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?
- Overall Best Place to Stay in Milwaukee – Historic Third Ward
- Best Place to Stay in Milwaukee For Families – Westown
- Great Neighborhood in Milwaukee for Couples – Harbor View
- Coolest Place to Stay in Milwaukee – Lower East Side
- Where to Stay in Milwaukee on a Budget – Riverwest
- One of the Most Unique Places to Stay in Milwaukee – Brewer’s Hill
- Where to Stay in Milwaukee for Nightlife – East Town
Where to Stay in Milwaukee
In a hurry? These are our top overall accommodation picks for Milwaukee!
- Stylish interior
- Laid-back location
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
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
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
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.
Overall Best Place to Stay in Milwaukee
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Best Place to Stay in Milwaukee For Families
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Great Neighborhood in Milwaukee for Couples
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Coolest Place to Stay in Milwaukee
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where to Stay in Milwaukee on a Budget
- 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.
- 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
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.
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!
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.
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.
One of the Most Unique Places to Stay in Milwaukee
- 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!
- 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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Where to Stay in Milwaukee for Nightlife
- 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.
- 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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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