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Madison - Most Popular Tourist City In Wisconsin

9 Most Popular Tourist Cities In Wisconsin (2022)

When it comes to tourism, Wisconsin counts as one of the wealthiest American States. Not one, two, or five, but an array of Wisconsin cities boosts tourism in one of the best forms. While some of them are popular as outdoor destinations, others top the charts in the form of tourist attractions inside four walls. Not only that, but Wisconsin cities have numerous State parks, serene lakes, and a picturesque mountainous interior.  As a traveler, all you have to do is select a city that suits your vacation mood.

Wisconsin, the Midwestern United States, has 190 major cities along with a few hundred big towns. The best part is, most of them are tourism worthy, despite their popularity or secretiveness. Learn about various such popular tourist cities in Wisconsin and choose the one that interests you the most. We hope our choicest picks will do justice to your ultimate Wisconsin vacation.

9 Most Popular Tourist Cities In Wisconsin

1. Madison

The most popular city in Wisconsin, Madison pronounces as the Capital of the State. It is the fastest-growing city of Wisconsin, with tourism being one of the major businesses here. The city is known for its vibrant culture, popular festivals, events, and outdoor & indoor destinations. The highlight here is the majestically standing State Capitol building, a must-visit for history, architecture and art lovers. For visitors of the same taste, the list of attractions does not end here but goes afar. Options are endless, from the MMoCA to State Historical Museum, Arboretum and Geology Museum, and Veteran Museum.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Madison boasts unending options as well. The city boasts several State parks, botanical gardens, and famous historical sites. Madison any day is undoubtedly one of the most quintessentially American cities.

2. Milwaukee

Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s largest city and one of the popular weekend getaway spots. Not only from the State, but it also draws a huge tourist crowd from the nearby city of Chicago. And why not? Milwaukee’s splendid riverfront is all that one needs for rejuvenation and refreshment. Milwaukee’s waterfront in the downtown area is pronounced as one of the prettiest sights in America. An easy stroll around will introduce you to endless tourist attractions, including Museums, Pier, war memorials, parks, and other creative hubs. This area alone offers multiple shopping and eating options that one can make a holiday here alone.

Though the rest of the city isn’t left alone from impressing tourists. Visit the iconic Harley-Davidson Museum and observe 450 motorcycles and artifacts, even the oldest Harley. Or watch a show at the Pabst Theater, which is also one of Wisconsin’s architectural gems. The County Zoo and Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, too, are unmissable on Milwaukee’s list.

3. Racine

Close to Milwaukee, Racine is one of the touristy cities located in Wisconsin. As it is also one of the cheapest cities to live in the world, a vacation here too will not cost you much. Begin your excursion from Racine Zoo and observe over 100 species of animals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Further, head towards the River Bend nature center and vibe with nature and its belongings. Outdoor enthusiasts can also add Reef Point Marina and REC Center into their itinerary.

However, if the attraction within walls excites you more, Racine has suitable options for you as well. The city boasts a handful yet popular Wisconsin museums. There are multiple visit-worthy stops in the Heritage Museum, Racine art museum, the Masonic center, or others. Before going back, do try some baked goods at O&H Danish Bakery, one of Racine’s specialties.

4. Cedarburg

Cedarburg is a rural town near Milwaukee known for its scenic and beautiful stretch. It is known for its green spaces, annual festivals, rich culture, and, of course, year-round tourism. Despite being on the rural side, Cedarburg is full of boutiques, definitely a draw for shopaholics. Most of its 12.65 km² area is filled with limestone buildings surrounded by green trees. Walking past them feels no less than diving into an old-school storybook. Cedarburg will take you into a vacation of nostalgia, especially for the ones who are done with the contemporary tourism.

When in the city, visit the Cedarburg Covered Bridge, the oldest, largest, and last remaining of its kind in the State. Or visit the unique Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts and get a little artistry. And as per locals, you cannot go back without visiting Cedarburg Creek Farm and Cedar Creek Winery.

5. Spring Green

Spring Green, though isn’t a city but a village in Wisconsin. In terms of tourism, it beats even the major cities. It is located beside the Wisconsin River, which opens choices for outdoor fun and scenic views. Spring Green is nearly an hour’s drive from Madison, and despite its size, it is ideal for a fun weekend getaway. On a good weather day, House on the Rock is a must-visit in Spring green. This one-of-a-kind place is the highlight of the town and certainly a sight to behold. Another unmissable spot here is the 800 acres Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin. For any Frank Lloyd Wright fan, it is heaven to walk in.

Spring Green, though mostly attracts outdoor enthusiasts, the Opal Man also draws shoppers. It is America’s only all-opal store offering the finest Opal Jewelleries anywhere. For the tea lover, the town hosts Bird of paradise tea, an absolute tea heaven. The top quality from the world across, teas here are just mind-blowing.

6. Kenosha

Known for its gorgeous Lake Michigan setting, Kenosha is the ultimate tourist city in Wisconsin. The city is popular for three things, its tranquil lakefront, its rich history, and the museums. The itinerary goes from Civil War Museum to the Public Museum, Southport Light Station Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and more. The Gateway Classic Cars is another stop for automobile lovers. If you happen to be in the city with your family, take guided tours at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum. Or pick your own pumpkin and pumpkin goodies at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm.

The best way to explore the local Kenosha is through the historic streetcars. It is basically a 2-mile scenic loop tour that goes through downtown, Lake Michigan’s shoreline, and two historic districts. Before coming back, do shop at the European-style popular Kenosha HarborMarket. From local to branded, everything is available here.

7. La Crosse

La Crosse is a popular tourist city in Wisconsin located beside the Mississippi River. This waterside city in western Wisconsin and a playground for the water sports enthusiast. Cruising, paddling, boating, kayaking, and fishing goes like daily business in the city. Further, the city boasts miles of hiking and biking trails for those who prefer land over water. These gorgeous pathways go through lush woodlands and wetlands, exposing La Crosse’s serene and scenic side. And during winters, the scene shifts at Mount La Crosse, Wisconsin’s best ski area.

However, if you are seeking a more relaxed and laid-back holiday, La Crosse still has great options for you. Settle down your time at the Dahl Auto Museum, the Children’s Museum, and Grandad Bluff Park, and enjoy your vacation.

8. Eau Claire

Not the French chocolate Eclairs, but Eau Claire is a west-central city in Wisconsin. It is more of a university-town with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The city is known for its vibrant art and culture, and one can explore it in the form of several tours. Go for sculpture tours, paint at Cheers Pablo’s Paint and Sip Classes or visit the UWEC Foster Art Gallery. The performing art lovers can visit State Theatre or the Plus and watch a show.

Eau Claire is also home to an array of museums, with the Chippewa Valley Museum and the Ager House Museum topping them all.  When in Eau Claire, one cannot overlook the charm of outdoor attractions. Be it Wisconsin’s popular Chippewa valley railroad or the Beaver creek reserve; an outdoor enthusiast will love them all. Or, if beer and wine interest you, take the Bus Bros. tours or visit Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery.

9. Oshkosh

Don’t get confused with its weird name as Oshkosh is an impressive tourism city. It is known as a friendly and welcoming city that boasts history, culture, and outdoor recreation. Oshkosh has a number of known museums in the State. The list goes from EAA aviation museum to Military Veterans museums, the public museum, and several other notable galleries. Downtown Oshkosh alone has a number of attractions to keep the visitors engaged. Either go walking and cycling around the scenic riverfront. Or shop and eat at the popular downtown eateries.

When in the city with family, go for the On the Loos Cruises. Depending upon the trip you choose, the cruise will take you closer to the scenic views of Lake Winnebago, Lake Butte des Morts, and the Fox River. Or if you prefer staying on the land, Paine Art Center and Gardens is one great explorable option for you.

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