The Ultimate Milwaukee Trivia Package

Now and always, Milwaukee has been an interesting place with plenty of interesting – some might say trivial – fodder for our ultimate Cream City quiz.


Every place has a unique story, of course, but Milwaukee’s seems to be populated with a particularly interesting set of characters and events, from the beautiful to the heinous to the triumphant to the just plain weird. Stripped to their essence, these things are all facts – things to know. Things worth knowing. So let’s indulge in some of that distinctive Milwaukee milieu in this ultimate local knowledge quiz.  

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The Quiz

Click HERE for the answers. 

  1. What beer “Made Milwaukee Famous”?   
  2. The name of the only residential neighborhood in the Menomonee Valley references what animal?   
  3. Shorewood brothers David and Jerry Zucker co-wrote the screenplay for what classic parody film while they performed with their Kentucky Fried Theater?  
  4. Around 2018, what place-shaping rodents returned to the Downtown area, leaving their unmistakable marks along the Milwaukee River?  
  5. In 2005, Marquette University announced it would change the name of its sports teams to what term? Just a week later, it rushed to reverse course back to Golden Eagles, after feedback was not exactly glittering.  
  6. A 21-foot-tall, weather-forecasting lighted beacon in what shape was added to a 20-story Art Deco building Downtown in 1956?   
  7. What Milwaukee native had roles in Drugstore Cowboy, “Twin Peaks,” Boogie Nights and The Hangover?    
  8. This (multiple) South Side place name is derived from an Ojibwe word meaning what is mixed, commonly applied to tobacco and other smoking materials.
  9. The nondescript modernist office building at 622 N. Water St. even has a nondescript official name: The Milwaukee Building. But it’s distinctive for its adornment with a trio of what colorful creature, each about 6 feet tall?   
  10. At the time the Brewers traded Josh Hader in 2022, his 125 career saves in a Brewers uniform put him just eight behind what franchise-leading fireman? 
  11. What legendary shock rocker introduced the country to the Native roots of Milwaukee’s name, describing it as Algonquin for the good land
  12. What Milwaukee neighborhood, home to one of the nation’s oldest Juneteenth celebrations, takes its name from the Swahili term meaning pulling together
  13. Before Froedtert became a major name in health care in the latter part of the 20th century, it was the name of what kind of operation critical to the brewing industry? 
  14. There was a 12-month stretch in the early 2010s where Milwaukee felt more like Florida as what phenomenon struck twice: In July 2010 at Oakland and North avenues and March 2011 on the Humboldt Avenue bridge?
  15. Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Randall Simon’s most notable hit in Milwaukee came on July 9, 2003, when he disrupted what Milwaukee ballpark tradition?
  16. This small country’s American Culture Center has its headquarters about 30 miles north of Milwaukee. Many of its residents settled along Lake Michigan in the 19th century, and a prominent Milwaukeean was posted there in early 2022. 
  17. What comedian was arrested by Milwaukee police in 1972 for indecency after performing his most famous routine at Summerfest? Word is, the charge was dropped less than seven months later.
  18. What street at the base of Brewers Hill has its origins in 1842 as a canal, the first leg of a planned route all the way to the Rock River that was quickly abandoned. 
  19. A group related to what Milwaukee company lost a trademark case to a business called The Hog Farm of West Seneca, New York?
  20. Name the velvet-voiced, Milwaukee-born “Acrobat of Scat” who won six Grammy Awards from 1978 to 2007 and sang the theme for the Bruce Willis/Cybill Shepherd series “Moonlighting.” 
  21. The captain of the three-masted Great Lakes schooner Moonlight, which sunk in Lake Superior in 1903, is best known today as the namesake of what vessel that lost its Milwaukee ties in 2022? 
  22. Brooks Koepka needed no luck to win the most recent major golf championship played in Wisconsin, a U.S. Open at what course in 2017? 
  23. You probably know Milwaukee’s main airport is named for military aviation innovator Gen. Billy Mitchell. But it’s never been the only airport in town. A small strip on the northwest side is named for a longtime County Board member, and a lakefront airport where Summerfest is now held was once named for another interwar military aviation commander who was briefly an aide to Mitchell. Give either of their two last names. 
  24. In 1937, Milwaukee chap Alfred Woelbing began hand-pouring a product in his kitchen that endures today, and is still made locally in its palm-sized, primary-color packaging. What is Woelbing’s creation? 
  25. This Milwaukeean hit his first big league home run on the last day of his rookie 1962 season and made the first of his 62 appearances on “The Tonight Show” eight years later. 
  26. Divine Savior Holy Angels High School grad Arike Ogunbowale led the WNBA in scoring in 2020 and was MVP of the league’s all-star game in 2021. But her greatest single moment was hitting a last-second three to give what college an NCAA championship? 
  27. The last Milwaukee mayor to be voted out of office was this “sewer Socialist” who got the boot in 1940. Voters deemed a seventh term a bridge too far. 
  28. What southeastern Wisconsin high school has sent four alumni to the University of Wisconsin and then to the NFL? (Three of them share a last name.) 
  29. At a Shank Hall show in 2017, what former Goonie-cum-rocker, performing with his backing band, The Angels, knocked out a tooth on stage with his microphone, then put the show on hold to search for the lost tooth?  
  30. Before its closure in 2005, much of central Milwaukee was fragranced by the wet, organic aromas emanating from the Red Star plant on the north edge of the Menomonee Valley, which processed what consumer product? 
  31. Delaware North Cos. operates resorts and provides food service to sports venues across the country, but a unicorn in its business portfolio is what confidential condiment with Milwaukee origins?
  32. The recent death of folk singer Gordon Lightfoot prompted many references to what Milwaukee businessman, who was chairman of Northwestern Mutual for more than a decade after World War II? His grandfather was a noted Milwaukee shipbuilder.  

SINCE MARCH 2022, Isaac Rowlett has been using his Twitter account to showcase views of Milwaukee large and small with the prompt “Where Am I, Milwaukee (or Milwaukee County)?” The photos include drone aerials, architectural details, home portraits and murals or ghost signs, all intended to challenge people’s preconceived notions and get them to see Milwaukee for what it is. “I believe Milwaukee is absolutely beautiful, but sometimes people here and elsewhere don’t see it that way,” he says. “My hypothesis was that if people saw its beauty decontextualized, they’d be surprised and many wouldn’t recognize it even if they had seen the site before.” See more at

RELATED: Meet the Man Who Started a Semi-Secret National Trivia League


Every spring since 1971, UW-Stevens Point radio station WWSP suspends its usual eclectic music and talk programming to put on what it calls the largest trivia contest in the world. A parade near campus kicks off 54 straight hours of questions, read over the air eight per hour and puzzled over by hundreds of teams of any size who phone in the answers. Many gather in homes or dorms, but some listen online around the world. Team Dad’s Computarrrrrs took home the trophy this year. 

The Building Blocks of a Great Question

WHAT MAKES A GREAT TRIVIA QUESTION? “You want to reward people who know the topic, but you also want to leave some ways for people who maybe don’t know it to puzzle their way to the answer,” says Wauwatosa native Dan Bingham-Pankratz, who has authored several “One-Day” quizzes on specific subjects for LearnedLeague, a national trivia contest. We asked him to deconstruct the layers of facts and hints in his favorite question from his One-Day on Wisconsin, published in 2017.  

Q: Vaccinium macrocarpon is the scientific name for what crop? The bulk (60%) of U.S. production comes from Wisconsin, with central Wood County and the wetlands around the Wisconsin River leading the way. Most farmers harvest it in September, although some let it linger into October.


A: Cranberry

  • Vaccinium macrocarpon  – A fact, albeit esoteric. If you know it (Bingham-Pankratz didn’t before writing the question), you got it.
  • The bulk (60%) of U.S. production comes from Wisconsin: More Wisconsinites will know this fact – that our state leads the nation in production of a certain crop – than the scientific name. 
  • Let it linger: The coup de grace of this question is this unusual phrase echoing the memorable refrain in a Cranberries song that was on the Billboard Hot 100 for 24 weeks between 1993-94 – a fact in a genre entirely different from Wisconsin agriculture.  
  • Harvest it in September: A subtle clue Bingham-Pankratz intended to tie to the later-fall Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Wetlands: A big hint at the crop; not many are grown in marshes. 

Find a Trivia Night





My Favorite Trivia

We asked four trivia aficionados with ties to Wisconsin for their favorite nugget from Milwaukee, or the Badger State. 

The sports links between Milwaukee, St. Louis and Atlanta: The first Milwaukee Brewers moved to St. Louis in 1902, and the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966. And Milwaukee’s early NBA team, the Hawks, moved to St. Louis and then Atlanta.

– Dan Bingham-Pankratz, LearnedLeague triviasmith and State Department foreign service officer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia

There’s a little unincorporated community near the northern edge of the Kettle Moraine called Chinatown – apparently so named because the area’s first residents built temporary shacks along Long Lake on stilts to avoid spring flooding. Neighbors began calling it Chinatown because of the homes’ Asian appearance.


– Ben Chan, nine-time winner on “Jeopardy!” earlier this year and professor at St. Norbert College in De Pere

Milwaukeean Christopher Sholes is credited with inventing the first practical typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard layout in 1868.


– JR Radcliffe, Milwaukee Press Club triviamaster and Journal Sentinel sports reporter

There’s a Milwaukee connection to the Corn Palace, the beloved Midwest road trip tourist destination. It’s in Mitchell, South Dakota – a town renamed in 1879 for the Scottish-born Milwaukee rail baron Alexander Mitchell, whose Milwaukee Road ran through the town.


– Adam Carr, Rufus King quiz bowl alumnus, Milwaukee Parks Foundation director of strategic partnerships and community storyteller  


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s June issue.

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Executive editor, Milwaukee Magazine. Aficionado of news, sports and beer. Dog and cat guy. (Yes, both.)