2589 North Downer Avenue in the upper Eastside
INFO: 2 Screens DLP Digital Projection and Sound. Built in 1915. Operated by Landmark since 1989. On Friday, December 3, 1915, the Downer Theatre opened its doors to the public. It was one of the finest and most modernly equipped motion picture houses in a residential district in the country, making it the prototype for "neighborhood" theatres at the time. It cost nearly $65,000 to build and boasted a seating capacity of 1,200. Music being an important accessory to the motion picture back then, the Downer had not only a Weickhardt pipe organ, but an orchestra as well.
In May 1990, the Downer re-opened its doors to the public after a much-needed facelift. Transformed into a twin-screener, the new Downer was bright and classic, with the auditoriums painted a cream color. The decorative molding was brought back to life with gold leafing and gaslight-type lanterns lined both auditoriums. New carpeting that resembled the original carpeting from 1915 now covers the Downer lobby and theatre floors as well as the partitions on the walls of the auditoriums. Located on friendly Downer Avenue in Milwaukee's upper Eastside, the charming Downer Theatre is the oldest operating movie theatre in Milwaukee and features the finest in independent film and foreign language cinema.
PARKING: Metered and non-metered parking is available on surrounding neighborhood streets. The Downer staff is happy to feed your parking meter.
Downer Avenue will be closed to traffic all day for the Downer Avenue Classic Bike Race on Saturday, June 24th. Parking is difficult during this event. We recommend allowing extra time to get here, and looking for parking starting at Maryland Avenue and heading west from there. Maryland Avenue is four blocks west of the Downer Theatre. There is plenty of room at the corner of Belleview Avenue and Stowell Avenue (one block west of the theatre) should anybody in your party need to be dropped off closer to our theatre prior to finding a parking spot.
Please also note that the nearby major intersection of North Avenue and Farwell will be closed for the annual Summer Soulstice [sic] celebration. We recommend heading to our area using either Prospect Avenue or Locust Avenue. Please plan your routes accordingly!