Milwaukee is the biggest city in Wisconsin and 23rd largest in the United States. It is in the county of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. Its estimated 2008 population was 604,477. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 1,739,497 as of 2007.
The first Europeans to pass through the area were French missionaries and fur traders. In 1818, the French-Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846 Juneau's town combined with two neighboring towns to integrate as the City of Milwaukee. Huge numbers of German and other immigrants helped increase the city's population during the 1840s and the following decades.
Once known almost exclusively as a brewing and manufacturing inspiration, Milwaukee has taken steps in recent years to reform its image. In the past decade, major additions to the city have included the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Midwest Airlines Center, Miller Park, an internationally renowned addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the Milwaukee Auditorium. As well as, countless new skyscrapers, condos, lofts, and apartments have been constructed in neighborhoods on and near the lakefront and riverbanks.