“That’s too far,” and “there’s nothing to do down there,” was often the response of my friends when I would invite them to our new home in Milwaukee’s southeast side. Pocketed between I-94 and the restless shores of Lake Michigan, the now vibrant and eclectic neighborhood of Bay View seems to have gotten a lot closer over the years. What many of my friends, including myself, dismissed as a drug-infested backwater in the ’80s and ’90s, has brushed off the road salt and stepped up into the 21st century, leaving those same friends now asking me how I had been so prescient to start buying property there early on. Prescient, as in seeing the future? Nah. The ability to see the future lay largely in how I saw the present, and at that time I saw a sleepy and affordable neighborhood, straddling Lake Michigan and just minutes from downtown, where I worked. Housing was affordable and the neighborhood seemed pretty safe. When I bought a ramshackle rental duplex on the north end of Bay View I was thrilled when a little café finally opened only one block away. It was cute, the food was tasty and my tattooed waitress, Betsy, was always friendly and on-point. I made it my lunch spot, and so did a lot of other people. Though it was hard to see at the time, those frontier women (Cam and Sarah) were in some ways the catalyst for a neighborhood just awakening to the possibility of revitalization. Shortly thereafter, more pioneering entrepreneurs looking for value and new markets began to establish themselves. The persistence and perspiration of those feckless adventurers nurtured the fertile soil of intrigue, and from it sprung new ventures eager to set their flags in this “uncharted” territory on the bay. The many new bars and salons, galleries and boutiques are only one sign of Bay View’s ascendence as Milwaukee’s hippest neighborhood. They wouldn’t continue to survive and thrive if it weren’t for the rising influx of new renters and homeowners. In the 12 years since we started buying properties in Bay View, our tenant base has changed from predominantly lifelong Bay Viewers, to a diverse group of students and creatives, working class and professionals from Milwaukee and beyond. From Chill on the Hill at Humboldt Park to the South Shore Farmers Market, from Pastiche Bistro to BYO Studio, there is an unmistakable energy that comes with change. I would liken it to the crisp freshness you feel in the air just after a summer’s rain. It tastes like salsa dancing and cucumber mojitos. It sounds like families laughing in parks and waves slapping on the hulls of boats. It looks like tattoos and puppies, and smells like fresh bakery. It is the many colors and faces of the new Bay View.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Ken Yandell, a resident of Bay View, is owner of BYO Studio.
1. Laze by the lagoon or take a leisurely stroll through Humboldt Park (3000 S. Howell Ave.). In summer, Chill on the Hill (voted best outdoor concert series) with local bands.
2. A Bay View staple since 1949, Mama De Marini’s (2457 S. Wentworth Ave.) is a quaint, family owned restaurant serving up Italian favorites, including pizza, spaghetti and mostacolli.
3. For cheap entertainment (and beer), look no further than Bay View Bowl (2416 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.). Try glow bowling on Saturday nights or grab a brew and rock out to the jukebox.
4. Café Lulu (2265 S. Howell Ave.) is a funky bar and café serving sandwiches, salads and soups as eclectic as the Bay View neighborhood it resides in.
5. Milwaukee’s only outdoor oyster bar, Barnacle Bud’s (1955 S. Hilbert St.), is a popular summer destination for boaters cruising the Milwaukee River.
6. Soft lights and bordello red walls set the mood for romance at At Random (2501 Delaware Ave.), a cocktail lounge that pours more than 100 blended drinks, like the famed Tiki Love Bowl.
7. Groppi’s Food Market (1441 E. Russell Ave.) still embraces the “corner store” concept. The shop’s Friday cookouts and wine tastings are a great way to meet the neighbors.
In 1986, I moved back to my beloved Wisconsin from New Orleans. Looking for a home I discovered a beautiful little city, Wauwatosa, nestled along the Menomonee River. I felt it was a large city with small-town attitude. The one deciding factor in my decision to locate in “Tosa,” as the locals call it, was its charming Village. Filled with historical buildings, it had the potential to become a visitor destination. I could see beyond the faded facades, the boarded windows and quiet streets.
In the past decade the Village has evolved into vibrant, urban spaces that people are embracing, living, working and playing in. Outdoor music concerts in the park, Tosa Farmer’s Market, Westside Artwalk and Village Green Street Fair are just a few events that have the surrounding neighborhoods teeming with life again. Award-winning restaurants and charming shops make “Tosa” the best to come home to.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Pamela Anderson is an artist and former owner of Underwood Gallery.
1. Browse the well-stocked shelves of The Little Read Book (7603 W. State St.), a small independent bookshop with a helpful staff at the ready.
2. Renowned for its exceptional design, Le Rêve Patisserie & Café (7610 Harwood Ave.) serves traditional bistro meals, and an assortment of breads and traditional French pastries.
3. Following a multimillion dollar makeover, Hoyt Park Pool (1800 N. Swan Blvd.) reopened in May after an eight-year hiatus, complete with sand play area, zero-depth entry and slides.
4. Yo Mama! (1349 Wauwatosa Ave.) lets customers create frosty treats with self-serve frozen yogurt (new flavors daily) and 35 toppings, including nuts, fruit and candies.
5. Neiman’s Candies (7475 Harwood Ave.) is a hometown favorite. Stop by this 75-year-old confectionary and sample its famous almond butter toffee.
6. The foundation of the successful Bartolotta restaurant group, Ristorante Bartolotta (7616 W. State St.) delivers traditional northern Italian dishes made from fresh ingredients.
7. Partial to one-of-a-kind, handmade jewelry? Artists at Magpie Jewelry & Metals Studio (7613 Harwood Ave.) craft custom-designed pieces.
8. Twirly Birds (7532 State St.) defines itself as an “occasional store,” reopening each month with a fresh selection of vintage finds and charming repurposed home décor treasures.
Eight years ago, Lela chose the Third Ward as home because it felt right. Our block was at the time home to wholesale produce guys, moving pallets back and forth from warehouse to trucks from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. We called it Commission Row Couture, truly a juxtaposition of lives between the lovely shopping ladies and the pallet moving men!
Now the block has evolved into a bustling array of restaurants and shops. Truly unique experiences await each guest at the stores and restaurants on our block, from Miles at the Wicked Hop serving the best Bloody Mary, to Sam, our store dog at Lela wagging his tail to greet you, or Kate, at SHOO, offering you a one of a kind sole!
The history of our neighborhood is apparent through the architecture and the feel of our streets … it still has a bit of grunge and edge to it. Artists and entrepreneurs live and work in the Third Ward. Residents feel comfortable walking the streets anytime of the day or night, and shops like Lela thrive being part of the creative energy that we call home.
ABOUT THE WRITERS
Carrie Arrouet and Stephanie Sherman are co-owners of Lela boutique.
1. Indulge your inner foodie with artisan breads, hand-dipped chocolate and local craft brews at Milwaukee Public Market (400 N. Water St.), home to about 20 specialty food merchants.
2. Even if you’re not in the market for fine paper products, it’s fun just to browse the unique selection of invitations, stationery and gift wrap at Broadway Paper (191 N. Broadway).
3. A Third Ward mainstay, Coquette Café (316 N. Milwaukee), serves affordable, delicious bistro-style French cuisine under new owners Chris Hatleli and Nick Burki.
4. For reasonably priced second-hand designer jeans, visit Jeanerations (240 N. Milwaukee St.), a unique resale shop specializing in denim fashions.
5. If you love all things Orient, check out Artasia (181 N. Broadway), an impressive gallery and museum featuring original art, antiques and unusual artifacts from China, Tibet and Nepal.
6. Milwaukee’s only women-founded, women-run theater company, Renaissance Theaterworks (158 N. Broadway) creates compelling theater that explores the feminine voice.
7. Pamper yourself with soul-soothing, plant-based hair, nail, skin and spa services from students at the Institute of Beauty and Wellness (327 E. St. Paul Ave.).
8. The Skylight Opera Theater (158 N. Broadway) has won national acclaim for its artistic excellence, versatility and virtuoso ensemble productions for more than 50 years.
9. Pick up a pingpong paddle and join the hip and trendy scene at SPiN Milwaukee (233 E. Chicago St.), a table tennis club and lounge co-owned by actress Susan Sarandon.
I grew up in La Crosse, and after going to school at Madison, I moved to New York City, where I worked and met my husband. When looking for a place in either New York or Wisconsin to settle, Milwaukee was our choice of cities because it had all the cultural and recreational things to offer as a larger city with a better quality of life, and Lake Michigan is beautiful.
But why Shorewood? When my husband and I looked to buy a house in the greater Milwaukee area, we drove up and down the streets of many of the local communities and did some research. We chose Shorewood for many reasons: the great schools, the beautiful and varied architecture, the proximity to Lake Michigan, and the small-town feel. Shorewood is a walking and biking community that borders Milwaukee, making doing things in the city very convenient. My husband takes the bus to work downtown, and we value living close to the university.
I appreciate that people in Shorewood care about our community — the village and the schools, and that many are involved in maintaining and improving it. We in Shorewood value education and are politically active. My family is lucky enough to live on one of the best blocks in Shorewood, where we are like one large family. Children are always playing outside, the women get together once a month in a book group (occasionally we have included the men), we have great block parties, and we all care about each other. We are lucky to live here.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Catherine Flaherty is an attorney who has lived with her husband, Charles, and four children in their Shorewood home since 1989.
1. For reasonably priced, fashion-forward looks, don’t pass up Goldi (4114 N. Oakland Ave.), coveted for its unique accessories and discount designer shoes.
2. Anglophiles will appreciate the traditional British pub atmosphere of Three Lions Pub (4515 N. Oakland Ave.). Stop in for a pint and stay for the witty banter.
3. Descend the formidable staircase from the top of the bluff at Atwater Park to reach Atwater Beach (4000 N. Lake Dr.), a secluded stretch of sand that borders Lake Michigan.
4. MillerCoors veteran Jeff Garwood recently opened Big Bay Brewing Co. (4517 N. Oakland Ave.), a tasting room and retail center featuring his craft beers, Boatilla Amber and Wavehopper Kolsch.
5. Have a hankering for corned beef or pastrami on rye? Satisfy your craving at locally famous Jewish deli Benji’s (4156 Oakland Ave.).
6. Who knew popcorn came in flavors like lemonade, bacon and BBQ? Those are just a few of the dozen or so gourmet popcorn concoctions at Goody Gourmet’s (4425 N. Oakland Ave.).
7. Embrace French culture at Alliance Francaise de Milwaukee (1800 E. Capitol Drive) . The organization’s Language Center offers French courses taught by native speakers.
When looking for a place to open up our jewelry store, Delafield was suggested. Instantly we fell in love with the city, from its pristine maintained grounds to the very friendly people and all of its unique shops, we knew this was the place for us. As we settled in, we found out downtown Delafield had a lot more to offer. The events, which seem to be never ending, keep people coming back all year long. In the spring and fall there are Art Walks, which are constantly expanding, bringing in new artists each time. Midsummer is the Block Party, a food and music festival that you don’t what to miss out on. Come late October is a pumpkin illumination and the business trick-or-treat that hundreds come out for — like no other we have ever seen. It doesn’t stop there: Even December has its tree lighting and breakfast with the reindeer, a chance to see Santa and feed his team. Whether you are looking for a great day trip, a long weekend or a place to settle down, Delafield has something for everyone.
ABOUT THE WRITERS
Steven Paul Kistner and Matthew Willert are owners of Steven Paul Designs in Delafield.
1. Wholly Cow (637 Main St.), a family-run frozen custard stand is known for its generous portions. Come hungry or bring a buddy to share.
2. An 1846 Greek Revival stage coach inn with 18 authentically restored rooms, Hawks Inn Historical Museum (426 Wells St.) is an ideal place to learn about Delafield’s history.
3. The only Preferred Boutique property in the Midwest, the Delafield Hotel (415 Genesee St.) offers sophisticated elegance and old-world charm.
4. With its array of yarn, patterns and needles, Knitch (608 Milwaukee St.) is the ultimate place to indulge your knitting passion. Novice knitters can consult a personal knitting trainer.
5. Fishbones Cajun & Creole Restaurant (1704 Milwaukee St.) brings the spirit of Louisiana to Lake Country. With its festive décor and great music, it’s like a never-ending Mardi Gras.
6. Despite its spacious quarters, Milwaukee Street Traders (523 Milwaukee St.) is a casual coffeehouse with a relaxed vibe that encourages lingering.
7. Along with an enormous selection of unique stationery and invitations for any occasion, you’ll find exceptional service at Touch of Whimsy (620 Milwaukee St.).
8. Proof that good things come in small packages, St. John’s Park (1000 Genesee St.), a 3.5-acre gem adjacent to downtown Delafield, boasts a fishing pier, pond, walking loop and picnic area.
I grew up in Cedarburg. So did my wife. It was an easy decision for us when deciding where to raise our family. Some people want to get far from their roots to establish new ones, but that thought never crossed our minds. There’s too much good here.
The historic downtown, with its unique variety of shops, hosts annual festivals and a Fourth of July parade that are must-see destinations for both residents and those who come to visit. The school system is one of the best in the state and always striving to become better. And there’s the little things — like water dishes for dogs downtown, free summer concerts in City Park, and my favorite pizza and ice cream shops that haven’t changed in 40 years.
What makes Cedarburg such a great place is the pride that drives its residents to become active “communitarians.” There is a strong culture of residents giving their time, talent and money; constantly improving Cedarburg’s educational, artistic and architectural charms.
Telling people you live in Cedarburg normally evokes the same response — “Oh, I love Cedarburg.” Ask those who live here and you’re sure to hear the same.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Chris Smith is a senior investment consultant, Private Wealth Management, for Robert W. Baird & Co.
1. Amy’s Candy Kitchen (W62 N579 Washington Ave.) makes award-winning caramel that is unmatched anywhere. Slow-cooked in copper kettles, the caramel’s rich buttery flavor begs to be overindulged on crisp apples.
2. Among the oldest, most significant Cedarburg residences, the recently restored Kuhefuss House Museum (W63 N627 Washington Ave.) is filled with historic photographs and artifacts.
3. Following guided tours of Cedar Creek Winery (N70 W6340 Bridge Road), visitors can sample award-winning traditional grape wines including Waterfall Riesling and Cedar Creek Vidal.
4. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Washington House Inn (W62 N573 Washington Ave.) has been designated a place of “distinguished comfort” by Better Homes & Gardens.
5. Enjoy delicious entrée and dessert crepes at Cream & Crepe Café (N70 W6340 Bridge Road), a delightful creperie overlooking Cedar Creek.
6. One of Cedarburg’s hidden treasures, the Silver Creek Brewing Co. (N57W6172 Portland Road) is an intimate brewpub in Cedarburg’s historic grist mill with a creekside beer garden.
7. Reduce your carbon footprint with green goods for your home and garden from Weeds (W62 N588 Washington Ave.) or consignment home interiors at Generations (W62 N556 Washington Ave.)
8. A family friendly Chicago style eatery, The Hub (W63 N631 Washington Ave.) is best known for its “Bubble Tea,” a sweet, icy drink infused with tapioca pearls.
The East Side is a little bit hip hop and a lot of symphony. We’re the arts and the people who support the arts. Given our big, old houses, we love a good handy man. We’re a hotbed of political activity — note the dueling yard signs. We drink champagne when we watch the Packers.
Our geography and architecture inspire us. To the east, Lake Michigan provides sunrise stunners and sunset afterglow. We own icons of Frederick Law Olmsted who threaded Lake Park along the bluffs. Our humanity is uplifted strolling along his deftly designed Newberry Boulevard. West of the lake, homes designed by Eschweiler, Valentine and Frank Lloyd Wright make us value
All streets lead to Downer Avenue where we patronize the small shops, eateries, movie theater and a dry cleaner proprietor who listens to opera.
We believe in the magic of sidewalks where children play and adults congregate.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Judy Steininger is a freelance writer who lives near UW-Milwaukee.
1. Grab a table on the corner patio at Café Hollander (2608 N. Downer Ave.) and order up some patates frites (french fries). Choose from 18 sauces and condiments for dipping.
2. Inhabiting the space of the once iconic Coffee Trader, VIA Downer (2625 N. Downer Ave.) brings fresh pizza creations and Italian-Mediterranean cuisine to the Upper East Side.
3. Friendly, knowledgeable booksellers are at the ready at Boswell Book Co. (2559 N. Downer Ave.), which opened in the former Harry W. Schwartz bookshop in 2009.
4. Revered for its artisan, hearth-baked breads like French Peasant and Ciabatta, the original Breadsmith (2632 N. Downer Ave.) has given way to 30 franchises across the country.
5. Olive Fine Organic Living (2624 N. Downer Ave.) allows environmentally conscious shoppers to live more sustainably without sacrificing quality or style.
When you think of Whitefish Bay, you can imagine a Norman Rockwell painting of an all-American life. If you have ever had the pleasure of experiencing a Fourth of July here, you’re lucky. While friends and neighbors march, flags are flying in the hands of children with star-painted faces. This community truly embraces each other. Old and young gather at old-fashioned band concerts and at our state-of-the-art library. It is a traditional place where the kids still walk to the locally owned pharmacy to buy candy after school. A pedestrian Silver Spring Drive has been home to many local businesses for decades.
Each summer there is a planned sidewalk sale, bike race and farmers market to enjoy. But one can’t talk about Whitefish Bay without discussing the Holiday Stroll. It is a cherished tradition with which Whitefish Bay kicks off the holiday season on the day after Thanksgiving. Shops feature special holiday deals in our family friendly shopping district, so you may stroll Silver Spring Drive and enjoy distinctive shopping in a relaxed atmosphere. It truly is an all-American life living or working in the village of Whitefish Bay.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Marina Kuhn is co-owner/president of Zita Bridal Salon and a Whitefish Bay resident.
1. Kids and adults alike adore Winkie’s (629 E. Silver Spring Drive), an upscale variety store with a large candy counter upstairs and equally substantial toy department downstairs.
2. Milwaukee’s first “dinner and a movie” theater, the art-deco style Fox Bay Cinema Grill (334 E. Silver Spring Drive) offers three screens, swivel chairs and a full-service kitchen.
3. A fixture in Whitefish Bay since 1954, Fitzgerald Pharmacy (424 E. Silver Spring Drive) still offers home delivery for prescriptions.
4. Whatever the occasion, find the perfect gift at Placesetters (501 E. Silver Spring Drive), a whimsical shop that prides itself on stocking unique treasures.
5. Celebrated for its custom-designed cakes and French pastries, Regina’s Bay Bakery (423 E. Silver Spring Drive) would be a worthy contender for TLC’s “Fabulous Cakes.”