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Milwaukee's first hostel functions as a second home

Cream City Hostel

“It’s a home away from home,” said Carolyn Weber, co-owner of the hostel.

That's how the Cream City Hostel can be described when walking through the front doors. The hostel, located in the Riverwest neighborhood, is Milwaukee's very first hostel, with almost a decade in the making. Weber said it took eight years to even find the perfect location.

“This building just had like what we call the magic sauce," said Weber. "It had all the things that could make the first hostel possible in Milwaukee.”

Cream City Hostel is a large space with three floors packed with amenities. One striking detail one might notice, is that every room is named after a neighborhood in Milwaukee. That’s not the only personalized aspect of Cream City Hostel. The hostel incorporates items and works from local artists, making it a collabroative space.

Hostels are essential for individuals who see it as a way to keep traveling affordable and accessible. Wendy Mesich, co-owner of the hostel, and Weber say it’s also a place for travelers to connect with the city.
“Not only are we a place where we can invite people from the world to stay in our neighborhood but we have a way to invite the neighborhood to meet the people that are staying here,” said Mesich.

Those connections are made possible through the yard space, a distinctive element within the hostel. Beyond just an open space guests can utilize, the yard acts as an event space.

"One of the very first ones was actually with 88Nine, we did the bike-in movie with 'Invisible Lines'," said Weber. "People had a great time hanging out and then also having a discussion about Milwaukee and inviting our guests to also contribute to that discussion as well.”

It also hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour and Wanderlust, an acoustic music series.

The yard space at Cream City Hostel

Cream City Hostel hasn’t been in our city for long. It opened in late June, so it's fair to say that it's relatively new. As a result, the place is constantly evolving and the people who stay there play a role in its evolution. The Cream City Hostel is hopeful for the future and how it will develop with time. 

"I’m looking forward to just being full, and not just being a business, and that’s what we need," said Mesich. "But like when we can walk downstairs and every seat of the dining room table is full and people are eating and meeting together. I think that’s going to be really great.”

When I visited the hostel, there were so many details sprinkled throughout the building. There was a board where everyday one of the staff would write "What to do in Milwaukee Today," which sometimes included hidden gems. In the lounge area, there were old, nostalgic VHS tapes passed down by relatives. Even the dining table was handmade. When you book a room at the hostel, you’re greeted like family and you inherently influence the space.

Board featuring what to do in Milwaukee, which changes daily

You can check out the hostel and book a room here.

Audio Storyteller / 88Nine On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee