Here at Milwaukee Record, we employ a sentient machine known as the Great Job Milwaukee Bot to keep track of the city’s many appearances on dopey online lists, as well as any time a national publication deigns to acknowledges our pathetic Midwest existence. In the past, the infernal machine has brought us news that Rolling Stone likes Summerfest, that Travel + Leisure thinks we’re ugly as dirt, and that Vogue thinks Milwaukee is “the Midwest’s coolest (and most underrated) city.” Fun!

And now for a Great Job double-header: On Wednesday, WalletHub canceled its yearly trip to Jamaica and released its 2019 list of “Best & Worst Cities for Staycations.” Out of 182 cities, Milwaukee came in at a respectable 52. Honolulu, Hawaii topped the list (no shit), while Chula Vista, California ranked dead last. Great job, Milwaukeeans who want to vacation in their own city!

“In order to determine the best staycation spots,” WalletHub says, “WalletHub compared 182 U.S. cities—including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state—across three key dimensions: 1) Recreation, 2) Food & Entertainment and 3) Rest & Relaxation.” Things like parks, playgrounds, and walking trails per capita were considered for Recreation; festivals, museums, and restaurants per capita were considered for Food & Entertainment; beaches, weather, and, um, massage costs were considered for Rest & Relaxation. Milwaukee ranked 45, 44, and 130 in the respective categories.

And now for the retiree bit. Earlier this month, online loan facilitator LendingTree hitched up its pants and revealed its 2019 list of “The Most Popular Retirement Destinations for Seniors.” Florida and Arizona cities dominated the top 10, of course, but nestled in at #4 was an unlikely sunset-years destination: Milwaukee?

Yep, using data from 2016-17, LendingTree determined that 5,790 retirees moved into the metro Milwaukee area, while 1,866 moved out. That made for a positive net gain of 3,924 retirees. Great job, Milwaukeeans 65 or older!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, no doubt pleased at the strong showing of its readership, got a few quotes from LendingTree:

“Milwaukee is certainly not a traditional city when one thinks of retirement destinations, but despite the harsh winters, Milwaukee does have plenty to offer potential retirees,” said Derek Miller, a senior research analyst at LendingTree who worked on the study.

Miller said, for example, the median cost of a home is 10% lower here than in the neighboring Chicago metro area, according to 2017 Census Bureau estimates.

“If you are a Chicago retiree accustomed to life along Lake Michigan but looking to reduce expenses in retirement, Milwaukee would make a lot of sense,” Miller said. “After all, moving far is not all upside for retirees: Less time with grandchildren, new ways of life to adapt to and new friendships need to be made.”

Meanwhile, Milwaukee Record reached out to noted retiree Frank Costanza, who had this to say: “This is Frank Costanza. You think you could keep us out of Milwaukee? We’re moving in lock, stock and barrel! We’re gonna be in the lake! We’re gonna be in Serb Hall! We’re gonna be all over those lawn bowling courts in Lake Park! And I dare you to keep me out!”

About The Author

Avatar photo
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.