5 Great Neighborhoods in Milwaukee

Learn more about neighborhoods in the city of Milwaukee, WI.
By: Kristine Hansen
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BAY VIEW

Encouraged by an easy downtown commute, transformation of this South Side neighborhood began about seven years ago -- from a working-class neighborhood to a great place for young, first-home buyers. A three-bedroom bungalow, a popular style here, can be scored for around $200,000. 

Flagship Address: Kinnickinic Avenue

Often called “the new East Side,” this neighborhood has all the goods of its hip, older sibling, such as cafes serving Fair Trade coffee, a yoga studio, a natural-foods grocer, vintage furniture and clothing shops, and upscale ethnic restaurants. There is even a public-library branch and community center. South Shore Park hosts a Saturday-morning farmers market each summer that’s got no shortage of energy (think violinists, dancers and cooking demos).

The Neighbors: Mix of old-timers turned empty nesters and a newer crop of artistic, creative and politically leftist individuals, couples and those with small children

Also consider: St. Francis

The Neighbors: Quieter and more conservative, but the proximity to Bay View (touching its northern border) wins out, as does a reduction on housing prices. 

EAST SIDE

Beginning about 10 blocks north of the downtown core is where many recent college grads get their first apartment, for its proximity to the hottest bars and lounges.

But literally on the same blocks are new-construction condos (including high-rises on Prospect Avenue, the city’s glitziest address) and historic mansions, costing more by proportion (you’d be hard-pressed to find a quality house for under $300,000), but providing convenience as most everything is within walking distance.

Flagship Neighborhood: Brady Street

Brady Street was settled by the Italians and there’s still that flavor in Peter Sciortino’s cookies and breads and the fresh mozzarella from Glorioso’s. Yuppies and hippies come together over cups of tea at Rochambo and shopping ranges from fine lingerie to a plain old hardware store.

Also consider: Riverwest

The Neighbors: Grungier and more politically active, the neighborhood even has its own newspaper, a natural foods co-op and Peace Action Center

WHITEFISH BAY

With a reputation for good schools, and a small-village feel, some streets are named after California cities, like Hollywood and Santa Monica. Homes are pricier than the region’s average. 

Flagship Address: Silver Spring Drive

On Silver Spring Drive are several home furnishings shops, cafes (including Starbucks and a local roaster) and a packed-to-the-gills Hallmark store called Winkie’s for all your gift needs. Bayshore Mall anchors one end and Lake Michigan is on the other.

Also consider: Shorewood

The Neighbors: Extremely politically active, and the most Democratic-leaning of all the suburbs north of downtown. One example of community activism is a grassroots movement to bring healthier foods into the high school.

WAUWATOSA

Just west of downtown along Wisconsin Avenue, a collection of Tudors and bungalows that cost under $250,000 (for the most part) attracts families due to the city’s stellar schools. Lot sizes are small but there’s a great neighborly feel. 

Flagship Address: State Street

The former post office has been revamped into a home furnishings store and there are a few eateries at which to celebrate an anniversary or meet with friends for lunch. There’s even a wine and olive-oil bar.

Also consider: Washington Heights

The Neighbors: Closer to downtown and the I-94 exits, homebuyers are mostly artists, trendsetters and creative types looking for a quieter enclave but not wanting to compromise on comfort.

HISTORIC THIRD WARD

Within the last 10 years, boutiques, restaurants and art galleries have joined the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in this neighborhood only a few blocks south of downtown. So have condos inside restored warehouses with character (think Cream City brick and tall windows with skyline views).

Flagship Address: Broadway

The Neighbors: Chicagoans own some of the condos but so do those craving a Soho kind of feel with performing arts theatres, art galleries and even a Champagne bar just a few doors down from home

Also consider: Brewers Hill

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