Perhaps better known for its breweries — Pabst, Schlitz, and Miller — Milwaukee is also flush with colleges, meaning the city has a large student population to fuel a youthful atmosphere. But many parts of Milwaukee are family-focused and might not be the best fit for adventurous students hoping to take full advantage of the vibrant college community. Depending on which school you’re attending — Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Alverno, Milwaukee Area Technical College, or any other of the city’s learning institutions — you’ll be looking to different parts of the city for homes for rent. Here are some of Milwaukee’s best neighborhoods for students, and which schools they’re nearby.
Just across the Milwaukee River from the UW-Milwaukee campus, Riverwest is a tight-knit community anchored by a co-op and several farm-to-table restaurants. The neighborhood bars may look a bit like dives, but they support a huge local music scene and they fill up every weekend — especially Cafe Bremen, Art Bar, and Foundation. A handful of riverside parks and bike trails make it the perfect spot for active residents to rent.
There are several smaller neighborhoods tucked inside of this area, which generally extends from the south end of the UW-Milwaukee campus to downtown and is heavily occupied by students. Heading south from the campus, you’ll traverse the Upper East Side and Murray Hill, both of which are filled with full rental homes as well as apartments and mansions chopped up and converted into off-campus housing. The southern edge of Murray Hill is bounded by North Avenue — one of the city’s main spots for nightlife and entertainment. A bit further south is the Lower East Side and the Brady Street neighborhood, which, like North Ave., is a mecca for students seeking a night out. Even during daylight hours, Brady Street draws crowds to its eclectic shops and restaurants, and its annual festival: Brady Street Days.
Just below the Lower East Side, Juneau Town is a slower-paced side of town with tons of green space and access to lakefront trails. It’s where you’ll find the Milwaukee School of Engineering, but it’s also where you’ll find a summer Concerts on the Square series in Cathedral Square, the Pfister — a historic hotel, restaurant, salon, and more — and the Bronze Fonze, waiting for photo op near the Safe House on the Milwaukee River. It’s also one of the most renter-heavy areas near downtown.
A perfect pair to East Town, Westown lies just across the river in downtown Milwaukee — actually comprising most of what is often considered “downtown,” including MATC’s downtown campus, the BMO Harris Bradley Center, and the historic Pabst Brewery, now a venue known as the Best Place.
A bit self-explanatory, the Marquette neighborhood surrounds the Marquette University campus on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, nearby bigger landmarks like the Rave/Eagle’s Club and the Milwaukee Public Museum. With tons of rentals and all of the amenities of downtown within reach, this is a great place for Marquette students — or those attending other downtown campuses — to snag a place.
Historic Third Ward
The heart of Milwaukee’s arts and fashion scene, the Historic Third Ward, is a suiting place to find the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Also home to the Milwaukee Public Market, nestled among the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers and Lake Michigan, the Third Ward has tons of local coffee shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants, art galleries, and apartments historic touches and scenic views.