Downtown Madison, WI

Madison’s Downtown comprises the State Capitol and the oldest residential neighborhoods of Madison. Collectively Downtown is also referred to as the Capitol Neighborhoods as it is in reality more of a quilt of several smaller districts that independently grew into a larger Downtown neighborhood. I expand the Capitol Neighborhoods District a bit for this evaluation to include almost everything between Blair and Park Avenue.  In the SE quadrant is the First Settlement, the oldest part of Madison first settled in 1837. The western half is call Miffland & Bassett, an area famous for its counter-cultural revolution in the 60s & 70s now an interesting mixed-use district. Abutting the University and along Lake Mendota is the State-Langdon District, home to many great historic mansions and many early 20th revival bldgs now owned by many fraternities & sororities. In the Northeast quadrant is the Mansion Hill District, which contains some wonderfully preserved mid-late 19th century housing but also feeds right to the Capitol Building.

Downtown Madison is perhaps the best mid-sized Downtown in American. This is mostly thanks to its great density, and mixed-use character that feeds seamlessly into the historic part of the University of Wisconsin via State Street, a vibrant pedestrian mall converted in 1974. The Dwtn is also designed with an elevated State House forming its heart with diagonal streets coming off its corners and cutting through Dwtn. Dwtn’s fabric is also unhindered by any freeways helping it to preserve most of its urban fabric and contains great retail, cultural, and recreational amenities. Dwtn  boasts a great array of housing diversity (esp. rental) while still being a major employment center. Some small areas that Downtown could improve upon include housing more walkable schools, which could attract more families. There are also some autocentric stretches/surface lots along Washington Blvd and the First Settlement subdistrict that could use better infill. These areas are also a bit sparse with retail amenities.

Click to view my Downtown album, my State-Langdon album and my Mansion Hill album on Flickr


* This is one of the most dense and populated Downtown’s in America( only New York and Chicago have more dense Downtowns). Very impressive especially for a City of Madison’s size. It is twice as dense as the second most dense mid-sized metro (Lancaster).
* Thanks to several leafy residential pockets Downtown Madison has solid tree canopy for a Downtown.
* Madison has good public transit throughout Dwtn and the inner city neighborhood and decent access to the new parts of the City. Ok to poor service in the suburbs.
* Madison has no interstate highways that penetrated Dwtn and the inner City. Instead one must exist I-90 and I-94 and drive in for 15 minutes on the east side or take route 14-18 that loop south  of the Downtown. This is certainly the ideal in my opinion as it provides decent auto access to Dwtn but keeps it in tact.
* Well gridded Dwtn with the addition of 4 diagonals radiating from the capitol bldgs. Dwtn does well at avoiding wide streets but its maze of one-way streets can be rather confusing.
* Excellent bike infrastructure including great bike lane connectivity throughout most of the City and into the suburbs and dedicated bike stations within almost all of the pre WWII neighborhoods.
* Excellent racial and economic diversity from residents living here.
* Lots of rental supply and diversity. Tons of studios and 1-beds that lease btwn $800-2K, 2-beds lease btwn the low 1Ks-low 2Ks, lots of 3-beds leasing btwn the low 1Ks to mid 2Ks and even some 4 beds btwn the mid 1Ks to 4K. There also appears to be a fair amount of dedicated affordable hsg dwtn.
* Decent amount and diversity of for-sale housing too with 1-bed condos selling btwn 200K-500K, 2-beds sell btwn 300K-1M, and a good number of 3 & 4 beds for a dwtn selling btwn 400K- the low 1Ms.
* Solid park amenities including lots of lake front parks, several attractive plazas throughout dwtn, Alumni Park and Library mall near Dwtn, the UW recreational center, and the well activated Capitol Square, a strong civic heart.
* Excellent cultural amenities including tons of food beverage bizs, good # of art galleries, several live music venues, theaters, and night clubs, a indie theater, several quality museums, and all the University of Wisc. Cultural amenities.. For regional amenities the City has a decent convention center, a couple sports arenas (UW).
* Tons of government jobs dwtn with both city and state offices concentrated here. About 50K jobs in Dwtn Madison.
* Great retail amenities including a target, a couple supermarkets, a DGX, a couple drug stores, plenty of banks, plenty of clothing stores gift shops, and home good stores, a bookstore, a hardware store, tons of dessert joint & Gyms, Dwtn Library & post office.


* Generational diversity is rather poor due to the overwhelming college age/young adults living in the Capitol Neighborhoods District.
* Only one walkable elementary school within the Dwtn area. A couple good schools in neighboring districts but not really walkable to Dwtn.
* Retail amenities are a bit light in the First Settlement and Mansion Hill Districts.
* As nothing is taller than the State Capital building not a striking skyline in Madison, although I respect the City’s decision to do this. I actually don’t mind the mid-rise skyline this has created allowing the capital building to shine.
* Generally excellent form throughout Madison but a good amount of autocentric uses along Washington Avenue and some surface parking lots in the First Settlement area. Not surprisingly this is also where the dead spots are Dwtn.

Dudgeon-Monroe: One of Madison’s Trendiest Urban Districts

Dudgeon-Monroe shares the active Monroe business district with adjacent Wingra Park but also picks up Monroe further westward away from Downtown. Past Edgewood College Monroe becomes more mixed-use but still holds a couple solid business nodes. From an urban perspective Dudgeon-Monroe also excels at having great access to park amenities, comfortable 1910s-1940s housing, convenient access to Dwtn and the University, excellent tree canopy, a high level of safety, and quality urban massing running up and down Monroe Street.

For Dudgeon-Monroe to become a great urban district it needs more density, sidewalk infrastructure in the southern 1/3 of the neighborhood, better public transit access, more economic and racial diversity, more walkable schools, and much better housing diversity as for sale housing is expensive here and there are few apartments especially 1-bedrooms and studios.

Click here to view my Dudgeon-Monroe album on Flickr


* Great ADA infrastructure and sidewalks.
* An excellent recreational trail runs the northern edge of the neighborhood along with a couple other shorter  bike lanes. A couple dedicated bike stations as well.
* Great generational diversity with a good mix of kids, students, professors.
* Excellent tree canopy throughout most of the district.
* Great park amenities with expansive and varied lakefront acreage covering the entire length of the district. Attractive quad space at Edgewood College.
* Very safe community.
* Good cultural amenities including plenty of restaurants & bars, several cafes, several art galleries including a local neighborhood art gallery, a couple community theaters, a couple breweries, some good cultural amenities at the nearby Edgewood College.
* Good retail amenities as well including a Trader Joe’s, a pharmacy, a couple banks, a wine store, a bookstore, lots of gift stores/boutiques and creative stores, a several dessert joints, a couple gyms, a public library, several dessert joints, plenty of gyms, and a couple churches.
* Solid historic and modern architecture.
* Generally good urban massing but some auto centric wholes the further away from Dwtn you go along Monroe St.
* One of Madison’s trendier neighborhoods


* So so density.
* The southern 1/3 of the district has no sidewalks. Newer 40 & 50s development here.
* Some more curvilinear streets in parts of the district but connectivity is still retained throughout.
* Public transit is so so here.
* Pretty poor economic and racial diversity.
* No schools within Wingra Park but a quality public high school and elementary schools on the northern edge of the district in adjacent Regent neighborhood.
* Rentals are very limited but especially 1-beds. Some 2-beds available that lease around 2K.
* Not a ton of for sale housing diversity. Everything is pretty expensive here. A handful of 1-bed condos that sell btwn 300K-600K,  Some 2-bed selling btwn 325K-650K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 375K-885K

Wingra Park- A highly Intellectual/Artistic Urban Community located between Edgewood College and University of Wisconsin

Wingra Park (aka Vilas) is a very attractive turn of the 20th century district lined with gorgeous historic homes, an intact streetcar business district running down Monroe Ave and wonderful park and lake front access. It also is located between Edgewood College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison creating a very intellectual artistic community vibe.

The Monroe street business district provides Wingra Park with solid retail and cultural amenities, and good walkability. Public Transit and bike infrastructure could be better but sufficient enough to provide a diversity of modal options. Wingra Park also have great street connectivity, convenient access to Dwtn, high levels of safety, and a great tree canopy. Major areas for improvement from an urban perspective include more walkable schools, better racial diversity, more 1-bedroom apartment options, and improved urban in-fill along Regent Street.

Click here to view my Wingra Park Album on Flickr


* Good urban density.
* Generally very good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure but some missing sidewalks and older ADA sidewalks near Vilas Park.
* Very good access to Downtown.
* Great street connectivity.
* Decent economic and generational diversity.
* Great tree canopy in Wingra Park.
* Wonderful array of historic homes and mansions throughout Wingra Park.
* Solid urban in-fill and urban form along Monroe St. Great streetscaping as well.
* Solid park amenities with the expansive Lakefront Vilas Park side along its southern park and the hilltop park of Bear Mound Park.
* Solid retail amenities including a Trader Joe’s, a pharmacy, a couple banks, a wine store, a bookstore, a couple clothing stores, tons of gift stores and creative stores, a several dessert joints, a couple gyms, a public library
* Good cultural amenities as well including several restaurants & bars, a couple cafes & breweries, a couple art galleries, a neighborhoods arts gallery, a couple local theaters, and some good cultural amenities at nearby Edgewood College.
* Very safe community.


* Some bike infrastructure including a couple dedicated bike stations and a recreational bike trail running along the neighborhood’s northern border.
* Racial diversity is very limited. Over 90% Caucasian.
* No schools within Wingra Park but a quality public high school and elementary schools in the adjacent Regent neighborhood.
* No a ton of for sale housing diversity. Everything is pretty expensive here. Some 2-bed selling btwn 425K-525, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 400K- 1 M.
* Rentals are pretty limited esp. 1-bedrooms. A couple 1-beds lease around 1.5K, Some more 2-bed options also leasing in the mid 1Ks.
* Semi-auto centric biz district along Regent St.
* Missing neighborhood amenities include a lack of churches, doctor offices, a post office, and a hardware store.

Greenbush- A comfortable early 20th Century Madison neighborhood sandwiched between two lakes

Greenbush takes its name from the Historic Greenbush Addition, which served as the first home of many Italian and Eastern European immigrants.  The neighborhood offers a wide variety of homes, from efficiency apartments to new condominiums to attractive historic homes from the early 20th century.  It also has a convenient location only 1.5 miles from Downtown and the University of Wisconsin, has good urban density, solid public transit access, wonderful park amenities, and convenient access to 3 hospitals.

To become a great urban district Greenbush needs to built out its semi-auto centric commercial districts along Regent St. and Park St with quality urban mixed-use in-fill. This would create a more cohesive urban biz district and hopefully also add much needed cultural and retail amenities. Greenbush also lacks walkable schools, 1-bedroom apartments, and limited bike infrastructure.

Click here to view my Greenbush album on Flickr


* Solid density
* Very convenient to Dwtn across all modes. Decent public transit access.
* Overall a very connected grid system.
* Good economic diversity with the mix of professionals and students living in the neighborhood.
* Decent for sale diversity but on the expensive side. Some 1-bed condos selling in the 200Ks. 2-beds sell anywhere btwn 300K-500K. 3&4 beds sell btwn 350K-700K.
* Great park access with Wingra Lake Park, Villas Park, and Brittangam Park bordering the neighborhood. Greenbush also has the Edward Klief Park with a playground and ballfields.
* Very safe community overall.
* Solid tree canopy.
* Attractive historic housing and decent modern in-fill. Some good mixed-use in-fill but also a good about a auto centric crude.
* Greenbush is a generally in demand neighborhood with a positive image.
* Decent cultural amenities including  the Madison Zoo, the UW Arboretum, a beach, a handful of restaurants, a couple cafes & breweries, and plenty of bars, a couple art galleries and a few live music venues. Decent access, however, to the cultural amenities in Dwtn and the University of Wisconsin.


* Sidewalk infrastructure is good. Modern ADA curbs are mostly limited to the biz districts (Regent and Park) and largely missing on the residential streets.
* So so bike infrastructure with one dedicated bike lane on the eastern edge and one bike station.
* So so diversity and poor generational diversity thanks to the large student population living here.
* No schools within the Greenbush, a couple good options in adjacent neighborhoods that I would consider somewhat walkable.
* Limited studio and 1-bedroom rental options. Some 2-beds leasing in the 1Ks and a good # of 3-beds available leasing around 2K.
* Retail amenities are pretty limited. But they are some amenities including a couple banks, three major hospitals, a book store, a large bike shop, a couple floral shops, a couple salons & banks, a shoe store, an Asian grocerias.
* Urban massing is a mixed-bag. Decent streetscaping however.

Tenney-Lapham- Attractive Turn of the Century Madison Neighborhood

Tenney-Lapham was mostly built up during the turn of the 20th century  fueled by the growth of the Fuller and Johnson Company located along East Washington Avenue. In general homes near Washington Ave are more working class and modest in character while those along the Lake running down Sherman Avenue are more grand and elaborate. Johnston Ave is the business district running down the spine of the neighborhood a solid district with a fair amount of homes mixed in. Washington Ave (Aka Route 151) has seen significant redevelopment over the past decade quickly erasing its gritty industrial history for dense compact development.

Tenney-Lapham also excels at walkability, good density, solid public transit and bike infrastructure, great housing diversity, numerous parks & recreational trails, quality cultural and retail amenities, solid architecture (both historic and modern), and a high level of safety. What Tenney-Lapham needs the most is more walkable schools. There are none within the neighborhood. It also lacks significant racial diversity, some major retail amenities and still has some dead spots in need of redevelopment along Route 151.

Click here to view my Tenney-Lapham Album on Flickr


* Good density
* Good sidewalks and ADA infrastructure but about 1/3 of all curb cuts don’t have current ADA ramps.
* Sold bike infrastructure with a couple dedicated lanes and bike stations.
* Excellent access to Dwtn across all modes of transit.
* Sold connectivity in the street grid.
* Decent economic and generational diversity.
* For sale runs a bit expensive but good variety and price range. Plenty of 1-beds selling btwn 250K-500K, 2-beds for 300K-500K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 325K-1 M.
* Great # of rental options ranging from cheap to more expensive.. Studios 1-beds range anywhere from $600 to 1.5K, 2-beds btwn 1K-2.5K, 3-beds btwn 1.5Ks to 2Ks. Even some 4 beds available a bit more expensive.
* Wonderful park amenities with the expansive and water filled Tenney Park, recreational trails both along the Lakefront and river, and several other nice small-medium sized parks.
* Good cultural amenities including lots of bars, breweries, and cafes. Also some restaurants, and a couple of art galleries and live music venues. a comedy club, and several performing arts venues. Convenient access to all the cultural amenities dwtn too.
* Decent retail amenities including a full service supermarket, several boutiques/clothing stores, a bike store, a couple banks, plenty of salons/bar shops, a couple dessert joints and gyms, a handful of churches, and a post office.
* Overall a very safety community.
* Great tree canopy except for the block around 151.
* Quality historic and in-fill architecture throughout most of the district.


* Pretty limited racial diversity.
* No schools within the Tenney-Lapham district, a couple decent options in adjacent neighborhoods but only one would I consider walkable.
* Missing retail amenities include a pharmacy, hardware store, a bookstore,  a public library, no hospitals in the area, and few doctor’s offices.
* Still some auto centric and industrial buildings along 151 Highway but this traditional autocentric corridor is quicky becoming dense and mixed-use.

Downtown Milwaukee

The Downtown District is broken up into 3 main sub-districts: the Old 3rd Ward- A rejuvenated warehouse district; East Town- home to some stunning turn of the century commercial bldgs esp. along Wisconsin Avenue but also lots of modern high rises along the lake forming Milwaukee’s mini Golden Coast. Also some very nice late 19th century residential/instructional development in East Town between Kilbourne and Knapp. Milwaukee is the most in-tact historic downtown street cutting across both West and East Towns.  West Town- this is the most underinvested part of Dwtn with lots of dead spots but some good nodes including the old Department store district on Wisconsin, the German themed block on Old Word 3rd St., the redeveloped Pabst complex at the Brewery District, and Civic Complex at McPherson Park.

Both West Town and East Town hosted more or less original settlements in Milwaukee established in the 1830s. East Town was historically called the Juneau Town and West Town was called Kilbourn Town. Along with being a major warehousing district in the City the Historic 3rd Ward was once home to Irish, and then, Italian immigrants.

From an urban perspective Downtown Milwaukee is very similar to Downtown Cleveland and Detroit with its broad streets, striking historic buildings, and warehouse district. But it also has Chicago influences with its expansive lakefront park feeding seamlessly into Downtown, river promenade, and great bike infrastructure. Downtown Milwaukee also has solid cultural amenities, decent retail amenities (although still missing a supermarket), diversity of housing types, stunning public buildings (City Hall, Public Library, and McArthur City complex), and many public plazas spread throughout. The biggest area of improvement needed in Dwtn Milwaukee is more urban in-fill especially in all the dead spots and surface parking lots in West Town but Dwtn could also use better tree canopy, better racial and generational diversity, better walkable schools, a more interesting skyline, and a narrowing of its many wide streets.

Click here to view my East Town Album, West Town Album, and Historic 3rd Ward


* Excellent density for a downtown.
* Good dedicated bike coverage throughout most of the City and to many of the suburbs.
* Good dedicated bike coverage in Dwtn, Northside, inner west side, and limited to the southside. The urban suburbs of West Allis and Wauwatosa also have great dedicated bike station coverage.
* Excellent economic diversity living Dwtn.
* Solid for sale options with a wide range of price points. 1-bed condo sell btwn 100K-600K, 2-beds btwn 225K-900K but some high end product in the Millions. Good # of 3 & 4 bed selling btwn 400K-2 M.
* Pretty good rental options pretty inline pricewise with most Dwtns. Studios 1-beds lease btwn 1K-2K- 2-beds 1K-3K, and some 3-beds leasing btwn 3K-6K.
* Great park amenities especially the expansive lake front parks and the City Malls. Good amount of other smaller parks & plazas too. Cathedral Square is what I would consider the Civic plaza. Good layout but not centrally located and themed.
* Generally a pretty safe Dwtn but some pretty dead and sketchy felling places in West Town further from the river.
* Marquette University Students with its 11K students sits just west of Dwtn but its pretty insular. A several smaller colleges Dwtn including Milwaukee Area Technical College.
* Solid cultural amenities with a good array of food & beverage bizs, several night clubs & theaters, plenty of museums, and some art galleries especially in the 3rd Ward.. Dwtn also hosts the arena where the Milwaukee Bucks play and a smaller arena where the UWM and minor hocky team play.
* Wonderful Historic library Dtwn, which is a block away from the impressive McArthur Square surrounding by impressive Beau Arts Gov’t Bldgs and Museums.
* Dwtn certainly punches over its weight class with around 80K employees working in the CBD (at as of 2020).
* Good retail amenities include an active public market, tons of banks several butcher shops, a drug store, several boutiques & gift shops, a TJ Maxx, a couple book stores, some dessert joins and gyms and several churches. Large hospital on the western edge of West Town.
* Some good infill in East Town with several attractive high-rises near the lake and mixed-use infill.


* Generally good connectivity with the street grid but and good number of wide roads often 1-way.
* So so racial diversity living Dwtn.
*Very few children living Dwtn but good amount museums and child friendly destinations.
* Decent # of walkable schools within or near Dwtn but mixed ratings.
* There are a couple post offices on the edges of Dwtn but the historic post office is no longer active.
* Decent skyline with several landmark buildings but not enough cohesion to be a great skyline.
* Lots of surface parking lots in West Town and uninspiring auto centric structures in spots. Lots of surface parking lots on the eastern and southern edges of the 3rd Ward as well.
* Tree canopy is so so.
* Some good pedestrian activity is spots and plenty of dead spaces in between them especially the western half of West Town.

Marquette- One of Madison’s most Sought after Urban Districts and Host of Le Fête de Marquette

Marquette is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Madison with some homes dating back to the mid 19th century closest to Downtown. The district’s fabric shifts more to the turn of the 20th century as it expands Northeast of Downtown. Marquette is well known for its Greek Revival, Italianate, Late Picturesque, and Arts & Crafts Bungalows architectural styles.

In the current day Marquette is one of Madison’s most sought after neighborhoods thanks to its walkable fabric, quirky vibe, haven for foodies, nightlife, the arts, and festival destination. The district also excels at providing excellent park amenities, diverse housing choices, and quality public transit and bike access. Williamson Street is the main commercial spine spanning most of the length of the neighborhood but there is also the node of Winnebago St & Atwood in the Northeast corner and the expanding mixed-use district along Highway 151 redeveloping a once industrial area. The portion of Marquette between the railroad and 151 was once one of Madison’s most industrial areas and home to a major power plant. This is still the lease attractive portion of the neighborhood but is fortunately undergoing an urban transformation. To become a great urban district Marquette could use more density, better racial diversity, and important retail amenities like a local pharmacy, library, better medical options and more church options.

Click here to view my Marquette Album on Flickr


* Solid ADA infrastructure and sidewalks most curbs where up to ADA standards.
* Great access to Dwtn among all modes of transit.
* Good # of dedicated bike lanes and bike stations throughout Marquette.
* Good economic and generational diversity.
* Overall a very safe community.
* A decent # of quality schools in Marquette and nearby.
* Good # of rental options. 1-beds range anywhere in the 1Ks, 2-beds are slightly more expensive, 3-beds btwn high 1Ks and mid 2Ks.
* For sale runs a bit expensive but good variety and price range. Plenty of 1-beds selling btwn 200K-500K, 2-beds for 230K-600K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 300K-900K.
* Excellent park amenities with many small and medium parks spread throughout the neighborhood. There are also several lakefront/riverfront parks, the extensive McPike Park, and the Capital City Trail runs the length of the neighborhood.
* Good tree canopy overall.
* Lots of quality modern in-fill spread through the district showing the health of the community. Attractive historic homes and generally good historic commercial bldgs.
* Great cultural amenities including plenty of food & beverage bizs, lots of breweries, several art galleries, lots of live music venues, some night clubs, several local theaters and convenient access to Dwtn’s cultural amenities.
* Good retail amenities including several supermarkets, some clothing/boutiques, several banks, a hardware & bike store, lots of furniture/home good stores, a bookstore, several gift shops/creative stores, plenty of dessert shops & gyms, and a local post office.
* Generally good urban form and streetscaping. Highway 151 was historically pretty auto centric but has been making great improvement the last decade with dense mixed-use bldgs. Still more improvement needed though.
* One of Madison’s most sought after districts.


* So so density
* Racial diversity is pretty lacking is this is ~ 85% white.
* Missing a local pharmacy & local library,  few churches are here, and the nearest hospital is 3 miles away,
* Some tree dead spots especially near highway 151 which is a recovering industrial area.

Bay View- Stable Urban District in Milwaukee’s Southside

Bay View was established as a company town when the Milwaukee Iron Company, led by Eber Brock Ward, opened a steel rolling mill south of the original Milwaukee River Outlet in 1868. Bay View existed as an independent village for eight years but was eventually annexed into the City of Milwaukee in 1887.  Much of the original company footprint is preserved in the Bay View Historic District. The southern third of Bay View (south of Oklahoma Ave) is much newer and built up in the 1920s-1940s

The Business district that runs along W-32 or S Kinnickinnic Ave is the longest cohesive historic biz district in the City and full of a diverse array of retail and cultural amenities. There is also some retail along Clement Ave, Oklahoma, and Howell Avenues. Chase Ave contains very autocentric strip centers and big box stores, helpful in the retail amenities it provides but awful for the district’s urban form. Bay View’s best homes are along the lake but there are also some nice pockets west of Kinnickinnic Ave and attractive 1920s-1940s homes south of Oklahoma Ave. Bay View also excels at providing its residents excellent park amenities, great variety of for-sale housing options, good access to Dwtn among all modes of transportation, quality walkable schools, and a high level of safety. I consider Bay View a top 5 district in Milwaukee. In order to become an elite district it needs more multi-family infill, more density, better ADA infrastructure, new streetscape and a complete re-design of the suburban looking Chase Avenue.

Click here to view my Bay View Album on Flickr


* Overall good public transit. It varies a lot throughout the district depending on how close you are to arterial corridors.
* Good bike infrastructure with several dedicated bike lanes and a couple of bike share stations.
* Convenient to Dwtn among all modes of transportation.
* Good # of walkable schools and generally rated well.
* Good variety of for sale options. Healthy number of condos and SF homes selling btwn 150K-400K, lots of variety with 2-bed homes selling btwn 150K-600K, 3 & 4 beds range btwn 175K-800k. Some mansions sell above 1 M.
* Okay # of rentals but go price ranges. 1-beds lease btwn $800-2K, more 2-beds leasing btwn 900K-the low 2Ks, decent amount of 3-beds leasing btwn 1.5K-3K. Decent # of dedicated affordable hsg too.
* Great park amenities starting with the expansive Humboldt Park & Baran Park, and extensive lakefront park. Also many small-medium sized parks too.
* Great culturally amenities including a wonderful array of food & beverage bizs, lots of live music venues & night clubs, a historic theater, a community theater, several art galleries, and a couple museums.
* Good retail amenities as well include 2 supermarkets, a couple drug stores, a target, home depot, plenty of banks, great variety of boutiques/consignments stores & bookstores, lots of creative stores, plenty of gyms and dessert joints, a public library & post office, & lots of churches.
* Overall a very safe place.
* Decent pedestrian connections esp. along the main commercial corridor (Memorial Hwy).
* Historic architecture ranges from 1870s-1940s getting newer the further south you go. Also gorgeous newer mansions along the cost.
* Generally very good urban massing along  S Kinnickinnic Ave and decent urban massing through the district except for Chase Ave which is lined with big boxes & strip malls.


* Underwhelming density thanks to all the park and industrial space in the neighborhood.
* Overall good sidewalk and ADA infrastructure but more than 1/2 of the curb cuts are out of date.
* Most of the in-fill bland autocentric but some good mixed-use infill on the northern edge of the district.
* The streetscaping is pretty tired and warn but works.

Historic Mitchell Street- Heart of Milwaukee’s Southside and now Mexican Community

I also included the Clock Towner Acres in this evaluation. The small neighborhood east of I-94

Mitchell Street neighborhood is the historic heart of Milwaukee’s densely populated  south side. Mitchell Street was a major shopping district in the turn of the century hosting many department, furniture, and retail stores, including eventually a major Sears Department Store. The commercial district is surrounded many duplexes and triplexes, also locally known as Polish flats. But also plenty of single family homes and medium sized apartment buildings. Like a typical progression in Milwaukee the district was originally settled by German immigrants in the 1850s and 1860s who were quickly replaced by Pols. This became a major stronghold of the Polish Community and just south of the neighborhood is the gorgeous Basilica of Saint Josaphat, built by Polish immigrants.

The neighborhood has certainly experienced some disinvestment since WWII but retained its fabric thanks to Mexican immigrants who now comprise 70% of the neighborhood. Most of Mitchell Street is intact but it faces many vacancies. Even Mitchell street still hosts a good # of restaurants, grocerias, art galleries, and retail amenities (especially furniture stores). The neighborhood overall hosts a decent # of walkable schools, and is overall a pretty walkable community. The urban components are here for a great neighborhood, what Historic Mitchell Street needs to become a great neighborhood is more investment, retail amenities, and especially park amenities. 

Click here to view my Historic Mitchell Street album on Flickr


* Excellent urban density.
* Generally very good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure. About 1/3 of curb cuts are outdated.
* Historic residential architecture is nothing special but some wonderful historic commercial bldgs along Mitchell and gorgeous churches throughout.
* Good # of dedicated bike lanes but not bike stations here.
* Very Hispanic neighborhood but still decent diversity. Good generational diversity as well.
* Good # of walkable schools but mixed ratings.
* Decent cultural amenities including many Mexican restaurants, several bars, a couple art galleries and night clubs.
* Good retail amenities including many ethnic grocerias (Hispanic and Middle Eastern), several drug stores & dollar stores, plenty of banks, several boutiques/clothing stores (esp. shoe stores),  several Mexican bakeries, plenty of salons & barber shops, a couple jewelry stores, plenty of furniture stores, a local public library & post office,  a couple medical centers, and plenty of churches including a couple gorgeous Catholic ones.
* Solid urban massing, especially along Mitchell Street.
* Pretty good pedestrian activity here.


* For-sale housing is affordable but limited product available. Some 1-bed condo options, esp. in the Clock Tower Acres district. They sell btwn 125K-250, 2-beds sell btwn 75K-270K, 3&4 beds btwn 100K- the low 200KS
* Not a ton of rentals available (at least listed on Zillow). Generally very affordable. 1-beds lease for $700-$800. 2 & 3 beds btwn $700 to the low 1Ks. A few 4 beds available leasing in the mid 1Ks.
* Decent but not great tree canopy.
* Sadly this is a very underserved community when it comes to parks space. Witkowiak Park a smaller park is really the only park space in the neighborhood.
* Some safety and blight issues here but not terrible.
* Very limited modern in-fill and what does exist is generally auto centric/industrial.
* Okay streetscaping but generally dated.
* Neighborhood still struggles with an image issue.

Walker’s Point- One of Milwaukee’s original settlements now home to a large Foodie Scene and Hispanic Population

Along with including the entire Walker’s Point district I also added a block of Harbor View into the evaluation extending it Easter ward to Barclay St. This is really the only cohesive part of the Harbor View neighborhood, a mostly industrial area.

The Walker’s Point District got its name from George Walkers who in 1834 staked a claim of 160 acres on the point of land south of the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers and built a crude cabin and trading post at what is now 4th Street & Bruce St. Walker’s Point developed slower than other competing settlements in current day Milwaukee but slowly began to grow in the 1840s hosting 1,366 residents by 1846. Within a decade Walker’s Point more than doubled its population including a large number of German immigrants. By the 1870s & 1880s the neighborhood welcomed mostly Polish immigrants.

Walker’s Point is also home to the first Pabst Brewing Company facility which opened in 1841. Thanks to the extensive history at Walker’s Point the neighborhood hosts an eclectic mix of styles ranging from workers’ cottages to large architect-designed homes, craftsman’s shops and large factories. More recently Walker’s Point became home to the City’s gay community and welcomed large numbers of Mexican families (now almost 70% of the districts population). Walker’s Point is also a hotbed of foodie activity with many of its historic warehouses converted into office, retail, and residential lofts. I also really like the strong mixed use character of the district, especially east of I 94. There are 7 district business districts here, creating a very walkable neighborhood bolstered by great transit and bike infrastructure. Walker’s Point also has a good range of housing types, often at affordable/moderate prices (esp. west of I-94).  For Walker’s Point to become a premier urban neighborhood it needs to continue filling in its vacant and underutilized spaces with quality urban infill along with creating more parks and recreational space. This will naturally create more retail amenities leading to a more vibrancy and walkable community.

Click here to view my Walker’s Point album on Flickr


* Solid ADA and sidewalk infrastructure.
* Decent tree canopy the father west you go in the neighborhood.
* Great public transit access and solid bike infrastructure.
* Very convenient access to Dwtn.
* Excellent generational diversity with a high pct of families living here. Decent racial and economic diversity. This is a very Hispanic neighborhood comprising nearly 70% of the residents.
* Great # of walkable schools but mixed ratings.
* Generally a pretty safe community.
* Lots of great commercial and warehouse historic architecture. Residential architecture is more modest given this was a working class neighborhood. Good Mixed-use infill on the eastern half.
* Good # of rentals with diverse price points. 1-beds range between $700-1.5K, 2 & 4-beds range btwn $750-3K. Decent amount of dedicated afford hsg here too.
* Similar situation with for sale. Some studios & 1-beds selling in the 100Ks & 200Ks, 2-beds sell btwn 175K-400K, 3 & 4 beds btwn 100K-500K. As a general rule of thumb housing is much cheaper west of I-94.
* Solid cultural amenities including a great # of food & beverage bizs (esp. Mexican), breweries, many art galleries, several local theaters & live music venues, plenty of night clubs, an a bobblehead museum.
* Good retail amenities as well including a supermarket, several grocerias, a couple pharmacies, many boutiques/vintage stores, plenty of gift shops, home good & furniture. Antique stores, several banks, lots of salons/barber shops, plenty of gyms & dessert joints, a post office, and plenty of churches.
* Generally good form in the many biz districts (2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, & 16th streets, Florida, and National Ave)
* Lots of landmarks here with the larger historic factory buildings.


* Park space to limited to a couple small parklets.
* Decent amount of underutilized industrial land remaining in spots.
* No public library in the neighborhood.