In Buzz

Cranston, 250 N. Water St.

In Buzz

Anomaly Design Shop, 816 E. Brady St.

In Buzz

Broad Vocabulary, 2241 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

In Buzz

Ambassador Hotel, 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave.

In Buzz

Shoo, 241 N. Broadway

Milwaukee LGBT Guide

Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on March 21, 2007 at 5:35 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.

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A Place to Rest Your Pretty Head
Most of the large chain hotels downtown are approved by the Travel Alternatives Group, tagapproved.com, a seal of approval based on non-discriminatory employment practices and an assurance that the staff have received sensitivity training on the concerns of LGBT guests. However, Milwaukee has several smaller hotels that offer gay visitors the local character and attention one can't get from a national chain:

The Ambassador Hotel, 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 342-8400, ambassadormilwaukee.com. Recently restored to its original Art Deco glory, the Ambassador offers luxury rooms and suites, and serves up elegant meals at Envoy, its onsite restaurant. All the rooms are non-smoking. In the Marquette University neighborhood, the hotel provides shuttle service Downtown and to major attractions.

The Hotel Metro, 411 E. Mason St., 877-638-7620, hotelmetro.com. This 64-suite hotel greets travelers with a cozy lobby with a fireplace, a well-stocked bar serving creative drinks, valet parking, and a helpful staff. The rooftop spa offers an exercise room and hot tub. Hotel Metro welcomes small pets, too.

The Kilbourn Guest House, 2825 W. Kilbourn Ave., 414-344-3167, kilbournguesthouse.com, is a gay-friendly B&B with five unique rooms. Business travelers will appreciate wireless internet access throughout the house, and leisure visitors will enjoy the historic house's three parlors and baby grand piano. A real taste of Milwaukee architecture and history, located off the beaten path in the Marquette area.

Pencil Us In
Milwaukee is proud to offer a number of annual LGBT events that draw visitors from across the state and nation. A few events you won't want to miss:

PrideFest
Milwaukee's PrideFest, pridefest.com, two and a half rainbow-draped days of fun, is generally held in early June. The 2006 festival was graced with performances by comedian Margaret Cho and club music icon Martha Wash, and drew almost 24,000 visitors. In addition to live performances, fest-goers can enjoy nightly fireworks, a dance tent, and plenty of fried food, shopping, and educational events.

LGBT Film/Video Festival
Held each autumn, the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival (www3.uwm.edu/arts/programs/film/lgbtfilm) screens national and international work by and about LGBT people. The 10-day 2006 festival was host to the U.S. premiere of John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus," and filmmaker events, feature films, shorts, and documentaries.

Annual Outdoor Events
Milwaukee is known as the "City of Festivals," thanks to the cultural festivals happening every summer weekend at the Summerfest grounds (summerfest.com), so you've got no excuse to stay inside. There are plenty of other events that draw LGBT visitors to Milwaukee's great outdoors. Hosted by the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, the Rainbow Home and Garden Tour is a June outing eagerly anticipated by landscape and interior decorating aficionados. The Saturday Softball League's Dairyland Classic competition (Labor Day weekend, ssblmilwaukee.com), the annual Wisconsin AIDS Walk (September, aidswalkwis.org), or the Lakefront Marathon (October, badgerlandstriders.org/lakefront) will also get you moving, even if it's just cheering on the sidelines.

In Case of Emergency
Milwaukee's vibrant LGBT Community Center, 315 W. Court St., (414) 271-2656, mkelgbt.org, offers a Referral Line that links visitors and locals alike with gay-friendly therapists, doctors, attorneys, and other professionals. Call the main desk (weekdays 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Saturdays 6-10 p.m.) for referrals or to find out about the Center's other resources which include a library, computer center, and youth drop-in programs.

A Gay Place on a Great Lake
I know Milwaukee's got a certain image. I'll admit, even many of us locals were stunned when Girlfriends magazine ranked Milwaukee the no. 1 U.S. city for lesbians. But given our progressive neighborhoods, fantastic parks, world-class cultural events, spectacular festivals, and the amiable natives, it's no surprise that more and more LGBT visitors are making their way to Milwaukee.

Oh, and by the way, the gaydar went off for Lenny and Squiggy, too. (But, c'mon, what about Carmine?! -ed.)

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Talkbacks

hardgeminiguy | March 24, 2007 at 1:17 a.m. (report)

well written, researched article! and milwaukee went from ONE gl organization in the early 1970s--GAY PEOPLES UNION-to about 80 lgbt organizations today. everything from the nations second oldest lgbt foundation--cream city foundation to bowling and soft ball teams to a lgbt history project that is working to save our history through the lgbt archives at uw-milwaukee. thank-you, jerry johnson

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kay man | March 21, 2007 at 4:56 p.m. (report)

no, mitch-sak, that area would be called lock up your car doors and don't stop at the stop signs.

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mitch-sack | March 21, 2007 at 9:37 a.m. (report)

What about the area west of Riverwest? At or near center/north and 15th up to 72nd? Is that area gay friendly? Would you recommend that gay and lesbian couples, let alone straight couples stray into that neighborhood? Just wondering.

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