9 New Third Ward Spots to Check Out in 2018

If you haven’t been in a while, there’s a lot to see. A bunch of new businesses have popped up in the Third Ward in recent months.

Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward has for many years been a hub of couture and culture, a go-to for entertainment, shopping and dining. But Milwaukee’s stylish urban neighborhood, with its trademark turquoise streetscaping, is experiencing a boom. And if you haven’t been recently – or even if you have – get there on the double.

Sweet Diner

Waffles. Omelets. Ambiance. This isn’t your grandma’s diner. Sweet Diner offers a modern spin on a classic restaurant style, serving up comfort food in a bright and delightful new space.

Shake Shack
An assortment of Shack burgers. Photo by Kelly Rippl

Shake Shack

We present you: alternative date night. Save the fancy linen tablecloths and champagne flutes for another time. Plan for full bellies and greasy hands. Chow down on burgers, dogs, fries and frozen custard. This is why stretchy pants were invented.

Warby Parker

The hippest name in eyewear, which started out as an online-only resource for specs — with its novel at-home try-on offering — has begun opening doors to brick and mortar retail locations. No more waiting for your frames to arrive in the mail to try them out. And, you have the benefit of trying on as many pairs as you want, versus the five that land in your mailbox for at-home try on.

Dry Bar Third Ward
The interior of the Third Ward Drybar


When you want your hair to look flawless for a photo sesh, a swanky party or just a night on the town, it’s Drybar to the rescue. The chain that specializes in beautifully styling hair – no cuts or coloring – has been making waves (get it?) across the nation in recent years and now Milwaukee gets to benefit from its hair-styling wizardry.


A favorite among fashionistas, this boutique with dreamy dresses and trendy jewelry now has a spot in the Third Ward. Perfectly at home with the neighborhood’s other boutique shopping choices, yet offering its own unique brand of fashion-forward styles, it’s a must-visit.


Did someone say cookies? Or muffins? Or scones? The newest, bestest place to score your baked goods, brought to you by the folks behind Dandan, just opened its doors in Milwaukee. You’re going to want to get there stat.

Batches Bakery

Elements East

Look no further for your home décor needs. Bill as a spot that’s “more than a furniture store,” Elements East “offers a meeting place for East and West, old and new, in modern interior design.” Find the pieces your home is missing and get help from staff in achieving the design aesthetic you seek.

Photo courtesy of FreshFin Poke

Fresh Fin Poke

If you’re craving Poke but you’re miles from the original East Side Fresh Fin storefront, you’re in luck — the counter-service restaurant opened a Third Ward location in late 2017. Order up a curry coconut shrimp bowl or a mango tango bowl, and satisfy your raw fish cravings.

Orley Shabahang

Your rug dreams have become reality. Get the lush or minimal or eye-catching rug you need to complete your space at this Third Ward shop, which boasts a variety of prints including floral, contemporary and tribal. We’re getting excited just thinking about cutting a rug (figuratively, of course) with these beauties underfoot to cushion our dance moves.

Coming Soon

“We’re seeing everything from dining to fashion and local to national,” said Ruth Lawson, communications and marketing director for the Historic Third Ward Association. “The vibrant mixed-use character of the Third Ward allows for a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Plus, we have amazing public amenities like our award-winning RiverWalk, streetscapes, Lake Michigan, and Lakeshore State Park make the neighborhood complete.”

Plus, the Historic Third Ward Association office recently moved into a new space at 525 E. Chicago St.

And stay tuned, as more attractions await. Opening soon: