DOWNTOWN MILWAUKEE’S revitalized warehouse district, the Historic Third Ward is a walkable epicenter of local eateries, bars and shops. The Milwaukee Public Market, home to more than a dozen eclectic food and drink vendors, is a local and tourist favorite, but this trendy, chic neighborhood is also full of hidden gems.
191 N. BROADWAY
The Milwaukee Area Resource Network, which encourages equitable access to the arts throughout the city, opened this gorgeous gathering place last fall. Grab a glass of wine or cup of Interval coffee and enjoy the light, airy café, then take in some art in the adjacent gallery.
222 E. ERIE ST.
Chef Yosub Yoon cooks up Korean fare with an experimental twist – we’re talking barbecued meat cooked on hot lava stones – at this always-hopping Third Ward joint. The modern space and expansive cocktail menu are reasons to stay, but Char’d is also popular for takeout.
401 E. ERIE ST.
Cavas – a high-octane tapas and wine bar with a terrace overlooking the river – has an off-the-beaten-track vibe that’ll make you feel like you’re lounging at a Latin café. Gregarious owner Ana Docta is a constant – not to mention energetic and welcoming – presence.
4. Trestle Park
501 E. ERIE ST.
There’s a pocket-sized patch of greenery, but the highlight of this 4-year-old park is the pier jutting out over the Milwaukee River, a new use for a decommissioned rail bridge. Stroll south (and look down) for an American history lesson spelled out in the planks of the RiverWalk.
Here are some top picks from Kate Blake, co-founder of footwear boutique Shoo (241 N. Broadway.), which has been a Third Ward fixture since 2005.
321 N. BROADWAY
One of the first clothing boutiques to open in the Third Ward, Lela carries new and vintage women’s clothes and accessories. “If I ever need something fancy or unique, I go to Lela,” says Blake. “A lot of my favorite pieces are from there, and they last forever because they’re so well made.”
360 E. ERIE ST.
Blake, a vegetarian, typically doesn’t eat much Chinese food, but she makes an exception for this buzzy Third Ward spot with a modern American take on the cuisine. We love DanDan’s namesake chili-garlic-pork noodles, but Blake’s go-to dish is the General Tso’s Cauliflower, which she simply describes as “oh my gosh.”
400 N. WATER ST.
Whether you’re vegan or just appreciate fresh, nourishing food, don’t miss this Blake-approved juice, salad and sandwich bar in the Milwaukee Public Market. Rumor has it, you’ll find the biggest and best salads in town here.