Known for its brewing heritage and Harley-Davidsons, Milwaukee is a must-see destination on any trip through the Midwest. But as Wisconsin’s largest city, choosing where to stay in Milwaukee isn’t always simple.
Milwaukee is home to a variety of interesting areas & neighborhoods, perfect for everything from a long weekend to an extended road trip. Many of the best hotels in Milwaukee fall within its city center, including bustling East Town, Westown, and the Historic Third Ward. Or, to escape the downtown buzz, you can spend your nights in trendy Walker’s Point or the outdoorsy Lower East Side.
Not sure where to start your lodgings search? Plan the perfect trip with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Milwaukee, WI, including the top areas, neighborhoods, and hotels.
Best places to stay in Milwaukee, WI
Perched on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee splits into several distinct neighborhoods, each offering a unique take on the city.
For culture lovers, the Historic Third Ward delivers the perfect mix of fun & history. In this historic city center area, you’ll witness Milwaukee’s beating cultural heart, including art galleries, indie boutiques, and performing arts venues.
If you’re looking to experience Milwaukee’s urban buzz, lay your head down in East Town or Westown. Comprising much of Downtown Milwaukee, these two areas are home to many of the city’s top-rated hotels and many of the top tourist attractions in Milwaukee.
For a more “local” experience, set your compass to Walker’s Point or the Lower East Side. Both are within reach of downtown and deliver a tamer experience while still offering plenty of their own museums, restaurants, bars, and boutique shops.
The best areas to stay in Milwaukee, WI, are:
Historic Third Ward
✓ Best area to stay in Milwaukee for history buffs and creatives
Want to soak up Milwaukee’s history and modern culture? Narrow your accommodations search to the Historic Third Ward. Located south downtown, the historic neighborhood has experienced a modern revival, transforming into the city’s most important creative hub.
To swing into Milwaukee’s cultural scene, try to catch a performance at the Broadway Theater Center. Modeled after an old European opera house, the theater is one of the city’s top performing arts venues, hosting world-class performances year-round.
If you time your visit to Milwaukee just right, attend one of the special events at Henry Maier Park. Perched on the lakeshore, the 75-acre park hosts the city’s annual Summerfest and several ethnic festivals, including its famous German Fest.
Want to fill up on local food? Bring an empty stomach to the Milwaukee Public Market. Occupying an old industrial building, the indoor marketplace shows off the Historic Third Ward’s historical side and gathers some of the area’s finest foods, from baked goods to meats & cheeses to fresh produce.
If you’re looking to unwind in the great outdoors, stretch out on the shores of beautiful Lakeshore State Park. Although small, the 22-acre Wisconsin State Park offers a nice respite from the buzz of the city.
Unlike in other areas of Downtown, expect to find more aparthotels and vacation rentals than traditional hotels in the Historic Third Ward. Most of the accommodations here sit within the mid-range budget level.
Looking for an apartment in the heart of the Historic Third Ward? Soak up the minimalist decor of FRONTDESK Jefferson Block Apts Third Ward Milwaukee. This modern apartment hotel features plenty of natural light and panoramic views over downtown. It sits in a perfect location, too, just 0.2 miles from both the Skylight Music Theatre and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
Staying in Milwaukee as a group or with family? Dig into more spacious accommodations at the Third Ward 1 and 2 BR with Patio by Frontdesk. Enjoy evenings on the patios overlooking the city, and reap the benefits of staying in the center of the Historic Third Ward.
Perfect for couples, the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, an IHG Hotel offers sleek and modern design, surrounded by all the history & culture of the Historic Third Ward. Featuring a classy rooftop bar, on-site restaurant, and a full fitness center, this luxury hotel is the perfect place to kick back and relax after a long day of exploring Milwaukee.
✓ Recommended neighborhood to stay in Milwaukee for culture & nightlife
For an even bigger dash of culture in Downtown Milwaukee, book your lodgings in East Town. Occupying the eastern half of the downtown core, East Town is home to some of Milwaukee’s best-loved museums, including the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, and the highly interactive Discovery World.
After perusing museums and art galleries, unwind at Cathedral Square Park. At East Town’s main green space, you’ll have your pick of family-friendly activities, events, festivals, and farmer’s markets.
Traveling with your better half or with friends? East Town is also home to some of the buzziest restaurants and bars in Milwaukee, making it a haven for the nightlife industry. Grab a fork and a glass of vino, kick your heels off, and let your hair down!
As it’s close to all the action, East Town hosts plenty of traditional accommodation options, including some of the top-rated Milwaukee hotels. Expect prices to be slightly higher in this neighborhood than elsewhere.
Located just 0.4 miles from the Milwaukee Art Museum, The Plaza Hotel – Milwaukee is all about location, location, location. Offering kitchens in every room, an on-site restaurant, and even a spa, this hotel has everything you could need for your next trip to Milwaukee, whether you’re traveling as a family, couple, or solo.
Fully equipped with an outdoor pool, business center, and even a hot tub, the Drury Plaza Hotel Milwaukee Downtown offers something to suit every traveler. Located just 0.1 miles from both the Riverside Theater and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, it’s an ideal hotel for culture vultures visiting Milwaukee.
Looking for accommodations in downtown Milwaukee with plenty of space and amenities? Look no further than the Homewood Suites By Hilton Milwaukee Downtown. With an outdoor pool to lounge by, a business center to work from, and a full fitness center, this downtown hotel offers travelers the perfect home away from home.
With the Marcus Performing Arts Center a short two-minute walk away, Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel sits in the heart of the downtown action. If you love art, you’ll be in your element here. Enjoy the rotating art exhibit in the lounge area and galleries sprinkled throughout the hotel.
Want to enjoy a morning cup of Joe from an on-site Starbucks branch? Wake up at the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown. After fueling up, sprawl out at Lakeshore State Park, located just a mile from the hotel. Spend your day roaming downtown before settling down at the on-site East Town Kitchen & Bar, featuring one of the city’s most extensive whiskey menus.
✓ Top-rated district to stay in Milwaukee for sports and bars
Are you a sports fan and want to catch a basketball game while you’re in Milwaukee? Spend your nights in Westown. The western half of Downtown Milwaukee, Westown is home to the Fiserv Forum, where the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks play their home games.
Can’t snag tickets for a game? Walk along the cobblestones on Old World 3rd Street to get a glimpse of Milwaukee’s German historical roots. In Westown’s main entertainment district, you can indulge in the city’s finest German eateries and sip craft brews at top-rated sports bars.
Looking for something to do in the daytime before the big game? Hit up the Milwaukee Public Museum, a massive natural history museum featuring three floors of exhibits.
With a mix of aparthotels, vacation rentals, and traditional hotels, you’ll find something to suit every budget in Westown.
Heading to Milwaukee for a basketball game? Lay down your head at the Hyatt Place Milwaukee Downtown. The hotel is located mere steps from the Fiserv Forum, home of the mighty Bucks. With a 24-hour fitness center and an on-site restaurant serving up classic American fare, this downtown hotel is a great base for any sports fan.
Located on Milwaukee’s iconic RiverWalk, the Residence Inn Milwaukee Downtown offers accommodations in the heart of downtown. With floor-to-ceiling windows in every suite, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city throughout your visit.
Set in a 1920s building connected to the Wisconsin Center, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Milwaukee Downtown is the ideal spot for work and play. Get down to business at the desk in your spacious modern suite or at the hotel’s dedicated business center. The 3-star hotel is within walking distance of several top attractions, including the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Deer District.
Enjoy a more relaxed vibe from your Milwaukee accommodations by checking into the aloft Hotel Milwaukee Downtown. Bask in comfort in the stylishly designed rooms featuring high ceilings and large windows with big city views. Top off the night with a craft cocktail at the sleek & stylish W XYZ bar and a game of pool in the shared lounge.
If you’re a fan of all things brewing, don’t miss a chance to stay at the Brewhouse Inn and Suites. Built inside the old Pabst Blue Ribbon factory, this boutique hotel immerses you in the city’s beer history.
Relax in the spacious studios and suites, decked out with Steampunk and Victorian-inspired motifs, before retiring to the outdoor beer garden for a pint. Guests will also enjoy a complimentary breakfast to fuel up for the day.
Lower East Side
✓ Ideal area in Milwaukee for nightlife, live music, and enjoying the outdoors
Looking to enjoy Milwaukee’s nightlife? Set your sights on the Lower East Side. The city center area, wedged between the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan north of downtown, is famed for its raucous bar scene and beer heritage sites.
While roaming about the Lower East Side, skip west across the river to Brewer’s Hill. Perched on a bluff overlooking the riverfront, the now mostly residential neighborhood is home to the Lakefront Brewery, the first organic brewery in the United States. Arrange a tour to check out its vast selection of beer and enjoy a pint in its buzzing German-style beer hall.
The Lower East Side is also well known for its plethora of live music venues. Most famous is the iconic Shank Hall, a famed rock club that’s been operating since 1989.
Want to spend some time outside? Alongside the breweries and live music venues, the Lower East Side also hosts plenty of outdoorsy spots suitable for the whole family. Sprawl out at Veterans Park or McKinley Beach, one of Milwaukee’s most beautiful beaches, and enjoy the breeze and the waters of Lake Michigan.
The Lower East Side offers plenty of vacation rentals. If you’re traveling with a larger group or sticking around for longer, this area might be a solid option.
Located just 0.1 of a mile from the Milwaukee River, FRONTDESK Rhythm Apts Lower East Side Milwaukee is a great space for couples seeking more space during their next trip. In its studios and one-bedroom apartments, you can spread out, cook for yourself and enjoy a well-deserved relaxing vacation.
Want a home away from home close to both Marquette University and the Oriental Theater? This one-bedroom vacation rental, featuring a separate living room and kitchen area, is the perfect hideaway in the heart of the Lower East Side.
Located just one mile away from the Milwaukee Art Museum, FRONTDESK Urbanite Apts Lower East Side Milwaukee offers a prime location along with a whole host of amenities, including a full fitness center. Each unit features a beautiful balcony to enjoy the cityscape after a day of sightseeing.
✓ Recommended neighborhood for quirky excursions, nightlife, and LGBT-friendly venues
Escape the city center buzz without ditching the fun by spending your nights in Walker’s Point. Located south of the confluence of the Milwaukee River and the Menomonee River, the diverse neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best bars, clubs, and LGBT-friendly venues. The area is also a great spot for launching into some of the top-rated Milwaukee day trips, thanks to its locations near the junction of the I-94 and I-43.
Love trying out new cuisine? Walker’s Point teems with restaurants covering the entire gamut of world cuisines. Spice things up at tasty Mexican restaurants like Botanas or chow down on American comfort food at one of the neighborhood’s many hip bistros.
If you’re looking for an undeniably quirky spot, hit up the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum. (Yep, it’s a real place and one of Milwaukee’s most beloved tourist attractions!)
Fans of the mighty hog, look no further: The huge Harley-Davidson Museum sits just north of Walker’s Point. A full complex of buildings, exhibitions, and stores, it’s a must-see for any motorcycle fan!
Finishing up your day of sightseeing in Walker’s Point? Grab a glass and “cheers” the night away at the Great Lakes Distillery & Tasting Room or the Indeed Brewing Company & Taproom.
Walker’s Point offers mostly vacation rentals and aparthotels, with limited regular hotels. When it comes to sticking to your travel budget, you should find a handful of great lodging options.
Looking to get close to the Harley-Davidson Museum? Spend your nights at The Iron Horse Hotel, located across the South 6th Street Bridge from the iconic attraction. The luxury boutique hotel occupies a 100-year-old warehouse featuring industrial-chic designs with vintage splashes. With a choice of three restaurants and bars, all with distinct vibes, this 4-star hotel is a fantastic spot for couples or a group of friends.
Want a bit more room to spread out and relax? The FRONTDESK Maxwell Lofts Milwaukee Walker’s Point offers one- and two-bedroom apartments for larger parties and families. Enjoy the well-stocked kitchen and separate living area.
If you want more of a homey feel from your accommodation, check out Flexhome Walker’s Point. With a fitness center, a full kitchen, and space to lounge and chill out, this open-concept one-bedroom apartment is a haven within the hustle and bustle of Walker’s Point.