First-year’s guide to Milwaukee

Here’s a few tips and tricks for students who are new to the city.

Milwaukee is a thriving and bustling city full of life, culture and excitement. For the natives, it’s comforting. But for the incoming first-year and transfer students, it can be daunting.

This year Marquette University will welcome 1,056 out-of-state, first-year students on campus. Many of these students come in with very little knowledge of the city, and that can be frightening, as they are in new city and no have no idea where to go for a good meal or a fun time. Luckily, other students are willing to lend a hand. 

There are too many restaurants to count, but almost everyone has an opinion about the best food in Milwaukee. Thankfully, most students have a restaurant suggestion and even a recommendation from the menu. Hannah Cehaic, a junior in the College of Business Administration, knows a great place for anyone in need of a tasty breakfast.

“Sweet Diner is definitely my favorite,” Cehaic said. “Their chocolate chip pancakes are amazing, and their avocado toast, where they put spices and a poached egg on top.” Sweet Diner can be found in the Third Ward at 239 E Chicago St.

For anyone with a rampant sweet tooth and has been searching for a fix, don’t worry, there are plenty of options around. Aside from the well-known Insomnia Cookies, ice cream and custard parlors have heavy presence within these neighborhoods.

“[Purple Door] has vegan options, so also catering to the dietary restrictions, and then there’s Kopp’s, which is the best custard, in my opinion,” Cehaic says.

Food is important, but experiences make up campus life. By far, Marquette basketball games are the most popular event to experience with new friends.

“The atmosphere, it’s intoxicating, even if you’re not somebody who’s into sports,” Josh Lordeus, a junior in the College of Education, said. “You get to feel that school pride. It’s a great place to be.”

Beautiful places flourish and flow seamlessly between the academic and recreational aspects of the city. Even after attending Marquette for a few years, Lordeus still believes that Sensenbrenner Hall has the most stunning view. 

“Near the top floors the windows are almost enveloping the entire floor,” Lordeus says. “It’s a good place to study.” The beautiful view from the windows brings in rays of natural light to illuminate the room, full of comfortable furniture for lounging.

Studying is a necessity, but new students should remember to have fun. Walking to activities is a great way to get extra exercise. But when places are just a bit too far, students can always hop on the bus. If anyone lacks experience with public transportation, don’t worry because there are quick and easy ways to learn. 

“I didn’t know how to use the bus first semester of my freshman year, but second semester I kind of went exploring with my friends,” Cehaic says. “We got the bus pass app, and we were able to see what line was going where, what time.”

For some fun activities off campus, the student body also has opinions. They include hiking, visiting the Mitchell Park Domes, exploring the Milwaukee Public Market and spending a day at Bradford Beach. 

“I’d say my most popular recommendation is the Public Market because there [are] a lot of food options,” Cehaic paused for a moment. “There’s also little shops where you can buy beef jerky. You can buy Marquette and Milwaukee souvenirs which is pretty cool.”

While the move to college can be overwhelming for new students, they shouldn’t fears of the city discourage them from exploring.

This story was written by Izzy Fonfara Drewel. She can be reached at