Milwaukee works to increase tourism from Chicago after decline due to pandemic

BySarah McGrew, WTMJ
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Milwaukee works to increase tourism from Chicago amid pandemic decline
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Visit Milwaukee wants to remind people of all there is to do just north of the state line.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Visit Milwaukee is working to rebuild tourism in the Cream City, so representatives made a trip to Chicago to remind people in the Windy City what our neighbors to the north have to offer.

Just a short Amtrak train ride from Chicago allows visitors to enjoy what Milwaukee has to offer, like SummerFest, great beer and the 2021 NBA champions.

"Walking down Wisconsin Avenue and enjoying the sculptures or one of our many museums -- It's only a 90-minute trip to enjoy all the great things of Milwaukee," said visit experience manager Tony Snell with Visit Milwaukee.

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According to tourism economics, Illinois residents are the second-largest group of visitors to visit Milwaukee after Wisconsin residents, making up 19% of all visitors, WTMJ reported.

Now, Chicagoans make up just over 3% of all visitors to the Cream City after limited travel during the pandemic.

That's why Visit Milwaukee wants to remind people of all there is to do just north of the state line.

"There's a lot of fun up there and it's a lot easier to get to than people might think, especially if they take Amtrak trains that go from right here in downtown Chicago to downtown Milwaukee," said Amtrak representative Marc Magliari.

On the ride between the two cities, the Brew City representatives even gave away SummerFest tickets. That's on top of even more Milwaukee themed prizes that were given away inside Union Station to lure people up north.

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One Chicago woman said she is already planning her trip.

"Let go up to Milwaukee for a weekend and do a beer tour, and you know, visit cousins and maybe go to Potawatomi," said Beverley Walker.

But it's more than just fun and games. Getting people back to Milwaukee will help boost the economy.

Last year during the pandemic, visitor spending in Milwaukee went down by 37%, so Visit Milwaukee hopes trips like this one to the Windy City will bring back more people to the Cream City.