Discover Wisconsin, where cheese and football come to life. It may be best known as “America’s Dairyland,” but there are a lot of things to do in Wisconsin that will surprise you. This midwestern haven is full of wonders for adventurers – from waterside resorts like the infamous Wisconsin Dells to big cities and small towns along its many picturesque landscapes.
Top Things to Do in Wisconsin
Whether you’re an outdoor lover or a culture vulture wanting to learn about this vibrant state’s history exciting experiences await! There are some amazing things to do in Wisconsin, so get ready to start planning your next trip today!
Planning Your Trip To Wisconsin Right Now?
Below are some of the top tours in Wisconsin. Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Wisconsin!
Top Activities and Tours in Wisconsin:
1. Harley-Davidson Museum – Milwaukee
The Harley Davidson Museum was our favorite attraction in Wisconsin and we aren’t even Harley fans. It puts on an awesome display of interactive exhibits that explore the historic American brand.
This museum has a collection that includes more than 450 motorcycles and artifacts. From vintage models to modern marvels, the museum showcases the evolution of Harley-Davidson over more than a century.
Explore exhibits such as the Engine Room, which delves into the mechanics behind these powerful machines, or the Experience Gallery, where you can saddle up and get a feel for the freedom a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can provide.
Whether you’re a lifelong Harley fan or new to the world of motorcycles, this museum offers an engaging and enlightening experience. Check out all the Best Things to do in Milwaukee here!
2. Milwaukee Art Museum
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest and most significant art museums in the United States. With a collection of over 30,000 works, it spans everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.
The museum’s Quadracci Pavilion, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is a work of art in itself and has become an iconic symbol of the city. Just walking up to this museum is an event.
Spanning four stories, this remarkable museum offers an extensive array of exhibitions, from European masters to influential contemporary artists.
3. Historic Third Ward – Milwaukee
Experience a blast from the past when you wander through Historic Third Ward. Once a bustling warehouse district, it is now a hub for art, shopping, and dining. Its renovated buildings are home to an array of businesses that maintain a connection to the area’s past while offering modern amenities.
The area is designated as a National Historic District which exhibits beautiful designs of architecture and is home to both captivating shops and top-notch restaurants.
Stroll the neighborhood’s streets to explore boutique stores, art galleries, and eateries. The district also hosts the Third Ward Art Festival and the popular Milwaukee Public Market, where you can sample a range of foods from local vendors. The Historic Third Ward presents a blend of the old and new, giving visitors a taste of Milwaukee’s vibrant urban scene.
4. Uncover Wisconsin Dells
Known as the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” Wisconsin Dells is a fun-filled destination for families. The Midwest’s premier vacation destination boasts an impressive number of indoor attractions and outdoor water parks, providing year-round entertainment regardless of the weather.
The term “Wisconsin Dells” refers to both the city of Wisconsin Dells and the surrounding area. The name “Dells” comes from “dalles,” a French word used to describe the narrow, gorge-like passages typically carved by rivers.
The Dells is situated along the Wisconsin River, which has, over millennia, shaped the area’s landscape, creating dramatic cliffs and canyons. The unique beauty of this area has made it a draw for tourists, artists, and nature enthusiasts for over a century.
5. Waterpark Resorts
Wisconsin Dells is famous for its high concentration of water parks, leading to the nickname “The Waterpark Capital of the World.” These include major indoor and outdoor water parks such as Noah’s Ark, America’s largest water park, and Kalahari Resorts, which features one of the country’s largest indoor water parks.
For those who want to step up their game, Mt. Olympus Resorts offers intense roller coasters plus outdoor Go-Kart tracks around this magical part of Wisconsin for all you daredevils out there. Everyone in the family will find something they love here!
6. Wisconsin Dells Boat Tours
Explore the gorgeous region of Wisconsin Dells with a boat tour from Dells Boat Tours. Take in the views of Lake Delton, along with Blackhawk’s Profile and Chimney Rock, impressive sandstone formations set against lush pine forests that have made this destination so popular for generations. All while gliding on through the pristine waters of the Wisconsin River!
Experience all that stunning natural beauty right from your vessel as you marvel at it during scenic sunrise or romantic dinner cruises offered by our tours- there’s something special about navigating its beautiful waterways that will make lasting memories no matter what time of year you visit in beautiful Wisconsin Dells.
Whether you are touring on an Original Duck (World War II amphibious vehicle) or enjoying a sunset dinner cruise – Wisconsin Dells will provide a fun-filled holiday for the whole family.
7. Adventure Parks at Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells is a great destination for those seeking an action-filled day. At the Knuckleheads trampoline and indoor amusement park, you can leap around, while Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf offers mini golf with a pirate twist.
The Tommy Bartlett Exploratory has interactive exhibits that invite hands-on exploration of new ideas and concepts – all wrapped up in Wisconsin’s charming atmosphere!
8. Bello’s Circus Extreme Variety Show
Wisconsin Dells’ Palace Theater was a professional venue for the performing arts. Nestled in the heart of Wisconsin Dells, the theater used to showcase a variety of top-tier shows, ranging from Broadway musicals to classic plays and concerts.
The Dells Palace Theater closed down in December 2022 but has now re-opened as the Bello’s Circus Extreme Variety Show. This is fun for the whole family and features cool stunts, comedy, magic, and a whole host of other performers.
For those seeking more natural experiences, the Wisconsin Dells area is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. You can explore the Wisconsin Dells and its scenic gorge known for its sandstone bluffs and formations, via a boat tour or a hiking trail. Whether you’re sliding down a thrilling water slide or marveling at the rock formations, Wisconsin Dells offers diverse experiences that make it a top choice for any Wisconsin itinerary.
9. Explore Lake Geneva’s Charm
If you’re looking for a little break from the hustle and bustle of city living, Lake Geneva is your perfect spot. Located between Milwaukee and Chicago, this picturesque small town brings with it an atmosphere that’s calm and serene. From leisurely strolls along its scenic lakefront to amusement at Tristan Crist Magic Theatre shows, there are countless attractions all around!
Take in some truly stunning views when exploring Black Point Estate or boating on one of the nearby lakes. Plus, downtown shopping & dining experiences offer even more fun activities too.
Whether it be wandering through quaint Victorian estates or getting lost in timeless illusion shows – come explore everything beautiful Lake Geneva has to offer!
10. Lake Geneva Cruise Line
Take in the beautiful sights from an enjoyable boat cruise with the acclaimed Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Glide across tranquil waters and be captivated by stunning vistas of elegant mansions, lush landscapes, and more!
You’ll find a voyage to suit any taste – ranging from group outings, themed tours or exclusive charters. A sunset dinner cruise is a great way to take in the views of the lake at golden hour.
11. Immerse in Green Bay’s Attractions
Nestled at the mouth of the Fox River on Lake Michigan, Green Bay is known for its celebrated football team, the Green Bay Packers, but also has a wide variety of attractions suitable for all.
Be it enjoying serenity in The Green Bay Botanical Garden and its four seasons garden or Wildlife Sanctuary or taking in a game, there is something for everyone.
12. Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
Football fans can’t miss a chance to attend a game at Lambeau Field, home to the Packers, one of the oldest teams in the NFL. Known as “The Frozen Tundra,” this stadium has a storied history and an electric atmosphere that’s palpable on game day.
Even if you’re not a die-hard Packers fan, the energy of the crowd is infectious and the experience is uniquely Wisconsin.
Apart from the game itself, there’s plenty to do at Lambeau Field. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the Packers and the stadium, or visit the Hall of Fame, which celebrates notable players and memorable moments. Also inside is a replica from Vince Lombardi’s office, which gives insight into his illustrious career with the team.
13. National Railroad Museum
The National Railroad Museum offers an exciting journey through the history of American railroading. As one of the oldest and largest institutions of its kind in the United States, it has been preserving and interpreting the nation’s railroad history since 1956.
Visitors are greeted with an impressive collection of vintage locomotives, rolling stock, and railroad artifacts. Highlights include the Union Pacific Big Boy, one of the largest steam locomotives ever built, and the British-made Dwight D. Eisenhower, a steam locomotive that served a crucial role during World War II.
14. Explore the State Capitol in Madison
The State Capitol in Madison, with its magnificent architecture and historical significance, is worth a visit. Completed in 1917, the Capitol building is known for its elegant dome, which is one of the largest in the world. Inside, the building features beautiful murals, ornate decorations, and exquisite craftsmanship.
Visitors can explore the Capitol on their own or take one of the free guided tours available. These tours provide insights into the history, architecture, and functions of the building.
Don’t miss the observation deck, which offers panoramic views of Madison and its surroundings.
15. Explore Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison
Spread over 16 acres, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison is a beautiful oasis that features various thematic gardens and a tropical conservatory. It’s an ideal place for a leisurely walk, a family outing, or a quiet place to read a book.
The gardens showcase a range of plant life and garden styles, from a traditional English-style sunken garden to a Thai Pavilion and Garden, the only one of its kind in the continental U.S.
The Bolz Conservatory houses a tropical paradise filled with exotic plants, colorful flowers, and free-flying birds. The gardens offer a peaceful escape in the city and a great way to connect with nature.
16. Cave of the Mounds
Located near Madison, Cave of the Mounds is a National Natural Landmark located in the town of Blue Mounds. It is often regarded as one of the most beautiful caves in the United States.
Discovered in 1939, the cave offers tours to view its vast array of stalactites, stalagmites, and other mineral formations.
The cave maintains a year-round temperature of approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making it one of the top indoor attractions for any season. Plus, the walking paths are well-lit and easy to navigate.
Knowledgeable guides provide in-depth tours that are both educational and fascinating. You’ll learn about the cave’s discovery, geology, and the delicate mineral formations it houses. These tours are well-suited for visitors of all ages.
17. Wisconsin Great River Road
Take a journey along the Wisconsin Great River Road, designated as an American scenic byway. Meandering for 250 miles on the western border of Wisconsin and following the Mississippi River, you will be mesmerized by breathtaking sandstone bluffs that can reach 400 feet in height.
Charming towns offer insight into the rich history and culture embedded throughout this spectacular route. Make sure to check out all attractions such as Wabasha’s National Eagle Center during your trip!
18. Discover Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architectural Gems
The state of Wisconsin has long been associated with the works of iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His remarkable designs, such as Taliesin Preservation, Monona Terrace, and Seth Peterson Cottage, have all become modern-day masterpieces.
For those interested in understanding more about this architectural genius’ creations, a visit to any one of his structures is essential.
19. Taliesin Preservation in Spring Green
Travel to the stunning Spring Green and discover Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, Taliesin Preservation. This 600-acre estate is a must for any fan of architecture or design, offering an immersive tour into this legendary architect’s life and work complete with his renowned Prairie School designs on display.
It showcases his unique architectural style, rooted in harmony with nature. Here, you can tour his home, studio, and 800-acre estate filled with other structures he designed.
The house offers glimpses into Wright’s personal life and his evolution as an architect. Beyond the buildings, you can explore nature trails, gardens, and a working farm. A visit to Taliesin is not just an architectural tour but an immersion into Wright’s philosophy of organic architecture and his vision of living in harmony with nature.
20. Monona Terrace
In Madison sits Frank Lloyd Wright’s impressive Monona Terrace, an iconic organic-style convention center with unforgettable views of Lake Monona. It is possible to take a guided tour of the building and get more insight into this exceptional architect’s work.
Strolling through the superbly crafted spaces in Monona Terrace helps one understand why Frank Lloyd Wright has had such influence on architecture today.
21. Seth Peterson Cottage
For a truly unique escape, come and stay at the Seth Peterson Cottage located in Mirror Lake State Park. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself, this charming cottage offers its guests an incredibly rare chance to be enveloped within the style of one of his masterpieces while also taking advantage of all that Wisconsin’s beautiful state parks have to offer.
Couples looking for some time alone, families seeking quality bonding experiences or groups wanting to share good times, everyone will love what they find here! Come relax and enjoy yourself surrounded by serenity as you experience something extraordinary with your friends or loved ones.
22. Experience Door County’s Coastal Charm
Door County, often referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” is the perfect place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Here, you’ll find more than 300 miles of coastline located on the shores of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Door County, is home to majestic lighthouses, expansive state parks, and pristine beaches, making it the perfect place for outdoor adventures.
During your visit, be sure to check out some of the county’s famed lighthouses, like the Cana Island Lighthouse, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Baileys Harbor Range Lights, Old Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse, or Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead, all set against breathtaking scenery.
Take a drive through the county’s rustic roads, stop by a local winery for a tasting, or savor the sweetness of a freshly picked cherry from a roadside farm stand. If you’re a nature lover, Door County won’t disappoint, with ample opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and water sports. Door County encapsulates what makes Wisconsin special, making it an essential stop on your itinerary.
23. State Parks and Hiking Trails
Outdoor enthusiasts in Door County can enjoy a vast selection of outdoor recreation and spectacular views all thanks to its many state parks and trails.
Those looking for an exhilarating adventure or peaceful respite should explore some popular spots like Peninsula State Park, Newport State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park, or Potawatomi State Park. All offer various terrain along with breathtaking scenery. With so many available hiking paths boasting amazing scenes around every corner, you won’t be disappointed!
24. Visit the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Located on Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore consists of 21 islands and a 12-mile stretch of the mainland that offers a wealth of recreational opportunities.
From historic lighthouses and sandstone sea caves to diverse wildlife and clear, blue waters, the Apostle Islands are a true paradise for nature lovers.
Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore the sea caves of the Apostle Islands. Located on the largest of the Great Lakes, kayaking is not to be taken lightly, so a guide is highly recommended.
During winter, these caves turn into an otherworldly landscape of ice formations that can be visited on foot when conditions permit.
In addition to paddling and hiking, visitors can enjoy camping, fishing, sailing, and birdwatching. Whether you’re an adventurous traveler or looking for tranquility, the Apostle Islands offer a memorable getaway.
25. Savor Wisconsin’s Culinary Delights
Wisconsin boasts an incredible array of culinary offerings, from the vast selection of Madison’s ever-growing restaurant scene to Milwaukee’s beer heritage.
For those wanting a taste of what this Midwestern state has to offer, food tours and farm-to-table establishments can provide delicious local fare while locally crafted brews quench any thirst. Whatever your preference may be, Wisconsin is sure to tantalize you with its diverse flavors and keep you coming back for more!
26. Madison’s Food Scene
Discover Madison’s rich and varied culinary offerings. From farm-to-table eateries to food tours, your options are plentiful! Try Graze for an international experience or Pig in a Fur Coat for something unique. Also, check out the Madison Eats Food Tours – it’ll take you on a delicious journey of local businesses around town.
If you’d like to get closer to homegrown flavors, head over to Dane County Farmers’ Market and Willy Street Coop where fresh ingredients await as well as artisanal products made by locals just waiting to be discovered!
So come explore what the city has prepared – taste its delights until your heart is satisfied!
27. Milwaukee’s Brewing Legacy
Take a trip through Milwaukee’s brewing tradition by visiting the Pabst Mansion, an impressive reminder of the city’s beer-making heritage. After touring this historic spot, why not continue on your journey and explore some of its local craft breweries? You can sample all sorts of beers from classic lagers to inventive IPAs that are sure to satisfy whatever tastes you have in mind.
28. Wisconsin’s Dairyland
Wisconsin is famous for its dairy products, and no trip would be complete without tasting its cheese and ice cream. Visit a local cheese factory for a tour to see how cheese is made and sample a variety of cheeses. Farmers’ markets, like Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison, offer a chance to taste fresh local produce and dairy.
Another essential Wisconsin food experience is a traditional fish fry. These events, often held on Fridays, serve up fried fish accompanied by sides like coleslaw and rye bread. Also, don’t miss out on trying Wisconsin’s craft beers. Many breweries offer tours and tastings, providing an insight into the state’s rich brewing tradition.
29. Hike the Ice Age Trail
The Ice Age Trail is one of the unique highlights Wisconsin has to offer, offering more than 1,000 miles of scenic trails. This massive network stretches across the state, following the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin. The trail offers stunning views of glacial landscapes plus forests, prairies, and wetlands.
Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a peaceful place to appreciate nature, the Ice Age Trail has something to offer. You can embark on a multi-day backpacking adventure, enjoy a leisurely afternoon walk, or even attempt a “thru-hike” if you’re up for a significant challenge.
With clearly marked hiking trails and numerous access points, the Ice Age Trail is a fantastic way to experience the Wisconsin outdoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do people travel to Wisconsin for?
Head to Wisconsin for an experience that offers the best of city culture and outdoor fun. The impressive State Capitol in Madison, as well as Cave of the Mounds, are popular attractions. Also worth visiting is Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture which adorns many parts of this state. For those who like adventures, the Apostle Islands provide plenty of opportunities for exploration while water parks around Wisconsin Dells offer excitement all year round.
What is the most visited town in Wisconsin?
Green Bay, Wisconsin, is a popular tourist destination, welcoming an estimated 105,000 visitors annually.
What is there to do between Milwaukee and Madison?
Take a drive from Milwaukee to Madison and explore some of the attractions on the route, including Octagon House in Watertown, Mullins Dairy Bar for classic American cuisine, pottery galleries at Cambridge and sights in Jefferson & Lake Mills. Check out Harley-Davidson Museum as well as Milwaukee Art Museum, Tristan Crist Magic Theatre or Fireside Dinner. Theatre while there too!
Take a peaceful walk along the enchanting views of Lake Geneva Shore Path, an experience like no other.
What are some popular attractions in Wisconsin Dells?
Visiting Wisconsin Dells is ideal for a fun-filled family vacation. Visitors can experience thrilling waterparks, scenic boat tours, and other exhilarating parks in the area. It’s no wonder it has been one of Wisconsin’s most popular destinations!
Wisconsin is a midwestern state packed full of captivating experiences and places to explore. Home to exciting attractions like the Wisconsin Deer Park in Wisconsin Dells, romantic towns in Door County, architectural works from Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as Madison’s exquisite food culture, it has something for everyone! So don’t hesitate any longer: start planning your journey today and discover all that this wonderful area can give you. An unforgettable experience surrounded by its breathtaking beauty.