Our favorite spots along picturesque Downer Avenue.
Murray Hill Map
Check out what’s going on around this upper-east side neighborhood on North Avenue, Farwell Avenue, Downer Avenue and Murray Avenue.
Downer Avenue Guide
Your teeth, eyes, hair, eyelashes, nails and clothing needs can all be fulfilled on Downer Avenue. Here’s my suggestion: Get your teeth checked at the most beautiful dental office I’ve ever seen, Lake Park Dental (they offer what they call “relaxation dentistry”), trade out your old pair of specs at Optix on Downer (they’ve been “curating” — not selecting — some of Milwaukee’s hippest eyewear for 25 years), get your glam on at Salon Nova with a new hairstyle and at Nail Bar with a pedicure or manicure (or both), then cover those feet with some hot new sneakers, your new hair with a sweet cap or your torso with a hip new t-shirt at Roots Underground Outfitters.
Where: Lake Park Dental (2524 E. Webster Pl. #201), Optix (2636 N. Downer Ave.), Salon Nova (2581 N. Downer Ave.), Nail Bar (2580 N. Downer Ave.), Roots Underground Outfitters (2622 N. Downer Ave.)
The corner of Downer and Webster has seen three book stores occupy its expansive space: first, Webster’s Books, then Harry W. Schwartz Book Shop and now the Boswell Book Company, which continues the beloved service of book-selling on a highly personal level. You know you’re going to get a diverse and eclectic selection of books from staff who are readers themselves: their bookseller recommendations are the best in town and their extensive and exciting author visit series has something for everyone. Just don’t get lost — or do! You could spend hours in this book shop that is only a fraction of the size of the chain book stores.
Where: 2559 N. Downer Ave.
It’s not much of a stretch to put the Downer Theatre in the “spirit” category. As the oldest operating movie theater in the city (it will turn 102 this November), the Downer continues to be one of the go-to’s for cutting-edge independent cinema that makes you think and expand your human spirit. And it’s one of the participating theaters for Milwaukee’s well attended film festival.
Where: 2589 N. Downer Ave.
After pampering yourself and getting your culture on, you’ll want to indulge. Choose from:
- Pizza Man‘s wine and 17 specialty pies;
- Henry’s cocktails and famous Nader-burger;
- Bel Air Cantina‘s tequila and 25-taco a la carte selection;
- Cafe Hollander‘s beer and short rib poutine.
Or if you’re looking for something for a home-cooked meal, head to Breadsmith, which has been crafting bread on Downer since 1993. Downer Wine & Spirits has been selling fine wine and spirits since 1985, and Sendik’s on Downer is still operating with their fabulous selection of fresh foods. Finally, coming soon: locally owned Stone Creek Coffee, which will fulfill your coffee needs just two blocks from the Starbucks that adjoins Boswell Book Company.
Where: Pizza Man (2597 N. Downer Ave.), Henry’s (2523 E. Belleview Pl.), Bel Air Cantina (2625 N. Downer Ave.), Cafe Hollander (2608 N. Downer Ave.), Breadsmith (2632 N. Downer Ave.), Downer Wine & Spirits (2639 N. Downer Ave.), Sendik’s (2643 N. Downer Ave.), Stone Creek Coffee (265o N. Downer Ave.)