If you want to discover the South Side, do what the Europeans do and take a walking tour. It’s a wild mix, with 19th-century churches and warehouses and workingmen’s bars up against the spanking-new and deadly-chic hipster havens of “Milwaukee’s Brooklyn”: Bayview.
Start at the intersection of Wisconsin and Water in the heart of town and procede south on Water, following the River Walk if you wish. Water becomes South First Street, then Kinnickinnic. Keep following Kinnickinnic to the intersection with Oklahoma Avenue, a total distance of 5 miles. Then you can take the express Green Line bus right back up to the intersection where you started.
On the way, you will enjoy postcard views of Saint Stanislaus and Saint Josaphat from afar and pass by the beautiful Immaculate Conception church, which is one of the few examples of neoclassical sacred architecture in the city. Behind the altar is an unusual mosaic showing Christ “growing” out of the Jesse Tree.
Geographers, potamologists and limnologists, take note! You will walk over bridges that span all three rivers that made Milwaukee famous, starting with the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers just south of downtown and then, further on, the Kinnickinnic. You are a few blocks from Lake Michigan: the beautiful, quiet South Shore lakeside park and a little-known miniature marina are just a few blocks off the route, following Estes Street east from Kinnickinnic to the Lake.
Craving a mussels dinner? Try Pastiche on Kinnickinnic and Rusk, but only on Mondays. (On Tuesdays they have tapas.) Want a custom-made homburg? You need The Brass Rooster, a (new) old-fashioned luxury hatter on Kinnickinnic near Homer. Are we still in Milwaukee? You betcha.