100 things to do near Milwaukee
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Dec. 5, 2005 at 5:37 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
As much as you love Milwaukee, let's face it, sometimes you just gotta get away for a day or a weekend. You can't spend every waking moment shopping the Third Ward, bar hopping on Water Street or whiling away your day in a warm cafe.
Here are some ideas for enjoying Wisconsin (and some neighboring states) throughout the year. The only rule was that the journey has to be beyond a half hour, and within three hours from Milwaukee. Add your favorites using the talkback feature below.
- Take the ferry (SS Badger or Lake Express) to Michigan
- Visit House on the Rock
- Check out the Baraboo Circus Museum
- Tour Taliesin
- Hike the Kettle Moraine
- Descend into the Cave of the Mounds
- Go back in time at Old World Wisconsin
- Visit poet Lorine Niedecker's house in Fort Atkinson
- Go to the bathroom at Kolher Art Museum in Sheboygan
- Watch birds at the Bong Rec. Area
- See the greats at Packers Hall of Fame
- Camp at Peninsula State Park
- Visit Rock Island
- Eat fondue in New Glarus
- Canoe the Wisconsin Dells
- Raft on the Wolf River
- Go outlet shopping in Johnson Creek or Kenosha
- Take a road trip to Ikea in Schaumburg, Ill.
- See a movie at the drive-in in Jefferson
- Slather it on at the Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb
- Shop Chicago's Magnificent Mile
- Cruise Lake Geneva
- Get your kicks at The Shoe Box in Black Earth
- Take the Leinie's Tour in Chippewa Falls
- Check out the waterfalls in Marinette County
- Climb Rib Mountain in Wausau
- Ski Little Swiss
- Tour Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac
- Get your beer on at Oktoberfest in La Crosse
- Attend Cranberry Festival in Tomah
- Scream at Great America
- See great art at the Art Institute in Chicago
- Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, too (it's free on Tuesdays)
- Shop on State Street in Madison
- Slurp ice cream on the Terrace at the UW-Madison Union
- Chat with the farmers at the Madison Farmer's Market
- Munch on buttery ears at Sweet Corn Festival in Sun Prairie
- Rev it up at the Iola Car Show!
- Go to a concert at Alpine Valley
- Get your sea legs at the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc
- Marvel at the weird planes at the EAA Fly-in
- Hike around the reservoir in Harrington Beach State Park
- Climb the bluffs at Devil's Lake
- Eat apple pie in a bag at the Elegant Farmer
- See a show at the Fireside Lounge
- Go cherry picking in Door County
- Go to Fuzzy Thurston's bar in Green Bay
- See the goats on the roof at Al Johnson's in Door County
- Climb Holy Hill
- Relax in Sister Bay
- Eat dinner at Don Q Inn -- in an old airplane -- in Dodgeville
- Learn about cows and milk at Hoard Dairy Museum in Fort Atkinson
- Imagine what things used to look like at Aztalan, also in Fort Atkinson
- Buy a Garden Star lawn ornament in Kenosha
- Check the time at the world's largest grandfather clock in Kewanee
- Go back to the future at Tommy Bartlett's Robot World in Wisconsin Dells
- Visit Frank Lloyd Wright's great SC Johnson building in Racine
- Disappear into the Houdini Historical Center in Appleton
- See a play under the stars at the American Players Theater in Spring Green
- Tap into the world's largest six-pack in La Crosse
- Have lunch at the Thorpedo in Thorpe
- Stay at Monches Millhouse B&B in Monches
- Shop for pottery in Cambridge
- Go Amish in Amherst
- Giggle and get shushed at the "silent" Clark's Place in Stevens Point
- Drink at the Bayside Tavern in Fish Creek
- Pile one on at the hamburger Hall of Fame in Seymour
- Tip back a drink in the cocktail lounge at Mars Cheese Castle
- Enroll for classes at University of Lawsonomy
- Get all medieval at the Bristol Renaissance Faire
- Find great bargains at Seven-Mile Fair!
- Treat yourself to the spa at the Kohler Waters Spa
- Go antiquing in Galena, Ill.
- Meet the elves at Santa's Village in Dundee, Ill.
- Do the Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Oak Park, Ill.
- Ride the rides at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay
- Do Halloween on State Street in Madison
- Skateboard at the outdoor skate parks in Green Bay
- Eat a sundae in Two Rivers, the birthplace of said confection
- Zoom into Slinger speedway
- See the Temple Lipizzaner horses in Wadsworth, Ill.
- Commune with nature at Nicolet National Forest
- Tour the State Capitol Building in Madison
- Check out the Road Kill Museum in Madison
- Charter a fishing boat on Lake Michigan
- Hear a concert under the stars at Ravinia
- Pet the donkey at the Apple Holler in Sturtevant
- Unearth some old treasures at Cedarburg's Maxwell Street Days
- Golf at Blackwolf Run in Kohler
- Tour the Cornish miners' cottages and shop for art in Mineral Point
- See if anyone in Brooklyn, Wis. knows Spike Lee personally
- Stargaze at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay
- Ride Kenosha's downtown streetcar
- Eat gelato on Main Street in Waukesha
- See Chiwaukee Prairie, the most intact coastal wetland in southeastern Wisconsin, in Kenosha County
- Check out how cheese is made at Cedar Grove cheese factory in Plain (north of Spring Green)
- Visit Belleville -- UFO capital of the world -- for UFO Days each October
- Ride the historic train at East Troy Electric Railroad Museum
- See the acclaimed collection of decorative arts at Racine Art Museum
- Cheer or jeer the birthplace of the Republican Party in Ripon
What about the Bristol Renaissance Faire?? That's always a fun time. Check it out.
Chicago fan said: Drive to Chicago and see the tall ships this weekend
Donna Hahn said: Attend Plymouth Arts' Cheese Capital Jazz Crawl, nine live jazz bands
David Rack said: Try kayaking the Door County Penninsula. http://www.doorcountykayaktours.com
Michelle Merkel said: JellyBelly Warehouse in Prarieville
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