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Wisconsin is known for its breweries, forests and motorcycles – but as our Geeks discovered, there are wild animals, charming eateries and fine art galleries to explore as well. Read on to learn about the state’s most charming cities:
Nature lovers will enjoy the 16 acres of outdoor display gardens and indoor, tropical conservatory at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, the outdoor natural classroom at the Allen Centennial Garden or the world-class botanical research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. Those with an eye for culture can spend a few hours taking in the local and international exhibits at the Chazen Museum of Art and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Kids will be thrilled by the tigers, lions, grizzlies and polar bears at Henry Vilas Zoo, while couples will love the European-style entrées, decadent desserts and romantic setting of Fresco Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge.
Take a cycle along the Milwaukee River on the 30-mile paved Ozaukee Interurban Trail, then pull over at Cedarburg Art Museum to see ever-changing exhibits in a meticulously restored, grand old house. If you have an eye for sewing, feast your eyes on the many textile riches on display at Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts. Kids will love the old-fashioned farm experience, complete with hayride, petting zoo and pumpkin picking – at Cedarburg Creek. Lean back into a beer from one of the long, long menus either The Fermentorium or Rebellion Brewing.
History buffs, brace yourselves: Portage WWII History Museum, Historic Indian Agency House, Portage Historical Society Museum at the Portage and the only remaining building of historic Fort Winnebago, the Surgeons Quarters, are all guaranteed to take hours to explore properly. Leave some time to visit the bakeries, furniture and quilt shops on display at the nearby Amish community, then retire to Rock N Wool for a glass of locally made wine, or sit down to cuisine in the country at Cimaroli’s Supper Club.
There are over 300 historic buildings in this town, and a wide range of experiences between and around them too. Order the famous waffles at Main Street Cafe, then visit Allen Creek Gallery to see award-winning pottery, textiles, paintings and even fine art garden sculptures, or take the kids to explore the public swimming pool, picnic areas and playgrounds at Leonard-Leota Park. For anglers and kayakers, there is the 28-acre, stream-fed Lake Leota, while hikers, cross-country skiers and horseback riders will enjoy the nearby Magnolia Bluff and Gibbs Lake county parks.