Milwaukee is the world's hottest new travel destination, according to Airbnb. Here's why it won the top spot.

ShutterstockMilwaukee, Wisconsin, is the world’s most up-and-coming destination.
  • Milwaukee,Wisconsin, is the world’s most up-and-coming destination, according to Airbnb.
  • Airbnb looked at bookings made for 2020 as of September 2019, and found that Milwaukee’s year-over-year rentals had increased by 729%.
  • Milwaukee is one of the most German metropolitan cities in the US, and home to North America’s largest annual German Fest.
  • It is also home to the world’s largest music festival, the 11-day Summerfest.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If your bucket list reads like a directory of some of the world’s most far-flung and expensive destinations, you may be happy to hear that the latest hot spot might be a little more affordable and closer to home.

According to Airbnb, which just released a list of the top 20 destinations to visit in 2020, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the world’s most up-and-coming destination.

Airbnb looked at bookings made for 2020 as of September 2019, versus those in the same time frame in 2019 to determine which of the world’s destinations has been seeing the highest increase in interest.

Turns out, Milwaukee saw a 729% increase in bookings for 2020, in part due to the fact that it will be hosting the Democratic National Convention next year.

Politics aside, the small Midwestern gem has plenty to offer. Keep scrolling to see why it’s the world’s newest hot spot.


Milwaukee is also known as Brew Town, Cream City, and the German Athens.

f11photo/ShutterstockMilwaukee sits on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Germans constitute Milwaukee’s largest immigrant group. According to the Encyclopaedia of Milwaukee, “almost half of city of Milwaukee residents reported that they, or their parents, had been born in Germany.”


Its German roots are still present everywhere, from the city’s brewing industry to the sausages and pretzels present on most bar menus.

ShutterstockMiller Park stadium is home to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Both Pabst and Miller beer were founded in Milwaukee by German brewmasters that had immigrated, and visitors are reminded of the brewing industry at every turn, be it by the city’s Major League baseball team called the Milwaukee Brewers, to the stadium they play in called Miller Park stadium.

Visitors should take a tour of the Miller Brewing Company and catch a Brewers game at Miller Park.


In fact, Milwaukee is home to North America’s largest annual German Fest.

Courtesy of Visit MilwaukeeWomen dressed in traditional German dirndls are a common sight at German Fest.

2020 marks the 40th anniversary of German Fest, which takes place during the last weekend in July every year and whose tagline is “Get your Deutsch on.”

The event features parades and polka, beer and sausages, and events like a lumberjack competition and “Dachshund Derby.”


And no trip to the city would be complete without visiting Pabst Mansion, the former home of the city’s most famous German beer baron.

puroticorico/Wikimedia CommonsThe Pabst Mansion belonged to the founder of the Pabst Brewing Company.

The museum was once the private home of Captain Frederick Pabst, the German immigrant founder of the Pabst Brewing Company. It was built in 1892, and has 66 rooms and 14 fireplaces, acting as a shining beacon of the American Dream.


Von Trier, a century-old, German-themed bar, is also a local favourite.

BrookeM26/TripAdvisorVon Trier used to be known as Rieder’s.

Stained-glass windows, a heavy wood bar, and a hearty menu of German favourites has kept this place open in some form or other since the 1930s.


Sometimes, the city of just under 600,000 residents is referred to as Smallwaukee.

Courtesy of Visit MilwaukeeThe Third Ward Riverwalk is a scenic stroll.

It is often overshadowed by its Chicago neighbour, which sits only 90 miles south.

That said, Milwaukee has a whopping 191 distinct neighbourhoods.Popular ones include foodie-friendly Walker’s Point, shopping favourite Historic Third Ward, and nightlife hot spot East Side.


Despite the nickname, it’s home to Summerfest, which is the world’s largest music festival — a title confirmed by Guinness World Records.

Courtesy of Visit MilwaukeeSummerfest is an 11-day music festival.

Summerfest was established in 1968, and named the “world’s largest music festival” by Guinness World Record in 1999, a title it still claims today.

About 850,000 people attend the lakefront festival each year. The 11-day event draws some of the biggest names in music, and features around 800 acts on 11 stages, ranging from country to rock to pop and reggae.


In 2018, Vogue called it “the Midwest’s coolest (and most underrated) city.”

Courtesy of Visit MilwaukeeSurfers flock to Bradford Beach for its freshwater waves.

According to Vogue, a building boom and influx of new restaurants and bars is causing “the city’s diverse and highly walkable neighbourhoods [to experience] a revival that’s drawing visitors like never before.”


It’s home to the famous Santiago Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum, for instance.

Checubus/ShutterstockThe Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the United States.

With over 20,000 works of art, by artists ranging from Georgia O’Keeffe to Andy Warhol, the Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the United States. Its futuristic design is courtesy of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who is also known for designing New York City’s Oculus, among other buildings.


The city features a robust food scene.

Courtesy of Visit MilwaukeeBraise sources its ingredients from local farms.

Milwaukee is also home to 10 James Beard-recognised chefs, which you can find at restaurants like Braise, a farm-to-table spot whose locally-sourced ingredients come from more than 40 Wisconsin farms, and Bavette La Boucherie, an artisan restaurant and butcher shop whose sustainably-raised meats are butchered and prepared on-site.


The Milwaukee Public Market is a great way to sample a variety of local eats.

ShutterstockThe Milwaukee Public Market features tons of local eats.

Frommer’s named this one of America’s best public markets. It features around 20 local vendors selling everything from fresh seafood to small-batch coffee.


Visitors can’t miss a classic Friday fish fry, however.

Kenny Yoo/Visit MilwaukeeA traditional fish fry usually includes perch, potato pancakes, coleslaw, rye bread, and corn.

Brought to Milwaukee by the mostly Catholic European settlers, the tradition of foregoing meat on Fridays has evolved into a fun way to kick off the weekend for many locals.

A traditional Friday fish fry usually includes locally-caught lake perch, potato pancakes, coleslaw, rye bread, and corn.


There’s also 105 miles of scenic bike lanes.

Courtesy of Visit MailwaukeeBublr Bikes are popular among locals and visitors alike.

Bublr Bikes, a local bike-share system, has stations all across Milwaukee.


And its views of Lake Michigan don’t get old.

Courtesy of Visit MailwaukeeMilwaukee has dozens of beaches.

Milwaukee is home to 1,400 acres of beaches and parks on the water.


It is no surprise then that the Democratic National Convention chose Milwaukee as its location for 2020.

Courtesy of Visit MilwaukeeThe 2020 Democratic National Convention will take place at the Fiserv Forum.

The convention is scheduled for July 13 to 16, 2020, at the Fiserv Forum.

2020 will also see the reopening of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, the unveiling of the new Milwaukee Symphony Centre, and the new 3rd St. Market Hall.

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