Located on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, known as "A Genuine American City," is rich in history and culture. Milwaukee attracts visitors year-round thanks to the popularity of local breweries such as MillerCoors and Sprecher, and thanks to Summerfest, a hugely popular annual music festival. Milwaukee also boasts several museums and numerous outdoor activities offered by the beautiful Lake Michigan. A great way to get to know the city is to take a look at a few of its neighborhoods.
Juneautown, the city's downtown area, is named after Solomon Juneau, the city's founder. Water Street and Wisconsin Street, both located in the heart of Juneautown, are considered two of the city's liveliest streets. This area is also home to many historical buildings including City Hall, the Pabst Theater, the Iron Block Building, and the Mitchell Building as well as many other historic sites. St. Mary’s Church, located on North Broadway Street is the city's oldest Catholic church. This church boasts a beautiful Annunciation painting located above the altar. The painting was actually a gift from King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Another church of interest is the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is important to note that depending on whom or what you consult, sometimes both Juneautown and Kilbourntown, a neighboring district, are actually considered smaller areas within a larger district known as the East Town.
Kilbourntown, separated from Juneautown by the Milwaukee River, was founded by Bryon Kilbourn, Solomon Juneau's rival. As the two men were rivals, so were the neighborhoods they established. Kilbourn refused to align his bridges with those of Juneautown, a decision that anyone who visits the city can see today. Kilbourntown is home to many large architectural projects. Today one will find the Riverside Theater (designed in Mediterranean Revival style), the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee Public Library and the Grand Avenue Mall.
Yankee Hill exudes old-fashioned, high-end charm. This neighborhood was once owned by Solomon Juneau, the city's first mayor. It was therefore a hub for the city's government and business. Today visitors will find several beautiful churches as well as many lovely row houses designed in various styles including Victorian and Gothic. Two of the city's most beloved hotels, the Astor and the County Clare Irish Inn and Pub are located in Yankee Hill, and the neighborhood also hosts the annual summer jazz celebration in Cathedral Square Park, which lies between Yankee Hill and Juneautown. Yankee Hill is also home to Shank Hall, a small but popular local concert venue.
Brady Street, a bustling area near the Yankee Hill neighborhood, had already become a commercial district by the 1880s. Once considered the city's version of Little Italy, Brady Street then became an example of New Urbanism thus attracting those whom some refer to as hipsters and bohemians. Following an effort to gentrify the area, Brady Street is now filled with cafés and boutiques, but it has still managed to maintain some of its eclectic, avant-garde flair. Aside from shopping and dining, notably Dragonfly Vintage Goods and Gifts and Apollo Café, St. Hedwig's Roman Catholic Church, a well-known Polish church built in 1871, is also located on Brady Street.
The Lakefront is the beautiful area along Lake Michigan. Aside from all of the outdoor activities the lake has to offer, this area is also home to Discovery World, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Betty Brinn Children's Museum, the Milwaukee Country War Memorial, and the Henry Maier Festival Park, and outdoor entertainment venue where many concerts take place. Each June locals and visitors alike can take part in the Lakefront Festival of the Arts.
Walker's Point has a slightly industrial yet hip feel as it encompasses many trendy warehouse-turned-lofts, art galleries, restaurants (notably La Perla and Steny's Tavern & Grill), and nightclubs including several gay bars such as Fluid. Thanks to its rising popularity, real estate in the area has become increasingly expensive.
Avenues West, boasting such notable establishments as Marquette University, the St. Joan of Arc Chapel, the Haggerty Museum of Art, the Rave Eagles Ballroom, the Tripoli Shrine Temple, and the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion refers to the area west of downtown. Once known for drug dealing and prostitution, the entire area has undergone some serious revamping. One of the city's most popular hotels, the Ambassador, is located in this neighborhood, and it, like the surrounding area, has regained its upscale reputation. In 1996 some human remains were unearthed leading the city to believe that this was the site of Milwaukee's first cemetery potentially dating back to Native American tribes.
Brewer's Hill, named for its proximity to the former Schlitz Brewing Company and the Lakefront Brewery is one of the city’s highest points of altitude. Considered a very family-friendly neighborhood, Brewer’s Hill features a variety of architectural styles including Greek Revival and Queen Anne homes. While the neighborhood fell into a slump in the 1960s and 70s, it has subsequently been revitalized causing real estate prices to rise drastically.
Menomonee River Valley
Much like Walker's Point, the Menomonee River Valley is a trendy neighborhood filled with hip lofts and funky establishments, most of which are former warehouses. It is not surprising that this neighborhood has attracted an increasing number of real estate developers. The area is frequented by a very bohemian, artsy crowd. The Menomonee River Valley's pride-and-joy is the Iron Horse Hotel, a state of the art boutique hotel that opened its doors in 2008. It boasts the chic Branded bar/lounge and the trendy Smyth restaurant. The Menomonee River Valley's other famous resident is the Harley-Davidson Museum.