Wisconsin certainly has more fame for being the home state of the Green Bay Packers than it does as a tourist destination. The are plenty of attractions in Wisconsin found throughout the state. It’s quite a cold state that gets a lot of snow during winter, providing many winter activities. The summers can also get quite warm, reaching average temperatures of almost 80 degrees during the warm summer months.
Here is a list of some of the best things to do In Wisconsin. We include museums, parks, historic buildings, state parks, and amusement parks — so there's something for everyone.
Top 17 Things To Do In The State Of Wisconsin
Explore Cave of the Mounds
Cave of the Mounds is a designated National Landmark and one of the most authentic caves you can explore with tours in the United States. The name refers to the Blue Mounds, a group of twin hills near the site.
This historic limestone cave has been one of the hottest destinations to visit in Wisconsin since its discovery in 1939. With an impressive collection of stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, oolites, soda straws, and other mineral formations, it’s easy to understand the appeal it possesses.
Since its public opening, Cave of the Mounds has grown to give visitors a more enjoyable experience. The site replaced the old wooden walkways with concrete ones, making them safer to navigate. This fun family attraction also has aesthetic lighting and colors throughout the cave to create a colorful and unforgettable tourist experience.
Hike Devils Lake State Park
If you live in Wisconsin, there is a good chance you might have heard of Devils Lake State Park, even if you’ve never been there. It’s one of the most famous parks in the state and for a good reason. It’s a great place to go hiking at the many moderate hiking trails that surround the lake. There are also plenty of campgrounds for camping with family or friends.
If you want to spend time on the mile-long lake, there are plenty of fun activities to do. You can go kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and even scuba diving. Devils Lake State Park is only two hours away from Milwaukee, one hour away from Madison, and 1.5 hours from La Crosse.
If you're looking for a place to take some beautiful pictures, there are plenty of aesthetic locations found here.
Admire The Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings
Frank Lloyd Wright grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and later found fame as an architect. He was an immense influence on the Prairie movement in architectural design, and his buildings are some of the best Prairie-style buildings in existence. For architecture enthusiasts, a visit to Wright's masterpieces is an excellent way to vacation in Wisconsin.
The Taliesin Preservation is one of Wright's famous creations and allows visitors a first-hand experience of the late architectural designer's genius. This was Wright's residence and drafting studio during his lifetime, and you get to learn more about the man and his impact on architecture through guided tours and info sessions.
Other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings open to public visits include the Monona Terrace in Madison, First Unitarian Meeting House, and Walter & Mary Ellen Rudin House. Most offer guided tours to tourists, and with Monona Terrace, coffee shops can provide quick snacks for visitors.
Read this guide for more things to do in Madison, Wisconsin. You'll find things like Madison eats food tours, Olbrich botanical gardens (a thai garden),
Observe The Art At The Milwaukee Art Museum
Your visit to Wisconsin wouldn't be complete without a stop at the famous Milwaukee Art Museum. Opened in 1882, this museum houses thousands of artifacts and remains one of the most prominent art museums in the United States. It's a great indoor attraction during the winter to avoid the cold weather.
Museum visitors can see many art pieces in the numerous art galleries dating back centuries ago, such as ancient German and Haitian art, American decorative art, and seminal pieces from the post-1960 era in American art history. The works of acclaimed Wisconsin artist Georgia O'Keeffe are also on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The Wisconsin museum itself is an artistic masterpiece. One of the major buildings is the War Memorial Center, a modernist architectural work inspired by Finnish design. Another is the postmodernist Quadracci pavilion, which features a suspension bridge and winged roof.
Check Out The Kohler Golf Resort
Kohler is a golf resort on the shores of the Sheboygan River in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Already famed among professional golfers who visit during competitions, Kohler Golf Resort welcomes amateurs and has multiple courses for practice sessions.
You won't be working on your swing alone throughout your time at Kohler. Whether you want to enjoy fine dining at the Horse and Plow or relax at the Kohler Waters Spa, there's something for everyone to do, even if you’re not golfing.
If you plan to spend more than a day at this location, consider booking a room at the 5-star American Club Resort Hotel or lodge at any of the nearby resorts. Fewer locations offer a better combination of recreation, dining, and relaxation than the Kohler Golf Resort.
Visit Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells is considered the waterpark capital of the world. It derives its name from the Dells, which means flat rocks in French. A picturesque small town in the heart of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dells provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Even when it's not warm out, it's still worth checking out — sometimes it's even better to visit in the off-season.
Popular attractions include water parks, campgrounds, amusement parks, hiking trails, biking trails, and beautiful shorefront locations. You might also opt for exciting boat tours down the Wisconsin River, hike the trails, or visit the famous gorge. It's one of the best kid-friendly towns in the state and also makes for a romantic getaway for couples.
Wisconsin Dells is surrounded by nature and has several sites where you can camp for the entire duration of your stay. Or, you can book one of the many hotels, condos, vacation homes, motels, and waterfront resorts littered across the town. With the Wisconsin River close by and abundance of waterparks in the city, you won't run out of things to do here. If you're looking for somewhere to stay during the summer or winter, consider some of these cabins.
Tour The Harley-Davidson Museum
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are a classic American symbol, with a rich history spanning over a century. The Harley-Davidson Museum in Wisconsin is dedicated to preserving the history of the famous motorcycle brand for both riding enthusiasts and history buffs.
The collection in this unique Wisconsin museum includes over 450 different H-D models, including replicas of models built as far back as 1940. Also, the cover different parts of Harley-Davidson cultural history and display everything from modified bikes to classic engines built over the years.
Kids can also get in on the fun at the Harley-Davidson Museum. At the Imagination Station attraction, youngsters don miniature Harley-themed riding gear and rev classic motorcycles. Plus, they can take part in games, puzzles, and books designed to keep them entertained throughout the visit.
Buy A Ticket For The National Railroad Museum
The National Railroad Museum first opened in Green Bay, Wisconsin, back in 1956. It features an array of exhibits celebrating America's railroad history. This museum houses rare locomotives, including an Aerotrain, the Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4017, and a WWII-era train.
Other attractions at the National Railroad Museum include an 80-foot observatory with stunning views of the Fox River and Green Bay, an original standard-gauge track, archives, photography exhibits, and many more.
If you have kids, take them to the Day Out with Thomas exhibition. There, they can ride a Thomas the Tank-replica train around the museum. There are also plenty of events for adults organized by the National Railroad Museum. The Halloween special event is as exciting as any other. The yearly Terror on the Fox event encourages visitors to board haunted trains for a scary night trip.
Enjoy Nature At The Milwaukee Park Horticultural Conservatory
If you’re in love with all things nature and get excited when you see species of plants and flowers from faraway lands, the Milwaukee Park Horticultural Conservatory is where you need to be. If you're bringing a camera along to take some plant pictures, read this guide on a suitable backpack for it or an anti-theft bag since you can never be too safe.
The Milwaukee Park Horticultural Conservatory comprises three dome-shaped structures, which explains its other nickname — the Domes. Each dome revolves around a specific theme. The Tropical Dome houses tropical plants, fruit trees, blooming plants, and hardwood. The Floral Show Dome runs different seasonal shows and exhibits for visitors, including the famous garden railway display. The Desert Dome is home to cacti, shrubs, and other desert plants from the arid regions of Africa and the Americas.
Take your family to the Milwaukee Domes for an exciting experience full of learning and entertainment. If you feel up to it, grab some nature-inspired merchandise from the conservatory store before you leave. If you're only in Milwaukee for the day, make sure to add it to your itinerary.
Attend The Circus World Museum
Circus World Museum holds one of the largest circus-related artifacts and memorabilia in the US, including circus wagons, posters, photographs, and equipment used by old circus rings. You can also learn more about the history of this American circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin, through exhibits, library and research centers, and guided tours offered at the museum.
Circus World operates traditional big-top shows, animal shows, musical acts, and comedy specials as a performance center. The interactive circus section is where kids can perform in a circus, albeit in a controlled environment.
Notable exhibits at the Circus World Museum include Ringlingville — one of the original buildings used by the famous Ringling Brothers Circus. A tour through the area shows you restored barns that once held circus animals and costume rooms with preserved costumes and props. Others include the W.W. Deppe Wagon Pavilion and C.F. Fox Wagon Restoration Center, showing restored wagons used by circus companies.
Observe Wildlife At The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay is a government-protected animal refuge that doubles as a park. With an expanse spanning over 600 acres, this conservatory comprises several wildlife habitats, trails, observatories, cabins, and many more.
Bay Beach has an educational center where kids can learn about wildlife and nature. Guided tours give them first-hand experience of wildlife, as they see bobcats, foxes, wolves, birds, and other small mammals native to the area.
For adults, the observatory is a great place to visit, even with kids. You can study the behaviors of animals up close and increase your knowledge of wildlife. If you're into winter sports, then you want to visit Bay Beach in winter when the hike trails transform into ski tracks.
The Manger Lagoon is a magnificent spot for fly-fishing and regularly hosts community activities. This is a perfect spot for a get-together with friends or a day out with the family.
Enjoy Lake Minocqua
Lake Minocqua is a 1339-acre water body in Oneida County, Northern Wisconsin. It’s part of the Lakeland, a collection of lakes including Lake Tomahawk and Lake Kagasuega.
Lake Minocqua is popular for its scenic beaches, waterfront restaurants, idyllic resorts, and summer homes. You can recharge by swimming in the lake, lazing around on the beach, or test your fishing skills by hunting for walleye, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, and Northern Pike.
Watersports at Lake Minocqua are plentiful, with opportunities for boating and waterskiing. In winter, the lake area is excellent for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Explore Interstate Park
Interstate Park is the oldest park in Wisconsin, starting operations in 1900. The name Interstate Park references the park's location between two states — Wisconsin and Minnesota. It’s divided by the Dalles of St. Croix, meaning one part is in Wisconsin and the other is in Minnesota.
The x-acre Wisconsin park measures have over 85 campsites and over 9 miles of trail. Lake O'the Dalles offers some opportunities for swimming, although intense rapids might make it difficult. Additionally, the park has many rocks and cliffs that you can climb as recreation.
If you prefer to explore without intense physical activity, visit the gorge to appreciate its natural beauty. Visit the gift shop to buy some memorabilia to make your trip memorable, or drop into the nearby towns of St. Croix or Taylor Falls for educational sessions on Wisconsin's geological history.
Attend EAA Airventure Oshkosh
The annual EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is every aviation enthusiast’s dream. This is the largest gathering of aviation enthusiasts interested in building recreational and experimental aircraft in the world. You can take your homebuilt aircraft here and connect with other enthusiasts — or just gawk at the stunning aircraft designs exhibited at the event.
Throughout the one-week event, you can enjoy amazing airshows, educational forums, and interactive workshops. You'll also find exhibits showing classic aircraft dating back to the WW2-era, especially designs from Europe and the US.
If you plan to attend an Airventure event, plan for at least 1-2 months. The event draws thousands of attendees worldwide, making securing accommodation and parking space difficult when the event is in full gear. The Eaa Airventure Museum is also currently in the works.
Explore The Wisconsin State Capitol Building
The Wisconsin Capitol houses the state legislature, Judiciary, state supreme court and the official residence of the Governor. It's located in Madison, which is the Wisconsin State Capital. This place has a unique history dating back to the early years of Wisconsin's statehood — the current building is the third.
Visiting the Wisconsin State Capitol Building is an excellent way to learn about the political history and development of Wisconsin. Besides, the building is an aesthetic masterpiece noted for the Wisconsin sculpture designed by Daniel Chester French and the Resources of Wisconsin mural by Edwin Blashfield.
Inside the rotunda, guided tours show you different aspects of the Capitol's area. Stops include various fossil exhibits, glass mosaics, sculptures, and fine art pieces. You can also register for guided educational tours to get a better experience of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building.
Visit The Green Packers Hall of Fame
The Green Bay Packers are synonymous with the city itself. If you're looking to learn about the state's most famous sports team, you need to visit the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Sitting on 13,000 square-foot of space at the Packers' Lambeau Field stadium, this museum offers a glimpse into the glittering history of the NFL giants. Interactive audio-visual exhibits transport visitors to the past, and you can watch iconic Packers players describe some of the greatest moments in the team's history.
This place also holds some of the team's famous artifacts, including a life-sized replica of Vince Lombardi, the coach who transformed the Packers into an NFL powerhouse. The team's 13 Super Bowl trophies are also on display here.
See Books Come To Life At The Bookworm Gardens
Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan brings books to life with real-life replicas of gardens found in many popular books. Bookworm Gardens aims to inspire a love for literature and nature in children. It achieves this through tastefully designed shrubbery and flower gardens and plenty of reading spaces.
With a zero-wireless-devices policy in place, Bookworm Gardens is where your kids can detach from excessive device use and still have a good time. The facility offers everyone a chance to enjoy splendid music, art, aesthetics, and connect with nature.
Families looking for kid-friendly activities in Wisconsin will love the Bookworm Gardens. Interactive activities available at this attraction include adventure searches, amateur music recording, and worm-digging.