In Marketplace Commentary

Downer Avenue is on the upswing.

A case for Downer Avenue as my favorite Milwaukee street

There are many amazing neighborhoods and streets in Milwaukee, all with unique flavor, personalty and reasons to visit. But if you had to pick one, just one, which would be your favorite?

I've pondered this for a while. I love walking around Downtown and the Third Ward, but not sure that either has a favorite street of mine. Wells Street has a soft spot in my heart since our condo is on it, Marquette's a part of it and I spent way too many years of my life advocating and lobbying for its rightful and current state of having two-way traffic. But it's not a favorite. In the Ward, Broadway is great. Full of life, home to a store my wife helped build (Lela) and really walkable. I love it.

On the East Side, Terrace Avenue and, of course, many parts of Lake Drive are truly great streets, and I love the serenity of each. It's hard not to list Lincoln Memorial Drive as a favorite, as well, but that's just too easy.

Brady Street is great, and I'm still thinking about the Italian beef sandwich I had from Glorioso's on Sunday. But, sorry Brady, you're not my favorite street.

This leads me to Downer Avenue.

If forced to name a favorite Milwaukee street, it's her. Sure, it has its problems and long-term vacancies (former Einstein's and Chancery spaces), but it's a great walking street full of things to do, see and eat.

I rarely read printed books anymore, but I love walking around Boswell Books. The deli at the Sendik's on Downer is great, Downer Wine is wonderful and Hollander's outdoor aesthetic brings it all together. Heck, I even like the CVS on Downer. And, yes, the "new" Pizza Man fits the street well and has become a Milwaukee mainstay.

I'm not too hot on the benches that line Downer. Do people really ever sit on benches? And, as I mentioned, many storefronts need new homes; the former Footgear will soon become Salon Nova, a lash boutique, by the way. But Breadsmith and others make the street fun, and since the Landmark Downer Theatre is still such a draw, you get a good mix of locals and visitors on Downer.

I just always like the feel of Downer. Need another reason why it's my favorite? The Downer Classic Bike Race. It's awesome.

What do you think? Agree with me, or what's your favorite Milwaukee street?


mkeforlife | Feb. 3, 2017 at 9:35 a.m. (report)

We love Downer Ave! In the summer and fall there is always so much life on the street. From the antiques garage on the south end to the pumpkin sale at the church to the walk-in beer cooler at DAW&S, there is something for everyone AND half the retail space is vacant! Pro tip #1 - coffee from the Clover at Starbucks, not every Starbucks has the machine. Pro tip #2 - the Swedish pancakes at the Pancake House.

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