15 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin

A state is known for the Green Bay Packers football team and cheddar cheese, Wisconsin has many other hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From posh Madison museums to preserved state parks, both can learn about history and art in person, see where it happened and read about it in museums.

There are also hands-on activities for train lovers or architecture buffs - take a train ride in a historic steam-powered locomotive or visit the buildings left by architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright. 

You will never be bored here in Wisconsin, its charm and beauty will conquer you forever. Take a look at our list of must-sees when you're here and start planning your trip to Wisconsin!

Let's explore the best things to do in Wisconsin :

1. Cave of the mounds

Cave of the mounds

The Mounds Cave is located near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. The eastern hill of these two hills, called the Blue Mounds, hides the cave on the southern slope. A noted National Natural Landmark, it has been called "the jewel box" of caves in North America and is known for the beautiful limestone formations that decorate its interior.

This beautiful cave was accidentally discovered in 1939 by quarries when they were blowing up the rock, but it was not opened to the public until 1940. Visitors have continued to visit to see the splendid limestone stalactites - there are walkways to guide their way and artistically placed lights to highlight the natural beauty of the cave. Enjoy one of the natural phenomena that Mother Nature has left us.

2. Interstate State Park

Interstate Park

Interstate Park is made up of two state parks, one in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. The parks are divided by the Dalles of the St. Croix River. You will appreciate the raw beauty of the gorge with its deep potholes and striking rock formations. Stop by the park if you are in the nearby cities of Taylor Falls, Minnesota, and St. Croix Falls.

Explore the western terminus of the Ice Age National Scenic Route or the Saint Croix Riverway National Scenic Route. Take a swim on the beach at Lake O 'the Dalles or climb the cliffs that line the river. If you feel like it, there are several campsites at your disposal, or visit during the day and explore the 8 kilometers of hiking trails. It is sure to take your breath away.

Suggested Travel Gear :

  • The best luggage for travelers
  • Travel camera
  • Tip: travel pillow
  • Rear packages
  • Travel books

3. Historic Cedarburg

Historic Cedarburg

Located on the shores of Cedar Creek in southeastern Wisconsin, this historic town has been a delightful visitor for decades. Blending the old with the new, you can visit a covered bridge located next to several new and larger mansions and a glittering city center, or visit a preserved old mill. Artists also flock to the town to paint the charming old streets in an attempt to capture the essence of Cedarburg.

Visit the restored mill, Cedar Creek Settlement, and enjoy the local shops and restaurants - there's even a winery! The city also specializes in launch parties - they host the Wine & Harvest Festival, the Strawberry Festival, and the Winter Festival, just to name a few! Enjoy the historic charm that Cedarburg has to offer and relax in the beautiful surroundings.

4. Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol

The Wisconsin State Capitol is located in the state capital city of Madison. It is surrounded by Capitol Square and houses the 3 governmental branches of the legislature, the state Supreme Court, and the Governor's Office. It is the tallest building in Madison, a fact that has been preserved by the state legislature ensuring that no other building can be built higher than the state capitol.

This state capitol building is the third state capitol building: the first was rebuilt for expansion, the second was burned down, and this one was built in 1917. A statue of Athena holding the state animal, the beaver, watches over the building. 

If you walk, you will see naturally occurring fossils all over the stone, such as starfish or coral. It is a beautiful building, pay tribute to the state of Wisconsin by visiting its government capitol building to appreciate the impressive architectural design.

5. Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olabrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is located in Madison, Wisconsin. The gardens were founded in 1952 by Michael Olbrich, and are named after him. They added a conservatory in 1991, and a Thai pavilion in 2002, donated by the King of Thailand.

The gardens are divided into 7 sections. There is a traditional English garden called Sunken Gardens, which has a long reflecting pool and is surrounded by limestone terraces. The Thai garden features the pavilion, which is filled with Thai sculptures. 

Also be sure not to miss the Rose Garden, which is overflowing with a wide variety of flowers. Peaceful and relaxing, you could spend the whole day here exploring and relaxing amongst the beautiful flora and fauna.

6. National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

The National Railroad Museum is located in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. It is one of the oldest institutions in the US dedicated to preserving railroad history. The museum spans over a century of railroad history and houses some of the largest steam locomotives. There is even a standard width track on the perimeter.

If you are a fan of the train, you have come to the right place. There are locomotives donated by the army, as well as several charming wagons. They even have a Thomas the Tank Engine ride for little kids. Don't miss Halloween, when the museum grounds are turned into a terrifying attraction called "Terror about the Fox"; You can take haunted train rides at night if you are brave enough!

7. Kohler, Wisconsin

Kohler Wisconsin

Kohler is located in Sheboygan County, along the Sheboygan River. It was originally built as a planned community by the Kohler Company before being incorporated. Now a charming tourist destination, Kohler continues to attract visitors.

Enjoy a resort vacation here. The American Club, a 5-star hotel, is conveniently close to town. Book a room with a view and a spa treatment or two. You can relax with a game of golf or go shopping. You deserve to pamper yourself once in a while.

8. Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands

The Apostle Islands are off the shore of Lake Superior. There are 21 islands in total, many filled with historic lighthouses, sea caves, and forests. Made up of red sandstone, the islands were created by melting glacier water eroding the land, leaving behind some beautiful natural formations.

Come visit this natural paradise in northern Wisconsin. Rent a boat and dock on the islands to explore the natural habitats. You can fish for salmon or trout depending on the season. Kayaking from island to island, staying overnight and camping, or going hunting if you have a permit. If you feel like it, go snorkeling to see the rock formations and shipwrecks.

9. EAA AirVenture Show Oshkosh

EAA Air Venture Show Oshkosh 

Held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the Airventure Show is an annual summer gathering of aviation enthusiasts at Wittman Regional Airport. It is sponsored by the Association for Experimental Aircraft and is the largest of its kind in the world. The first meeting was held in 1953.

Thousands of visitors flock to the week-long event to see the flight or attend a workshop or forum. After seeing a show, check out the EAA AirVenture Museum. It exhibits experimental and historical aircraft and houses indoor and outdoor displays. Some aircraft are French and German WWI fighter jets! Airshows and history will keep you entertained and teach you fun new aviation facts.

10. Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

Located in Milwaukee, the art museum is one of the largest in the country and houses more than 35,000 works of art. It was founded in 1872 in an attempt to bring art to a port city that still had a limited capacity to host art exhibitions. A collection was donated by Alexander Mitchell after 9 years and the permanent art exhibition was founded. It was officially declared a museum in 1957.

The museum is made up of 4 floors and exhibits works ranging from ancient times to the present day. His collections of American decorative arts, German expressionism, and Haitian art are some of the best. Perfect for art lovers of any kind, you'll find plenty to keep your eyes occupied here at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

11. Frank Lloyd Wright buildings

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is a famous American architect who grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and later in life in Spring Green. He built some of his well-known Prairie-style homes and public buildings in the area, and while some are still private residences, others are available for public viewing. Check out some of these if you are a fan of architecture.

Venues like Monona Terrace and First Unitarian Meeting House are open to the public. You can also drive past Walter and Mary Ellen Rudin's home, designed according to their Usonian project. Don't miss the Eugene A Gilmore House, also known as the House of the Plane. You can't get in, but the outside is well worth the trip. Grab a coffee on the terrace at Monona and finish planning your Madison architectural tour.

12. Lake Minocqua

Lake Minocqua

Located in Oneida County, Minocqua Lake is part of Northern Wisconsin Lakeland. Drive here to enjoy the lush scenery and countless lakes, there are plenty of photo opportunities to commemorate your journey. Whether you're into water sports or just want a lakeside retreat, this county has plenty to keep you busy.

The best in the summer months is water skiing or boating on Lake Minocqua. Take a dip in the lake or work on your tanned side of the lake. You can rent a summer house or stay in a complex to relax. If you're here in winter, you'll find plenty of skiing and snowboarding opportunities to keep you busy.

13. The Wisconsin Great River Road

The Wisconsin Great River

The Wisconsin Great River Road is the only officially designated National Scenic Route in Wisconsin. Get behind the wheel and hit the road for 250 miles and 33 cities along the way. Load up on the road trip playlist and get ready, whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or an art fanatic, there are plenty of stops along the way that will interest you.

If you are a fishing enthusiast or boater, check out any of the lakes and rivers that line the route. Stop by the small towns to see the shops and art galleries, or to break up the journey at night. You can even tour some wineries while exploring or stop to camp and hike. The scenery is magnificent and sometimes getting off the beaten track is exactly what you need.

14. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells is a city in south-central Wisconsin and is named after the Dells of the Wisconsin River, a gorge on the Wisconsin River. It is a popular Midwest tourist destination due to the sandstone formations and beautiful river scenery.

Come visit this beautiful corner of Wisconsin and take a break from the bustle of city life. Take a boat tour to see the beautiful sandstone formations and the gorge firsthand. Or visit one of its many water parks, something this county is famous for. Take a tour of the ducks or explore the miles of wilderness trails. Enjoy the tourist destination and the getaway to the natural paradise.

15. Door County

Door Country

Door County is located in eastern Wisconsin and is named after the stretch of water between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. That strait is full of shipwrecks from bygone days when sailors struggled to navigate the narrow passage. The county is full of state parks and beautiful coastlines.

Come visit Cape Cod in the Midwest, it's especially nice during the summer months. There are five state parks in the area for those looking to hike and get outdoors. Visit Cave Point County Park along the beautiful coastline or visit any of the 10 historic lighthouses in the county. Come in the cherry season to pick your cherries, or go wine tasting at any of the 8 local wineries.

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