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Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve

Visit Appleton: 10 Best Things To Do When In Appleton, Wisconsin (2024)

A multifaced and vibrant art city, Appleton is located in the heart of the Fox River Valley. It attracts visitors for different purposes, be it tourism, economy, business, or education. This central-eastern Wisconsin city today is small, but the estimation for its growth and development aren’t alien. Famously known for its safe, quiet, and visually pleasant vibes, Appleton may surprise as the top Midwestern destination really soon. Though there are already multiple cultural and engagement centers here, a possibility for other ones growing can’t be overlooked.

Tourism in Appleton is popular for a number of reasons. This city is home to several museums, performing art centers, historical landmarks, hiking trails, nature preserves, river views, and water sports. You may have distinctive interests or are of any age; there’s won’t be a day in Appleton that will leave you in dismay. So, why wait? Go through our compilation of Popular places and things in Appleton and build your itinerary.

10 Best Things To Do When in Appleton, Wisconsin

Have a look:

1. Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin

Operating for a decade now, the Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin is a must-visit place in Appleton. It is the largest of its kind space in Wisconsin and a non-profit organization, open for all. The Butterfly Gardens operates every year during summers, especially during times when an egg transforms into a Butterfly through different levels. Consider your visit you can actually see the growth from egg to caterpillar to pupa and finally a fully grown Butterfly. Visitors can access different areas, including the Butterfly Bridge and Maze, garden with honey bee hives, ponds with aquatics, and native plants. While observing the honey-making process, one can even buy and take back fresh honey. The Butterfly Gardens operates from Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.

2. Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve

Gordon Bubolz is 725 acres of nature preserve just north of Appleton. This virgin natural space is all about preserving and educating people about environmental ethics, wellness, and conservation. For 45 years, it has been operating an array of educational programs and recreational activities for engaging guests of all ages, especially families. Guests visiting here can walk, hike, jog while observing a variety of Flora and Fauna. And with the fall of second or third heavy snow, the preserve also operates for Cross Country Skiing. Other popular activity here includes GPS and Geocaching, Birdwatching, and Photographing.

Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve

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3. Appleton Memorial Park

The Appleton Memorial Park is the largest green space in the city, a local’s favorite as well. Open for all; this 143-acre park is home to multiple sports fields, kids’ playgrounds, a disc golf course, horseshoes, biking, and walking trails, and a wading pool. During summers, fishing and archery count as popular activities here. Whereas during winters, guests show more interest in sledding and ice skating. If not any of these, guests can visit here for an afternoon picnic using amenities including parking, tables, a grill, a stove, and a fridge. If you belong to Appleton or its neighboring cities, this is definitely a must-visit place for you.

4. Hearthstone Historic House Museum

The Hearthstone Historic House is an extraordinary landmark and Museum, certainly the best in Appleton. Back in time, it was the first residence where illumination of the electric bulb using the Edison system was actually done. Today, this stunning Museum allows visitors to closely observe the original Thomas Edison light fixtures. There is even a Hydro Adventure Center with an operating model of one of the first central hydroelectric stations. Further, there are original Victorian interiors, beautifully glass-stained windows, and period furniture, all delightful to observe. The Museum also operates Mystery at the Mansion events seasonally. Museum tours here operate from Thursday through Sunday, 10 am to 3:30 pm.

5. History Museum at The Castle

A local history museum in downtown Appleton, the History Museum at The Castle is a must-visit. The collection here focuses upon the history of the Fox River Valley housing artifacts since 1840. There is a huge collection of Harry Houdini personal documents (original), a collection of artifacts from the life of Senator Joe McCarthy, and over 35,000 photographs from the 19th century. Even though the entire Museum is splendid, its Houdini portion is exceptionally cool and interesting. Also, the stunning architecture and exteriors of the buildings keep spectators captivated for a long. There’s so much to observe from the entry towards the exit that guests have no chances to get bored. The Museum operates from Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.

6. Trout Museum of Art

If art attracts you, then visiting the Trout Museum of Art is the best thing to do in Appleton for you. Since the 1960s, the Museum has been home to an extensive art collection, both permanent and temporary. Besides observing the art collection, guests can attend lectures, workshops, special events, and festivals that take place at the Trout Museum. Also, due to its setup in downtown Appleton, the Museum becomes easily accessible. The Museum operates Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and from 12 pm to 4 pm on Sunday. Rest on Saturdays and Monday; the Museum remains closed for visitors.

7. Appleton Breweries

The craft beer culture in Appleton is impressive, not just in numbers but in quality, varieties, and taste as well. And the best part is, Breweries in Appleton aren’t just for drinks, but they also offer good food, live music, and great vibes. So, whenever in the city, do try visiting some of the best craft breweries here. Your options may include:

  • The Lion’s Tail Brewing Company (It is a little outside the city but with dozen brews on tap, it is a must-visit).
  • The Appleton Beer Factory (if you do not want to travel far, visit this one in downtown Appleton.)
  • The McFleshman’s Brewing (Another craft brewery in the heart of Appleton. The best part is, it even has an open garden and loft).

8. Downtown Appleton

Like most American downtowns, downtown Appleton is also a great place to be at. Here one can literally visit and experience everything. From museums to shopping streets, good food, live music, evening events, and more, choices of enjoyment are literally endless. The highlights here include Appleton Souvenir & Cigar Co. and the Blue Moon Emporium. Or, downtown Appleton also operates an appealing Farmer’s market. For 25 years, local vendors have gathered here to sell delicious foods, handcrafted goods, organic produce, and family-friendly entertainment throughout summers. Though the scenes here remain a little crowded, they can be overlooked for fun quotient.

9. Little Lake Butte des Morts

The Little Lake Butte des Morts is a beautiful lake nearly 6 miles from downtown Appleton. More than a lake of its own, it is a wider section of Fox River. Locals of Appleton often visit here to either take a cool dip or enjoy a boat ride. The lake has two boat landings; however, one has to bring kayaks or canoes personally. Little Lake is also a popular fishing spot. Here one can catch Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Walleye, Northern Pike, and a few more varietals. Or during winters, one can visit here for an ultimate ice fishing experience. If not interested in mending ways with water, you can also hang out at the recreational park nearby or go walk a romantic and serene walk around the lake.

10. Appleton Eateries

With the fast-pacing growth of tourism, the dining options in Appleton are also increasing rapidly. From both local delicacies to international cuisines, eateries in Appleton today offer options far more than satisfactory. The finest selection of wine and beer, the partaking of Greek flavors, tastes of Mediterranean cuisines, food affair here are absolutely divine. Some of the finest eateries and restaurants in Appleton include:

  • The Red Ox (Popular for American, Seafood, especially its Gourmet Sandwiches)
  • Mark’s East Side (Popular for local cuisines along with vegan and gluten-free alternatives).
  • Rye (Popular for American cuisine, local delicacies, and the rustic vibes).
  • Osaka Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi (Selling the best Japanese in the town)
  • Cena (Popular for its exceptional interiors and Gluten-free dishes)
  • Fratellos Riverfront Restaurant (Best places for Nin-vegetarian to Vegetarian and vegan food. Topping them all, there are great views to capture for).
  • The Melting Pot (Popular for craft beer, cocktails, and especially their Cheese Fondue).

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