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Third and Fifth Wards, East Side, Bay View, Walker’s Point, Wauwatosa, Downtown Milwaukee and North Shore

Apr. 9, 2010
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Third and Fifth Wards

In Milwaukee’s Historic Third and Fifth Wards, just south of Downtown, sleek modern structures share real estate with century-old factories and foundries that have found new life as art galleries, condos, design firms, trendy boutiques and see-and-be-seen dining hot spots. The neighborhood’s renaissance during the mid-1990s was anchored by the presence of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), a bustling theater community on Broadway, and its close proximity to the popular Summerfest grounds. Locals and visitors alike stroll along the expansive Third Ward RiverWalk on the banks of the Milwaukee River for access to some of the city’s best art galleries, studios and museums. The 2005 opening of the Milwaukee Public Market, a year-round indoor public market, added vitality to the districts, making the Third and Fifth Wards two of the most sought-after residential and commercial neighborhoods in Milwaukee. (Sarah Biondich)

East Side

The East Side, nestled between the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan, is rich in history and blessed with an unrestricted view to the horizon (and the sunrise and moonrise) along its magnificent lakefront. Solomon Juneau landed here, married an American-Indian woman, and Milwaukee was born. With the Upper East Side dominated by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Lower East Side still possessed of a benevolent, counterculture energy, the area welcomes people of every bent. The life from the best beaches in town extends to Downer Avenue, North Avenue and Brady Street in warm weather. The street life, night life, wide array of interesting restaurants, bars and coffeehouses that have long characterized this area make it as cosmopolitan a neighborhood as the city offers. There are more sidewalk café tables here than anywhere in town. (John Schneider)


Photo by Dave Zylstra                             Photo by Bob Israel

Bay View

Why do I love Bay View? The thing I love most is the true neighborhood mentality that exists here. I grew up in rural Wisconsin and crave the small-town feel that Bay View provides. We have numerous neighborhood events such as Chill on the Hill, Tour de Farce, Polar Bikes, the Farmers’ Market and Bay View Bash. There is always something happening and so many amazing individuals making it happen. Bay View prides itself on supporting local businesses. For a good meal, try Honeypie or Café LuLu. If you need something a little quicker, hit up Classic Slice, Bella’s or Hi-Fi Café. Try Hector’s or Riviera Maya if you’re craving Mexican. Beer? We got it. The Palm Tavern, Burnhearts, Romans’ Pub and Sugar Maple will make you oh so happy. Cocktails, you ask? Try At Random—it’s definitely an experience. Other bars I would recommend are Newport, Tonic, Blackbird, Bay View Brew Haus, Lee’s and Frank’s Power Plant. Live music: Cactus Club and Club Garibaldi are the tried and true, with the Brew Haus quickly making its mark. Also, check out: Rush-Mor Records, Bay View Bowl, Luv Unlimited, Freya, Milwaukee Community Acupuncture, Anodyne, Sparrow Collective, Boulevard Theatre and Groppi’s. (Holly DeShaw)


Photo by C.M.DeSpears    Photo by Coree Coppinger

Walker’s Point

Diversity. Walker’s Point offers it in spades. From its eclectic group of residents and restaurants to bars and nightclubs, the variety is impressive. Delicious lunch and dinner options range from American fusion at Crazy Water to French classics at Chez Jacques, organic offerings at The National, casual upscale fare at Triskele’s, spectacular pizza at Olive Pit and Transfer, and Mexican food that makes this corner of town popular with neighborhood residents and nonresidents alike. Walker’s Point is also home to an extensive array of nightspots. Whatever your mood, you can likely find a neighborhood bar to match it. Highlights include a mellow night at Tony’s, jazz at Caroline’s, celebrated drink specials at Fluid, an impressive beer selection at The Bomb Shelter, and dancing the night away at La Cage. With so much diversity in Walker’s Point, if you happen to find a place that doesn’t quite suit your fancy, there’s likely to be something entirely different right around the corner. Of course, if food and drink aren’t on the agenda, there’s still plenty to do, such as hunting for antiques along First Street, touring the Great Lakes Distillery, or catching a show at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center. (Rebekah Kopec)


Wauwatosa is one of the metro Milwaukee area’s gems. With wide, tree-lined streets and stately stone houses, Tosa is the perfect place for those who want suburban living with a decidedly urban feel. Located less than 15 minutes from Downtown, Wauwatosa boasts vast parks, great restaurants, cozy bars and all the amenities from malls to movie theaters. Whether you choose Balistreri’s Italian American Ristorante in the Village for handmade ravioli with truffle oil, or John’s Sandwich Shop on North Avenue for an asparagus pine nut omelet, Wauwatosa will satisfy the most discerning foodie. After your meal, stroll along the Menomonee River Parkway to Café Hollander for a glass of Karmeliet, an authentic Belgian Tripel boasting an alcohol content of over 8%. If you’re looking for that multimedia experience, head to the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse to enjoy a beer and a movie—at the same time. Settle into the comfy couches and lose yourself in a classic or first-run film while sipping a local brew or a glass of wine. Wauwatosa combines the best of the city with the best of the suburbs in a neighborhood that has something for everyone. (Matt Astbury)

Downtown Milwaukee

While Downtown Milwaukee technically covers a whopping 120 blocks, locals generally consider the area bordered by Juneau Avenue to the north, Sixth Street to the west, St. Paul Avenue to the south and Lake Michigan to the east to be the core of Downtown. Within this area, audiences can take in an expansive variety of performing arts, from opera companies and a world-class symphony to a nationally acclaimed ballet company and an array of professional dance and theater companies. In addition to being the home of the Milwaukee Bucks, the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, Marquette University’s men’s basketball team and the Milwaukee Iron of the Arena Football League, the Bradley Center plays host to a number of touring acts. The Pabst Theater, the Riverside Theater and Turner Hall Ballroom form a venerable triad that lures weekly visits from world-renowned performers. A well-designed RiverWalk on the banks of the Milwaukee River and an ample selection of unique restaurants elevate this Milwaukee neighborhood to a popular tourist destination. (S.B.)

North Shore

The North Shore has long been one of Milwaukee’s most desirable clusters of suburbs, with fine housing ranging from modest but elegant cottages and ranches to palaces overlooking the lake. The area includes many community landmarks, including Jack Pandl’s restaurant, the Fox Bay Cinema Grill and Winkie’s department store in Whitefish Bay. The Shorewood business district along Oakland Avenue is crowded with boutiques and bistros. For night life in Mequon, check out Harvey’s Central Grille (formerly Chip and Py’s); in Fox Point, try the NSB Bar and Grill (formerly North Shore Bistro). (Morton Shlabotnik)


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