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Let’s Get (Re-)Acquainted!

If you haven’t visited Oak Creek in a few years, it’s definitely time to go back. While the retail buzz centers on Swedish home-goods retailer IKEA (which opened last year), plenty of small businesses have popped up as well. Much of the activity is within the 85-acre Drexel Town Square, a walkable, mixed-use development at the intersection of South Howell Avenue and West Drexel Avenue (361 W. Town Square Way), where it’s just as easy to grab a taco as it is a new toy for your dog. That kind of convenience has made the area a popular place to live. 

“Drexel Town Square has become the central meeting place for friends and families to stop for a meal and enjoy community events,” says Kristin Craig, Oak Creek’s destination marketing specialist. “With the recent emergence of new events and developments, Oak Creek has a vivacity not found anywhere else.”

Beyond the town square, which also includes the library, city hall and civic center, Lake Vista Park (4001 Lake Vista Parkway) opened last year with walking trails. “Lake Vista also features an engaging playground designed for all ages,” says Craig, “and bluffs with views of Lake Michigan.”

Nature, shopping, restaurants, plus lots of new housing options – Oak Creek has it all. Use this guide to help you navigate this vibrant community.

Photo by Leslie Flynn, courtesy of the City of Oak Creek.


Things to do

Beer Gardens

Harkening back to Wisconsin’s German heritage, the Oak Creek Beer Garden travels to two select parks this summer. Sip from 12 local beers on tap (lineup changes daily, from MobCraft to Broken Bat Brewing), with live music.

Open Thursdays through Sundays only. June 6-9 at Abendschein Park, 1311 E. Drexel Ave.; Aug. 8-11 at Lake Vista Park, 4001 E. Lakeside Ave.

Fourth of July Parade

Bring your patriotism to the parade route to watch the marching bands and floats.

July 4, starting at 9 a.m. Go to visitoakcreek.com for the parade route.

Fireworks

Head to Lake Vista Park to continue the celebration. At dusk, the sky will crackle with a fireworks show.

July 4, starting at dusk, Lake Vista Park

Dog Days at Drexel

Don’t make Fido stay home! At this event, dogs dive off docks while owners listen to live music and peruse wares from 40 pet-related vendors.

July 12, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and July 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Drexel Town Square

The Confluence

The City of Oak Creek is partnering with NEWaukee to bring an art exhibition to the city’s newest park (Lake Vista Park). The exhibit features work by local artists, who were asked to create pieces that examine where they live with a critical eye.

July 20-Aug. 10; kickoff event 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 20, Lake Vista Park

Fall Festival

If fall is your favorite season, mark your calendar for this annual fest. Held indoors and out – Halloween costumes encouraged – family-friendly activities include pumpkin painting and hayrides.

Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Drexel Town Square

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Why I Love Oak Creek

Don’t Miss:
Farmers Market

“If you didn’t have the opportunity to visit the farmers market last year, it’s an absolute must for Saturday mornings starting June 1.” — Gina Goodwin, vice president, Burke Properties/Forge and Flare Apartments

Don’t Miss:
Valentine Coffee’s café

“When you need to jump-start your morning, or afternoon, the coffee is some of the best you’ll have anywhere.” — Mike Doney, Pizza Man’s director of marketing and creative

Don’t Miss:
Free bands at Oak Creek Community Center in the summer

“I love the incredible sense of community in Oak Creek. Everyone is so involved.” — Matt Roman Lopez, BelAir Cantina’s director of operations

Don’t Miss:
Pineapple Cafe

“Start with the French toast dipped in cornflakes and cinnamon sugar and stay for tacos, especially on Taco Tuesday and Thursday. The wraps are awesome, too.” — Gail Varhula, Connect Cell, a U.S. Cellular authorized agent

Don’t Miss:
Forest Hill Memorial Park

“Quiet and peaceful, this is a hidden gem. Walk the grounds, then have a seat, close your eyes and clear your mind.” — Kelvin Schroeder, owner of Kelvin Schroeder Jewelers

Don’t Miss:
Drexel Town Square

“There are many events throughout the summer to keep you and your family entertained!” — Naomi Prusinski, Roots Salon co-owner

Don’t Miss:
The Confluence

“What I love about Oak Creek is the network of small businesses. Be sure to check out The Confluence hosted by NEWaukee. Or, visit (fellow agent) Marybeth (Pfeffer’s) favorite place, Bender Park!” — Christopher Lentz, American Family Insurance agent

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Grab a Bite!

Pizza Man

 

7974 S. Main St.

With its “In crust we trust” mantra, this East Side mainstay and its 21 specialty pizzas opened in Oak Creek in 2016.

Erv’s Mug

 

130 W. Ryan Rd.

Erv’s serves craft beer and pub fare with a twist, like pork chops with cranapple jalapeno chutney.

 

BelAir Cantina

410 W. Town Square Way

Find street-style tacos, of course, but also fried plantains and ceviche. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Trattoria Di Carlo

8469 S. Howell Ave.

A 2,000-bottle wine cellar and customize-your-own pizzas are just some of what make this place special.


Plan the perfect Saturday

Eat, drink and shop your way through a perfectly planned day in Oak Creek.

1.

Breakfast on the square

Kick start the day in Drexel Town Square with a bottomless cup at Valentine Coffee Roasters, then choose something healthy (avocado toast) or indulgent (“million dollar bacon”) from the menu at First Watch Café, a new breakfast spot.

2.

Enjoy the outdoors

Bliss out in green space – either Lake Vista Park, with its bird watching, walking trails and Lake Michigan views; or Abendschein Park, targeting soft-adventure fans with disc golf and a skate park. Does cycling bring you joy? Bike along the Oak Creek portion of the 125-mile-long Oak Leaf Trail. You can also hang out on the beach without leaving town, thanks to Bender Park’s beachfront perch, where Ryan Road meets Lake Michigan.

3.

Lunch at Water Street Brewery

Enjoy a light lunch – with beer, natch – such as a Southwest chicken wrap, fish tacos or short-rib ramen beneath vintage beer signs hung from the ceiling at Water Street Brewery, 140 W. Town Square Way.

4.

Local shopping

Explore what local retailers have to offer at arts-oriented spots like Board & Brush, 8880 S. Howell Ave. (where you can do some crafting with the help of expert coaches), or Krickette’s, 640 E. Ryan Rd. (where you’ll find unique home and garden items).

5.

Of course, IKEA

Spend a few hours exploring the inspiring room tableaus at IKEA, 7500 S. Ikea Way, where it’s nearly impossible to leave without a shopping cart full of home items you can’t live without.

6.

Drexel Town Square

This great development, at 361 W. Town Square Way, offers plenty to do. Shop the farmers market (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), play on the splash pad, visit the library or enjoy one of many summer events, including the Summer Soulstice Festival, June 15, 4 to 11 p.m.

7.

Try an escape room or wind down at a movie

The night is still young. Head over to City 13’s escape room, 6925 S. Sixth St., and spend some time plotting with your best buds on how to break out, or settle into a comfy lounge chair for the latest blockbuster at Marcus South Shore Cinema, 7261 S. 13th St.

8.

Late-night treat at Georgie Peorgie’s

What’s the best way to end a summer night in Wisconsin? With frozen custard, of course! Head over to Georgie Porgie’s, 9555 S. Howell Ave. Pro tip: consult the flavor forecast on its website so you don’t miss your favorite.


Oak Creek Business Directory

Banking

Educators Credit Union

150 W. Ryan Rd.
800-236-5898
ecu.com

A place for your money. ECU offers checking and savings accounts; home, auto and small business loans; and online business services.

Drexel Town Square

Beauty

Roots Salon

7959 S. Main St.
844-550-0761
myrootssalon.com

This full-service salon offers skin care, hair styling, waxing, manicures and eyelash extensions.

Cellphone Service

Connect Cell

A U.S. Cellular authorized agent
7848 S. Howell Ave.
414-856-9200
connectcell.com

Here’s where to sign up for U.S. Cellular service – or pick up your new phone or accessories.

Jewelry

Kelvin Schroeder Jewelers

7836 S. Howell Ave.
414-762-7111
ksjewelersoc.com

Looking for a piece of custom jewelry, diamond engagement ring or exotic gems? Check out this third-generation, full-service jeweler that’s been family-owned and -operated since 1937.

Legal Advice

Martin Law Office

Kevin R. Martin
7280 S. 13th St.
414-856-2310
martin-law-office.com

These attorneys offer Oak Creek and Wisconsin compassionate, zealous, knowledgeable representation in the area of plaintiff’s personal injury law.

Medical

Wisconsin Sinus and Snoring

8870 S. Mayhew Dr., Suite 300
262-652-2887
wisconsinsinusandsnoring.com

Ear nose and throat specialist Dr. Hilel Swerdlin deals with all sorts of allergy, nasal and sinus problems, as well as sleep-related issues including snoring and sleep apnea.

Real estate

Forge and Flare Apartments

DTS Mixed Use LLC
7970 S. Main St.
414-914-2957
forgeandflareapartments.com

Sign up for one of these luxury apartments at Drexel Town Square and help define the identity of Oak Creek’s new downtown.

Restaurants

Pizza Man

7974 S. Main St.
414-856-1000
pizzamanwi.com

The place to go for prime pie – not to mention cocktails, and a killer wine list.

BelAir Cantina

410 W. Town Square Way
414-215-7995
belaircantina.com

When you want a modern-day taste of Mexico – especially on $2 taco Tuesdays and Thursdays.


“Insider’s Guide: Oak Creek” appears as in the special advertising section of the June 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning June 3, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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