Shopping in Milwaukee, WI
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Milwaukee’s Third Ward has been the city’s commerce hub since the late 1800s. Today, the area is known as “Milwaukee’s Arts and Fashion District” because it is home to over 400 businesses - including restaurants, art galleries, one-of-a-kind shops and unique boutiques. Shop the hip, urban Hot*Pop Shop for designer toys and creative housewares, or spend some time exploring the vintage treasures found in the eclectic Hoarder’s World antique shop. Also in the Historic Third Ward district you’ll find Sachen Contemporary Imports, which sells chic European home and living products.
Located in the Historic Third Ward neighborhood, Milwaukee Public Market earns its own entry on the city’s “best shopping” list as a foodie’s paradise of shopping opportunities. The 2-story market features some of Milwaukee’s best gourmet and ethnic food shops, alongside cafes and bakeries selling ready-to-eat fare. Check out The Spice House for fresh herbs and spices from around the world that they grind fresh weekly. The West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shoppe carries over 200 Wisconsin-made and international cheeses, plus a slew of hand-made brats and sausages. Round out your take-home menu with stops at The Soup and Stock Market, St. Paul Fish Company, C. Adam’s Bakery and Thief Wine Shop.
As one of the city’s business improvement districts, Milwaukee’s revitalized East Side is returning to it’s former glory as “the original neighborhood for nightlife, entertainment, dining and shopping.” Encompassing the avenues of Prospect, North and Farwell, shopping on the swanky East Side goes from edgy to oddball to down-right unusual. Shop Project M Boutique for unique clothing, jewelry and accessories created by emerging fashion designers. Don’t go looking for hospital attire at Scrubs Market, though -- this quirky retailer sells an eclectic selection of candy, snacks and beverages. The area has its share of normal stores like the Little Monsters children’s boutique and Village Bazaar filled with ethnic decorative arts from across the globe. East side is also home to The Tool Shed -- an erotic, female-run boutique for when you’re feeling naughty.
For the last 18 years, the Village of Wauwatosa - nicknamed "Tosa" - has been reviving its historic district with a diverse collection of specialty shops and boutiques. Check out Urban Laundry for a chic collection of contemporary women’s clothing and vegan handbags. For more women’s apparel, Gracie’s Boutique has a wide selection of affordable clothing and a designer resale section, while Salamander specializes in original fashions from various US designers. Wauwatosa’s a great place to find unique home décor at shops like Blue Lapin, Juxt, Inc. and Twirly Birds. Magnolia & Co. considers itself a "lifestyle boutique" with an assortment of designer home accessories and a number of trunk show events. Tosa has a few eco-friendly shops, including Authentic Journeys and B. Green.
If you’re as enthralled by the idea of discovery and invention as the folks who founded American Science & Surplus, this specialty shop is not to be missed. Kids will love exploring for hours amongst the store’s many novelties like the Smell-o-Calculator, the Music-playing Piano Necktie and the glow-in-the-dark Pocket Zombies. There’s plenty for big kids too, like crazy desk toys and perpetual motion machines. For budding scientists who are more serious than nutty, the store carries a vast array of lab supplies, science kits, robot parts and more. They even stock an assortment of household gadgets - like the handheld micro-vacuum - plus plenty of arts and crafts supplies.