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For the eighth year in a row, Travel + Leisure magazine conducted surveys to determine “America’s Best Places” by asking locals about their hometowns. See how Milwaukee ranked.

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.

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