Moving to Milwaukee - Guide to Planning Your Move | My Move

Milwaukee’s Germanic heritage is as alive and well as its embrace of all things modern. With block parties, parades and still some of the best bratwurst in America, you’ll soon see why so many folks are happy to call the City of Festivals their home.

Moving Advice

Read the following tips to make your move to the City of Festivals worthy of a celebration.

If you’re moving to Milwaukee’s college neighborhoods, schedule your move carefully. Spring and fall are typically busy moving times of year and parking can get very cramped with more than one moving truck in a street.

Milwaukee winters are cold and often bring heavy snowfall. If possible, plan your moving date around the coldest months. In spring time after the snow melts, potholes appear. Keep a sharp eye on the road so your truck doesn’t get damaged.

Milwaukee’s called the City of Festivals for a reason. Check the city calendar before picking a moving date to make sure you don’t get stuck behind a parade!

For maximum convenience, remember to change your address online with USPS before moving to Milwaukee.

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Neighborhoods

When moving to Milwaukee, there are many neighborhoods to choose as your new home. There’s East Town, the cultural and business center; Historic Third Ward, with its bohemian vibe; Westown, where you’ll find numerous Arts and Crafts homes; and multi-ethnic Brady Street. Other neighborhoods to consider are University Hill, Bay View and Brewer’s Hill, as well as the suburbs of Brookfield and Cedarburg.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Milwaukee is 11.4 percent lower than the US average, which is great news for most people thinking about moving here. However, average income is lower as well, an important factor to keep in mind when seeking employment.

In 2011, the average household income was $32,216 per annum, which is significantly lower than the US average and another reason why it’s important that Milwaukee prices remain affordable. Helping to keep Milwaukee affordable, the city maintains an excellent public transportation system, and commuting is a viable method of getting to work. A benefit for families with school-age children and college students, Milwaukee spends approximately $1,200 more than the national average per student per year.

Getting Around

Milwaukee’s infrastructure is both extensive and well-maintained, and it’s easy to access all neighborhoods by both vehicle and public transportation. With an international airport to the south of the city and a regional airport to the northwest, you’ll have plenty of transportation options when moving to Milwaukee.

  • Roads: Milwaukee is served by a number of Interstate and State routes, as well as US highways. The most important are the I-94 that runs from north to west and the I-43 that runs from the southwest to the north.
  • Railroads: Amtrak operates passenger transportation between Chicago and Milwaukee several times a day.

  • Ferries: The Lake Express auto and passenger ferry runs from late spring to the fall and connects Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI.
  • Public transportation: Within city limits, the Badger Bus is the best way to get around. In addition, the Milwaukee County Transit System operates daily bus services between the City of Festivals and the surrounding county. 
  • Airports: If you’re moving to Milwaukee, know that the city is served by General Mitchell International Airport and Timmerman Field.

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Relocation Resources

With an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, the city’s jobless portion is lower than that of many other cities, and is almost one percent lower than the US average. However, there can still be some pretty steep competition when searching and applying for jobs in Milwaukee, an important fact to keep in mind when relocating.

Milwaukee actively promotes services for job seekers, and if you want to work for the city, check goMilwaukee for listings. You can also visit the Milwaukee Careers Cooperative for information about the job market, training and listings. The highly trained staff here is also available to help you apply for open positions and how to interpret any contract.

Media Outlets

You don’t have to be a stranger in town when moving to Milwaukee. You can catch up fast with local headlines and take a crash course on the city’s happening spots by checking out any of the following news outlets and publications.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In wide distribution throughout all of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lays claim to the largest circulation in the state with over 215,000 readers during the week and nearly 400,000 readers on Sundays. The newspaper was launched in 1995 when two long-running competitors, the Milwaukee Journal (founded in 1882) and the Milwaukee Sentinel (founded in 1837), came together. In that relatively brief time, the Journal Sentinel has earned three Pulitzer Prizes and a reputation for having little to no political bias in reporting. The newspaper is printed daily and covers news, business and jobs, sports, arts and entertainment, and events throughout Milwaukee.

Shepherd Express
A weekly publication that focuses on alternative news coverage with an emphasis on the Milwaukee arts and entertainment scene, the Shepherd Express began in 1982. Originally named the Crazy Shepherd after a line from an Alan Ginsberg poem, the Shepherd Express has grown to become one of the most widely read and distributed guides in all of Milwaukee. The newspaper has a weekly readership of close to 65,000, and is a must-have for anyone wanting a resident’s perspective on the best places in the city to dine, drink and appreciate the local arts scene.

Milwaukee Courier
Operating since 1964, the Milwaukee Courier is one of the city’s longest-running and most widely read publications catering to the African-American community in and around Milwaukee. Published once per week on Fridays, the Milwaukee Courier covers local news stories and politics, community events, health and fitness, faith and church, and also contains classified ads for job listings. Its weekly circulation is over 40,000.

Milwaukee Community Journal
Published twice weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays, the Milwaukee Community Journal is the largest publication in the state of Wisconsin geared toward the African-American population. With a readership well over 40,000, the newspaper publishes local, national and world news stories. The Milwaukee Community Journal also supports and promotes the Dr. Terence N. Thomas Memorial Scholarship for academic excellence.

Local TV News Channels
Stay up to date on developing headlines in Milwaukee and across the nation by tuning into the following major TV network affiliates:

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Climate

Be prepared for rapidly changing conditions when moving to Milwaukee. Thanks to its humid-continental climate and proximity to Lake Michigan, you’ll experience hot and humid summers with severe thunderstorms with a lot of precipitation, as well as cold winters with a lot of snow. Summer daytime temperatures average 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the winter, temperatures are usually around 20 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. In addition to moisture and precipitation, ranging from mist and rain to icy rain and snow, Lake Michigan’s huge water mass causes heavy winds when temperatures change, bringing noticeably different conditions after the sun goes down. 

Located on Lake Michigan and in a fertile state with lush vegetation, Milwaukee’s climate creates a paradise for blooming trees, shrubs and plants…and a nightmare for those who suffer from pollen allergies. Be sure to check the pollen count in your area and take appropriate health precautions before moving to Milwaukee.

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Schools

There are a number of good schools, colleges and universities that students moving to Milwaukee can attend. These are some of the most notable:

  • Meir Elementary, Whittier Elementary and Stormonth Elementary are among the best elementary schools.
  • Marquette University High School, University School of Milwaukee and Milwaukee High School of the Arts are some of the most noteworthy high schools.
  • Bryant and Stratton, Marquette University and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design are just a few of the higher educational institutions college students can attend after moving to Milwaukee.

Government

Before moving to Milwaukee, check goMilwaukee.com for the most current information about living and working here.

  • Though you don’t need a moving permit, it’s a good idea to check local parking restrictions, especially if you’ll be parking a moving truck overnight.
  • There aren’t any toll roads or bridges in or around Milwaukee.
  • After moving to Milwaukee, you can update your information or register to vote by mailing a Voter Registration Application to the City of Milwaukee Election Commission. You can also register at any public library, at City Hall or on Election Day at your voting site.
  • Trash and recycling are handled by the city’s Sanitation Services
  • If you buy a vehicle after moving to Milwaukee, you’ll be charged an excise tax of 5.6 percent.
  • If you’re from out of state, you must apply for a WI driver’s license at your local DMV as soon as you establish residency or within 60 days of moving to Milwaukee. An eight-year driver’s license costs $34.
  • You’re required to register your vehicle at your local DMV within 60 days of moving to Milwaukee. It costs $75 to register a passenger vehicle, $69.50 to transfer a title and $10 to record a lien. Administration fees may apply.
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