By Maureen Post Special to Published Jun 08, 2009 at 8:29 AM

If it's been years since you visited downtown Waukesha, now's the time take the short trip west to Milwaukee's largest suburban neighbor to find things aren't anything like you remember.

Pumping the town to life, a new boutique hotel, dozens of restaurants and cafes plus a thriving art scene give downtown Waukesha newfound life.

With an intricate maze-like street layout -- just off main thoroughfares -- downtown Waukesha bustles with pedestrians, small businesses and lively sidewalk traffic. Not only can you stroll the town's serene Riverwalk but all along the way, there are plenty of parks, sitting areas and fishing holes.

All that wandering can leave you hungry for some eats and Waukesha's got you covered on that too. Classic favorites and modern changes make Waukesha an unexpected culinary destination. Make the trip to try these delectable menus and savory additions in downtown Waukesha.

La Estacion
319 Williams St., (262)521-1986
Yes, Mexican food in a train is indeed the concept at La Estacion. Permenantly stationary for diners to come aboard, this historic restaurant blends fine dining with family adventure. Authentic Mexican dishes compliment savory and sweet margaritas.

Generations at Five Points
294 W. Main St., (262) 446-3300
Generations at Five Points might be most unexpected find in downtown Waukesha. Opening six months ago, this loungy bar and restaurants serves a monthly changing tapas menu featuring seasonal and regional cuisines. It's great for a glass of wine and light snack or the traditional interactive tasting of a tapas meal.

Rochester Deli
143 W. Broadway, (262) 522-9611
Before you even step up to the counter, you can be pretty sure your meal at Rochester Deli is going to get a good review. Newspaper write-ups, critic's reviews and dining awards plaster the walls of this New York-style deli that specializes in pastrami and corned beef. Packed over the lunch hour, there's plenty of room for seating indoors and a few small tables just outside on the sidewalk.

The Steaming Cup
340 W. Main St., (262) 522-3605
This small café/coffee shop was one of the initial staples in the redevelopment of downtown Waukesha. Operating since 2004, it serves as a gathering place for residents and visitors looking for a hot cup of coffee, homemade sandwich and sweet bakery.

Taylor's People's Park
337 W. Main St., (262) 522-6868
The second location of Milwaukee's Taylor's Lounge, People's Park puts a lighter spin and full menu on the Taylor's image. Located in a cozy corner space, the open air concept adds light breezes and bright sunlight to a great lunchtime or evening meal. The menu offers a range of starters, sandwiches and salads; all new takes on traditional bar menu favorites.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.