Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Wisconsin

North America

By Meagan Drillinger

Wisconsin is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States that is known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene. From bustling cities to picturesque lakeshores, Wisconsin offers a wide range of attractions that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, there’s something for everyone in this charming state.

One of the top-rated tourist attractions in Wisconsin is Door County, a peninsula that stretches out into Lake Michigan. Known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is famous for its charming small towns, picturesque lighthouses, and gorgeous shoreline. Visitors can explore the many art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants in the area, or take part in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing. Door County is also home to several state parks, offering opportunities to enjoy nature at its finest.

Another must-visit destination in Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Dells, often referred to as the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” With its abundance of indoor and outdoor water parks, this city offers endless fun and excitement for the whole family. From thrilling water slides to lazy rivers, there’s no shortage of ways to cool off and have a blast. Aside from water parks, Wisconsin Dells is also home to numerous other attractions, including amusement parks, mini-golf courses, and scenic boat tours.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Historic Third Ward in Milwaukee is a must. This neighborhood is filled with beautifully preserved Victorian-era buildings that house an array of art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to stroll around, enjoy some shopping, and soak up the unique atmosphere. The Historic Third Ward is also home to the Milwaukee Public Market, where visitors can sample delicious local cuisine and purchase fresh produce and gourmet foods.

No trip to Wisconsin would be complete without a visit to Lake Geneva. This picturesque town is located on the shores of its eponymous lake and offers stunning views, charming boutiques, and a wide array of outdoor activities. Visitors can take a leisurely boat cruise on the lake, go hiking or biking along the scenic trails, or simply relax on the sandy beaches. Lake Geneva is also known for its historic mansions, many of which can be visited on guided tours.

These are just a few of the top-rated tourist attractions that Wisconsin has to offer. With its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and friendly locals, it’s no wonder that this state is a popular destination for travelers from around the world. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, Wisconsin has it all.

Door County Peninsula

The Door County Peninsula is a popular tourist destination in Wisconsin known for its beautiful waterfronts and charming small towns. Located between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, the peninsula offers breathtaking views and a wide range of outdoor activities.

One of the highlights of the Door County Peninsula is its picturesque lighthouses. Visitors can explore historic lighthouses such as the Cana Island Lighthouse and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, which offer panoramic views of the surrounding waters. These lighthouses are not only beautiful but also provide insights into the maritime history of the region.

The peninsula is also famous for its cherry orchards. It is considered the cherry capital of Wisconsin and hosts an annual Cherry Festival in July. Visitors can pick their own cherries, sample cherry products, and enjoy delicious cherry pies. The vibrant red cherries against the backdrop of the sparkling waters create a stunning sight that is worth experiencing.

In addition to cherries, Door County is also known for its wineries. Wine enthusiasts can indulge in wine tastings at various wineries and vineyards. The region’s unique climate and soil conditions contribute to the production of high-quality wines. From crisp whites to robust reds, there is something for every palate.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the numerous parks and natural areas in Door County. Peninsula State Park, with its miles of hiking and biking trails, is a paradise for nature lovers. Visitors can also enjoy camping, fishing, and wildlife spotting. Cave Point County Park, with its limestone cliffs and caves, is another must-visit attraction for nature enthusiasts.

The charming small towns of Door County are also worth exploring. Sturgeon Bay, Ephraim, and Fish Creek are some of the popular towns known for their quaint shops, art galleries, and local cafes. Visitors can stroll along the streets, browse unique boutiques, and enjoy delicious local cuisine.

Whether you are looking for natural beauty, outdoor adventures, or a peaceful getaway, the Door County Peninsula has something to offer for everyone. Plan your trip and experience the magic of this enchanting destination.

Harley-Davidson Museum

The Harley-Davidson Museum, located in Milwaukee, is a must-visit for motorcycle enthusiasts and history buffs alike. This iconic museum showcases the rich heritage and legacy of the Harley-Davidson brand, which has become an American icon over the years.

Visitors to the museum can explore the various exhibits and displays that take you through the evolution of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. From the early years of the company to the present day, you can learn about the innovations, design changes, and cultural impact of these beloved bikes.

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of vintage motorcycles, showcasing rare and unique models that have been preserved over the years. You can marvel at the craftsmanship and engineering that went into these bikes, and get a glimpse into the past of motorcycle culture.

In addition to the motorcycles, the museum also features interactive exhibits that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the Harley-Davidson experience. You can hop on a bike and simulate riding along some of the most iconic highways in the country, or try out the Harley-Davidson design studio and create your own virtual motorcycle.

The Harley-Davidson Museum is not just a place for motorcycle enthusiasts, it is also a fascinating exploration of American history and culture. The museum showcases the role that Harley-Davidson motorcycles have played in shaping American society, from their impact on transportation to their association with rebellion and freedom.

Whether you’re a die-hard Harley-Davidson fan or simply interested in learning about the history of motorcycles, the Harley-Davidson Museum is a must-visit attraction in Wisconsin. Make sure to plan your visit and set aside enough time to fully explore all that this museum has to offer.

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells is a popular tourist destination known for its scenic beauty and wide range of outdoor activities. Located in southern Wisconsin, this charming city is situated along the Wisconsin River and is often referred to as the “Waterpark Capital of the World.”

One of the main attractions in Wisconsin Dells is its numerous water parks. With over 20 water parks in the area, visitors can enjoy thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and much more. Some of the most popular water parks include Noah’s Ark Waterpark, Kalahari Resorts, and Wilderness Resort.

In addition to its water parks, Wisconsin Dells offers a variety of other attractions for visitors to enjoy. Nature lovers can explore the picturesque state parks and nature trails, such as Mirror Lake State Park and Devil’s Lake State Park. These parks offer opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife spotting.

For a more cultural experience, visitors can visit the H.H. Bennett Studio, a historic photography studio that captures the beauty of Wisconsin Dells through stunning black and white photographs. Another popular attraction is the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater, where visitors can enjoy mind-boggling illusions and magic shows.

When it comes to dining and shopping, Wisconsin Dells has plenty to offer. The city is home to a wide range of restaurants, from casual diners to upscale eateries, serving everything from traditional American cuisine to international dishes. Visitors can also explore the specialty shops and outlets, where they can find unique souvenirs and local products.

Overall, Wisconsin Dells is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a fun-filled vacation. With its wide range of attractions and natural beauty, this city has something to offer for everyone.

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum is a top-rated tourist attraction in Wisconsin with its world-class collection of art and stunning architectural design. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the museum features over 25,000 artworks spanning ancient to contemporary periods, representing diverse cultures and artistic styles.

One of the most iconic features of the museum is the Quadracci Pavilion, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. Its unique architecture resembles the wings of a bird and has become a symbol of Milwaukee’s skyline. The pavilion houses the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art and offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.

Visitors can explore the museum’s vast collection, which includes works by notable artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and Auguste Rodin. The museum has a strong focus on American art, particularly of the 19th and 20th centuries, but also showcases European and Asian art.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Milwaukee Art Museum hosts temporary exhibitions and special events throughout the year. These exhibitions feature a wide range of artistic disciplines, including painting, sculpture, photography, and installations, offering visitors a chance to experience different forms of art.

The museum also offers educational programs and workshops for both adults and children, allowing them to engage with art through guided tours, lectures, and hands-on activities. It is a great place to learn about art history and explore one’s creative side.

After exploring the museum, visitors can relax at the museum’s Café Calatrava, which offers a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and serves a variety of delicious food and drinks. The museum’s gift shop, featuring unique art-inspired items, is also worth a visit.

With its impressive collection, stunning architecture, and engaging programs, the Milwaukee Art Museum is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and anyone looking to appreciate the beauty and significance of art.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a scenic area located on the northern tip of Wisconsin near Lake Superior. This national park encompasses a collection of 21 islands, each with its own unique beauty and charm.

Visitors to the Apostle Islands can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, fishing, and camping. The islands offer stunning views of the surrounding lake and shoreline, making them a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers.

One of the main attractions of the Apostle Islands is the picturesque sea caves. These caves are only accessible by water, and visitors can explore them by kayak or boat. The caves are famous for their colorful rock formations and stunning natural beauty.

In addition to the caves, the Apostle Islands also offer pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, and miles of scenic hiking trails. The area is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bald eagles, deer, and numerous species of birds.

For those who want to spend the night, there are campsites available on several of the islands, as well as a number of rustic cabins. Camping on the islands provides a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the area up close and personal.

Overall, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. From exploring sea caves to camping under the stars, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful and diverse national park.

Taliesin

Taliesin, located in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is a top-rated tourist attraction that showcases the remarkable architecture and design work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright, one of America’s most influential architects, designed Taliesin as his personal residence and studio.

The name “Taliesin” is derived from Welsh mythology and means “shining brow.” The name is fitting, as the estate sits on a ridge overlooking the beautiful Wisconsin River valley.

Taliesin is a masterpiece of organic architecture, seamlessly blending into the surrounding landscape. The buildings feature Wright’s signature style, characterized by low-pitched roofs, deep overhangs, and horizontal lines. The use of natural materials, such as limestone and cedar, adds to the harmonious integration with nature.

Visitors to Taliesin can explore the stunning estate through guided tours. The highlights include the Hillside Studio, which served as a drafting studio for Wright and his apprentices, and the Romeo and Juliet Windmill, a iconic landmark on the property.

Throughout the tour, visitors will learn about Wright’s innovative design principles and his philosophy of “organic architecture,” which aimed to create buildings that harmonize with nature and reflect the needs of their inhabitants.

In addition to architectural tours, Taliesin hosts a variety of cultural events and programs, including lectures, performances, and exhibitions. These events celebrate Wright’s legacy and promote the appreciation of architecture and design.

Visiting Taliesin is a must for architecture enthusiasts and anyone interested in experiencing the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. The beauty of the estate, combined with its rich history and inspiring design, make it a truly remarkable destination in Wisconsin.

House on the Rock

The House on the Rock is a unique tourist attraction located in Spring Green, Wisconsin. This architectural marvel was designed and built by Alex Jordan Jr. in the 1940s.

The House on the Rock is renowned for its stunning and eclectic collections of art, antiques, and artifacts. Visitors can explore the various exhibits, including the world’s largest carousel, which features over 20,000 lights and 269 hand-carved animals.

In addition to the carousel, the House on the Rock also features the Infinity Room, a cantilevered structure that extends 218 feet out from the main building. Walking through the Infinity Room gives visitors the sensation of floating in the air, with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Another highlight of the House on the Rock is the Music of Yesterday exhibit, which showcases a vast collection of mechanical musical instruments. Visitors can witness these instruments come to life as they play a variety of tunes from different eras.

With its stunning architecture, fascinating exhibits, and breathtaking views, the House on the Rock is a must-visit attraction for tourists interested in art, history, and unique experiences. It has captivated visitors for decades and continues to be one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin State Capitol

The Wisconsin State Capitol, located in Madison, is a stunning example of the Beaux-Arts architectural style. Completed in 1917, it serves as the center of government for the state of Wisconsin. The building features an iconic dome, modeled after the dome of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The Wisconsin State Capitol is not only a functioning governmental building, but it also serves as a major tourist attraction. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the beautiful interior, which is adorned with ornate murals, marble accents, and intricate woodwork. One of the highlights of the tour is the State Assembly Chamber, where visitors can witness democracy in action.

In addition to its impressive architecture and historical significance, the Wisconsin State Capitol offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck. Visitors can take a ride in the glass elevator to the top of the dome and enjoy panoramic views of Madison and the surrounding area.

Located on Capitol Square, the Wisconsin State Capitol is surrounded by beautiful parks, monuments, and other attractions. Visitors can explore the lively downtown area, which is home to numerous shops, restaurants, and cultural venues.

Whether you’re interested in architecture, government, or just want to take in the beauty of the building and its surroundings, a visit to the Wisconsin State Capitol is well worth your time. It’s a must-see attraction for any visitor to Madison, Wisconsin.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a stunning garden oasis located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in the state, drawing visitors from near and far.

The gardens cover 16 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, featuring a variety of themed gardens that showcase the natural beauty and diversity of plant life. Visitors can explore the Thai Pavilion and Garden, which was a gift from the King of Thailand and is the only one of its kind in the continental United States. The Sunken Garden is another highlight, with its cascading waterfalls and lush greenery creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

In addition to its picturesque gardens, Olbrich Botanical Gardens also offers educational programs and events throughout the year. Visitors can participate in guided tours, workshops, and classes to learn more about plant species, gardening techniques, and conservation efforts. The Gardens also host seasonal events such as the Blooming Butterflies exhibit, where visitors can witness hundreds of butterflies fluttering amidst the gardens.

For those looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, Olbrich Botanical Gardens provides ample opportunities. The Bolz Conservatory is a tropical oasis filled with exotic plants, a waterfall, and even a koi pond. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the conservatory, immersing themselves in a world of vibrant colors and fragrant blooms.

Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a gardener, or simply seeking a serene and peaceful escape, Olbrich Botanical Gardens has something to offer everyone. Its meticulously maintained gardens, educational programs, and tranquil atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for tourists in Wisconsin.

Location 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin
Hours Open daily from 10am to 4pm
Admission Free, but donations are appreciated

EAA Aviation Museum

The EAA Aviation Museum, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is a top-rated tourist attraction in the state. The museum is dedicated to celebrating and preserving the history of aviation.

The museum has an impressive collection of over 200 aircraft, ranging from vintage airplanes to modern military jets. Visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about the development of aviation throughout history. The museum also hosts special events, including air shows and fly-ins, which offer a unique opportunity to see aircraft in action.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Eagle Hangar, which houses a collection of World War II aircraft. Visitors can get up close to iconic planes like the B-17 Flying Fortress and the P-51 Mustang. The museum also features a SpaceShipOne replica, showcasing the history of space travel.

In addition to the aircraft displays, the EAA Aviation Museum offers interactive exhibits and educational programs. Visitors can try their hand at flight simulators, learn about aerodynamics, and even take a ride in a vintage aircraft. The museum also offers guided tours led by knowledgeable docents who provide fascinating insights into the world of aviation.

Whether you’re a history buff, an aviation enthusiast, or simply looking for an interesting museum to visit, the EAA Aviation Museum is a must-see attraction in Wisconsin. Its extensive collection of aircraft and engaging exhibits make it a memorable destination for visitors of all ages.

FAQs

What are some of the top tourist attractions in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is home to several top-rated tourist attractions. Some of these include the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Harley-Davidson Museum, the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Wisconsin Dells, and Door County.

What is the Milwaukee Art Museum known for?

The Milwaukee Art Museum is known for its stunning architecture, including the Burke Brise Soleil, a movable sunscreen with a wingspan of 217 feet. It is also known for its extensive collection of over 30,000 artworks, ranging from ancient to contemporary.

What can visitors see at the Harley-Davidson Museum?

At the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, visitors can see a variety of exhibits that showcase the history and culture of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This includes a collection of motorcycles dating back to the early 20th century, as well as interactive exhibits and displays on the company’s founders and iconic models.

What is there to do in the Wisconsin Dells?

The Wisconsin Dells is a popular tourist destination known for its water parks and outdoor recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy thrilling water slides, go on boat tours of the scenic Wisconsin River, visit amusement parks, go hiking and ziplining, or relax at one of the many resorts in the area.

What makes Door County a popular tourist destination?

Door County is known for its charming small towns, scenic beauty, and outdoor activities. Visitors can explore picturesque lighthouses, go cherry picking at local orchards, enjoy boating and fishing on Lake Michigan, visit art galleries and boutiques, or sample local cuisine and wine at the area’s many restaurants and wineries.

Video:

7 Safe and Affordable Places in Wisconsin

Photo of author

Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger, an avid travel writer with a passion ignited in 2009. Having explored over 30 countries, Mexico holds a special place in her heart due to its captivating cultural tapestry, delectable cuisine, diverse landscapes, and warm-hearted people. A proud alumnus of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, when she isn’t uncovering the wonders of New York City, Meagan is eagerly planning her next exhilarating escapade.

Leave a Comment