Recently, while out walking my dogs, a sweet little family approached me, brandishing a map. Unfortunately, they didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak their language, so for a few minutes we simply gesticulated wildly at one another, trying to figure out where they were attempting to go.
Then the mother in the group finally shouted, “Bronze!”
“Bronze Fonz!”
In five years of living within strolling distance of downtown Milwaukee, I had to admit that I’d never gone to see one of its more famous landmarks. And here I was, confronted by people who had seemingly come from very, very far away with the specific intention of taking a family selfie with the legendary statue.
“I’ll pull it up on my phone,” I said, shamefully. “Happy Days, right?”
“Heyyyyy,” said the dad, giving me the double thumbs-up.
But fear not, even if you’ve never seen Happy Days or know all the words to the Laverne & Shirley theme song, there’s still plenty to enjoy in downtown Milwaukee, and fortunately, it’s all within walking distance of the 2017 CPI Instructors’ Conference.
Need to decompress between sessions? Got an open lunch break and want to stretch your legs? Haven’t figured out what you’re doing with that wide-open Thursday evening? Why not take a walk right outside the hotel, and participate in a once-in-a-lifetime art exhibition?
This summer, the city of Milwaukee is transforming Wisconsin Avenue into an open-air sculpture gallery. Artists from around the world have contributed pieces for display along one of our most well-traveled avenues (which happens to also be the site of our 2017 Instructors’ Conference). Come fall, these pieces will leave our city forever, heading either to other display venues or to private collections.
Our host, the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, is participating in this chapter of Milwaukee history by curating a special event in their own Secret Sculpture Garden. They’ll be featuring a “Walk of Wonder” by Joel Pfeiffer, who has been a significant part of our local art scene for some time. The garden is the perfect departure point a stroll to some of Milwaukee’s best sights.
Our city’s unique skyline, framed by the broad coast of Lake Michigan, invites open-air exploration. Low slung buildings make the eastern blue horizon its focal point, and most avenues lead east to the river, then to the lakeshore. From the Hilton, you can reach an assortment of locales on foot. For example, at the eastern end of Wisconsin Avenue, a beautiful lakefront path connects our Milwaukee Art Museum and our War Memorial.
Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward is another leisurely walk southeast from the hotel, and you’ll quickly spot the bright red marquee of the Public Market, which is a vibrant gathering place during the day or in the evening. Food, wine, flowers, fine art—and some of the best people watching in the city. The Third Ward itself blooms out around the market, and includes locally owned shops, galleries, a brewery, and some fantastic restaurants. Walking due south from the hotel, you’ll find the Harley Davidson Museum. Or, you can head just a block north and one more block west, and visit the Milwaukee Public Museum, which is probably one of the most engaging and creative natural history museums you’ll ever visit.
Attending FlexMKE puts you right in the midst of so many of our city’s best features. Rather than tell you my favorite spots, I would encourage you to discover your own the same way I did—by going for a stroll. (And helping any lost tourists Google the directions they need!) Relationships, growth, and camaraderie are best nurtured in relaxation and discovery, and we invite you to seek it out in the downtime that follows our robust schedule of engaging sessions and renewal training.
And if you need directions to the Bronze Fonz, I’ve got you covered:
  • From the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, walk a block and a half east on Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Walk up Old World 3rd Street, and attempt to not get enticed by any of the wonderful restaurants or bars along the way. Good luck!
  • Hang a right on Wells Street, and cross the river.
  • Take an immediate right onto North Riverwalk Way.
  • Bring at least one friend with long arms for optimal selfie-taking.
  • Don’t accidentally drop your phone in the Milwaukee River while you take your photo and upload it to the Instructor Community on Yammer.
  • Keep going down Riverwalk Way, and enjoy the breeze. You’ll eventually run into Wisconsin Avenue, which is a straight shot back home and a perfect opportunity to catch a few of those amazing art installations on your way.
We’ve timed it—you can get there from the hotel in 10 minutes, so you have no excuse. We look forward to the selfies!
Heyyyyy check me out with the #BronzeFonz at #CPIConf2017! #CPIselfie