19 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin

Wisconsin offers many hundreds of miles of lakeshore, forests, state parks, pretty islands, snowmobiling, and both cross-country and downhill skiing in USA. Wisconsin has some great fishing and hunting. It's sort of a conveniently-located up north kind of place to go for Midwesterners. As well, Wisconsin offers tranquil waterfront cottage life to a lot of people from outside the state.

While there are many reasons to love Wisconsin, there's no doubt that the winters can be brutal. According to the University of Wisconsin, the lowest temperature on record was -55°F, occurring in February of 1996, and nearly every winter temperatures drop to -30 or below.

If you've purchased one of the Milwaukee houses for sale and aren't used to such severe cold and snow, you'll want to be as prepared as possible. With a little knowledge, you might start to see the season as an adventure and even enjoy that wintry wonderland for what it is.

If you like fishing you can fish at San inland lake or on a charter on a Great Lake: Lake Michigan. If you like music you can attend Summerfest during early July-one of America's first annual outdoor music festivals. If you like horseback riding, mountain biking, or hiking you can visit the Kettle Lorraine area. If you like Winter Sports the Northern 1/3 gets plenty of snow in the Winter.

Wisconsin has more downhill skiing business than any other state (they are on big hills, not mountains but quaint and friendly. If you like football you can visit the home of any of the world's major sports team owned by its fans and not a billionaire-The Green Bay Packers. If you want to have a friendly conversation with just about anyone you can go everywhere.

If you like the wilderness, WI has Isle Royale National Park in the north. There are lots of places to go Whitewater rafting (Wolf River, Menomonee River, Peshtigo River to name a few). If you like the country, you could go to The Driftless Area in the Southwest. In the Southwest, if you like architecture, you could go to Taliesin, which was the property of Frank Lloyd Wright.

There's lots of stuff to do on Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, or thousands of smaller lakes. You could go to a Packers, Bucks, or Brewers game. The Packers are the only community-owned major sports franchise. Yeah, they're communists up in Green Bay. You could go to the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame while you're there. Door County is just north of Green Bay.

In the autumn, there are Oktoberfests and Hamerfests everywhere where they obviously drink a lot of beer. If you like craft beer, it's everywhere at all times of the year.


1. Canoeing the Kickapoo River

Renting a canoe in summer is $25 in Ontario, WI and you can spend several hours splashing in the water, racing your friends, and creating glorious mud castles on any of innumerable sandy/muddy banks. Great mini cliffs and deeper waters and minnows and just a nice picture of the state, you're in the Driftless area, which makes life more variable.

2. Fish Boil in Door County

There's plenty to do in Door County, not the least the Whitefish Dunes State Park with a nice little beach and great (if cold by now) swimming. All the cute little towns and small shops and ostrich farms too which means you could easily spend a relaxed week out here but if you get to a fish boil (we head to Fish Creek) the buttered onions and whitefish are great.

3. Skiing if it's cold enough.

Go to Devil's Head for amazing fun. But not exceptional if you've been in California or Colorado or the like. Nothing in history beats sledding,,building a snowman, playing a fast moving, slipping and sliding game of pie tag (chasing each other while having to remain on the stomped down lines of a giant sliced pie configuration in the snow with the center being a safety zone) or trying to track each other’s footprints in the a game called “Fox.” You haven’t lived until you have built a snow cave or crawled through snow tunnels.

Drinking plenty of water is a must anytime, but in the winter, it can also prevent dry skin and ensure good circulation, which is important for keeping your muscles warm. You don't have to chug cold water all day - you can drink it as tea or warm water with lemon.

It's important to follow a healthy diet throughout the year, but as your body produces its own heat, it becomes even more necessary in the winter to ensure it has the energy to do so. Generally, foods that take longer to digest can also help raise your body temperature, a process referred to as thermogenesis, which makes you feel warmer due to the heat produced by food metabolizing.

The best are high in healthy fats (such as olive oil and wild-caught salmon), proteins, and carbs from non-processed foods - oatmeal, fresh fruits and veggies like butternut squash, peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, and citrus fruits that are usually available in the winter and ideal.

While many are under the impression that drinking a shot of whiskey is a great way to stay warm, the reality is that alcohol lowers the body's core temperature. Initially, you might feel warm, but over time, you'll have a harder time keeping warm. It also impairs the ability to shiver, a natural body response that raises your temperature.

Turning up the heat too high usually means exorbitant heating bills, not to mention a negative impact on the environment. Ideally, set the thermostat to 68°F or lower and if you're still cold, wear warm slippers, a sweater, and layer on the blankets. When the sun is out, keep the blinds or curtains open to help warm it up naturally, and then close them as soon as night falls.

You can also invest in heat packs or a hot water bottle, wonderful used in your bed just before going to sleep. There are also one-time use heat packs you can place into your gloves or boots when out in the cold.

4. Pike Lake State Park

Miles to hike and explore. The few trails are long and radically different, covering all sorts of terrain. Excellent easy hiking, or just watching the sunset near all the springs on the small beach. Part of the Ice Age trail runs through it.

5. The House on the Rock

It's sort of a curiosity, and interesting to see.

6. Old World Wisconsin

It's great to see once. But it's got a lot of Wisconsin history and such, farm stuff.

7. Devil's Lake

Trails go around the lake, including a nice stretch that follows a railroad track (if you don't want to walk over rocks or balance on the rails there's a shaded side trail). Moreover, you can camp/barbecue/canoe easily here and swim, of course. There are some excellent rocks to clamber up if that's your thing (including some on the lake you can jump into the water). There's always something fun to do around here - pickup games of volleyball or frisbee included.

8. Lake Geneva

There's a nice downtown area (ice cream!) and you can walk the side of the lake next to all the nice lots and fancy houses (for some reason the path goes through their yards adjacent to the lake). Also plenty of boating opportunities and the like.

9. Biking the Bugline

The name is misleading - there aren't many bugs unless it's summer and it recently rained. But it's a very shadowy (and at times very sunny), 12 mile trail that meanders through several small towns, forests, and grassy lands following an unused railway. It's great for biking - the ground is graveled and perfectly flat.

10. Brats at UWMadison front

It's on the lake M-something there in Madison where the there's some sort of student center. Brats and beer are a couple of dollars and something we're kinda proud of, and you shouldn't miss them.

11. Capitol Building

You can roam around the marbled halls. Challenge yourself to see how high you can get - how close to the top of the dome - by trying random doors. Not many people are around it usually, except weddings and the like.

12. Milwaukee Art Museum

This actually has an decent collection of modern art (take the 1.5hrs to reach the Art Institute of Chicago if you want better) and receives alright loans. However, you're really just going for the Calatrava-designed building.

13. The Milwaukee Public Museum

Has the standard IMAX shows (which if it's the right film works wonders) and good exhibits on the tropical forest, the geologic/environmental/biodiversity evolution of Wisconsin through the ice age, old and diverse Milwaukee (great old-fashioned candy store in there), AND BUTTERFLIES.

14. Wisconsin Dells

There's the waterparks XD, and the cliffs/boat tours - water-based activities abound. Hikes as well. This part is pretty in rain or shine.

15. Eagle River

More summer stuff, again, but in winter it is frozen solid and you can go shopping in malls and the like but Eagle river is nice for fishing/swimming and outdoorsy stuff.

16. Kettle Moraine Forest

Also nice hikes here, a bit harder (there are actually hills) and larger area as well. There's a giant hill that you can bike up and then coast really fast down, if hills and biking are a compelling mixture for you.

17. Aztalan

In the town is Aztalan State Park, a beautiful getaway if you like hiking, and nearby is Lake Mills. In Lake Mills is Rock Lake. Rock Lake is one of my favorites, there a couple nice beaches, great fishing and boating, as well as being home to a mystery. At the bottom of the lake lie pyramids, thought to be built by the same people that built the mounds at Aztalan. There is not much evidence, but a few people are convinced this could be Atlantis.

18. New Glarus

Obviously New Glarus is home to the famous brewing company. New Glarus was named after the Glarus in Switzerland. While here, you can pick up some beer and visit the New Glarus State Park. Stop by the New Glarus Historical Museum to learn more about the settlement and development of the town.

19. Prairie Du Chien

This gorgeous city has Wyalusing Park, is very pretty. Also, commonly referred to as WI’s second oldest town, Prarie Du Chien was settled by the French, making for some very interesting history. There are a few river that run through the area (The Mississippi and Wisocnsin rivers) so fur trading was a big thing here. While there visit the Villa Louis-a gorgeous mansion restored to its former glory of the late 19th century.

Investing in the right attire to protect yourself from the cold is No. 1, including a warm winter coat, ideally one labeled as insulated, fleece, down, or thermal, which means it has an extra layer of material. You'll also want it to be waterproof or at least water-resistant, and ideally windproof too.

A wool hat will keep your head warm, while gloves made are a must for preventing frostbite. Scarves are a great way to keep your neck, face, chest, and even ears warm. And finally, good winter boots are essential for trudging through ice, sludge, and snow.

If you're on a tight budget, you might be able to find some of these items in good used condition in a secondhand, thrift, or consignment store.

Kalyan Panja