New Berlin lives up to its slogan of “City living with a touch of country.” It measures nearly 40 square miles and is the second-largest community in Waukesha County, with nearly 17,000 housing units and a population of just under 40,000. Located on the eastern edge of Waukesha County, New Berlin features urban, suburban and rural areas that offer something for everyone.
New Berlin has been named among Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” numerous times in the last several years. Because of the city’s commitment to community forestry, it has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for several years in a row.
New Berlin’s roots date back to 1836, when its first settler, Sidney Evans, arrived from his hometown of New Berlin, New York. For a few years, the area was part of the Town of Muskego, but by 1839 it became a separate town called Mentor. The name was changed to New Berlin a year later. The town grew slowly until after World War II, and by the time it officially became the City of New Berlin in 1959, the population was more than 15,000. The New Berlin Historical Society has restored several 1840s and 1850s structures in Historical Park, and they are open for touring several times a year.
Homes and Neighborhoods
New Berlin offers a wide variety of housing opportunities within an attractive semi-rural setting. Scenic views and forested areas add charm while helping to maintain high property values. The east side of the City is the site of many single-family homes, along with apartments and condos. The west side is a mix of large single-family homes with generous yards, along with small farms.
New Berlin residents enjoy a high median family income of $97,693. The average home price is just under $310,000, and average property taxes among the lowest in southeastern Wisconsin at $4,772. New Berlin’s healthy business environment – with 1,872 acres of industrial parks – keeps the city’s tax base high and property taxes low. There are more than 600 businesses employing 13,000 employees in New Berlin.
Shopping and Dining
New Berlin is home to several national big-box retailers and is centrally located between Southridge Mall and Brookfield Square. Mayfair Mall is just eight miles to the north. Sugar Creek Antiques is a destination for antique hunters from throughout the area. The city is also home to a major movie theater multiplex.
New Berlin boasts many national chain restaurants, including Texas Roadhouse and Buffalo Wild Wings. Local favorites include Chumley’s Pub, for the best burgers, wings and chili; and Big Tuna, an intimate Japanese restaurant. For Mexican favorites, try Señor Luna, a neighborhood cantina. Kat’s Café serves breakfast all day, along with traditional lunch and dinner specialties.
For French cuisine with a twist, locals recommend Lagniappe Brasserie. It’s known for its constantly changing menu and fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the restaurant’s own garden. Lagniappe is frequently named one of the Milwaukee Journal’s Top 30 Restaurants list.
The Rainbow Restaurant has been serving homemade comfort foods since 1943. The current owners, who immigrated from France, have been delighting diners with breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1979. Matty’s Bar & Grille is famous for its award-winning bloody Mary’s, bar cuisine and lots of outdoor seating. Cleveland Pub & Grill is known for its huge selection of beers and extensive fish fry menu. New Berlin Ale House offers pizza, calzones and burgers along with bowling and volleyball. John Martin’s Tap on National is a local favorite for a night out, featuring polka bands twice a month.
Points of Interest and Recreation
New Berlin offers 845 acres of parks and conservancy areas with facilities for sports of all kinds. The Parks and Recreation Department has programs for the whole family, from toddlers to seniors. Special arts programs include Tunes at Twilight in Malone Park Gazebo on Thursday nights from late June through late July. The Parks & Recreation Department also presents Movies in the Park at Malone Park throughout the summer. And each Halloween, the Parks Department sponsors a citywide Halloween Party featuring crafts, carnival games, hayrides and more.
The New Berlin Public Library features a makerspace area called the Imaginarium, where you’ll find supplies and instructions for all ages to get creative. The Senior Citizen’s Club offers a huge variety of fitness-related and special interest clubs and activities, as well as travel opportunities throughout the year.
The New Berlin Farmers Market is held Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the New Berlin City Center at National and Civic Drives. It runs from the first weekend in May until the last weekend in October.
Outdoor winter activities include skating at the City Center Plaza, sledding and tobogganing at Calhoun Park and Valley View Park, plus small-fry sledding hills at Calhoun and Gatewood Parks.
For more than 50 years, the New Berlin Soap Box Derby in Valley View Park has allowed residents ages 6 to 16 to design, build and race their own cars down their 1,000-foot long, three-lane, paved track. Finalists in several classes compete for trophies and prizes.
Schools, Health, Transportation
The School District of New Berlin educates more than 4,300 students in four elementary schools, Eisenhower Middle & High School, and New Berlin West Middle & High School. All of the schools exceed or significantly exceed expectations according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the district is one of only 49 districts in Wisconsin to “significantly exceed” expectations.
Both New Berlin high schools have consistently been named to Newsweek and the Washington Post’s lists of top high schools, with Eisenhower recently ranking fifth and West 16th among 457 high schools in Wisconsin. The elementary schools have earned the district the Environmental Protection Agency’s coveted “Energy Star” award for superior energy efficiency. The district’s ACT scores are consistently above Wisconsin’s average and the national average.
Homes in New Berlin are just minutes away from medical facilities and hospitals in Milwaukee, on the County Grounds in Wauwatosa, in West Allis and in Waukesha.
While the City of New Berlin doesn’t have mass transit, it’s just minutes away from the I-94 corridor, offering fast access to downtown Milwaukee or on to Chicago and Minneapolis. Highway 43 passes through the city, so getting to Wisconsin’s major recreation areas is a breeze.