From little-known vacation spots to a competitive beer and food scene, the Badger State has plenty to offer you.
Oh, Wisconsin. You stole our hearts with your beer culture and wholesome devotion to all things cheese, your meandering coastlines and epic mountain ranges, your passion for sports, adventure, and American pastimes, your world-class cities. We like you. A lot. But with wild murder mysteries blazing the Internet and the questionable state of your criminal justice system, we have to ask: what happened, Wisconsin? And is it still cool to see you?
The answer is, unquestionably, yes. With architectural feats, classic college towns, funky music vibes, landscapes to fuel adrenaline, and a hip little culinary scene, the Badger State ranks high on our list. Read on for a full list of why.
The home of Miller Coors and Pabst is also where many of the nation’s oldest breweries, including some that date to the mid-1800s, reside. But it’s no slouch in the microbrewery game, either, leading the curve in artisanal brews from the '80s and early '90s. The cult favorite is New Glarus Brewing, and award-winning mid-size brewer that makes six styles year-round, in addition to some seasonal releases—but they're not available outside of state lines.
Two words: cheese and brats. Thanks to the state’s exceptional dairy production, some of the world’s best cheese makers have landed in Green County, known as “America’s Little Switzerland.” This is the home of the world-renowned Uplands' Pleasant Ridge Reserve, or Roth's Grand Cru Surchoix. Add Sheboygan, the Bratwurst Capital of the World, and you’ve pretty much arrived in beer-crawl heaven. But that's not all there is to Wisconsin's culinary offerings: with pristine farmland throughout the state, it's given rise to a serious high-end locavore dining scene in places like Madison.
In 1903, one of the first motorcycles ever built was sold in Milwaukee by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. The Harley-Davidson Motor Company went on to develop some the greatest two-wheeled machines ever built. Thanks, Wisconsin.
Wisconsinites put their expansive landscape to task all year long. In 2015, Eau Claire was the site of the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships, and in summer, the Elroy-Sparta state trail entertains visitors with 32 miles of some of the oldest railway tracks in the country.
Door County, that spit of land jutting into Lake Michigan, is such a prime piece of property that it has been continuously inhabited for more than 12,000 years. On the Lake Superior side, the sea caves of the Apostle islands are a kayaker's dream.
With ten observatories statewide, you have plenty of options for an up-close and personal view of the night sky—or you can just look up. Their strategic locations are often the best for simple staring. Northern Lights also have been known to appear around the coast.
From a maple syrup fest to UFO day, Wisconsinites fill the calendar with interesting events across the state all year long. Festa Italiana in Milwaukee or Irishfest in Oshkosh are a couple of favorites.
It's safe to say that summer heralds an explosion of outdoor activity in this green state, and live music is the culmination of that excitement. Blues, bluegrass, jazz and country celebrations take place from June to September.
Wisconsin Dells' sandstone rock formations can be viewed all along the Wisconsin River, which bi-sects the town. Ride a WWII amphibious vehicle down the river for the best views.
While cities like Milwaukee and Green Bay may be well known, the state’s capital, Madison, is the place to see, with its pristine location between two great lakes, college town vibe, and model for eco-friendliness.