One of the things I love about (the idea of) attending conferences is getting to cities or parts of the country you might not visit otherwise. Admittedly, I’ve only been to a handful of conferences prior to this one, and only one was in a city I had never visited (VAM, AASLH in Richmond; SIHC in Williamsburg; one DecArts conference/seminar at Winterthur). The frustrating thing is being so busy with the conference sessions that you don’t get to see as much of the host city as you would like.
All that is a prelude to saying that Milwaukee, WI, is a really fascinating city with wonderful restaurants and (so I hear) interesting museums. I’ve seen a tiny bit of part of downtown thanks to the inevitable Seeking Out Dinner. A grad student mixer took me to the Riverwest neighborhood where I saw the bar/bowling alley home of a Polish fraternal athletic order and a public house (bar) owned by a co-operative. I’ve managed to find a source for fried cheese curds and a variety of local microbrews. Sadly, I doubt I’ll make it to any of the museums within a few blocks of the convention center, or down to the historic Third Ward.
In the future, I will either schedule in time to get out and see the cities where conferences are, or try to pad a day on one end of the trip to just explore. I love to travel and conferences provide an excellent justification. As it is, I think I will have to try and work in a return visit to Milwaukee someday, to see all the things I’ve missed this time.