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Biking trails, corner bars and tailgating at Miller Park make Matthew Prigge's top five reasons he loves Cream City.

We asked writer and Milwaukee Magazine contributor Matthew Prigge to share with us the reasons he loves Milwaukee. Here are his picks: 

The trails

My wife and I live on the East Side and do not have a car, so biking is imperative to my getting around. The Oak Leaf trail is as beautiful as it is useful – it can get me downtown to work or north into the ‘burbs or out to the Hank Aaron trail that runs out past the stadium. They are so well-kept up and well-designed; you can be in the middle of the city and feel like you’re in the northwoods.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

The corner bars

I can’t stand crowded places or loud music or bars that try too hard to be sexy and cool. So, the corner bar suits me and my crowd very well. My favorites are probably the Swingin’ Door on Michigan (also some of the best food in town), Champion’s on Bartlett, and Victoria’s in Bay View.

Swingin' Door Exchange

Half-rack of baby back ribs, with garlic bread and spicy vermouth carrots. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

The history

Of course, I have to give much love to the past. I’ve honestly gotten more out of doing all my research and writing than anyone has gotten from reading it. I’m endlessly fascinated by this place, by the rogue characters and seedy hidden places. It’s a big, weird place and I hope it never stops being big and weird.

Tailgating

I’ve been a devoted Brewers fan since the age of five, so I never miss the change to fire up the grill out at Miller Park. Cold beer, sunshine, and grilled meat is about as close to perfection as I can imagine. And you get to watch a baseball game afterward! Although, part of me will always wish that the Brewers still played in a perpetually run-down version of County Stadium with the terrible scoreboard and freezing cold April games.

Tailgating outside Miller Park. Photo by Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Brewers.

The water

I’ve worked on the rivers and lake as a tour guide for over six years now and it still manages to impress me. On a calm day, the lake is as peaceful and calming as any place in the world to me. Kayaking on the rivers is like being an explorer in your own backyard, with something new always waiting to be discovered. Aside from the first year of my life, I’ve never lived more than a mile or two from Lake Michigan. And I really see no reason to break that tradition.

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Matthew Prigge writes our Antique Milwaukee web series about Milwaukee history.

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