Wisconsin – The Badger State

Wisconsin is known as both “The Badger State” and “America’s Dairyland” for its farms and rural landscape. Neither, however, is an official nickname. One of the reasons the state has loyal residents is that it embraces local culture and traditions. The state attracts great outdoors lovers from around the nation due to its 15,000 lakes and hiking trails.

Milwaukee, WI

Sitting on Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a festive waterfront town that is home to the nation’s largest summer festival known as “Summer Fest.” Organizers bill the event as the “World’s Largest Music Festival.” Tourists come from all over the country every late June through early July to enjoy this annual event that delivers a long list of well known bands. In 2018 the festival line-up featured a mix of contemporary and classic performers that included Imagine Dragons, James Taylor & His All-Star Band with Bonnie, Raitt, Florida Georgia Line, Jethro Tull, Journey & Def Leppard and Dave Matthews Band.

Milwaukee also is considered a “beer capital,” since it’s the home of Miller, Schlitz and Pabst. One of the turning points in history that made beer popular in the state was the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Schlitz boosted its beer shipments to Chicago, which led to its slogan “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous.” At one point Schlitz became the top beer producer in American but eventually was purchased by Pabst in 1999. Another local iconic brand is motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson, as motorcycle riding is very popular in the state. The company plans to attract younger riders with electric bikes.

The main routes running through the city are I-94, I-41 and I-43. Along Lake Michigan is I-794 and Highway 32, with both providing scenic views of the lake. Although Milwaukee is considered a major metropolitan area, it maintains a small town feel due to locals embracing local culture. Much of the city’s historic profile reflects 20th century industrial manufacturing, but it’s also home to many nice parks such as Mitchell Park, Veterans Park, Miller Park and Washington Park.

Balancing nature with technology is easy in Milwaukee, especially for sports fans. With the Dish Network and its award winning HD DVR technology, you get more than 200 national HD channels, along with international channels. As an incentive for new customers to sign up, Dish Network offers HBO®, Cinemax®, and Showtime® free for 3 months. It’s common for local residents to watch plenty of television shows during the winter when it’s often too cold to go outside.

Many Americans may perceive Milwaukee to be like the 1970s TV series Happy Days, which was set in the town during the 1950s. Burger stands and motorcycles are definitely a visible part of the culture. The popular spin-off show Laverne & Shirley was also set in Milwaukee during the same era. In many ways these shows portrayed the dreams and values of a broader midwest perspective. The local culture holds on to many long established traditions and celebrates regional identity.

What’s sometimes overlooked by outsiders is Milwaukee’s rich cultural diversity. DishLATINO has the best of Spanish and English language programming, making it a great learning tool for people who want to engage in bilingual communication. Hispanic residents make up 17 percent of the population, while African Americans comprise 40 percent. One of the city’s various slogans is “big city of little neighborhoods.”

Madison, WI

As one of America’s most celebrated college towns, Madison has a rich history in education and producing national success stories. The University of Wisconsin at Madison is the flagship college out of 26 campuses within the state’s university system. It was founded in 1848 and became a high profile educational model for the state following the Civil War.

With a population of over 250,000, Madison is the second largest city in the state next to Milwaukee and is the state capital. The city sits between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. The main vibe of the city radiates from the art and music community driven by the college scene. It’s also a land saturated with parks, covering over 6,000 acres, making up about 13 percent of the city’s area. James Madison Park is home of the widely praised “Opera in the Park” series featuring the Madison Opera. Overall, Madison has more park space per residents than any other American city, according to a 2014 Business Insider article.

Historically, Madison has been a center for progressive politics. Wisconsin was the birthplace of the Republican Party in the 1850s back when the party was progressive and focused on abolition of slavey as a primary theme. It started in the town of Ripon, about 75 miles northeast of the capital. The current Capitol was built in 1917, following four earlier buildings that housed the state governor, legislature and Supreme Court. The Capitol is the tallest building in Madison as mandated by legislation. It’s located on a block known as Capitol Square where you’ll find various stores and restaurants. The building underwent a major renovation that was completed in 2002.

Economically, Madison is considered a major global hub for venture capitalist deals. In 2018 Madison was ranked number 14 in the world for venture capitalist deals per capita by the Center for American Entrepreneurship. The organization also ranked Madison at number 40 for venture capital dollars per capita. Ionic co-founder Max Lynch attributes this honor to UW-Madison being a high profile university that produces many successful entrepreneurs. It’s also a top tier campus in America for highest rate of graduates.

Green Bay, WI

Wisconsin media devotes more news coverage and support for team sports, particularly football, than most other places. The Green Bay Packers are the NFL’s only publicly-owned team and they’ve written plenty of legendary history. Even when they have disappointing seasons, no one can take away the fact the Packers won the first two Super Bowls and a few others since. Overall they’ve won the most world championships (13) in American pro football history if you count championship prior to the Super Bowl. In the 2018-2019 NFL season the Packers were number 3 out of 32 teams with the largest home game attendance. You’ll actually see more Packer flags in Wisconsin than state flags.

The Packers play their home games at Lambeau Field, which opened in 1957 and has a capacity of over 80,000 seats, making it the fourth largest stadium in the NFL. The stadium is located on Lombardi Avenue, named after Coach Vince Lombardi, whose name is on the annual Super Bowl trophy since he led his team to the event’s first two championship victories. It’s actually the largest venue in the entire state, surpassing UW-M’s Camp Randall Stadium. Another historical footnote is that Lambeau Field is the oldest NFL stadium still in operation.

Packer fans have no problem packing the stadium even during freezing weather, which is why Lambeau’s nickname is “The Frozen Tundra.” The venue is also used for huge concerts for acts like Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Kenny Chesney. Diehard football fans should visit the Packers Hall of Fame at the Lambeau Field Atrium, which features touch screens with audio about Packer history.

Green Bay is near Lake Michigan, as its shoreline is a sub-basin of the lake, connecting with the Fox River. It’s the third largest city in the state and a little over 100 miles north of Milwaukee. Visitors learn quickly if they don’t know already that the “G” on flags all over the state stands for the Green Bay Packers. One way to make many friends in this region is to talk football.

For people who enjoy year round tourism, Green Bay Botanical Garden is a gorgeous place to explore nature. It has a wide variety of colorful plants and areas for family picnics. The facility covers 47 acres of display gardens and unique architecture. The garden keeps on growing in the sense new displays are added periodically, such as the recent addition of the Schneider Family Grand Garden, which has an amphitheater, grand stage and grass area for concerts. The venue, which includes a catering kitchen, has a capacity of 1,500.

Other interesting places to visit in Green Bay include various museums including the National Railroad Museum, where you can learn about the role trains played in Green Bay becoming an industrial center, particularly with the meat packing industry. The combination of faster transportation to supply chain destinations and the advent of industrial manufacturing machinery planted the seeds to the modern world. The museum presents history tours and special events for children.

Green Bay’s population surpassed 100,000 for the first time in the 2010 Census, which is just slightly more than the number of people who attend Packer games. But remember, people from all over the state, particularly Milwaukee, attend these games. If you plan on moving to Green Bay you’ll never run out of sports to watch. Whether you go to sports bars or watch games on TV at home, be prepared to meet a lot of fans of the Packers, Brewers, Bucs and NCAA college teams such as the Milwaukee Panthers and the UW-M Badgers. You can also watch games from around the world once you set up your satellite TV connection with Dish Network.

Wisconsin became known as the Badger State starting in the 1830s. The metaphorical name referred to miners who played the role of badgers by living in caves known as “badger dens.” Eventually the metaphor applied to all Wisconsin residents. The badger was adopted as the state animal in 1957. Wisconsin’s other nicknames besides America’s Dairyland and the Dairy State include the Cheese State and the Copper State. It could also be called the Paper State since it manufactures more paper than any other state.

Kenosha, WI

On the southeast corner of Wisconsin along Lake Michigan is the city of Kenosha with a population near 100,000. History of the land traces back thousands of years to Paleo Native Americans then the Ojibwa and Patawatomi tribes, who sold the land to the United States in 1833. Within two years a community called Pike Creek was forming with the arrival of settlers building log cabin homes. The name Kenosha was adopted in 1850, based on the Chippewa word Kinoje, which means pike.

Kenosha was the center for various automaker brands from 1902 to 1988, including Thomas B. Jeffery Company, which sold to Nash Motors then American Motors Corporation (AMC). Jeffrey, original maker of the Rambler, also made bicycles. The 1902 Rambler made history by being the first car with a steering wheel, replacing the tiller. Today a school and park named after Charles Nash covers nearly 50 acres on the west side of town. AMC’s plant was demolished in 1990 and became the site of HarborPark.

Overlooking Lake Michigan, HarborPark is a captivating setting for locals and tourists who appreciate natural beauty. An area of the park called Celebration Place is where countless festivals and other public events are held. It’s a recreational park for fishing, art appreciation and taking children to enjoy the playground. The Sculpture Walk features several privately-funded works of art, overseen by the Kenosha Community Foundation Arts Fund. Other attractions at HarborPark include Electric Streetcars, Kenosha Public Museum and Civil War Museum.

Downtown Kenosha is also on Lake Michigan with plenty of shoreline access. This area is known for shops, breweries and community events. Transportation includes trains, trolleys and electric streetcars. Several art supply shops indicate Kenosha is a community for artists. Highway 32 runs through Kenosha and connects with Milwaukee. It’s also the route toward Chicago, where many residents visit on the weekends and holidays.

Freezing Weather

The main downside to the state is the cold weather, where temperatures usually fall below zero degrees in the winter, but tend to stay closer to 25 degrees. In the winter the streets become very snowy, icy and slippery, but the state doesn’t require snow chains on tires. The buildup of snow on cars can damage a vehicle’s exterior. You’ll need to invest in heavy warm clothing and sturdy boots. The weather usually remains consistently cold until spring when the state takes on a more vibrant green appearance.

The good news for Wisconsinites who like to stay home and watch TV is Dish Network offers plenty of options and can be integrated with other home entertainment technology. Hopper whole-home HD DVR, for example, allows the user to pause, rewind and record live TV in any room with up to 2,000 hours of recording space. Furthermore, it can now be paired with any Amazon Alexa-enabled device.

If you like participating in or watching winter sports, Wisconsin provides several exciting options. Wisconsin Dells is a rock climbing and water park in the sunny months but in the snowy months it’s a haven for skiing, snowmobiling, sledding and skating. While the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena is used for ice skating and hockey games, two close ski resorts are Devil’s Head and Cascade Mountain. A very unique winter park is Williams Bay on Lake Geneva, which is considered the ice boating capital of North America.

If you’ve never experienced freezing weather then Wisconsin might come as a shock. But learning to live in colder environments is not that difficult if you invest in warm clothing and park your vehicle in a covered slot. You will be paying higher energy bills than in more mild climates, but there are plenty of ways to conserve. People who live in towns near Lake Michigan can be extremely cold in the winter. Due to these conditions many apartment complexes have indoor parking garages. In the summer you may encounter occasional loud thunder showers.

Services in Wisconsin

You’ll find a wide range of services throughout Wisconsin, many of which are national brands. For travelers who aren’t in a big hurry to get from city to city, Amtrak is a reliable rail service that follows Lake Michigan from the Illinois border to Milwaukee, then cuts across the state through La Crosse toward Minnesota. Amtrack motorcoach connecting trains and buses take passengers to cities and towns not on the main route, such as Madison. Riding trains or buses helps take the strain of congestion off both highways and airways.

One of the most delightful services you’ll find in Wisconsin is Dish Network – TV and high-speed internet bundles available for one convenient payment. This Colorado-based satellite provider has been ranked number one nationally in customer service by J.D. Power. With Dish Network you can be from any part of the world and enjoy international channels after relocating to Wisconsin. The beauty of satellite TV is that it’s one of the few consumer technologies besides the phone and internet that connects you with the rest of the world.

Another service in Wisconsin for travelers is Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. The airport announced plans in 2019 to renovate over 20 of its shops and restaurants. Airlines serving this airport include American Airlines, Southwest, Delta, United, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Allegiant and Volaris. The airport’s website gives you real-time data on parking availability, along with flight status on arrivals and departures.

Conclusion

Although it’s considered a midwestern state, Wisconsin has its own unique customs while still embracing many midwest traditions. It’s a land where mom and pop restaurants and sports bars are easy to find wherever you go. Regardless of where you live in Wisconsin, you can sign up with Dish Network and enjoy its 24/7 sports coverage with the Multi-Sport Pack. You’ll never miss a Packers, Brewers or Bucs game and you’ll have 24/7 customer support. You’ll also have access to an on demand library of over 20,000 TV shows and movies.