Milwaukee and its many neighborhoods feature a wide variety of historic sites, cultural centers, art galleries, antique stores, and restaurants specializing in international cuisine. One thing all these neighborhoods have in common is that they have apartments waiting for new residents. There are few things more exciting than moving to your very first apartment! Finding your new home will allow you the freedom to decorate and design a home that fully represents your taste and nature. Before signing your lease, be aware that apartment life in Milwaukee comes with a different set of responsibilities than what you may have been used to in the other regions in the country. For helpful first apartment tips in America’s Dairyland, as well as a list of what you’ll need to make your place feel like home and to become a true Milwaukeean in no time, I strongly recommend you take the following advice to heart.
Tips for Moving into Your First Milwaukee Apartment
- Winter is real! If you are not from the northern tier of states, you have most likely heard horror stories about the never-ending, sub-arctic, snow season that goes on and on and on. You carry a survival kit in your trunk in the winter in the likely event you slide off the road in a snowstorm. You carry jumper cables in your car and your wife or girlfriend knows how to use them. You take pride in your ability to drive in a blizzard. If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you might live in Wisconsin. You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow. You have more miles on your snow blower than your car. You find minus twenty degrees “a little chilly.” No One Gets Why You Wouldn’t Want To Drive In Five Feet Of Snow Wisconsinites are so used to driving in snow that they’re surprised when out-of-towners get bent out of shape over a couple of inches, let alone feet. Wisconsinites have a superhuman tolerance to cold. Don’t be surprised if you see someone busting out the shorts and flip-flops on a forty-degree day.
- Milwaukee Cuisine. Wisconsin produces over 600 types of cheese, more than twice as much as that other contender for the title of “America’s Dairyland”, California. Cheese is not considered only food, you will find it integrated into many aspects of your lifestyle soon after making Milwaukee your home. The state’s huge cheese production means locals get to enjoy culinary delights like cheese curds, which come fried or squeaky fresh. (They literally squeak—that’s how you know they’re fresh.) Don’t worry, you are not required to purchase your “Cheese Head hat until you have lived through your first Frozen Tundra tailgater. Next you will have to learn how to say “brat” properly and develop a taste for sauerkraut. (A quick word of advice, don’t compare a brat to a hotdog – your reputation may suffer greatly!) Find out where the best Friday Night Fish Fry is in your neighborhood. Fish Fries are a Friday night ritual in Wisconsin, and Milwaukee in particular. The battered and fried fish is traditionally served with potato pancakes, sometimes swapped for fries, and always with a thick slice of rye and coleslaw. And let’s not forget about dessert. You will soon learn the difference between frozen custard and ice cream and where to find the best of both. Oscars, Culvers, DQ, and Kopps will soon become late-night family destinations. Of course, there are some very unique challenges facing newcomers at the Wisconsin State Fair and during Summerfest, You will find strange things deep-fried on a stick, and Cream Puffs will soon become your favorite seasonal summer treat. Don’t be afraid to allow your tastebuds a chance to be adventurous.
- We take our sports teams seriously. Expect to see everyone wearing Green and Gold in church on Sunday and at work the Friday before any Packer game throughout the football season. It’s normal to you when you see someone wearing a foam hat that resembles a giant wedge of cheese. Your weekend plans will soon revolve around the Packer’s schedule - because doing anything other than watching the game is strictly forbidden. You will find the neighborhood bars and restaurants crowded with fans with beer and Bloody Mary’s flowing freely. Even if you don’t follow football, learn to cheer on the Green Bay Packers – no matter what! You will notice that the Packers VS Bears game is the tensest game day ever. Wisconsin Packers fans and Bears fans with their longtime rivalry makes game days a high-stakes affair. And lest we forget, there are the Bucks, Brewers, Admirals, and Torrent playing at the professional level, Marquette and the Badgers drawing the collegiate crowd, and all the families supporting the high school, middle school, and local sports teams. If you weren’t a Jock before, now is your opportunity to become an Athletic Supporter!
- Milwaukeeans talk funny. It has been claimed that the Wisconsin accent is the easiest for anyone new to the area to understand. This is because Milwaukeeans are extremely polite and if they feel you are having difficulty understanding them, they will speak slower and louder. At first, you may struggle with local town names like Oconomowoc, Sheboygan, and Mukwonago, but you will eventually get the hang of it. If you order a pop when ordering your food, the wait staff may pretend they don’t understand – it’s called a soda locally. When exploring neighboring Wisconsin cities, you’ll hear people call water fountains “bubblers.” Why? Bubbler is a brand name, like Kleenex, patented by the Kohler Company of Kohler, Wisconsin. Within the first month in your new home, you’ll likely hear a neighbor or coworker give directions using the phrase “Stop and go light” at some point during a conversation. Don’t try to correct them. Just think about it for a second. It does make a lot of sense. You betcha it does.
- Summer means Summerfest. To the hundreds of thousands of Festivalgoers, Summerfest is the greatest event of the season where you can see everything from local favorites to large acts like Bruno Mars and listen to every venue from reggae to rock. You will experience your first case of “music overload” as you check out each of the 11 stages spread throughout the 75-acre Summerfest grounds. Prepare yourself for the best music festival experience you could ever wish. Your new home is located in a bustling metropolis that offers its residents the benefits of living in a large city while feeling like a small town.
After spending your first year in Milwaukee, you will discover that the people of our little city are unlike anywhere else. You won’t be able to live here without finding a new family that will help you out no matter what. And, if you’re invited to a bonfire, go! Every night in Wisconsin is a bonfire night. One is happening somewhere in the state on any given evening. If you get invited to a Milwaukeean’s bonfire, you know they like you. Welcome home.
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