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August 2017



The bustling atmosphere of Brady Street translates to great shopping, dining and people watching. Yet at this neighborhood’s center stands one of my favorite Milwaukee images, which is markedly more peaceful: St. Hedwig’s steeple, tall and serene in the nighttime sky. It reminds me that, much like its people — 19th-century Polish immigrants and Italians in the 20th, the hippies of the ’60s, and today’s college students — Brady Street is more complicated than it appears at first blush. That’s why it’s worth exploring with fresh eyes.

See & Do

Skip the hassle of parking, and arrive in the neighborhood by crossing the Milwaukee River on foot or bike via the Marsupial Bridge, a walkway hidden beneath the Holton Street Viaduct. Beneath the bridge, stop at Swing Park, another unexpected gem, and try out one of the oversized swings to feel like a kid again. Then make your way up the stairs to Holton Street and Brady Street proper.

Summer in MKE means spending as much time as possible outside. At this year’s Brady Street Festival on July 29, four stages showcase local musical acts, such as Siren, No No Yeah Okay and Shoot Down the Moon. Get there at 11 a.m. sharp and practice yoga with Meg Galarza of YogaOne Studio, or try Zumba or the samba a bit later. Sunday Fundays happen monthly in the summertime from noon to 4 p.m. On Aug. 13, shop sidewalk sales, eat brunch al fresco, take advantage of food and drink specials, and check out the local art market at the corner of Arlington Place and Brady Street.

If you don’t make it to an outdoor event, you can still browse Brady’s eclectic stores and boutiques. Audrey’s Clothing, open since February, features trendy and romantic pieces for fans of Free People and Vanessa Mooney. 829 E. Brady St., (414) 238-7936. At Glorioso’s Italian Market, get a taste of Italy’s wines and cheeses at “Hidden Treasures,” an  Aug. 10 event covering recommended pairings. Register at 1011 E. Brady St., (414) 272-0540

Eat & Drink

There’s no shortage of great eats and drinks on Brady, and these deals are hard to pass up. Get a pound of mussels prepared three ways for $7 Mondays at Balzac, 1716 N. Arlington Place, (414) 755-0099, Wednesdays mean $8 pork or tofu ramen at Hi Hat Lounge, 1701 N. Arlington Place, (414) 225-9330, Weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at La Masa Empanada Bar munch on $2 select empanadas and receive $2 off all taps, 1300 E. Brady St., (414) 885-1866, Enjoy outdoor seating, arcade games and happy hour prices all day Sundays at Finks. Old-fashioneds and other cocktails are $5 and beers on tap $3. 1875 N. Humboldt Ave., (414) 226-5882,

Recently, Dorsia, a modern Italian restaurant, replaced Mimma’s Café, a Brady Street fixture since 1989. Try the pasta flight, which allows you to indulge in three homemade pastas, such as duck carbonara, sweet potato gnocchi and beet campanelle. 1307 E. Brady St., (414) 539-6826,

Looking to beat the summer heat? Sip an iced coffee from one of the neighborhood’s several funky cafés, or find a cool treat at brand-new Fro Zone, the first area shop to offer Thai rolled ice cream. Flavors such as red velvet cake roll and cookies ’n’ cream are made fresh in front of you and include whipped cream and toppings of your choice. 1320 E. Brady St., (414) 881-5895



11,400 (84 percent white, 9 percent African-American, 4 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian-American)

*Provided by the U.S. Census Bureau

Did You Know?

After the first St. Hedwig Church became too small for its parishioners, Milwaukee architect Henry Messmer designed the current Romanesque church. The Cream City brick structure was built in 1887 on a hill in the center of the neighborhood, imitating the feel of a European town.


This story ran in the August 2017 issue of: