Weird Wonderful Brady Street in Milwaukee


So my last post was all about visiting places near home, and I'm following my own advice.  I checked out a few books from the library- "Weird Wisconsin", "Oddball Wisconsin", and "An Explorer's Guide to Wisconsin"- to get inspired and to find places that I hadn't been to yet.  I'll be sharing a few of those destinations with you as we explore them.

Brady Street comes up in almost any list of unusual attractions in Milwaukee.  It kind of reminds me of Venice Beach, CA.  You will likely see anything and everything.  And that's what makes it so much fun. They hosted the 2nd annual Art Walk yesterday, and the sun was shining so it was a rare occasion to stroll the 9 blocks of shops, restaurants, and cafes.  This neighborhood runs between the Milwaukee river and Lake Michigan so it really is in the heart of things.

There were more than 30 artists doing their work right out on the stoops of old buildings, or standing in the sidewalk complete with paintbrushes and easels.  They would answer questions, and in some cases let you participate.  It was a great way to encourage future artists.
Even the alleys were full of painters

We saw tattoos, piercings, musicians, costumes, dogs in strollers...the dog ration to person is probably about 1:5 in this neighborhood.  It seems there are dogs everywhere and when you have kids that love to pet dogs, it means you don't really get anywhere fast.  There was even a guy walking his lizard.  Where can you get all this for free?
Have you ever touched a lizard?  It was incredibly smooth.

Dog stroller meets kid stroller

A guitarist sits on the sidewalk collecting tips
There's one shop I had heard about several times; Art Smart's Dart Mart & Juggling Emporium.  Even the name sounds exciting!  Try saying that 5 times really fast!  They have darts, of course, and juggling supplies, naturally.  But they also have a wide array of kites, discs for golf, cute and funny kids toys...even rubber chicken heads.  You never know when you might be in the market for one.
Rubber chicken or squirrel heads at Art's

An artist painting Art Smart's Dart Mart
Of course all this sightseeing makes a person hungry/thirsty, so we had to stop in at a yogurt shop and try those machines where you can make your own and they weigh it.  Maybe that's something you're used to, but they are still new here in Wisconsin, and we love them.  You put in way more than you think you're ever going to eat...and the next thing you know, it's all gone.  And only on Brady Street would you see a table of imported from India handbags, scarves, and bangles so you can do one stop shopping.  I know lots of people who probably think of shopping for gifts at the yogurt shop.  It only goes to show you- there must be a following at this neighborhood with loads of locals who are regulars.  They even had a wall with photos of all the locals.
Notice the finely decorated table of gifts, all reasonably priced, to the right of the yogurt bar
After some refreshments, we were ready to see more.  There was a tattoo shop with some scary characters in the window- not of the human kind.  Every little kid who wandered by had to look with awe.  Star Wars bad guys and others.  Omar loved them all.  I'm glad the shop wasn't open or I'd have been prying him out of the front window.  We also noticed some interesting hand written poetry at one of the shops near the dog water dish.  I'm not sure if it was for the enlightened pets, or for the people who sit on the sidewalk.  Hmmmm.... so much to ponder.
can you see the look of envy in the reflected face?


There's also some great shopping on Brady Street.  One of my favorite bakeries is there- best Italian cookies ever!  And if you have time, there's a small city park with some very whimsical creatures just a few blocks away.  You can read about Cass Park on my local Milwaukee Parks blog.  What a fun way to spend an afternoon.  We'll be back again.  Such a cultural gem for our fair city of Milwaukee.
Fantastic deli and Italian cookies, pastries, and bread

I love how the ladies wear those cool lace bows and dresses that are from their own store

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