Brady Street BID
Brady Street BID
Humble Beginnings | Brady Street BID
Brady Street BID
The Early Days | Brady Street BID

In the 1860s, Polish immigrants arrived on the east side of Milwaukee on Brady Street. In 1871, a small wooden church was built, St. Hedwig, on the corner of Brady & Humboldt. The church was reconstructed in 1886 into the building we still see today. Across the street was a small cemetery. Many residents in the area worked at the nearby tannery, factories, or in commercial shops along the street. The oldest surviving commercial building on Brady is the “Charles Sikorski” building, constructed in 1875. Today, it is the location of Brady Street Futons.

In the 1920s, many Polish immigrants moved further east, and Italian immigrants took over. Some referred to Brady Street at this time as “Little Italy.” Glorioso’s Italian Market opened on Valentine’s Day in 1946, and Peter Sciortino’s Bakery opened just two years later. Both businesses remain popular destinations on the street to this day.

60s & 70s | Brady Street BID
60s & 70s | Brady Street BID

Milwaukee was not left out of the hippie counterculture that began in the 1960s. Brady Street became a smaller version of San Francisco’s “Haight-Ashbury” District. Out of this counterculture came the annual Brady Street Festival. While the first one was rained out in June 1973, the attendance boomed in 1974 with nearly 20,000 attendees. Eventually, the hippies of the area moved into the Riverwest area.

VINTAGE PICTURES OF BRADY
60s & 70s | Brady Street BID

Milwaukee was not left out of the hippie counterculture that began in the 1960s. Brady Street became a smaller version of San Francisco’s ‘Haight-Ashbury’ District. Out of this counterculture came the annual Brady Street Festival. While the first one was rained out in June 1973, the attendance boomed in 1974 with nearly 20,000 attendees. Eventually, the hippies of the area moved into the Riverwest area.

VINTAGE PICTURES OF BRADY
Brady Street BID
Business Boom | Brady Street BID
Brady Street BID
A New Millennium | Brady Street BID

Brady Street Festival came to an end after 1981 due to an increase in crime. Afterward, the street fell into a bit of a rut before becoming more of a yuppie destination—a popular place for older adults and working professionals—in the late 80s and early 90s. More restaurants and boutiques opened, and rent around the neighboring areas increased. Local activist Julilly Kohler, who owned several businesses on Brady, is largely responsible for revitalizing the street and the way it is today.

With the new millennium came a rejuvenation of Brady Street that included the return of the Brady Street Festival in 2007. The first fest back included “Cheesefest,” featuring cheese tastings, a cheese curd eating contest, four stages with live music, vendors, and a drag show.

2010's to Present | Brady Street BID
Brady Street BID

Brady Street continues to grow. The street celebrates the Spring Art Walk, Sunday Fundays, Brady Street Festival, the Pet Parade, Halloween, and Festivus every year. Several businesses have become staples in the city, having been around for 20+ years. Brady Street has added a few new types of businesses in the past few years, including an escape room and an arcade bar. The street remains a prominent tourist destination and a hot spot for locals. Come on down and experience Brady Street for yourself!

Things to do on brady st
Brady Street BID

Brady Street continues to grow. The street celebrates the Spring Art Walk, Sunday Fundays, Brady Street Festival, the Pet Parade, Halloween, and Festivus every year. Several businesses have become staples in the city, having been around for 20+ years. Brady Street has added a few new types of businesses in the past few years, including an escape room and an arcade bar. The street remains a prominent tourist destination and a hot spot for locals. Come on down and experience Brady Street for yourself!

Things to do on brady st