Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and a major hub for midwestern culture. It’s growing in popularity, with bustling breweries, cafes and bars around every corner. Its lakefront location also means you can enjoy stunning scenery wherever you are in the city.

There are loads of different neighborhoods across this Midwest Metropolis, each offering something different to travelers. It’s a good idea to know exactly what each area is best for to make the most out of your stay.

That’s where we come in! Combining our own experience with hints and tips from locals and travel experts, we’ve figured out the three best places to stay in Milwaukee.

So let’s get started!

Where to Stay in Milwaukee

Beach at Bradford

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Kimpton Journeyman Hotel | Beautiful Hotel in Milwaukee

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, Milwaukee 1

Modern and elegant, this 4-star hotel is located right in the heart of Milwaukee. The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel comes with fantastic reviews, thanks to their incredible guest service and spacious interiors. Many of the best museums, historic attractions and restaurants are right on the doorstep. Plus, they provide a complimentary breakfast each morning.

Serene Loft | Peaceful Loft in Milwaukee

Serene Loft , Milwaukee 1

Airbnb Plus apartments are hand selected for their gorgeous interiors, epic locations and next-level guest service. This beautifully decorated loft lets in plenty of natural light, and the modern kitchen is a great space for self-catering guests. It’s also within walking distance of Milwaukee’s museums.

Brewer’s Hill | Quirky Hideaway in Milwaukee

Brewers Hill, Milwaukee 1

This home really stands out, thanks to its unique architecture and gorgeous interiors. It’s located in Brewer’s Hill and is close to the main breweries in Milwaukee. The river runs right by the property, giving you a peaceful area to stroll around each day. Sleeping up to 10 people, this is excellent for large families and groups heading to the city.

Milwaukee Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Milwaukee

Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee 1

Historic Third Ward

As the name suggests, Historic Third Ward is the oldest neighborhood in the city. This is where you will find charming traditional architecture and fascinating insights into Milwaukee’s past. It has recently been the subject of some major renovation projects in the city, updating it to its original splendour for all visitors to see.

East Town, Milwaukee 1

East Town

Just north of Historic Third Ward, East Town is the bustling nightlife hub of the city. Here you will find a good selection of clubs and dive bars to cater to almost all tastes.

Westown, Milwaukee 1


Right next to the Historic Third Ward, Westown is still considered the city centre by locals. Despite this it is actually a surprisingly peaceful neighborhood. This is the main museum district, so you’ll find some great exhibits and galleries across the area.

Milwaukee’s Top 3 Neighborhoods to Stay in

Milwaukee is a fascinating city, and one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the United States. With gorgeous scenery and hip inner-city attractions, there really is something for everyone in this part of Wisconsin.

Historic Third Ward sits in the center of Milwaukee, and is a great destination for discovering the area. It’s full of things to see and close to other neighborhoods, so you can easily get to know the region.

If you’re looking for good nightlife, East Town is the best place to stay in Milwaukee. It’s quieter by day, but is full of bars and clubs that come to life at night. It’s also well connected to Brewers Hill and Lower East Side.

Finally, Westown is the main museum district in the city. It’s a little bit more laid-back than the city centre, with huge green spaces and leafy residential streets. This makes it an excellent destination for families visiting Milwaukee.

Still not quite decided? Read on for more in-depth guides on each area, and the best accommodation and activities in each!

1. Historic Third Ward – Where to Stay in Milwaukee on your First Visit

Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee 1
Historic Third Ward is ideal for anyone discovering Milwaukee for the first time

In Historic Third Ward, you’ll find charming traditional architecture and fascinating insights into Milwaukee’s past. It has recently been subject to some major renovation projects, and is a must-see even if you base yourself elsewhere.

Historic Third Ward is the most connected neighborhood, with both East Town and Westown within walking distance. Thanks to increased visitor numbers, it’s also the best place for organised excursions. Across the river, Harbor View is one of the trendiest districts and popular with couples.

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel | Elegant Hotel in Historic Third Ward

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, Milwaukee 2

Set in the heart of Historic Third Ward, this hotel is a few minutes walk from the best attractions in Milwaukee. Free bicycles are provided to guests, giving you a fun and unique way to discover this idyllic city. There are also large communal spaces, including a games room where you can mingle with other guests.

The Lucky Lady | Fashionable Loft in Historic Third Ward

The Lucky Lady, Milwaukee

This charming little apartment is owned and operated by an interior designer. It’s full of plants, rustic architectural features and floods of natural light. The loft is located in the trendy Harbor View neighborhood, and sleeps six guests.

Frontdesk Loft | Central Studio in Historic Third Ward

Frontdesk Loft,Milwaukee

Frontdesk are a large chain of vacation rentals in Milwaukee boasting almost universal 5-star reviews. This trendy loft sits between Historic Third Ward and East Town, providing easy access to both areas. The interiors are modern and welcoming, making this a great option for couples visiting Milwaukee.

Things to See and Do in Historic Third Ward:

Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee 2
  1. Discovery World is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Here, you can experience traditional architecture and hear some of Milwaukee’s most famous stories.
  2. Visit Milwaukee Public Market, home to a variety of stalls offering local cuisine and unique souvenirs.
  3. Head to Lakeshore State Park, where you can admire the view or hire a boat out onto the water.
  4. Explore The Harley Davidson Museum, which offers a wide range of exhibits dedicated to the iconic motorcycles.
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2. East Town – Where to Stay in Milwaukee for Nightlife

East Town, Milwaukee 1
This part of the city comes alive at night.

Just north of Historic Third Ward, East Town is the bustling nightlife hub of the city. It’s home to a great selection of clubs and dive bars catering almost all tastes. It’s surprisingly quiet during the day, however once the sun goes down you will get to party with locals and visitors alike.

East Town is well-connected to Brewer’s Hill and the Lower East Side. This is Milwaukee’s hippest neighborhood, and part of its cultural revolution.

Frontdesk Flat | Affordable and Stylish in East Town

Frontdesk Flat, Milwaukee

This is another gorgeous apartment operated by Frontdesk. Although located in East Town, it’s also only a short walk away from both Historic Third Ward and Westown. Staying here, guests will therefore be close to everything on offer in the city. The interiors are comfortable and can sleep up to four people – ideal for groups traveling on a budget.

Drury Plaza Hotel | Modern Hotel in East Town

Drury Plaza Hotel, Milwaukee

This 3-star hotel is a fantastic choice for budget conscious travellers heading to Milwaukee. Rooms are somewhat basic, but well-equipped for a short stay in the city. You’ll have access to a fitness centre and business suite, and a complimentary buffet breakfast is provided every morning. The best nightlife options are all within a 10 minute walk of the hotel.

Brewer’s Hill | Hip Home in East Town

Brewers Hill, Milwaukee 2

Just across the river from east town, this charming property in Brewer’s Hill is nestled among the most popular breweries in the city. There are a couple of balconies on the upper level, offering mesmerising views of the city centre. It can sleep up to ten people, making this a fantastic choice if you’re traveling with a larger group.

Things to See and Do in East Town:

East Town, Milwaukee 2
  1. Ugly’s Rooftop Bar is the best rooftop bar in the city – offering a huge cocktail menu and unbeatable views across Milwaukee.
  2. Stroll into Milwaukee Art Museum during the day for spacious exhibits dedicated to artists from across the world.
  3. Lakefront Brewery is the most famous brewery in the city – it’s just across the bridge in Brewer’s Hill and offers regular tours.
  4. McKinley Beach is the only beach in the city centre. Located in the Lower East Side, it’s a must-see during the scorching summer months.

3. Westown – Best Area in Milwaukee for Families

Westown, Milwaukee 1

Westown is still considered the city centre by locals and is a surprisingly peaceful neighborhood. It’s the main museum district, so you’ll find some great exhibits and galleries across the area. Westown is also known for its parks where you can enjoy the peaceful nature of the inner city.

This calm vibe makes it our top pick for families. It’s a good mixture of commercial and residential, with many of the restaurants and cafés catering specifically to the tourist crowd. You’re also within easy walking distance of both Historic Third Ward and East Town, so you still have the choice to visit the more lively attractions.

Summerfest | Spacious Condo in Westown

Summerfest, Milwaukee

Once the largest music festivals in the world, Summerfest is a major attraction for visitors to Milwaukee. This condo is a great spot for those looking to stay close to the festival, as it takes place just a stone’s throw away. For those visiting at a different time of the year, it’s still a super spacious condo with modern furnishings and two bedrooms.

Schuster Mansion Bed & Breakfast | Luxury Hotel near Westown

Schuster Mansion Bed and Breakfast, Milwaukee

This luxurious bed and breakfast offers style and comfort in a truly peaceful location. The museums of Westown are all within quick walking distance, and there’s a large garden to relax in. The bedrooms are elegantly decorated in a traditional way making great use of classic design. A cooked breakfast is offered every morning, with vegetarian and gluten free options available.

Serene Loft | Relaxing Apartment in Westown

Serene Loft, Milwaukee 2

This gorgeous Airbnb Plus Loft uses modern interior design to create a bright and airy space. Sleeping up to three guests, this is better for smaller families looking for somewhere peaceful to stay. It is a stone’s throw from the biggest museums in the city, and even the Historic Third Quarter can be easily reached on foot. It’s a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it.

Things to See and Do in Westown:

Westown, Milwaukee 2
  1. Milwaukee Public Museum is the largest exhibition in the city, dedicated to local history and culture.
  2. Old World Third Street connects Westown to the Historic Third Ward and is a great way to learn about the city’s German heritage.
  3. Take the easy-going Third Ward Riverwalk for a rewarding stroll through the city.
  4. If you’re keen to discover local culture, Miller High Life Theatre feature acts from across the entire Midwest.

If you have a chance, head over to Wisconsin Dells, less than 2 hours from Milwaukee, for a fun day exploring the theme parks!

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FAQs About Where to Stay in Milwaukee

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Milwaukee and where to stay.

What To Pack For Milwaukee

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Milwaukee

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Milwaukee

Charming lakeside views, wide open green spaces and a bustling nightlife district make Milwaukee one of the most interesting destinations for travelers in the USA today.

If we had to pick one neighborhood that really stands out for us, it would be East Town. Alongside Brewer’s Hill and the Lower East Side, this neighborhood is the most exciting area in the city.

That being said, the best place for you really depends on what you want to get out of your stay! We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Milwaukee and USA?