Milwaukeeans are luckier than they know; this city crams a large variety of distinct neighborhoods in a relatively small area. I can tell you from experience that those who grow up in the suburbs simply are naïve (there’s Downtown and then the ghetto, right?) about the urban area. Living in Madison, I found the majority of neighborhoods had names but lacked distinction. St Louis introduced me to the beauty of neighborhood identities, but those that still remain were each so geographically isolated (or separated by dangerous areas) that you often had to drive for long distances to get to anywhere new.

But then I came to Milwaukee, and living in the city I finally had the opportunity to immerse myself in each of the vibrant communities these 600,000 people call home (not to mention the suburbs). It’s been an exciting and enlightening journey, and in no way is it even close to being complete. I don’t think it ever could be.

The Squeaky Curd will be posting a featured topic called “Explore Your Neighborhood“. The intention is to provide historic backgrounds, important information, and interesting contemporary observations about a variety of locales within the city limits. Each is meant to be a teaser so that you may go and explore these areas yourself. There’s more to see than meets the eye.

First stop: Milwaukee at large.

City government hasn’t updated their neighborhood map since 2000, but it’s still very relevant.

Milwaukee Neighborhood Map

1) I doubt you knew Milwaukee was that large.
2) I know you had no idea it had that many recognizably-distinct neighborhoods.
3) Lists should always have at least 3 things on them.

For the sake of simplicity, we will for the most part be using the neighborhoods as defined in the above map, considering that’s how our local overlords prefer us to see the city. However, we will also be acknowledging the ever-changing nature of each neighborhood and how each is identified by those living there today.

I’m excited to share the journey through the diverse communities within our city with you. The more we explore the places we live, the more cohesive our community becomes. To get you started, the Neighborhood Associations for most areas can be found here. If you already live in the city, I encourage you to become active in your local area.

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