resort & Spa as top hotels according to their 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Like the characters they play in movies, Milwaukeeans will continue to welcome visitors with open arms.