As the new Afternoon Drive Radio host here at Radio Milwaukee, I want to re-discover Milwaukee per your suggestions and get to know the city through you. I’ve been away from my hometown for over the last decade, and a lot has changed. Every week I’ve gone to different places of interest per you, the listeners’ recommendations to explore this ever changing and evolving city.
Here you’ll find a map that will be added to each week of new places I’ve discovered in your neighborhood. If you don’t see your neighborhood represented and you want to suggest a jewel in your area for me to cover, send a suggestion through our Instagram on the “Ayisha Does Stuff” highlights. Perhaps it’s something a bit off the beaten path, or an essential community cornerstone, a historic gem, or just something fun — whatever it is, I’d love to check it out!
Seven Bridges Park (South Milwaukee)
I am a huge fan of the outdoors and nature. In a previous life, I was a park ranger and I felt like I was completely out of the city and the middle of nowhere perusing the windy trails and access to our vast lake in this park. Not only that, it feels a bit like you’re in a fantasy with its haunting history, wooden bridges, and old stone stairs. As you enter this two-mile loop trail, the covered bridge reads “Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature,” which sets the tone for a wondrous wilderness walk.
Coffee Makes You Black (North Side)
I never felt so looked after in one place. This multi-faceted space hosts local artisans, community organizers, local events, and meetings in a warm environment. If you’re not eating something off this incredible menu, you will be asked “Why not?” and if you look a little under the weather, you may get their incredible mango tea forced upon you with no regrets. I went for the famous chicken and waffles for under $10; it’s one of the best I’ve ever had.
Cream City Hostel (Riverwest)
As an avid traveler, I have stayed in my fair share of hostels around the world on tour and for pleasure and this one is well done. This epic woman-owned business is Milwaukee’s first and only hostel. The space is thoughtful, uses local artists and artisans and shares the culture of Milwaukee through its decor. If you have friends traveling through or know of a traveling artist that needs a place to stay, this is a great budget option. I find this a huge win for tourism in Milwaukee as it’ll likely bring more foreign travelers out to explore this city as they have an accessible place to stay. A hostel is one of those rare spaces where you can build temporary community with people from all around the world.
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (Bayside)
I’m a wildlife and conservation lover and I was blown away to discover the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and all that it does. This was a unique visit as I got an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Raptor Program and its facilities, meeting some familiar educational faces like Valkyrie the eagle and Perseus the Barred Owl that are used to educate the public on conservation of wildlife and the environment here in Wisconsin. There are six incredible miles of hiking trails and a 60-foot observation tower aligning Lake Michigan where you can feel some tranquility in nature and when I was here, I saw a huge pack of wild turkeys with no one else around. There’s something for every season whether it be fall foliage or renting out snow shoes from the facility to enjoy the winter — there’s so much to explore.
ZenZen Yoga Arts (Bay View)
Hidden away in the industrial complex of the Hide House is a magical studio that teaches you how to fly and fly safely, this is Thérèse Bailey’s sacred space at the ZenZen Yoga Arts Studio. Every type of human can learn how to relax and move your body in ways that help you explore your deeper being and that’s Thérèse’s goal. I had surgery on my knee not to long ago and even I ended up in the air and upside down with no issue. Everyone in our class felt safe using aerial silks under Thérèse’s guidance and achieved the moves she lead. This is a truly unique and gratifying experience that I challenge everyone to try as one of the most joyous stops on this tour of Milwaukee.
Koz’s Mini Bowl (South Side)
I love history and this is truly a landmark of Milwaukee. This family owned mini bowl has been around since the 1940s. I had the pleasure of talking to Justin Kosakowski about the family’s takeover of this establishment in the late ’70s. Justin’s father bought this space and he grew up with the bowling alley, acting as one of the human pinsetters as his very first job. A lot of kids in the neighborhood have worked as pinsetters and still frequent the bar today. There’s a diverse crowd, a lot of laughing, and a famous stuffed lion with multiple versions of stories on how it got there — it’s a non-stop party.
Splash Studio (East Side)
Splash Studio is a non-stop activity hub for kids and adults alike. At the time of my visit, Splash turned into Elves Studio, a pop up for the holidays. Although this bar is for everyone, there are some adult-only hours and if you’re like me, you will be handed a “naughty list” of activities to get through inclusive of getting a cookie from the VCR, finding a certain specially shaped snowflake amongst the 2,000 created, chug a 2-liter bottle of coke, and many more. You can also engage in some crafting like cross-stitching, painting, and making a special elf hat. When they are not a pop up bar, they have choice painting activities while you hang out or drink. This place puts a unique twist on “going out.”