Milwaukee is a big city with many great small town features, you might say Milwaukee is a city of neighborhoods. Elsewhere on the site I have broken down the city into 6 general locations for condo buyers but this section drills down a little deeper and covers the neighborhoods even more precisely.
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Working, living, and playing are all enjoyed in the multi-faceted downtown district of the city, home to many of the region’s most dazzling special events. Downtown is a world where cozy sidewalk cafes meet Broadway style theater and arts; where unique restaurants and galleries are just blocks from boutique shopping and astonishing waterfront condos. Recently, more than 2,500 new condominiums, lofts, townhomes, and apartments have been added to the Milwaukee skyline, attracting thousands of new residents to this convenient locale. Investments totaling $540 million have caused the downtown population to rise dramatically. Many professionals and even families are deciding to leave the suburbs for a close-in location near the city’s finest cultural and social activities, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Renewed interest in downtown as a residential choice has driven streetscape improvements that reflect the charm of the city’s attractive RiverWalk.
The acclaimed home to some of the city’s most eclectic entertainment, trendy retail, and residential districts, the East Side nestles between Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee River, the downtown district, and the University of Wisconsin. Renovation and revitalization continue to play a vital role in this long-established but bustling corner of the city. Residents enjoy a convenient location near major healthcare centers, one of the state’s leading institutions of higher education, downtown attractions and amenities, and Lake Michigan water sports and outdoor recreation. Watch video tour
This upscale neighborhood known as East Town offers an inviting collection of shops, art galleries, restaurants, and unique attractions. As part of the greater downtown district, this neighborhood comes alive during Bastille Days, a four-day Parisian party that draws enthusiastic crowds. Other highlights include East Town Market, Jazz in the Park, Gallery Night and Day, Cathedral Square Park, historic and contemporary venues for the performing arts, and an assortment of outstanding choices for dining. Architectural wonders in this neighborhood range from turn-of-the-century opulence to the distinctive appeal of Art Deco.
Diverse and colorful, Historic Brady Street is located near the downtown district stretching nine blocks running east to west from Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee River. The streets are a showcase of vintage architecture that reflects the popular styles between 1860 and 1930. First settled by Irish, German, and Polish immigrants, this area became a haven for Italian families in the 1930s and later a popular home for Russian immigrants. During the 1960s, Brady Street transformed into the “Haight-Ashbury” of Milwaukee, an eclectic collection of world restaurants, shops, taverns, lounges, salons and cafes.
Residents of this long-established area enjoy an attractive combination of old and new as well as modest and marvelous, all wrapped in the historic charm. The district contains a rich architectural mix of Greek revival, Italianate, Stick-style, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival buildings dating from the 1850s to the 1920s.The neighborhood enjoys a dramatic hillside setting that overlooks downtown Milwaukee. Distinguished as one of the first permanent neighborhoods in the city, the early decades of Brewer’s Hill development brought a wide cross-section of income levels and social classes. A small-town feeling prevails today in a convenient area that offers excellent access to downtown amenities and attractions and lakefront recreation.
This neighborhood stretches from west of 27th Street to 35th Street, with Highland Avenue to the north and Wisconsin Avenue to the south. Distinguished as one of the city’s oldest and grandest neighborhoods, Concordia received its name from Concordia College, now the site of the Indian Community School. One of the most prestigious addresses in the early 1900s, the neighborhood remains a showcase of elegant manors and magnificent mansions. Renovation efforts have accelerated in recent years. Families have returned to the neighborhood to purchase and lovingly restore homes and mansions to their former glory. The community offers residents short commute times and that old-world craftsmanship found in midsize homes and large mansions that can’t be purchased for any price today. The vibrant downtown district, Miller Park, and lakefront recreation are just minutes away.
The appearance of this turn-of-the-century warehouse and manufacturing district may initially deceive newcomers, however behind the historic facades lie Milwaukee’s best-kept secret. Filled with old-world architecture, the Historic Third Ward once served as a bustling wholesale and manufacturing district. In recent years, the area has experienced a renaissance as a revitalized mixed-use neighborhood. The highest concentration of the city’s art galleries join numerous restaurants, unique specialty stores, architects, advertising agencies, graphic designers, artists, Milwaukee Public Market, the Broadway Theater Center, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. The Milwaukee River, the Lake Michigan harbor, and the downtown district all border Third Ward.
Stretching between the southeast portion of Wauwatosa and the near west side of Milwaukee, the Jacobus Park area spans the area from Hawley Road west to 68th Street. It also covers the area north to Wisconsin Avenue, west to 72nd Street, north to Menomonee Parkway, east to Trenton Place, and south to Hawley Road. Within this area is a collection of residential streets and a medley of businesses. The neighborhood is dotted with green spaces and is named for its centerpiece, Charles Jacobus Park. A grant from the Jacobus Family Foundation has created a nature preserve in this already attractive recreational area. Within the lush park are 150-year-old oaks, a plunging ravine, abundant birds and wildlife, and wildflowers. In addition to the natural beauty, numerous neighborhood activities bind this tightly woven community.
Situated between Humboldt and Holton Streets is the lively district known as Locust Street. One of the city’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods and is home to a large artist population. Nightlife abounds in popular breweries, taverns, cafes, and entertainment spots in this historic neighborhood. The crowning jewel of the district is the Locust Street Festival of Music & Art, often called the “Best Fest in Riverwest.” The celebration is well known as the longest-running free neighborhood festival in Milwaukee. Street performers, a competitive run, music venues, artists, a children’s area, street performers, unique exhibits, and a wide array of food and beverages make this a regional favorite.
Milwaukee North Side
The North Side area of Milwaukee has undergone remarkable changes through the decades, beginning with Croatian immigrants who were later joined by German, Jewish, and African-American families. The sheer diversity of this neighborhood has contributed to a strong sense of community. Newcomers will discover many active organizations, churches, community centers, and local schools working together to maintain the cohesive feeling and spirit of the area. The North Side offers a neighborhood in the truest sense of the word, where residents are consistently striving to make it a great place to live.
Woven together in a richly diverse population, the welcoming neighborhood of Sherman Park also spans blue-collar and professional income levels. Sherman Park residents unify their voices for political strength and devote thousands of volunteer hours. Commercial development is extensive, including many of the city’s retail jewels. The $5 million Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club, farmers markets, the Uptown Business District, the ShermanFest block party, and close proximity to Washington Park add to the attraction. Lindsay Park is home to the blue-domed Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, which is located at 92nd and Congress streets. The last major project designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it combines two Christian symbols – the circle and the cross – into a stunning monument. Many streets in the area are canopied by gigantic oaks and elms, while flower beds and gardens dot manicured yards. The housing selection features an abundance of brick and Lannon stone homes and other vintage styles characterized by leaded-glass windows, rich woodwork, and elegant fireplaces. Bungalows are also common in this ethnically diverse neighborhood.
Story Hill, Miller Park
Located just north and east of Calvary Cemetery, it has one of the highest concentrations of brick, stone and stucco homes in the city. Defined by the rolling Menomonee River, Story Hill perches on a bluff overlooking Miller Park. Most of the housing was built between 1915 and 1955, reflecting the complete array of architectural styles and trends from those decades: Prairie, Craftsman, Milwaukee bungalows, Period Revivals, Cape Cods, and ranch homes. Blue Mound Road offers a cluster of popular restaurants and taverns, although Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, remains the area’s dominant landmark. Residential areas are almost completely encircled by parkland for serenity on game days. Festivals and celebrations include block parties that are among the city’s most elaborate and well attended.
Walnut Hill, Metcalfe Park, Washington Park
Although Historic Walnut Hill is one of the longer established enclaves in the city, the attitude of modern residents is described as a “pioneering spirit.” This century-old neighborhood with homes that date back as far as the 1800s is committed to widespread renewal. Pockets of pride punctuate the area with outstanding architecture, meticulous landscaping, brilliant flower beds, and rich vegetable gardens — some of which are community gardens. This area is closely aligned with the other historic neighborhoods of Washington Park and Metcalfe Park. Originally designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, Washington Park remains the West Side’s most important recreational center and one of the largest green-space expanses in central city, attracting joggers, swimmers, picnickers, and sports enthusiasts. Metcalfe Park was named for Ralph Metcalfe, one of Milwaukee’s finest Olympians.
The first major settlement of this area was by Serbian immigrants who worked in industry. Later, an influx of Latin immigrants added their own rich culture and traditions. After decades of neglect, this unique area is rousing renewed interest. Businesses have begun to flourish throughout the neighborhood, including superb new restaurants. The strong sense of community in this area is evidenced by active groups like the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts and the Walker’s Point Development Company, the latter working to restore beautiful historic structures. The Latin culture is celebrated in churches, schools, restaurants, and retail stores. Many artists, photographers, and musicians have been drawn to the area for its beauty, history, lively night life, and more affordable housing.
Newcomers to the Washington Heights neighborhood discover the charm of historic homes, a strong neighborhood association, prospering small businesses, and close proximity to Milwaukee’s business district. Describing itself as “in the city, out of the ordinary,” this lively neighborhood along Milwaukee’s western border offers close proximity to downtown Considered remote by early inhabitants, may have contributed to its independent spirit and unique flavor which continues today. The development of Washington Park was a driver for Washington Heights growth. Most of the homes were built prior to 1940, featuring quality construction, primarily stucco or brick exteriors, and interiors filled with fine appointments and attention to detail.
Milwaukee West Side
Wealthy industrialists dominated the West Side in the 1850s, many with well-known names like Pabst, Mitchell, and Plankinton, and Mitchell. These imposing structures can still be seen today, particularly at the museum housed in the former Pabst Mansion. South of Grand Avenue became a haven for Irish working families who migrated from the Third Ward. Over the decades, Germans from the North Side joined Jews, Greeks, and African-Americans to create a wonderfully diverse culture on the West Side. Some sections of the neighborhood even blend tidy working-class homes with majestic mansions on the same block. Washington Park has remained popular for its green space, community events, and recreational facilities. New residents join with long-established families, enjoying the area’s many ethnic restaurants and vintage taverns.
The close-in area known today as Fifth Ward boasts a long history of change and redevelopment. Handsome new lofts mirror the upscale image of the neighboring Third Ward, and tree-lined streets are dotted with appealing boutiques and chic restaurants. This central core neighborhood is considered by many to be the Third Ward’s younger and trendier sibling, drawing an eclectic mix of residents including artists and young professionals with an eye toward architectural renovation and an appreciation for the convenience of a central city address.
Milwaukee Park East
The former “freeway neighborhood” of Park East is emerging as a vibrant mixed-use urban district. This “north of downtown” neighborhood is roughly bordered by McKinley Avenue, Juneau Avenue, 8th Street, and Jefferson Street. The razing of a freeway loop opened up the opportunity for rapid transformation and revitalization, anchored by the Knapp Street Bridge that links the east and west ends of the neighborhood. Since the removal of the freeway, the city has approved projects representing an investment of $339 million, and more projects have been proposed. Boulevards lined with corporate buildings and entertainment centers offer close proximity to outlying redevelopment projects. New and renovated residential options add even more appeal.