Wisconsin, popularly known as the Badger State, is a rather interesting location with a lot of unlikely yet fascinating facets that make it an ideal spot for a trip or holiday.
It is known for its production of dairy, beer, and lumber and bears the marks of a deep and meaningful history steeped in Native American culture, much of which you can continue to see in modern-day Wisconsin.
It also is a haven for nature-lovers, with natural features like sandstone, ice caves, and plenty of parks to explore.
There are a whole lot of Wisconsin attractions of different genres and varieties, so there’s pretty much something for everyone, with many vacation ideas to put into play.
There are cultural and artistic galleries, unique and one-of-a-kind museums, lively art scenes, and plenty of ways to get close to nature.
So, how should you spend your time in the Badger State?
Here is our travel guide for the 42 fun things to do and places to visit in Wisconsin, whether you’re visiting this weekend or months from now!
Things To Do In Wisconsin
1. The Harley-Davidson Museum
The sprawling complex spans 20 acres and contains an impressive three buildings in one place.
More than 450 of these classic motorcycles – and thousands of associated artifacts from the brand’s company – are arranged throughout the museum, telling the fascinating tale of the company’s century in business.
Unique exhibits inside the Harley-Davidson Museum include ones focusing on motorcycle customization, racing competitions, and company history.
Many of the displays are interactive and some motorcycles can be directly touched or even sat on, and there’s even a restaurant to eat at.
The epitome of freedom and 20th-century pop culture, the Harley-Davidson Museum is one of the chief things to do in Wisconsin for bikers and history-lovers alike.
Try to time your visit for bike nights, when Harley riders and fans come by the museum to showcase their personal motorcycles!
Address: 400 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI 53201, United States
2. Cave of the Mounds
When it comes to cool places to go, the Cave of the Mounds is one of Wisconsin’s top 10.
After all, it’s a unique spot and has earned the rather flattering title of the Jewel Box of Major American Caves as well as being on the list of National Natural Landmarks.
Situated close to Blue Mounds, it is famous not for its many stalagmites and stalactites, but for its beautiful formations of limestone rock.
The limestone formations in the Cave of the Mounds are bright, vibrant, and colorful, and they’re varied, interesting, and a delightful feast for the eyes.
The caves were first found by limestone miners and quarry workers in 1939 who accidentally opened up a way into the rocky location, revealing the chambers.
The miners immediately ceased activity when they found the lovely forms.
The Cave of the Mounds has all sorts of different formations, with the most famous being their fun “soda straws”, which are hollow tubes made of minerals that are surprisingly delicate.
There are also helictites, which are a kind of stalactite in a bent shame, flowstones of smooth limestone, and many blues, reds, and brows among the rock.
With the aid of flashy lighting that further emphasizes the drama of the natural geology, the Cave of the Mounds has become a popular hotspot for tourists.
Though dating back 488 million years, the caves hold up as a stunning modern attraction.
Address: 2975 Cave of the Mounds Rd, Blue Mounds, WI 53517, United States
3. House on the Rock
In 1940s Wyoming Valley, an interesting sandstone rock chimney spanning 60 feet into the air caught the eye of Alex Jordan.
This rock formation, known as Deer Shelter Rock, would become the site of Jordan’s weekend retreat home.
He had never intended for it to turn into an icon of Wisconsin and one of its best examples of stunning architecture, but his creation was such a masterpiece that people began to ask about it and even stop by to visit.
Eventually, Jordan began to request donations of 50 cents in exchange for giving out tours to visitors of the 14-room home.
This soon grew into the House on the Rock becoming one of the key Wisconsin attractions, and the many rooms housed all sorts of collections by the eccentric Jordan himself.
Now, the house has expanded, covering a whole complex of multiple structures, collections, and intricacies that means it may take you all of this weekend to explore!
You’ll find the world’s biggest carousel here too, which houses over 20,000 lights, a whopping 269 carousel animals, and an additional 182 lanterns, watched over by angel mannequins that hang from the ceiling.
The House on the Rock was never intended to be a museum, and in fact, even now, it’s something a little more than that.
It’s bright and strange and a reflection of Jordan’s imagination, and it’s well worth the visit.
Address: 5754 WI-23, Spring Green, WI 53588, United States
4. Bookworm Gardens
The Bookworm Gardens are one of the unique things to do in Wisconsin, packed with a fun theme that is sure to delight and amaze young children and adults alike.
Spanning 35 acres in Sheboygan, it is a literature-inspired seasonal garden that uses bright and exciting displays to make references to more than 60 different famous kid’s books.
The goal of the Bookworm Gardens is to promote reading, music, art, and nature in a wireless, internet-free space.
It was opened in 1999 by Sandy Livermore and has turned into a truly magical location with delightful interactive activities, including digging for worms, learning to create music, and even doing some alphabet searches.
As far as places to visit in Wisconsin go, the Bookworm Gardens are the most whimsical.
Kids get to learn about local wildlife, try out different displays, and curl up in a cozy reading nook in an undeniably exciting location.
Workshops, classes, camps, and tours are also available!
Just be sure to pre-register for the peak season so you can get in!
Address: 1415 Campus Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081, United States
5. The Historic Third Ward
The Historic Third Ward is a National Historic District and is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
It takes up an impressive 10 square block of space with over 70 historic buildings, all located south of downtown.
Its large space makes it one of the best tourist places for free-roaming exploration, and it’s simply filled to the brim with great spots to eat, studios, galleries, boutiques, theatres, and plenty of history-related points of interest.
The Historic Third Ward was first built in 1875 and is renowned for many of its features, such as the Third Ward Riverwalk and the Milwaukee Public Market.
It has romantic charm and old-school whimsy mixed with the modern convenience of an electric streetcar system, regular seasonal performances, and plenty of events to check out.
Address: Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States
6. Olbrich Botanical Gardens
It is one of the city’s scenic places and was founded in 1952 by the same man it is named after: Michael Olbrich.
Covering 16 acres of land, the gardens are nothing short of enchanting, idyllic, and beautiful, offering a relaxing but fun escape from the bustle of the surrounding city.
Since its opening, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens has gained two conservatories – one in 1991 and the other, called the Bolz Conservatory, more recently.
The latter has a waterfall!
The King of Thailand himself actually donated a pavilion to the gardens in 2002, decorated delicately with Thai sculptures in a wider garden area.
The rest of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens are separated into open-air sections totaling 6 different areas – or 7 if you include the Thai Garden.
There is the Sunken Gardens, which is a traditional English garden that boasts a delightful reflective pool and many terraces of limestone around it.
There is also the Rose Garden, which is filled with different flowers.
Other spots include the Atrium Shade Garden, the Meadow Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Starkweather Creek.
Address: 3330 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704, United States
7. Milwaukee Art Museum
If you’re an art-lover seeking things to do in Wisconsin, you’ll love the Milwaukee Art Museum.
It is one of not just Wisconsin’s, but the entire world’s largest museums, boasting a whopping 25,000 pieces of art across four floors of space, with two structures in modernist and postmodernist styles.
The museum, opened in 1872 to bring more art to the local scene, was built upon the donation of Alexander Mitchell, and it was officially considered a museum beginning 1957.
The extensive collection at Milwaukee Art Museum spans from ancient artifacts all the way to modern, contemporary works.
Its collection’s most prized items are decorative art of America, German Expressionist works, and post-1960 American works, though it also encompasses Haitian art, the works of Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso, and the creations of local-born artist Georgia O’Keefe.
Some of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s more interesting collections and exhibits are also its most unorthodox.
There is a Chair Park in the basement where you can try sitting on famous chairs of figures like Eero Saarinen and Frank Lloyd Wright.
There is a sculpture made up of thousands of individual buttons, a collection of pottery known as Mrs. M—’s Cabinet fitted with a digital projection of the fictional Mrs. M— herself, and an exterior decorated with a bird-like shape, complete with steel beams of wings that open and close.
Address: 700 N Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States
8. Taliesin Preservation (Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center)
The Taliesin Preservation building, known also as the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, was once the home of that famous architect as well as the studio where he worked.
The building, which began to be built in 1911, is a wonderful emanation of the Prairie School tradition of design, showcasing the Midwestern plains’ natural landscape.
It has since become one of Wisconsin’s tourist attractions.
Wright worked on this home right up to his passing in 1959, spending lots of time here in the summer before heading elsewhere when the seasons changed.
The home now is filled with art and is a great way to learn more about the great architect and his many works, making it one of the best bucket list additions to those interested in design.
Tours are available!
Address: 5607 County Rd C, Spring Green, WI 53588, United States
9. EAA AirVenture Museum and EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh
If you’re looking for some fun in Wisconsin, the EAA AirVenture Museum of Oshkosh is a great way to do so.
Its name stands for Experimental Aircraft Association and, as that name suggests, it is dedicated to showcasing the history of aircraft and aircraft technology.
It boasts approximately 200 historically significant aircraft and provides exciting features like short airplane rides, a KidVenture Gallery, a hangar for World War II aviation exhibits, and even a flight simulator.
But if you’d like an option for what to do that’s bigger and more involved, EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh will provide that.
Sponsored by the EAA, it is an annual aviation event that occurs in the summer.
It is the largest of its kind globally and has been happening since 1953.
The event lasts for about a week and includes workshops, air shows, forums, and more.
Over half a million visitors from an impressive 80 different nations come to visit the area for the EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh, and it’s not something to miss out on!
Address: 3000 Poberezny Rd, Oshkosh, WI 54902, United States
10. Wisconsin State Capitol
The Wisconsin State Capitol sits in Madison, and its importance makes it one of the state’s key things to see.
The building, which is a National Historic Landmark, was finished in 1917, and it’s actually the state’s third after the first was rebuilt for expansion and the second one burned down!
The Wisconsin State Capitol building is Madison’s tallest building by law and is home to the Office of the Governor, the state Supreme Court, and the legislature.
Majestic in appearance, it boasts an elegant design and a lovely dome-shaped roof, as well as a statue of Wisconsin with a badger on her helmet.
One of the things to see in the State Capitol building is its rather curious collection of fossils set in the stone of its structure, totaling about 40 different kinds.
There are also lots of beautiful works of art, handmade furniture, murals, and more.
In the summer, the observation deck at the building opens up to the public, so time your trip accordingly!
Address: 2 E Main St, Madison, WI 53703, United States
11. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
It refers to a 69,372-acre space on Lake Superior, Wisconsin, that is made up of 21 different islands.
Each island comes with its own places to see, allowing you to enjoy something every season.
The islands of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are made from red sandstone and are packed with natural beauty, ranging from sea caves of sandstone to white sand beaches and from old-growth forests to gorgeous lighthouse structures.
Apostille Islands Cruises offers a fantastic way to view the natural marvel of the islands at your leisure and convenience.
Address: 415 Washington Ave, Bayfield, WI 54814, United States
12. Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame
Few can forget about watching a Green Bay Packers game when considering things to do in Wisconsin.
This football team, iconic and renowned, is a famous “symbol” of the state, and even if you aren’t much of a sports fan, learning about the team’s growth and history is as fun as watching one of their games.
It is, therefore, obvious that Lambeau Field should be a to-visit site seeing as it is where the Green Bay Packers play their home games.
For a small town like Green Bay to host such a hugely successful team is nothing short of impressive, and the fact that the team has 13 trophies from championships to back it up is even more incredible!
At Lambeau Field, you’ll also find the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame, a two-floor building covering 15,000 square feet, filled with interactive exhibits, audio, and video displays, recordings of the Packers’ plays, unique artifacts, and a replica of the office of Vince Lombardi, renowned Packers coach.
You’ll get to see over 80 years of history in one exciting place!
Address: 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304, United States
13. Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron
Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron is the biggest sculpture of scrap metal in the world, situated outdoors in the center of the state.
It has become one of the best unusual Wisconsin attractions for those who hunt down hidden gems and strange locations.
The sculpture was made by Tom Every, who was an industrial wrecker, meaning he professionally demolished and destroyed buildings.
When he retired, he figured it was time for a change, and in 1983 he decided to become a creator instead and gave himself the name Dr. Evermor.
Dr. Evermor was a character and persona, imagined as an English Victorian inventory with a traumatic backstory involving a lightning storm and a minister father.
Every created the huge sculpture park of the Forevertron as Dr. Evermor’s lair.
Everything in Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron is made from scrap metal.
A testament to Every’s skill, he also worked on the House on the Rock near the area.
Address: S7703 US-12, North Freedom, WI 53951, United States
14. Interstate State Park
It is one of the top places to visit in Wisconsin for outdoor enthusiasts or those seeking an adventure in nature.
The backdrop of the park is dramatic and packed with all sorts of information, especially the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, for which the Ice Age Interpretive Center provides information.
There are lots of things you can enjoy at Interstate State Park.
Lake O’ the Dalles offers a beach to lounge on and water to swim in.
The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway is beautiful to follow and trace.
Camping sites are scattered about, rocks are fit for climbing, and hiking trails totaling 8 miles provide lots of opportunities for exploration.
All in all, it’s a recipe for a good time!
Address: 1275 WI-35, St Croix Falls, WI 54024, United States
15. Schoolhouse Beach
Schoolhouse Beach is a beautiful beach on the lakeshore, and it’s one of Wisconsin’s best points of interest because of its unusual nature.
Instead of sand, it has limestone rocks.
These smooth rocks provide a foot massage as you walk along them, though some may be a little too harsh for sensitive bare feet.
But beyond just its odd sand, Schoolhouse Beach offers a relaxing experience without the worry of betting sand in your swimsuit.
It is situated on Washington Island and is one of only five of the world’s beaches without sand.
It earned its name from a schoolhouse that once existed near the shore, though that house no longer exists now.
So, how did the rocks come to be?
They were polished by glaciers over thousands upon thousands of years, and the rocks are now so coveted that it is illegal to bring one home with you!
You can, however, make structures with them on the beach or toss them into the water.
And, of course, common beach things to enjoy, like swimming and sunbathing, can be done, too!
Address: 1824 Washington Harbor Rd, Washington, WI 54246, United States
16. National Railroad Museum
The National Railroad Museum can be found in Ashwaubenon, where it was built in 1956.
The museum is one of the fun and cheap things to do in Wisconsin, and as it is also one of the country’s oldest railroad-related museums, it’s a must-do for locomotive lovers.
At the National Railroad Museum, you’ll see some of the world’s biggest steam locomotives, a surrounding standard gauge track, and over a century’s worth of history.
You’ll get to see army trains, charming fancy cabooses, and even ones for kids themed after Thomas the Tank Engine.
On Halloween, there are special spooky train rides as well!
Address: 2285 S Broadway, Green Bay, WI 54304, United States
17. Circus World Museum
The Circus World Museum began with the ever-famous icon, the Ringling Bros. Circus – one of the best-known circuses in history and currently the largest surviving company of its kind.
When television became more popular and common in households in the 1950s, the Ringling brothers’ attorney, John Kelly, recommended that a museum could be set up to preserve the age of the circus and the legacy of the brothers before the circus industry died too far.
The Circus World Museum opened in Wisconsin’s Baraboo in 1959 and, over time, has grown to encompass 63 acres.
It showcases the history of the Ringling brothers, the story of all of circus and its history, and collections of various artifacts such as ads, posters, paintings, photos, wagons, and more.
If you’re looking for more things to do while in Wisconsin in the summer, come around to the museum to watch live circus entertainment and activities!
Address: 550 Water St, Baraboo, WI 53913, United States
18. Tristan Crist Magic Theatre
It is the theatre of magician Tristan Crist, who performs shows lasting an hour that showcase all sorts of fun illusions, tricks, and mirages in unique and up-close detail.
There are only 175 seats at the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, which allows for an intimate audience experience, and a big screen broadcasting Crist’s antics allows you to carefully watch his every move.
Address: 100 N Edwards Blvd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States
19. Washington Island Stavkirke
The Washington Island Stavkirke looks like it isn’t even a part of Wisconsin, with a traditional wooden stave style that makes it look like it came straight from medieval Norway.
For the religious, it’s one of the state’s best places to travel, and for the irreligious, it’s a valuable architectural spot regardless.
It was built in 1991 and took three years to finish.
The Washington Island Stavkirke belongs to the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wisconsin and was built specifically to honor the natural heritage of Scandinavia in the area.
Most other native Norwegian stave churches have been damaged or destroyed over the years, so this is a unique treat you won’t get to see in many other places.
Address: Town Line Rd, Washington, WI 54246, United States
20. Pabst Mansion
Pabst Mansion is an incredibly charming house made by Pabst Brewing Company founder Captain Frederick Pabst.
The opulent home sits in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has become one of the top things to see for history buffs and architecture lovers alike.
It is built in a lovely Flemish Renaissance Revival design on the exterior, while the interior mixes Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Rococo styles.
When first built, it boasted an impressive 66 rooms with 14 fireplaces and a special study for the Captain with 14 hidden compartments.
Pabst and family lived in this home from the late 19th century, after its 1892 completion, up to 1908.
The house would then become the residence of many Archbishops of the local Roman Catholic Archdiocese before the church sold it to Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. in 1978.
Now, it houses an impressive 4,000 pieces of fine art and decorative works, with furniture, china, and even clocks adding to the overall experience.
Tours are educational and provide insight into the life of Pabst and the wealthy classes in that era.
Address: 2000 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States
21. American Science & Surplus
American Science & Surplus is a rather fascinating and fun spot in Wisconsin and should be on your list of places to go if you’re a geek, a creative person, or coming with family.
It is a shop filled with difficult-to-find materials, items, and other products for tinkerers, creators, DIY-lovers, educators, scientists, and more.
If you’ve needed military, industrial, or other tools for random passion projects, chances are that this shop has you covered.
While a lot of the stuff in American Science & Surplus is a little odd, it’s also worth treasuring.
The store has supplied items for all sorts of different people’s personal projects, such as dioramas, robots, instruments, decorations, and more.
The shop offers mystery items, scavenger hunts, informative displays, and funny signs to help you along your hunt for supplies, too.
Address: 6901 W Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53219, United States
22. Green Bay Botanical Garden
Green Bay Botanical Garden, spanning 47 acres, was created in 1996 in its titular city of Green Bay.
It began with the simple goal of encouraging visitors to feel welcomed and happy and today is one of the best things to do in Wisconsin for calm recreational activities and sightseeing.
The gardens at the Green Bay Botanical Garden are very diverse, with multiple different areas for different plants.
The Vanderperren English Cottage Garden is a highly traditional English garden.
The Four Seasons Garden provides plants that grow throughout the year, even in winter, like crabapples, lilacs, and magnolias.
The Kaftan Lusthaus is Scandanavian-styled.
There’s so much to do and enjoy, especially during the WPS Garden of Lights event, which features more than 200,000 lights illuminating the garden!
Address: 2600 Larsen Rd, Green Bay, WI 54303, United States
23. Door County
Door County is one of the prettiest places to vacation in the state of Wisconsin.
Door County is situated approximately 46 miles away from the more busy area of Green Bay.
It is packed with natural beauty and looks out over Lake Michigan, and it has since become famous as one of the larger Wisconsin attractions, providing hotels and campsites for visitors from all walks of life.
Tons of visitors have fun heading to Door County annually thanks to all its activities.
You can go to the water to swim, fish, dive, sail, and kayak, or you can explore by biking or hiking.
As a small town, it’s got a lot of rural charm and even has a fair share of historic buildings to head into – and a whopping 8 wineries, all on its own!
Address: Wisconsin, United States
24. Minocqua Lake
Minocqua Lake is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Wisconsin.
It features breathtaking scenery in Oneida County and is a part of the state’s Lakeland area.
The lake covers 1339 acres of land and boasts a maximum depth of an impressive 60 feet, with fish like walleye, panfish, bass, pike, and musky swimming in its depths.
There are all sorts of activities to enjoy at Minocqua Lake.
You can take pictures, play water sports, relax and camp out, stay at a resort, get yourself a tan, or even wait till winter so you can go snowboarding or skiing!
Address: Wisconsin, United States
25. FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard
The FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard, which stands for Fiberglass Animals, Shapes, and Trademarks, is one of the best places of interest to see in Wisconsin if you like creepy and bizarre locations – though the true reason for this graveyard is certainly more whimsical than scary!
It rests behind the workshop of FAST and holds large molds of fiberglass, left behind from all their many, many jobs.
FAST is a company that creates large figures and items that catch the eye, such as huge statues outside roadside restaurants and the like.
Molds are often tailored to specific commissions, so once the work is done, the molds are moved out into the backyard, where they become one of many in a graveyard of molds.
They appear in a wide array of shapes and colors, from large Santa Clauses to skulls and from mice to dogs.
Time and the Wisconsin climate have made the tenants of the FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard slowly wither away, providing an appearance akin to old stone.
This makes the area feel like the leftover from an ancient burial plot, which adds to the unreal, fantasy-like experience of walking through it.
Address: 14177 Co Hwy Q, Sparta, WI 54656, United States
26. The Farm Historic Living Museum
The Farm Historic Living Museum is situated in Door County, Wisconsin, and is a must-see because it’s among the state’s cheap things to do and is just a whole lot of fun!
It is a living museum designed to depict rural America from the 19th century and beyond, and its approach to education makes it ideal for families with children, though it is a great experience for any age.
The Farm Historic Living Museum provides the chance to feel lambs, kids, and piglets, as well as to view old buildings such as the woodshed, cabin, granary, and sugar shack.
In the process, you’ll learn about what life was like on the prairie of the state back in the day, and you can browse and watch exhibits on farm life, crops, livestock, and beyond.
Address: 4285 WI-57, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, United States
27. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the free things to do in Wisconsin.
It spans 700 acres of land in Green Bay and functions as a refuge territory for wildlife, and it’s the city’s largest park, too.
It is the state’s second-biggest rehabilitation program for wildlife and, every year, it cares for about 4,500 injured and orphaned animals.
With 6 miles of trails for skiing and hiking, a bunch of educational displays, a Manger Lagoon for catch-and-release fishing, and lots of animal exhibits, it’s easy to see why the activities of the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary are so popular.
It also offers programs for people of all ages, a number of community events, and seasonal camps to enjoy!
Address: 1660 E Shore Dr, Green Bay, WI 54302, United States
28. Wisconsin Maritime Museum
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is among the best tourist attractions for naval enthusiasts.
It is a delightful trove of treasures from all across the history of American seafaring, specifically in the region of the Great Lakes as well as the state’s vessels used in World War II.
It was founded as the Manitowoc Submarine Memorial Association in 1969.
The biggest artifact exhibited at the Maritime Museum is an entire submarine, launched into the Pacific front by the United States in World War II.
It is called the USS Cobia.
In its service, it successfully downed two different ships before being retired.
It is now impressively restored, with a tourable top inner floor and upper deck.
Here, you’ll be able to see torpedo rooms, engine rooms, quarters, and more.
Beyond the USS Cobia, the Maritime Museum showcases all sorts of materials, artifacts, and archives through presented research, interactive exhibits, and lots of educational programs.
A car ferry gallery, a model ship, an operating steam engine, special children’s rooms, and much more take up the sprawling 60,000 square foot space.
Address: 75 Maritime Dr, Manitowoc, WI 54220, United States
29. Sputnik IV Crash Site
One of the top free things to do in the state is to simply visit the casual and rather inconspicuous attraction that is the Sputnik IV Crash Site.
It’s a great option for when your list of what to do in Wisconsin is already getting very long and you want to squeeze in a small and quick bit of novelty!
The Sputnik IV Crash Site sits in Manitowoc on 8th Street.
It is a simple brass ring that is fixed in the center of the road – an unassuming and almost uninteresting feature.
But this ring marks the exact spot where Sputnik, the famed Soviet satellite, crashed, becoming a part of astronomical history forever – and a part of the strange events and festivals that the state holds!
The piece of Sputnik that landed here was approximately 20 pounds in weight and fell in 1962 from the much heavier 5-ton full Sputnik-IV.
The spacecraft had been launched two years prior by the Soviets, but upon trying to return it to earth the day of the crash, a computer glitch led to a malfunction.
Most of its body would burn in the heat of a high-altitude atmosphere, and all that was left unmelted crashed into Manitowoc.
At first, no one paid much attention to the hunk of metal – that is, until news broke about the crash.
The police had the piece sent to the Smithsonian, who then sent it back to Russia, and then replicas were made.
Meanwhile, the site of the crash was immortalized forever with a simple ring.
Address: Park St and N 8th St, Manitowoc, WI, United States
30. Old World Wisconsin
Old World Wisconsin is a wonderful exhibit of 60 gorgeously restored structures dating back to the late 19th century.
It was at this time that immigrants arrived in the Midwest, marking this area as one of their many destinations to settle down and begin a new life on better shores.
Old World Wisconsin is essentially a living exhibit, a recreation of a farming village from the 1880s complete with a general store, a blacksmith, and fields with livestock.
Activities of all kinds provide fun and engaging ways to learn about the genuine daily lives of those who lived in the depicted times.
It teaches farmwork, handicrafts, and schoolhouse education in inviting ways.
There are many things to see and appreciate about this lovely Old World attraction.
It’s the biggest museum of its kind – that is, a living rural history museum – on the planet, covering 600 acres of land.
You will learn with empathy and connection about those who persevered and lived here through hands-on attractions, interactive experiences, and spaces rich in sensory engagement.
The most popular attractions at Old World include Crossroads Village, which brings you through Main Street for a glimpse into small-town life with immigrant settlers, and Life On The Farms, which allows you to learn about farming traditions in the vein of resources and land.
There are also Scandinavian Homesteads that showcase the difficulty of 19th-century survival, Heritage Animal Breeds to show off traditional breeds of livestock, and Catch Wheel Fever, which explains the role of shared social spaces and sports in community identity.
Address: W372 S9727 WI-67, Eagle, WI 53119, United States
31. The Wisconsin Great River Road
The Wisconsin Great River Road is the state’s only national scenic route as officially declared.
It spans 250 miles across a whopping 33 cities, each one full of vacation spots and perfect for sightseeing.
It’s one of the best ways to get a good feel of the state in a road trip sort of fashion, with lots of places to see for interests of all sorts.
Along the Wisconsin Great River Road, you’ll find rivers and lakes for boating and fishing, small towns for gallery-viewing and shopping, parks and gardens for outdoor adventures, wineries to tour, and hiking and camping spots galore.
And, of course, the road itself offers stunning views of the surrounding area that make the drive alone very much worth it!
Address: Wisconsin State Hwy 35 La Crosse, WI 54601, United States
Planning to travel to Madison? If you do plan the trip, here are some fun things to do in Madison, WI!
32. Lost City Forest
The Lost City Forest sits in an Arboretum on the southeastern side of the University of Wisconsin, a surprisingly natural wooded area that borders a march.
True to its name, it feels like a world away from the surrounding area and is the perfect getaway this weekend.
It’s also one of the most fun free things to do while in Wisconsin!
Surprisingly, the name “Lost City Forest” isn’t actually because of its secluded nature.
Instead, it is so named thanks to a 20th-century housing development project that failed in the 1920s here, when Madison was growing quickly and developers were seeking to make a tidy profit with new homes.
One of those developers was the Lake Forest Land Company, and they lined sidewalks and roads and put down concrete foundations.
But the marshy ground was unstable and sucked the foundations down – and then the Great Depression arrived, shutting down all efforts.
Address: 2449 Arboretum Dr, Madison, WI 53713, United States
33. Paine Art Center and Gardens
The Paine Art Center and Gardens make up Wisconsin attractions that are very much suited to the expression of art and beauty with nature and historic charm.
It sits in an estate made in 1925 by Ithaca architect Bryan Fleming for Nathan and Jessie Paine, although the couple would never wind up living here.
The architectural design is distinctly Tudor Revival in order to pay tribute to the English roots of the Paine family, but the interior and exterior have significant contrast, allowing the English inspiration to be drawn out across centuries of styles.
Nathan Paine himself was instrumental in the unique appearance of the home and grounds, insisting on limestone stonework and other materials based on his keen eye for craftsmanship.
The natural beauty of the landscape of Wisconsin further compliments the homey, charming vintage appearance of the Paine Art Center and Gardens.
Inside the art center itself, once the home of the Paines, you’ll find a beautiful rotating exhibit of applied and fine arts alike.
The furniture within comes from different historical periods and many were specially commissioned.
The upper floors lie unfinished until today.
Meanwhile, the gardens outdoors at the Paine Art Center and Gardens are once again inspired by English styles.
They are a collection of twenty botanical garden locations perfect for education and enjoyment.
Perennials for local climate as well as native fauna of all kinds make up much of the lovely array.
Address: 1410 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901, United States
34. Palace Theater in the Dells
The Palace Theater in the Dells is one of the most fun places to visit in Wisconsin for high-quality entertainment.
It is famous for being an excellent recreational location, providing an impressive array of different performances and shows across all sorts of genres.
Each ticket can be bought alongside a snack or meal and all shows are suitable for children.
The Palace Theater in the Dells was opened by Anthony and Joseph Tomaska, who boast an impressive three decades of experience in the fields of food service and performance.
This allowed them to launch the Dinner Theater to applaudable success, and their interactive dinner show, called Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, has the honor of being one of the region’s longest continuously running shows with a 17-year record.
Address: 564 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy S, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
Planning to visit Wisconsin Dells soon? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Wisconsin Dells?
35. National Mustard Museum
The National Mustard Museum is one of the state’s famous locations of interest, a highlight of the lovely Mount Horeb until it moved to Middleton in order to expand.
It is home to an impressive collection of mustards from across the planet, including “antique” bottles of old mustards.
Though small, the National Mustard Museum is nothing short of delightful.
It provides a rather large number of mustard-related artifacts and items as well as a movie stream that showcases thematic films like Mustard: The Spice of Nations.
There is also a gift shop that sells several hundred different types of mustard, ranging from spicy options to relatively tame, fruity ones.
You can sample them as you please
The National Mustard Museum is one of the state’s most charming points of interest and is also one of its free things to do.
Don’t forget to drop by in August on the month’s first Saturday for the National Mustard Day event, which is an entire festival held at the museum!
Address: 7477 Hubbard Ave, Middleton, WI 53562, United States
36. Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts
The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts is an officially designated landmark of the City of Cedarburg, where its tale began in 1988 as part of the local state’s Quilt History Project.
The project was meant to preserve, promote, and showcase the creativity and art of local quilters, and its mission has only expanded ever since.
In 2001, the Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts moved to its current location, a 2.2-acre plot of land, where it sits in the farmstead of Hoffmann-Boeker – a spot filled with interesting structures made of stone and timber.
There are seven such structures in total, including a dairy barn and silo, a blacksmithy, a farmhouse, a smokehouse, and an ice house.
Throughout the farmstead, the Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts showcases all sorts of items related to its title, including clothing, coverlets, costumes, and textiles, some dating all the way back to the 18th century.
More than 8,000 quilts have been captured and recorded here.
It’s a must-do spot to explore the fun and colorful history of fiber arts and quilts in the state and beyond!
Address: N50 W5050, Portland Rd, Cedarburg, WI 53012, United States
37. Madison Eats Food Tours
Madison Eats Food Tours is one of the greatest things to do in Wisconsin for foodies.
It offers a tour of the city’s diverse culinary backdrop, its local businesses, and even some unique local events.
The company began operations in 2012, though the story of its founder Otehlia Cassidy, an award-winning food writer, dates back much further.
Her food blog grew into a rich food tour experience that could bring the taste of Madison to its visitors.
Tours at Madison Eats Food Tours can involve cycling or walking.
Interestingly, a lot of the most delicious fare from local restaurants serve international cuisines, such as Ethiopian, Indonesian, and Thai delicacies.
Still, you’ll get to see markets, taste artisanal wines and cheeses, and much more!
Address: Madison, WI, United States
38. Swing Park
Swing Park is a bit of a hidden gem, but that’s what makes it such a good answer for where to visit if you’re looking for more unusual stuff to do.
It is situated right beneath the famous Holton Street Bridge of Milwaukee and is secluded and serene, providing a tranquil place to while away some time or even enjoy a romantic moment or two.
There are five typical swings that hang from the bridge, made with halved tires, as well as two tire swings – one for horizontal and one for vertical orientations.
There is also a plastic blue swing of a suitable adult size that is designed to be accessible by those with disabilities, using a rubberized subsurface on the ground for better ease.
The entire space of Swing Park aside from that rubberized plot uses soft sand as a blanket over the ground, and there are wooden benches to sit on and while away the time.
It’s wild to think that the bridge above is so busy when the park is so peaceful!
Address: 1737 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States
39. Mars Cheese Castle
As far as unorthodox places to visit in Wisconsin go, the Mars Cheese Castle takes the cake.
Originally, it was nothing but a gas station, opened in 1947 for a simple and uninteresting purpose.
But after the station burned down a decade later, owner Mario Ventura Sr. set up the much more fascinating purveyor of Mars Cheese Castle, earning the spot in the junction the name of the most visible cheese interchange in the state!
Since it opened in 1957, the Mars Cheese Castle has provided visitors with a wide range of cheese and similar products to purchase and enjoy.
Trouble would seem to come in 2011 when the highway where the “castle” sat was set to be widened.
The Ventura family took it on the chin and did not lose heart, using the forced location change to create a new and better image for their business.
Today, Mars Cheese Castle has the extremely fun appearance of a genuine castle, fitted with a watchtower and a drawbridge on a stately facade.
It’s a great option for what to do, whether you’re looking to buy cheese-related items or simply marvel at the castle’s novelty!
Address: 2800 W Frontage Rd, Kenosha, WI 53144, United States
40. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, referred to by Wisconsin locals simply as The Domes, earned its nickname for obvious reasons.
It is made up of three domes of glass that sit in a Milwaukee park, created in the 50s and 60s and eventually developed to have three separate themes.
Altogether, they make up some fairly interesting stuff to see.
The first dome is the Show Dome, which has a rotation of different garden shows on a seasonal basis.
The next is the Desert Dome, which boasts flora local to dry climates, especially from the Americas and Africa.
Finally, there’s the Tropical Dome, which is home to more than a thousand different species of plants that flourish in a tropical climate, including trees laden with fruit!
Address: 524 S Layton Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53215, United States
41. Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch
Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is one of the great places to go with family.
It is situated on a family-owned farm that covers 200 acres of ground.
The Treinan family has managed and owned the farm for close to one hundred years and has been a wonderful spot for visitors to come and enjoy the autumn seasons.
The Treinen Farm grows corn, pumpkins, hay, and soybeans, and its corn maze is probably the most loved in the state thanks to the fact that it’s also the biggest.
Apart from that, the in-season months, especially in fall, come with hayrides, a pumpkin patch, rides on a horse wagon, a corn sandbox, farm animals to visit, a bounce house, cows to be milked, a playground of tractor tires, a pumpkin slingshot, and more.
Address: W12420 State Road 60, Lodi, WI 53555, United States
Planning a trip to Milwaukee? If you do plan the trip, here are some of the best things to do in Milwaukee!
42. Shaker’s Cigar Bar
If “ghosts” is on your list of what to see on your vacation and you, coincidentally, are also feeling a little peckish, Shaker’s Cigar Bar has you covered on both counts.
The place serves good food and has a rather somber history, though the real reason it’s among Wisconsin attractions is that it is believed to be very haunted!
Shaker’s Cigar Bar opened in the late 1800s and offers a unique glimpse into 19th century Milwaukee, as well as two ghost tours across the apartment complex, basement, and bar at the building on Walker’s Point.
With a huge list of illegal shenanigans that have taken place here over the years, it’s no surprise that its sordid tales and anecdotes have resulted in some patrons of the bar sticking around with unfinished business.
There are lots of testimonials from workers and visitors alike when it comes to paranormal experiences, but Shaker’s Cigar Bar is also interesting because of its preserved history and grounds.
Staff can tell you tales of genuine mob dealings that took place here as well as some genuine unsolved mysteries.
All in all, this is a fascinating experience you won’t soon forget!
Address: 422 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s many vacation places promise a variety of different attractions and forms of enjoyment, ranging from the outdoorsy to the artistic and from the architectural to the historical.
This list should help you narrow down the places to visit in Wisconsin that you want to make a priority!