About the Neighborhood
Downtown is the center of the urban universe, the place where all roads converge and every story starts. It is the knot in the pretzel, the hub of the wheel, the nucleus of the primal cell that swelled and split to become the Milwaukee metropolis. The Milwaukee River runs through downtown, flowing from north to south. The river separates East Town from Westown, and Yankee Hill overlooks both. The three districts fit snugly inside a belt of encircling freeways, both built and unbuilt, and together they form the common core of a metro region that sprawls across four counties.
Places to Visit
Take a tour of public art throughout downtown from murals to sculpture to signs. This map was put together by the Downtown BID.
Take Historic Milwaukee's self-guided tour of the Historic Financial District, the neighborhood located around Michigan and Broadway. The tour highlights the superb architecture of the district and its role in supporting the growth of Milwaukee, as well as stories of women in the district and Milwaukee’s earliest days. Financial giants like Alexander Mitchell and founders like Solomon Juneau are well remembered, but many important women ensured Milwaukee’s success. This tour allows us to tell the important story of Juneau’s wife, Josette Vieau Juneau, a Métis woman who birthed Milwaukee, literally and figuratively, as well as women’s organizations, women’s suffrage and artists who made the Historic Financial District their home. Purchase the tour brochure or visit Historic Milwaukee (235 E Michigan St) to borrow a copy and take the tour for free - call ahead to reserve: 414-277-7795.
The Milwaukee RiverWalk winds through the heart of the city past commercial buildings and high rises. This is a great way to explore downtown as well as the Historic Third Ward. View RiverWalk map.
The Milwaukee Art Museum is open for visitors to experience the Quadracci Pavilion and first floor of the Museum’s collection galleries, featuring artwork from antiquities to contemporary. Tickets are timed, and are required to enter the Museum.
Museum hours: Thurs–Sun, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. (9:30 a.m. entrance reserved for high-risk individuals)
Guidelines for Visiting Neighborhoods
While Historic Milwaukee is not opening buildings and sites to tour this year, we still encourage you to visit these recommended neighborhood locations for self-guided experiences. When visiting neighborhood locations please follow the mask ordinance - wear a mask and maintain social distance and respect residents and neighbors.
Special thanks to artist CK Ledesma who designed and created the Doors Open Neighborhoods Activity pages. Thanks also to the neighborhood leaders to contributed information and recommendations on things to do and places to see in their neighborhoods. And thank you to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for their support of the Activity Booklet. About the neighborhood source: John Gurda's Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods.