Known as the “Big City of Little Neighborhoods,” Milwaukee’s unique neighborhoods reflect its history. From the street that served as the center of Milwaukee’s German population to a revitalized warehouse district filled with trendy arts and dining, each neighborhood offers its own flavor and entertainment.
Avenues West/Marquette University
Gothic spires join ultra-modern buildings on the 90-acre Marquette University campus, home to the Haggerty Museum of Art and the legendary St. Joan of Arc Chapel, originally built in France in the 15th century and believed to be the oldest structure still used for its original purpose in the western hemisphere. The splendidly restored Pabst Mansion, once home to beer baron Captain Frederick Pabst and his family, reigns supreme in Avenues West.
Just south of the city, Bay View is a hip and eclectic neighborhood popular with families and young professionals alike. Home to one of the city’s most popular bar districts, the extensive beer lists at Sugar Maple, Roman’s Pub and Palm Tavern made them the only bars in Milwaukee to be named in Draft Magazine’s America’s 100 Best Beer Bars (2015). From record shops and great music venues to dining, Bay View combines city fun with a charming neighborhood feel.
Oscar Wilde once said, “If what you want isn’t on Brady Street, you probably don’t need it” and this bon mot is just as true now as it was in 1882. One of the city’s oldest Italian neighborhoods, it became home to the local hippie scene in the 1960s and remains an eclectic and unique neighborhood popular for diverse shopping options during the day and the vibrant bar scene at night. For a taste of the neighborhood’s Italian history, stop at Glorioso’s Italian Market for a meal from the deli or to peruse the shelves of imported specialties.
One of Milwaukee’s trendiest neighborhoods, this is a great spot for dining, nightlife and shopping. Quirky and vibrant, you’ll find outdoor fun at beaches and trails by the lakefront and plenty of great bars and restaurants to explore as the night wears on.
Located to the east of the Milwaukee River, this downtown neighborhood filled with a mix of popular local attractions, like the city’s theater district and lakefront museums, plus restaurants, boutique shops, hotels and Cathedral Square Park, home of popular summer concert series Jazz in the Park and the French festival Bastille Days.
Historic Third Ward
Some call this revitalized warehouse district Milwaukee’s SoHo. The trendy neighborhood is home to art galleries, theaters, boutiques, specialty stores, restaurants and brewpubs, as well as the Milwaukee Public Market and Milwaukee’s permanent lakefront festival grounds, Henry Maier Festival Park.
Menomonee River Valley
Once a center of industry, this valley has been revitalized through several “green” initiatives. Take advantage of the newly vibrant outdoors with a walk along the Hank Aaron State Trail or biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking or canoeing at the recently-opened Three Bridges Park. This is also home to major attractions like Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, the Harley-Davidson Museum and Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Located on the bank of the Milwaukee River, this diverse and vibrant neighborhood is full of bohemian flair. Full of cafes, studios, galleries, nightclubs and more, Riverwest is famous for a “DIY” attitude and is home to a number of volunteer-run initiatives including a co-op bookstore, bar, grocery and a community-run radio station.
The New York Times called this Point neighborhood “the city’s go-to district for innovative artisanal food,” and it’s quickly becoming a foodie paradise. Stop by Wisconsin's only urban creamery, sample handmade ice cream and patronize farm-to-table restaurants and fun pubs, many of which are LGBT friendly.
Just west of downtown, suburban Wauwatosa is home to a charming, riverside village center. It's a walk-around neighborhood where the streets are lined with historic buildings and upscale boutiques that beckon discovery. Wauwatosa is also home to major shopping centers like Mayfair and the Mayfair Collection.
Nowhere is Milwaukee's German heritage more alive than on historic Old World Third Street, where businesses like Usinger’s Sausage and the Old German Beer Hall thrive. You'll also find the BMO Harris Bradley Center and UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena where Milwaukee's sporting events and biggest concerts rock the stage.