7 AMAZING NEIGHBORHOODS in Milwaukee!

Updated - September 7th 2020

Straddling the shores of Lake Michigan, Wisconsin’s largest city is growing a reputation as one of the coolest destinations in the United States. Considered a budget-friendly alternative to Chicago by some, Milwaukee is known for its burgeoning brewery scene and fascinating history. If you’re looking for a unique American city to visit this summer, Milwaukee should be on your radar.

As a destination slightly off the beaten path, finding information on where to stay in Milwaukee can be tricky. Neighborhoods often overlap each other, which just adds to the confusion.

That’s where we come in! We’ve chatted with locals, travel experts, and bloggers to figure out the seven best places to stay in Milwaukee. Want to party with locals? We have you covered. After a more laid-back family getaway? Look no further!

So let’s dive right into the seven best places to stay in Cream City.

Quick Tips: Where to Stay in Milwaukee?

Where to Stay in Milwaukee

In a hurry? These are our top overall accommodation picks for Milwaukee!

Updated Loft
  • Stylish interior
  • Laid-back location
  • Superhost
Read More
Best Airbnb in Milwaukee
Updated Loft
  • Stylish interior
  • Laid-back location
  • Superhost
Read More

This stylish loft is perfect for solo travelers and couples! Right in the heart of Harbor View, it’s well placed for exploring the city center while still enjoying a peaceful place to lay your head at night.

Cream City Hostel
  • Best backpacker choice
  • Vibrant social spaces
  • Bike rental
Read More
Best Hostel in Milwaukee
Cream City Hostel
  • Best backpacker choice
  • Vibrant social spaces
  • Bike rental
Read More

Cream City might be the only hostel in Milwaukee, but that doesn’t mean they take it for granted. They offer excellent service standards, resulting in them having a great reputation amongst backpackers. If you’re on a super tight budget, this is the place to stay!

Knickerbocker on the Lake
  • Great views
  • Spa and hair salon
  • Central location
Read More
Best Budget Hotel in Milwaukee
Knickerbocker on the Lake
  • Great views
  • Spa and hair salon
  • Central location
Read More

Located right next to the lake, this hotel is in a gorgeous setting close to the city center. Rooms are spacious and well priced – perfect for a short break in the city. The on-site restaurant serves the best of Midwestern cuisine.

The Pfister Hotel
  • Lavish interiors
  • Gorgeous views
  • Delectable restaurant offerings
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Best Splurge Hotel in Milwaukee
The Pfister Hotel
  • Lavish interiors
  • Gorgeous views
  • Delectable restaurant offerings
Read More

This stunning four-star hotel is easily the best splurge option in Milwaukee! From the second you walk in the door, you will be taken aback by the grand interiors and next-level service. It comes with everything you could possibly need.

Milwaukee 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Whether you want nightlife, romantic scenery, or family-friendly picnic spots, there’s something for everyone in Milwaukee! Here’s the lowdown on the top places to stay in the Wisconsin metropolis.

Neighborhood#1 – Historic Third Ward

Overall Best Place to Stay in Milwaukee

Historic Third Ward
Historic Third Ward is the overall best place to stay in Milwaukee (Photo Credit – Wikipedia)
  • COOLEST thing to do in Historic Third Ward: marvel at the stunning architecture of Discovery World, and head inside to learn more about the Great Lakes
  • BEST place to visit in Historic Third Ward: sample delicious cuisine and pick up a souvenir or two at Milwaukee Public Market

Historic Third Ward is not only the oldest neighborhood in the city – but also one of the hippest! Recent renovation projects have given the historic center a cool, laid-back atmosphere. For first time visitors, Historic Third Ward lets you soak up the famous Milwaukee vibes that draw visitors from across America.

Discovery World is the perfect example of recent renovation – but make sure you set aside enough time to explore the older parts of the neighborhood. This is where you will find quirky art galleries and modern restaurants offering some of the most innovative cuisine in the Midwest.

More awesome things to do and see in Historic Third Ward
  • Try out some hiking or hire a boat at Lakeshore State Park
  • Visit during Summerfest to catch live performances at the many stages across the neighborhood
  • Step back in time at Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse
  • Sample some of that famous Cream City beer at Milwaukee Ale House
  • Taste the best barbecue in the Midwest at Smoke Shack

 

Best Airbnb in Historic Third Ward

Trendy Loft

Trendy Loft
Trendy Loft is our pick for the best Airbnb in Historic Third Ward

This stylish apartment is perfect for couples and solo travelers heading to Milwaukee. It’s housed within a stunning renovation of an early 20th-century tobacco warehouse. All guests are given a pass to the on-site parking area. This is an excellent apartment for exploring further afield in the region.

View on Air BnB

Interested in Milwaukee? Read up on the history of Milwaukee!

Best Splurge Airbnb in Historic Third Ward

Spacious Townhome

Spacious Townhome
Spacious Townhome is our pick for the best splurge Airbnb in Historic Third Ward

Looking for a bit of an upgrade? This two-bedroom townhouse can sleep up to six guests – great for families and large groups. With modern interiors and gorgeous views of the city center, you’ll hardly want to leave. Thankfully, they can give you a discount if you want a longer stay.

View on Air BnB

 

Best Budget Hotel in Historic Third Ward

Homewood Suites

Homewood Suites
Homewood Suites is our pick for the best budget hotel in Historic Third Ward

This quaint little hotel is right in the heart of the Historic Third Ward. The main theaters are only a short walk away, as is the Institute of Art and Design. Creatives will love this location! Despite the budget-friendly rates, they offer a complimentary breakfast and fitness suite.

Check for Best Price

 

Best Splurge Hotel in Historic Third Ward

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel
Kimpton Journeyman Hotel is our pick for the best splurge hotel in Historic Third Ward

This sleek four-star hotel is the perfect upgrade in Historic Third Ward. Rooms are spacious and stylish, and the on-site restaurant offers only the finest American cuisine. Take advantage of the central location by using their free hire bikes. Breakfast is included in the price – with a few vegan options available.

Check for Best Price

 

Neighborhood#2 – Westown

Best Place to Stay in Milwaukee For Families

Westown
Traveling as a family? You’ll definitely want to stay in Westown (photo Credit – Wikimedia)
  • COOLEST thing to do in Westown: head to the Milwaukee Public Museum and learn about the history of the city at their interactive exhibits
  • BEST place to visit in Westown: discover Milwaukee’s German heritage at Old World Third Street

Westown is still considered the city center, but its location west of the river gives it a more laidback atmosphere. Paired with the excellent public transport links, this makes it the perfect pick for families heading to the city.

Restaurants in the neighborhood are more family-friendly, with plenty of cuisines on offer to please the whole family. The southern end of Westown is the main business hub in the city, meaning it’s also a popular stopover for corporate travelers. Either way, Westown is a must for those that want to kick back and soak up Milwaukee’s easy-going vibes.

More awesome things to do and see in Westown
  • Enjoy the inner city scenery along the Third Ward Riverwalk
  • Catch a basketball game at Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks
  • More interested in culture? Miller High Life Theater is a great spot to catch a few shows
  • Enjoy a fun meal with the kids at Build-a-Burger – they do breakfast too!
  • Try something a bit more multicultural at Benihana

 

Best Airbnb in Westown

Corner Condo

Corner Condo
Corner Condo is our pick for the best Airbnb in Westown

This apartment, which sleeps up to eight guests, is an excellent budget option for large groups and families. The kitchen comes with luxury fittings – including a huge fridge and modern appliances – that will see you through an extended stay. Parking is included for one vehicle.

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Best Splurge Airbnb in Westown

Serene Central Apartment

Serene Central Apartment
Serene Central Apartment is the best splurge Airbnb in Westown

Airbnb Plus apartments are chosen for their gorgeous interior design and above and beyond service standards. This bright and airy loft is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring the city. While located in Westown, it’s only a two-minute walk from the Historic Third Ward.

View on Air BnB

 

Best Budget Hotel in Westown

DoubleTree by Hilton

DoubleTree by Hilton
DoubleTree by Hilton is our pick for the best budget hotel in Westown

DoubleTree is the Hilton’s family-friendly brand, meaning it’s well placed in the heart of Westown! The Milwaukee Public Museum is a short walk from the property, and most of the city center can easily be reached on foot. There are two restaurants and a bar on-site.

Check for Best Price

 

Best Splurge Hotel in Westown

Hilton Milwaukee City Centre

Hilton Milwaukee City Centre
Hilton Milwaukee City Centre is our pick for the best splurge hotel in Westown

The Hilton Milwaukee is a four-star hotel that’s a significant upgrade compared to the DoubleTree. Where this hotel truly shines is with its little extras and extravagant interior design. The hotel is connected to the Wisconsin Centre by skywalk. They even have a Starbucks on-site!

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Neighborhood#3 – Harbor View

Great Neighborhood in Milwaukee for Couples

Harbor View
Harbor View is an AWESOME neighborhood for traveling couples! (Photo Credit – urbanmilwaukee.com)
  • COOLEST thing to do in Harbor View: head to the Harley-Davidson Museum and check out the iconic motorcycles for yourself
  • BEST place to visit in Harbor View: unwind and enjoy a casual bike ride through Kaszubes Park

Just south of Historic Third Ward, Harbor View is another laid-back neighborhood in the city center. What sets it apart from other areas is the excellent shopping options on offer. Whether you want grand malls or independent boutiques, Harbor View is the place to shop ’til you drop.

Aside from retail therapy, the gorgeous scenery of the region will also soothe your soul. The stunning harbor area has excellent views of both nature and the city, making it a photographer’s dream. If you really want to splash out, you can hire a boat here to explore the lakefront area.

More awesome things to do and see in Harbor View
  • Hire a boat at Horny Goat Marina and explore the stunning waterfront
  • Walk down National Avenue to check out the local boutiques
  • Need a laugh? Look no further than ComedySportz Milwaukee
  • Lost Valley Cider Co is a hip bar offering cider by the glass, plus a few tasty cocktails
  • Enjoy date night at Movida on 2nd, a local tapas bar

 

Best Airbnb in Harbor View

Updated Loft

Updated Loft
Updated Loft is our pick for the best Airbnb in Harbor View

This recently renovated apartment is easily the most stylish Airbnb on offer in the city! It comes with exposed wood floors and modern furnishings. Milwaukee Public Market is a stone’s throw away. Plenty of natural light gets in, creating the perfect setting for a laidback breakfast.

View on Air BnB

 

Best Splurge Airbnb in Harbor View

The Castor House

The Castor House
The Castor House is oui pick for the best splurge Airbnb in Harbor View

This is another great loft in Harbor View, but with two bedrooms that can sleep up to six people, it’s a better option for larger groups and families. The high ceilings and large windows create a spacious apartment with plenty of natural light.

View on Air BnB

 

Budget Apartment in Harbor View

Historic Charm

Historic Charm
Historic Charm is our pick for the budget apartment in Harbor View

There aren’t any budget hotels in Harbor View, but this cute little apartment is a great alternative! The Eisner Museum and Skylight Theatre are both only a short walk away. The interiors are modern, with everything you need for a short stay.

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Best Splurge Hotel in Harbor View

The Iron Horse Hotel

The Iron Horse Hotel
The Iron Horse Hotel is our pick for the best splurge hotel in Harbor View

This four-star hotel maintains a rustic charm that isn’t matched anywhere else in the city! The contemporary furnishings are designed to hark back to the early 1900s era. Rooms also come with stunning views of the city center. This is our top pick for a romantic getaway in Milwaukee.

Check for Best Price

 

Neighborhood#4 – Lower East Side

Coolest Place to Stay in Milwaukee

Lower East Side
Lower East Side is the coolest place to stay in Milwaukee (Photo Credit – Wikipedia)
  • COOLEST thing to do in Lower East Side: hire a boat at Milwaukee Yacht Club, or book a few lessons
  • BEST place to visit in Lower East Side: relax at McKinley Beach, the most popular beach in the city center

Milwaukee’s Lower East Side sits on the boundary with Downtown and perfectly blends the hip atmosphere of the East Side with the laid back vibes of the outer city! The bars and restaurants here are a bit more relaxed, offering some great cuisine. This is also home to some of the best breweries in the city.

Lower East Side is also home to McKinley Park. You can enjoy an inner-city beach, admire the gorgeous scenery, and hire water sports and yachting equipment from within the city’s most popular park. The Lower East Side is a must-visit, whether you choose to stay here or elsewhere.

More awesome things to do and see in Lower East Side
  • Admire creative work from local artists at Charles Allis Art Museum
  • Head towards Upper East Side, where you’ll find Lake Park Golf Course
  • Looking for a more laid back beach? Bradford Beach is popular with families
  • Enjoy a stroll along the east bank of the River Walk
  • The Lower East Side is the best place in town for great coffee; grab a brew at Colectivo Coffee

 

Best Airbnb in Lower East Side

Historic Apartment

Historic Apartment
Historic Apartment is our pick for the best Airbnb in Lower East Side

Oozing with charm, this apartment is housed within a converted mansion dating back to the early days of Milwaukee history. It comes with a small kitchen area and has a studio vibe despite the historical setting. Guests also have access to a communal balcony area.

View on Air BnB

 

Best Splurge Airbnb in Lower East Side

Artist’s Oasis

Artist’s Oasis
Artist’s Oasis is our pick for the best splurge Airbnb in Lower East Side

Another stunning Airbnb Plus apartment, this is an excellent pick for larger groups looking to splurge! It can sleep up to seven guests, and there are two bathrooms – perfect for parents bringing the family along. It is housed within a converted Tudor building.

View on Air BnB

 

Best Budget Hotel in Lower East Side

Knickerbocker on the Lake

Knickerbocker on the Lake
Knickerbocker on the Lake is our pick for the best budget hotel in Lower East Side

With an outdoor deck overlooking the Lake, this is the perfect hotel to kick back with a few beers and soak up the atmosphere. There is a salon and spa on-site offering massages, haircuts, and nail treatments. Many rooms also come with stunning views of the Lake. 

Check for Best Price

 

Best Splurge Hotel in Lower East Side

Saint Kate, The Arts Hotel

Saint Kate, The Arts Hotel
Saint Kate, The Arts Hotel is our pick for the best splurge hotel in Lower East Side

This hotel is actually in East Town, but it’s only a few minutes away from the Lower East Side. If you’re looking to splurge, this contemporary gem is well worth the money. The River Walk runs right outside the front door. There are four restaurants and two bars on-site.

Check for Best Price

 

Neighborhood#5 – Riverwest

Where to Stay in Milwaukee on a Budget

Riverwest
Traveling on a budget? Riverwest is an awesome neighbrohood to save some cash (Photo Credit – urbanmilwaukee.com)
  • COOLEST thing to do in Riverwest: sample some excellent beer at local microbreweries like Company Brewing
  • BEST place to visit in Riverwest: grab some great Instagram shots at Gordon Park

Head slightly further up the Milwaukee River, and you will find Riverwest! This neighborhood is a little more residential, making it the ideal spot for mingling with locals. It’s also home to the only hostel in Milwaukee – and some of the cheapest apartments in the city.

Like the Lower and Upper East Side, Riverwest is home to some great microbreweries. With lower tourist numbers, these breweries also have a more intimate vibe.

More awesome things to do and see in Riverwest
  • The River Walk runs right through this neighborhood – follow it to the city center!
  • Check out the locally-owned art galleries and theaters in the area, like The Ski Club and Florentine Opera Company
  • Dine at the all-American Riverwest Filling Station restaurant
  • Sample more great beers at Black Husky Brewing

 

Best Airbnb in Riverwest

Cozy Cream City Living

Cozy Cream City Living
Cozy Cream City Living is our pick for the best Airbnb in Riverwest

A real home away from home, you won’t want to leave this cozy little house! It’s surrounded by hip bars, restaurants, and cafés, where you can mingle with locals. They also accept dogs – perfect for a family staycation within the United States.

View on Air BnB

 

Unique Airbnb in Riverwest

City Centre Cabin

City Centre Cabin
City Centre Cabin is the unique Airbnb in Riverwest

Easily one of the quirkiest Airbnbs in the city, this small house is designed to feel like a cabin. It has a wood burner, creating a cozy atmosphere during the colder months. For those visiting in the summer – the River Walk is right next to the property!

View on Air BnB

 

Budget Apartment in Riverwest

Riverfront Two Bedroom Apartment

Riverfront Two Bedroom Apartment
Riverfront Two Bedroom Apartment is our pick for a budget Apartment in Riverwest

There aren’t any hotels in Riverwest – but there are some excellent apartments for those on a budget! This two-bedroom apartment can sleep up to six, making it a popular pick for families seeking a budget getaway. There are plenty of local art galleries only a short walk away from the apartment.

Check for Best Price

 

Best Hostel in Riverwest

Cream City Hostel

Cream City Hostel
Cream City Hostel is our pick for the best hostel in Riverwest

Our only hostel pick in Milwaukee, this is one for those on a strict budget. They offer cheap bike rentals (including safety gear), giving you a great way to explore the nearby River Walk. There are plenty of social spaces where you can unwind and socialize.

Check for Best Price

 

Neighborhood#6 – Brewer’s Hill

One of the Most Unique Places to Stay in Milwaukee

Brewer’s Hill
Brewer’s Hill is one of the most unique places to stay in Milwaukee (Photo Credit – theculturetrip.com)
  • COOLEST thing to do in Brewer’s Hill: take a tour around Lakefront Brewery – the most famous brewery in the city
  • BEST place to visit in Brewer’s Hill: take a walk down the River Walk for access to the city center

Sandwiched between Westown and Riverwest, Brewer’s Hill is a must-visit for anyone interested in the city’s brewing history! Aside from the nationally famous Lakefront Brewery, there’s still a strong microbrewery tradition in the area.

Beer aside, Brewer’s Hill is a unique neighborhood that showcases the multicultural vibes of Milwaukee. With stunning nature walks, laid back restaurants, and vibrant bars – there’s plenty on offer in Brewer’s Hill. It really is a snapshot of the city as a whole!

More awesome things to do and see in Brewer's Hill
  • Try your hand at rock climbing at Adventure Rock
  • Relax at Kadish Park – an ample green space in the heart of the neighborhood
  • Beer isn’t the only delicious brew made in the area; head to Pilcrow Coffee for some unmissable coffee
  • Rub elbows with locals at Skybox Sports Bar – it has a great atmosphere on match days

 

Best Airbnb in Brewer’s Hill

Downtown Glamping

Downtown Glamping
Downtown Glamping is our pick for the best Airbnb in Brewer’s Hill

It goes without saying that the most unique neighborhood would come with the most unique accommodation picks. This converted caravan is great if you’re on a strict budget but want your own private space. There’s even a kitchen in the trunk!

View on Air BnB

 

Best Splurge Airbnb in Brewer’s Hill

The Carriage House

The Carriage House
The Carriage House is our pick for the best splurge Airbnb in Brewer’s Hill

Sanger House is a sizeable Victorian-era mansion, and this accommodation is located within its grounds. It is a converted carriage house, giving you a historic atmosphere. The lush garden creates a romantic setting – perfect for couples.

View on Air BnB

 

Best Budget Hotel in Brewer’s Hill

Days Inn & Suites

Days Inn & Suites
Days Inn & Suites is our pick for the best budget hotel in Brewer’s Hill

This two and a half star hotel is as basic as it gets. If you just need somewhere to lay your head at night, look no further than the Days Inn & Suites. It’s a little bit further out than other options in this guide, but they do provide a complimentary downtown shuttle.

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Best Splurge Hotel in Brewer’s Hill

aloft Hotel Milwaukee Downtown

aloft Hotel Milwaukee Downtown
aloft Hotel Milwaukee Downtown is our pick for the best splurge hotel in Brewer’s Hill

This hotel is perhaps the best located in the city, within easy walking distance of Brewer’s Hill, Historic Third Ward, and East Side. The spacious bedrooms come with high ceilings, creating a calm atmosphere. There’s an indoor pool, as well as a large outdoor social space.

Check for Best Price

 

Neighborhood#7 – East Town

Where to Stay in Milwaukee for Nightlife

East Town
Looking for a bit of night time fun? East Town is the best neighborhood for that!
  • COOLEST thing to do in East Town: party with locals at popular clubs like Lucid Light Lounge and Ugly’s Rooftop Bar
  • BEST place to visit in East Town: Milwaukee Art Museum hosts the largest collection of creative works in the city

Last but not least, East Town is a must-visit for party animals! This neighborhood transforms in the evenings to the largest nightlife precinct. With sky bars, clubs, and late-night microbreweries, East Town is home to the most eclectic nightlife in the Midwest.

During the day, East Town is a little more relaxed but keeps a cool atmosphere. It is home to some great art galleries, showcasing the creative spirit of Milwaukee.

More awesome things to do and see in East Town
  • Discover a little piece of Milwaukee history at the cabin in Juneau Park
  • Catch the best performances in Milwaukee at Pabst Theatre
  • Chill out at Plum Lounge, an easy-going nightlife venue with a patio
  • Kick the hangover at the aptly named Brunch

 

Best Airbnb in East Town

The BrownStone Lofts

The BrownStone Lofts
The BrownStone Lofts is our pick for the best Airbnb in East Town

Small but perfectly formed, this East Town pied-a-terre has stylish interiors and is right on the doorstep of the city’s hottest nightlife spots. There is a nightclub on the ground floor of the building, meaning you won’t have far to travel.

View on Air BnB

 

Best Splurge Airbnb in East Town

City Views

City Views
City Views is our pick for the best splurge Airbnb in East Town

Sleeping up to five guests across two bedrooms, this is one for the larger parties looking to hit Milwaukee’s famous nightlife. It comes with stunning views of the city center, and heaps of natural light. There’s even a hireable community space within the building for hosting your own parties!

View on Air BnB

 

Best Budget Hotel in East Town

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel is our pick for the best budget hotel in East Town

With an on-site spa, it’s hard to believe this hotel is well within the budget-friendly range! Rooms are kitted out with modern technology to maximize your comfort. You will also be able to enjoy your own kitchenette – perfect for self-catering holidaymakers. 

Check for Best Price

 

Best Splurge Hotel in East Town

The Pfister Hotel

The Pfister Hotel
The Pfister Hotel is our pick for the best splurge hotel in East Town

This gorgeous hotel comes with ceiling frescoes, ornate stairways, and luxurious carpeting, giving it an extravagant, European vibe. There’s a large indoor pool as well as a modern fitness suite. There is a steak restaurant and a martini bar on-site.

Check for Best Price

 

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee is a diverse destination in the heart of the Midwest. Whether you’re interested in sports, nightlife, or culture, there’s a little something for everyone in the city. Sprawling down the coast of Lake Michigan, it also has some stunning scenery for those wanting to escape the bustling city atmosphere.

We hate to play favorites, but we really love East Town! This neighborhood has the perfect mix of nightlife and creative attractions, making it a great base for discovering what makes Milwaukee such an exciting destination.

All that said, every neighborhood mentioned in this guide comes with its own benefits. We hope we’ve helped you narrow down your options.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, One Weird Globe will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going :)

Aiden Higgins
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