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Milwaukee, from the Algonquian word meaning "pleasant land," is the largest city in Wisconsin. French missionaries founded the city in 1846 as a center from where they could spread to neighboring areas. Milwaukee has always been known for its industry, manufacturing factories, and financial service firms. Milwaukee's fame as a multi-faceted city open to newcomers is only recent, as the city has a history of racial and social segregation that it is now fighting hard to erase.
Milwaukee benefits from being on the shores of Lake Michigan, which gives the city a sea-like air, attracting many visitors. Many green spaces, including Veteran's Park, are dotted throughout Milwaukee, and give visitors a chance to enjoy boating, picnicking, and strolls. Milwaukee's temperate summers make the city the ideal place for outdoor activities. In winter, Milwaukee receives frequent snowfalls, and many of the parks are transformed into impromptu ice skating and cross-country skiing rings.
Milwaukee, known to locals as "A Great Place on a Great Lake," holds several waterfront festivals in summer, with Summerfest being the most important. Attracting almost a million visitors every year, Summerfest is the largest outdoor festival in the United States and a record-holder as the world's largest outdoor music-related event. Summerfest is also important to the economy of Milwaukee, as tourists flock to the city for a week of spending and sightseeing.
Milwaukee is home to two internationally-famous museums: the Milwaukee Art Museum and the America's Black Holocaust Museum. The Milwaukee Art Museum is as famous for its building design as it is for the Georgia O'Keeffe work being exhibited inside. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this Wisconsin landmark features a 217-foot wing-like structure which opens and retracts over the whole museum depending on weather. The America's Black Holocaust Museum is the country's most important tribute to the history of slavery and racial injustice.
Other popular museums and cultural attractions in Milwaukee include: Discovery World Museum, the Florentine Opera, the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, and the Betty Brinn Children's Museum, where children can experiment with science, history, and performing arts. This unique Milwaukee museum is a must for those traveling to the area with children and looking for a way to keep the little ones entertained on a rainy afternoon.