Milwaukee, with an estimated population of 578,887 residents, is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin. The area was originally inhabited by the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) American Indian tribes. The city got its name from an Algonquian word "Millioke" which means "Good/Beautiful/Pleasant Land." Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan it was once known as a manufacturing and beer brewing leader. Milwaukee saw significant population declines as businesses moved from the area or closed due to foreign competition. However, today there are still several Fortune 1000 companies that call the area home. These include Briggs & Stratton, Joy Global, MGIC Investments, Harley-Davidson, Rockwell Automation, Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, Johnson Controls, Manpower, Inc., Midwest Airlines, and Master Lock.
In January of 2000, McGill University in Montreal ranked Milwaukee 6th in a list of U.S. and Canadian cities with the highest number of university/college students - approximately 70,000 for all combined. Universities in the area include the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Cardinal Stritch University, Concordia University Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Washington County, and the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. Colleges that call the city and surrounding area home are Alverno College, Carroll College, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Institute of Art and design, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Mount Mary College, Wisconsin Lutheran College, and St. Francis Seminary.
Over the years, the city has worked to update its image with the revitalization of the downtown area. These efforts include the Milwaukee Riverwalk, Milwaukee Art Museum, the Midwest Airlines Center and extensive renovations to the U.S. Cellular Arena. The city is home to a very diverse culture base, not only because of the academic population but also the many immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Hungary, and Poland- as well as the many American Indian tribes that still live in the area along with an influx of African Americans who moved there during the industrial boom from the southern United States. This resident base contributes greatly to the wide range of cultural, historical, and arts-centered support and activity in the area. Some of the notable public attractions include The Milwaukee Art Museum, America's Black Holocaust Museum, The Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World Museum, Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, Milwaukee County Zoo, the Charles Allis Art Museum, the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, and the Betty Brinn Children's Museum.
Milwaukee advertises itself as the "City of Festivals" because of its number of outstanding summer festivals and events; like Summerfest and Indian Summer, which celebrate the variety of ethnic and socially diverse groups that call the area home. From the many music and arts events held throughout the city at venues like the Marcus Amphitheater, The Northern Lights Theater, Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, and The Rave, residents and visitors can experience almost every genre of music; many from internationally famous artists. The performing arts are also well-represented in the area with organizations like the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Ballet, and the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.