In my recent travels to Milwaukee, Wisconsin I have joyfully discovered the abundance of great food and beer that the city has to offer. I have also discovered the need to be especially diligent about working out while here as pounds of cheese and fried food washed down with beer do not work wonders for the training regime or how I look in spandex. Fortunately, Milwaukee has the Atwater Stairs.
Located north of downtown Milaukee, on the shore of Lake Michigan, the Atwater stairs are composed of 6 sections of 20 or so wooden stairs running from the Atwater Beach up to Atwater Park. About 6 feet wide, these stairs are steeper and taller than the typical cement variety; requiring leaping almost more than running. In addition to the stairs, there is a paved path winding down to the beach, which allows you to take a break from the stairs when your knees feel like exploding. The park where the stairs are located allows for stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee area shoreline, making this workout one of our favorites when visiting the city. Additionally, the stairs are close to our Lake Drive/Water Front Loop, and can be added in to break up a longer run in the area.
In the summer, when the stairs are the most crowded, the best time to do them are in the early morning or late afteroon hours. However, because the stairs are so wide there seldom a problem with people getting in your way. The Wisconsonites may look at you funny as you lap stairs while they down fried (fried!) cheese curds, but they’re always good about stepping to the side.
Do it because: intense stair workout, beautiful area, and a great way to enjoy the beach without having to get in the water.
Distance: Atwater Park is about 4 miles north of downtown Milwaukee.
Directions: From downtown Milwaukee (intersection of North Broadway and East Wisconsin Avenue), head east on E. Wisconsin toward N. Milwaukee St. Turn right at E. Mason Street and then make a slight right on to North Lincoln Memorial Drive. Turn right on Lake Drive/WI-32. The park will be on your right. There is usually plenty of parking along Lake Drive or in the nearby neighborhood streets.
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