Many people think of Wisconsin as just another cold, farm-centric Midwestern state. What they don’t know is that Wisconsin boasts fall colors rivaling the East Coast, a rich heritage of Native American tribes, plenty of American History and breathtaking landscapes for much less than more famous states charge.
- Highway 51. This highway cuts Wisconsin right down the middle, north to south. Winding through the rural areas of the state, making its way through small towns and farm land, driving this highway will give you a serene tour of Wisconsin culture. Seeing Wisconsin this way doesn’t, of course, have a cover charge or admission fee. Look online for particular sites along Highway 51 or just meander through it, open to what you might find.
- Capitol Building. Wisconsin’s capitol building boasts the largest granite dome in the country and the fourth largest in the world! One hour tours of the building are free and lead you through the rooms of the capitol, viewing artwork in nearly every room and spotting the 43 different types of stone used in the construction. The nearby Veteran’s Museum is also free to tour, while the Wisconsin Historical Museum will cost you only a few bucks per person ($10 for a family).
- Concerts on the Square. June through August, for nearly three decades, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs six concerts in the square around the capitol building. All concerts start at 7pm and guests are encouraged to bring a blanket to watch the show on.
- The Wisconsin Dells. One of Wisconsin’s biggest tourist attractions, the Dells is a multifaceted water and theme park. There are museums, rides, sky diving, horseback riding, drive-in movies and more. Check out price lists online you can plan ahead for your budget.
- Gangster Tour. Prohibition created a rough crime scene in Wisconsin that will be featured in Johnny Depp’s upcoming movie "Public Enemies." There are a dozen sights around the state to learn about Wisconsin’s rum running history; stop in on one or spend a few weeks visiting the whole lot for the full experience. Prices depend on the site.
- Taliesin East. Frank Lloyd Wright’s 600 acre estate is a shining example of his architecture and his life, open for both tourists and a summer architecture school. It’s a National Historic Monument and many other Wright creations are located near by. Adult tours are $16, but all kids under 18 are free.
- Native Culture. Wisconsin is home to the most Native American tribes east of the Mississippi. With half a million acres of reservation land, the Oneida, Mohican, Menominee, Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ho-Chunk tribes are cultivating cultural tourism attractions. Prices depend on the site.
- Field of Scenes Drive-in Movie Theatre. This family-owned business in the town of Freedom in Eastern Wisconsin welcomes 300 vehicles per movie. For $6 each person over 12, you’ll get to watch two movies on a huge screen propped against the Wisconsin sky. There’s also a 18 hole mini golf course ($2.50), refreshment station and a bar on site to complete your movie viewing experience.
- Big Bay State Park. The Apostle Islands nestle against the most northern tip of Wisconsin the Lake Superior. Big Bay State Park is located on Madeline Island, the biggest of the islands, and boasts beaches, caves, thick forests, trails, rivers and more attractions for outdoorsy types. Camping is available for overnight stays or just spend a day exploring.
- Cheese. A visit of Wisconsin is, of course, not complete without some time spent sampling cheese. It’s not just hype either: Wisconsin has won more awards for its cheese than any other state. There are dozens of small cheese makers around the State so, where ever you go, make sure you keep your eye out for artisan cheese shops so you can stop in for some tasting.