From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Although perhaps most famous globally for its knockout football team, Green Bay has so much more to offer than its well-known Packers. Here are are favorite things to see, do, and explore in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Nestled as it is along the waters that line eastern Wisconsin, Green Bay is the perfect starting point for exploring this often underrated state. Here are some of the best state and national parks and preserves in and around Green Bay, WI.
Although a relatively small green space, Copper Culture State Park packs a big punch as far as historical significance goes: this spot is the site of a prehistoric cemetery dating back as far as 4,000 BCE according to some estimates, and includes both outdoor walking trails as well as an on-site museum with artifacts and information about the ancient peoples who once lived here.
A state park that could also be described as an open-air museum, Heritage Hill State Park is another important historical site in the state of Wisconsin. This landscape is punctuated with a variety of buildings that exhibit what life was like in Northeastern Wisconsin in the past. Thousands of visitors flock annually to this park which also offers a variety of educational programs for curious adventurers of all ages throughout the year.
Covering nearly 1,200 acres of beautiful Wisconsin countryside — and the only state-owned recreational area along Lake Winnebago, which is the state’s biggest such body of water — High Cliff State Park is a highly sought-after destination for a variety of reasons. Offering more than a mile of lake shoreline for swimming, strolling, and fishing, as well as fascinating Effigy mounds built as much as 1,500 years ago by Native Americans, this park is also a great spot for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Covering nearly 3,000 acres of undeveloped land and also featuring a full six miles of sandy beach shoreline along Lake Michigan, Point Beach State Forest is one of the most popular camping destinations in the midwest, let alone Wisconsin, and is open year-round. Visitors also enjoy hiking, hunting, boating, canoeing, and kayaking here, as well as viewing and photographing its one-of-a-kind Rawley Point Lighthouse.
Consisting of more than 1,200 acres of gently rolling Wisconsin countryside along the shore of Sturgeon Bay, Potawatomi State Park is ringed with dramatic limestone cliffs. Its several established hiking trails include the eastern end of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, and the park also includes two miles of Green Bay waterfront perfect for fishing, boating, canoeing and more.
If you’re looking to get outside in Green Bay, you’re in luck. Here are some of our favorite hiking trails in this unique part of the midwest.
Short but oh so sweet, Fonferek’s Glen is a hike that measures less than a mile altogether — more like half — and sees only 50 feet of elevation gain along the way. Which is to say that while there are some rocky steps, it’s certainly achievable for many, and the incredible waterfall at the end makes it well worth the effort! This trail is also beloved by local bird watchers and features stunning geological formations that are almost as fascinating as the waterfall, if not more so.
Running just under five miles total and seeing about 200 feet in elevation gain, Cofrin Memorial Arboretum Trail is an easy-to-moderate hike that’s perfect for newbies looking to stretch their legs or more advanced hikers who are eager for something relaxed and restorative. This trail features dense, green Wisconsin forest as well as beautiful lakeside views.
Tucked into the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, the Woodchuck, Hussong, Squirrel and Racoon Loop hike runs about four-and-a-half miles all told and sees less than 100 feet in elevation gain, making it another easy-to-moderate option that will work up a little bit of a sweat, but nothing major. Along with its iconic stands of trees and the opportunity to see wildlife, this trail is best known for its beautiful array of wildflowers, when the season’s right.
One of the most popular hikes in the entire Green Bay area, Baird Creek Loop East is a moderate challenge. Running just two and a half miles in total but seeing about 200 feet in elevation change along the way, you’ll encounter some gentle undulations as you traverse this unique trail. Featuring beautiful riverside views, this trail is also popular amongst mountain bikers and trail runners, so be sure to make way!
At about four and a half miles and less than 100 feet in elevation gain, the Navarino Nature Center Loop isn’t exactly strenuous — but it’s certainly enough to quicken your heart rate and get you a nice breath of fresh air. Considered dog- and kid-friendly thanks to its relative flatness and consistently enticing scenery, this trail is also used by cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter.
There’s a whole lot to see and do in Green Bay… and also a whole lot to eat in Green Bay! Wisconsin’s got way more to offer than cheese, although there’s plenty of that, too, if you’re into it. Here are some of the best restaurants in town.
For date night — or any night, there’s nothing quite as classic as Italian. In Green Bay, Angelina Restaurant is largely considered the best Italian in town, and its cozy atmosphere and menu full of authentic-with-modern-twist entrees, appetizers and desserts make it easy to see why. We recommend saving room at the end for a serving of knock-your-socks-off tiramisu.
What to better help you warm up from a cold Wisconsin winter than a serving of delicious, fresh, hot Mexican food? Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant is the place to turn in Green Bay for south-of-the-border delights such as tacos, fajitas, burritos and more, and even better: kids eat free! Can’t beat that deal.
For the vegetarian and vegan set, it can be kind of difficult to find viable options as far as eating out is concerned — especially in some parts of the midwest. But Nectar turns the idea that healthy food has to taste bad on its head, offering a delicious array of smoothies, juices, paninis, soups and more that will help you feel satisfied in more ways than one.
Looking for the best Asian restaurant in Green Bay? You wouldn’t go wrong by heading to Little Tokyo Restaurant, which offers a wide array of hot Japanese dishes (think: teriyaki and tempura) as well as a legendary sushi bar which is actually one of the oldest in town. Whether you’re looking for rolls, nigiri, sashimi, or something warm, this place has you covered.
Are you the type who thinks that dinner — and lunch and brunch, for that matter — is best served with a view? Taverne in the Sky isn’t just a great Green Bay restaurant, it’s an experience: situated on the fifth floor of a downtown hotel, this joint offers stunning panoramic views of town on the side of its well-curated menu items.
The great dining and the great outdoors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun things to do in Green Bay. Here are some of our top picks for families, couples, solo adventurers and more.
The kids will love so much of what Green Bay has to offer! Here are some can’t-miss stops.
Opened back in 1952, this zoo actually isn’t new at all, regardless of its name — it’s actually the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo and Adventure Park (hence the acronym). Either way, this wild and family-friendly place is home to nearly 90 different species of animals and over 200 individual creatures, each of which is just waiting for you to come make their acquaintance!
With high-flying roller coasters, classic concessions, and all the fun fair fare you’d expect tucked right along the east bank of Fox River where it meets Green Bay, Bay Beach Amusement Park is almost synonymous with Green Bay itself. In fact, this one-of-a-kind midway opened all the way back in 1892! It’s the perfect way to spend a midwestern summer day with the whole family.
There’s certainly no shortage of things to catch your attention during the daytime… but what about after night falls? Here are some of our favorite things to do in Green Bay at night.
Although technically in the neighboring community of De Pere, The Green Room is a nighttime activity worth the short drive: it’s home to Wisconsin’s longest running improv comedy show, and also hosts other big-ticket comedy performances. This is a great option for those looking for date night activities and things for couples to do in Green Bay!
You don’t have to travel all the way to the west coast — or even the east coast — to enjoy some incredible, freshly-vinted wines! Captain’s Walk Winery is home to a special array of Wisconsin-grown wines and ciders, and sitting back with a glass in hand is easily one of the best ways to wind down after a long day.
Don’t want to take out a second mortgage just to see what Green Bay has to offer? Good news — you don’t have to! Here are some of the best cheap things to do in Green Bay.
A vast and beloved set of gardens including a wide array of different types of flora, both local and exotic, the Green Bay Botanical Garden is a wonderful way to while away an afternoon… and tickets for adults start at just $10. The Garden also hosts fun annual events, such as Garden of Lights, a winter wonderland meant for celebrating the holidays in twinkling style!
Even those who don’t think they’re fascinated by locomotives are likely to find themselves enthralled with the National Railroad Museum, which allows visitors to relive the history of the American railway system at their own pace! The affordable self-guided tour starts at just $11, and during the warmer months, real, live train rides are offered!
Don’t want to spend a single cent to have a good time in Green Bay? You don’t have to. Really! Here are some of the best totally free things to do in and around town.
Want to get away from it all? Less than 30 minutes from downtown Green Bay, Wequiock Falls is nestled into a regional park that feels like a whole different world. The namesake falls themselves are stunning whether they’re flowing in the summer or frozen over in the winter, and there’s not much of a hike involved to get to them. Plus, of course, it’s a free attraction!
If you’re any kind of sports fan, you certainly know of the Green Bay Packers — and although visiting their Hall of Fame and Museum does require the purchase of a ticket, the Walk of Legends does not. This one-mile, self-guided tour winds curious visitors past a variety of engraved statues that catalogue the team’s history and legacy, and it’s all totally free.
We all need to get away from it all from time to time… even if “away from it all” just means down the street to the local day spa. Here are the best spots in Green Bay for those times you’re in need of an oasis.
Offering both classic spa treatments like massage and bodywork as well as relaxing and beautifying services such as skincare, hair care, nail care, waxing, and even teeth whitening, Tranquility Spa & Salon truly offers something for everybody who walks through the door — most importantly, the opportunity to walk back out the door feeling far better than you did when you came in.
Along with massage in a range of modalities, including lymphatic drainage, foot reflexology, and massage geared specifically towards pregnancy, Tri Essence Salon and Spa also offers a full range of salon services such as hair cutting, color, and styling, manicures and pedicures, waxing, and more advanced options such as keratin smoothing treatments. Great for yourself or a gift for others!
Want to keep your body — and mind — working their best? Getting in a few sweat sessions a week is critical for living your healthiest, happiest life. Here are the best gyms and yoga studios in the Green Bay area for those looking to stay in shape.
If you’re starting from scratch with fitness, chances are you’re going to need some guidance to help get where you’re going. Ellipse Fitness Allouez offers the professional training you need to make a plan to bring your goals to life, not to mention a little bit of extra motivation — that part can be hard to drum up on your own!
While you may think of grace when you see someone in a hard-to-achieve yoga pose (like crow), grace also refers to the practice of being gentle with yourself — which is important in all parts of life, and particularly yoga. Grace Yoga Studio will help you find the happy balance… in every sense of that word.
Clearly, there’s plenty of fun to be had in Green Bay proper. But there are also some wonderful day trippable options not far away! Here are some spots worth adding to your itinerary if you’re searching for a place to skedaddle to for the afternoon — or a whole weekend.
Less than an hour away and tucked along the shores of Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh is so much more than the headquarters of the well-known children’s clothing store. Originally named after a Menominee chief, Oshkosh today is a thriving community filled with plenty of fun shops, restaurants, and attractions… not to mention the lake itself, which is always worth a visit.
The state capital — and one of the fastest-growing cities in the state — Madison is a mid-size city that feels a lot bigger than it is without losing its friendly midwestern charm. As home to one of the University of Wisconsin locations, this town is filled with more than its fair share of cultural attractions, events, and to-dos. There are also plenty of museums, including a world-class Children’s Museum, and it’s all just a little more than two hours away from Green Bay!
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Green Bay that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Green Bay? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.