Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The county seat of Milwaukee County, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Milwaukee's estimated population in 2015 was 600,155. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with an estimated population of 2,046,692 as of 2015. Ranked by estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee is the 31st largest city in the United States.
The first Europeans to pass through the area were French Catholic 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 incorporate as the city of Milwaukee. Large numbers of German immigrants helped increase the city's population during the 1840s, with Poles and other immigrants arriving in the following decades.
Known for its brewing traditions, Milwaukee is currently experiencing its largest construction boom since the 1960s. Major new additions to the city in the past two decades include the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Wisconsin Center, Miller Park, an expansion to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena, while the under-construction Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center is scheduled to open in 2018. In addition, many new skyscrapers, condos, lofts and apartments have been built in neighborhoods on and near the lakefront and riverbanks.