MKE bus tour: Exploring sites around the city

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Photo by Joceline Helmbreck

There are several easily accessible bus stops on campus.

All full-time students at Marquette are given a bus pass that offers them unlimited access to Milwaukee and the opportunity to explore the city at no cost. And yet, even with several easily accessible bus stops on campus, many do not take advantage of this opportunity.

Maybe some students find public transportation daunting. Others may simply believe there are few things to do in Milwaukee that are worth the bus ride.

Regardless of what may be stopping students from using their bus passes, Milwaukee is a diverse city with a unique culture and it may be worthwhile to hop on a bus, take in the sights and venture a step or two outside of campus.

Students can begin with a miniature bus tour of Milwaukee’s south side.

Using the bus stop on 12th St. and Wisconsin, students can enjoy a one-stop bus ride to the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, also known as “the Domes.” Students take the BLU Bus towards National & 70th and get off at National and S 25 St. 

The Domes are botanical gardens with regulated climates to encourage the growth of tropical and desert plants.

Due to new health and safety regulations, certain services are temporarily suspended, such as guided tours. However, the Domes are still open to the public for free. They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on other weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Reservations can be made online.

After enjoying the exotic gardens at Mitchell Park, students can take the opportunity to explore the neighborhood, Clarke Square, a gateway into Milwaukee’s south side.

While in the area, they can visit local shops as well as appreciate public art like the Cesar Chavez statue located in front of Supermercado El Rey.

When students are finished exploring the neighborhood, they can make their way over to the next stop: National & 19th St.

From there, they take the BLU Bus towards Good Hope/91st and get off at 2nd St & National. Then they walk to the stop at 1st St. & National and get on the GRE Bus towards Airport and get off at Howell & Lincoln.

From Howell & Lincoln, students can walk over to Voyageur Book Shop, a used bookstore in Bay View. It is stocked to the ceiling with books ranging from a variety of prices, including some signed books, such as “The Western Lands” by William S. Burroughs.

And if students enjoy reading, but novels are not their speed, they can walk over to Collector’s Edge Comics South, instead. Collector’s Edge is a comic store with an emphasis on superhero comics located just south of KK & Lincoln, this bus tour’s next stop.

From KK & Lincoln, students get on the 15 Bus towards Chicago/Drexel and get off at KK & Ellen.

After getting off at KK & Ellen, students can make a quick stop at Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. for a warm drink before making their way over to South Shore Park.

The park, which is located on Lake Michigan, is open to the public.

Although it may be a bit cold for a swim in the lake, students can still go and enjoy the beach landscape and park. They can pass time by playing volleyball in the sand courts, walking through the Oak Leaf Trail or having a picnic.

This is the last stop on the tour before heading back to campus. 

From South Shore Park, students head over to the stop on KK & Trowbridge. From there, they take the 15 Bus towards Bayshore and get off at S 1st & Virginia. Then they walk to 2nd St. & Virginia from which they hop on the BLU Bus towards Good Hope/107th. They get off at the same stop where they started: N 12th St. & Wisconsin.

While it may be valuable for students to use their bus passes to start exploring Milwaukee, it may also be useful to keep in mind that health and safety regulations are being enforced around the city to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Milwaukee County Transit System is no exception to this.

The MCTS requests that anyone riding the buses wears a face covering at all times. Social distancing is expected as well as limited interactions with others on the bus. Anyone who feels sick is asked to stay home.

The busses act as a necessary form of transportation for many of the city’s residents. So, failure to abide by health and safety guidelines could jeopardize their health and livelihood.

If students are interested in bussing around Milwaukee, but they would rather personalize their comings and goings, they can plan their trip using a route generator provided by the MCTS. All students need to do is input where they are starting and where they want to go, the buses will do the rest.

This story was written by Charlotte Ives. She can be reached at charlotte.ives@marquette.edu.