Waukesha County Milwaukee Area

Waukesha County

Suburban Living & Lake Country

WAUKESHA COUNTY: Suburban Living & Lake Country

POPULATION:  410,769   COUNTY SEAT:  Waukesha

Located just west of Milwaukee County, Waukesha County offers a blend of urban and rural living. On its eastern edge are the populous and prosperous suburbs of Brookfield, Elm Grove, New Berlin, Menomonee Falls and Muskego. This rapidly growing area has some of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the area. Northwestern Waukesha County is known as “Lake Country” because of the dozens of sparkling lakes carved out by glaciers 15,000 years ago. Southern Waukesha County is equally appealing for its natural beauty but is quieter and less travelled. The southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest offers excellent hiking and mountain biking trails around lightly forested lakes, hills, prairies and ridges.


Although Waukesha is just a half-hour drive from downtown Milwaukee, it often seems a world away. Life is slightly slower here, although the city does offer many big-city amenities, including the Waukesha Choral Union, the Wisconsin Philharmonic and the Waukesha Civic Theatre. One of the area’s older cities, its streets were built on the paths of early Indigenous American inhabitants who converged at a place called Five Points in the city’s center. Waukesha’s natural spring water attracted people from around the country, including Mrs. Abraham Lincoln and President Ulysses S. Grant. Many landmarks of that era remain, including the spring house located at Five Points. Recent developments along the Fox River, including a riverwalk, offer easy access to the historic downtown’s shops and restaurants, as well as adjacent parks and Carroll University’s beautiful campus.


Ideally situated, Brookfield is located on the eastern edge of Waukesha County. It is a blend of beautiful, newer residences and established homesteads dating back to the early part of the 19th century. It is a large community, covering more than 27 square miles, making it one of the largest and most-populous communities in Waukesha County. It also is a regional shopping and business center, highlighted by The Corners of Brookfield, an upscale shopping and entertainment destination.

Elm Grove

The village of Elm Grove is a quaint, secluded community that features some of the more beautiful homes in the Milwaukee area. Less than 4.5 miles square with many wooded lots, the entire village has been designated as a bird sanctuary, which adds to its bucolic atmosphere. Surrounded by the cities of Brookfield and Wauwatosa and conveniently tucked away in the center of the metropolitan area, Elm Grove boasts among the area’s highest median home values.

Northern Waukesha County: Menomonee Falls • Lisbon • Sussex • Butler • Lannon

Menomonee Falls, located in the northeastern corner of Waukesha County, was founded in 1843 by a German immigrant who noticed a series of tumbling rapids on the Menomonee River and realized the river’s potential for power. The village boasts more than 2,000 acres of village and county parklands, and the beautiful countryside of Washington County and Waukesha’s Lake Country are located just a few minutes away. It is also a hotbed of single-family residential development. Fast-growing communities in northern Waukesha County include Lisbon and Sussex, both of which feature a mix of residential developments and business parks. Sussex is home to Quad, one of the world’s largest commercial printers and a major employer in Wisconsin.

Lake Country: Oconomowoc • Pewaukee • Hartland • Merton • Delafield • Summit • Dousman • Chenequa • Nashotah • Oconomowoc Lake • Lac La Belle

Bright blue lakes and rolling hills punctuate this desirable area in northwestern Waukesha County. Boating and fishing are popular in an area filled with natural wonders, many of them created by glaciers thousands of years ago. Lapham Peak in the Kettle Moraine State Forest near Delafield is the highest point in the county with an elevation of 1,233 feet above sea level. It is near Oconomowoc and Delafield, one of the region’s hottest development areas.

Between 1870 and 1930, hundreds of Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis residents took the train to Oconomowoc to relax at the resorts or in one of the area’s many palatial houses. Lake Road in Oconomowoc Lake used to be known as “President’s Avenue” because so many of the country’s leaders vacationed here, including Taft, Grant, Cleveland, Coolidge, McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. Delafield has taken on a decidedly historic theme, with several buildings designed in Williamsburg-style motifs.

Hartland is located in the center of Waukesha County’s Lake Country. Twelve major lakes are located within five miles of the village, which features a scenic downtown surrounded by homes dating back to the 1920s. Pewaukee is located on the northeastern edge of Pewaukee Lake, the largest lake in the area for sailing, waterskiing, boating and swimming. Local and national sailing regattas are common throughout the summer. During the winter, the lake is speckled with ice-fishing shanties. Chenequa is a small, exclusive community that features expansive homes wrapped around the shores of prestigious Pine Lake.

New Berlin/Muskego

Although originally settled in the 1800s, most of this area was developed in the last 50 years as Milwaukee moved westward. New Berlin boasts many beautiful homes, with a variety of subdivisions, as well as condominium and apartment complexes in this wide-ranging and still-growing community. Water lovers flock to Muskego, one of the county’s fastest-growing communities, which offers three lakes for summer and winter enjoyment – Big Muskego Lake, Little Muskego Lake and Lake Denoon. A short drive away is the small community of Wind Lake. Its proximity to three lakes – Wind, Long and Waubeesee – has made it popular for both summer and year-round homes.

Southwestern Waukesha County: Eagle • Mukwonago • Wales • Vernon • North Prairie • Genesee

Southwestern Waukesha County is a rural wonderland where people enjoy nature. This region is becoming increasingly popular because of its beautiful scenery. It is home to the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, but also has easy access to Milwaukee via I-43. There are several upscale residential developments located in the Eagle area, many of which have set aside significant acreage to protect wetlands and wildlife. Mukwonago is the largest community in the area and is still growing rapidly. It is located on Phantom Lake and the Fox River, just southwest of the Vernon Marsh State Wildlife Area. It’s also a short drive from Alpine Valley, the largest ski hill in southeastern Wisconsin and a popular outdoor music venue. Wales, located on the Ice Age Drumlin Trail, provides plenty of country living options.