Some of these may seem obvious, but as a lifelong Wisconsinite, there are plenty of ‘notoriously Wisconsin’ things I haven’t seen or done. Who’s joining me in checking some things off our “to-do list” in 2017?
1. Catch a game at Lambeau Field
The Packers are arguably the most iconic team in the NFL, and Wisconsin is lucky enough to claim the green and gold as our own. Just as iconic as the team itself is its home, Lambeau Field. Often referred to as the “frozen tundra,” a visit to Lambeau, although beautiful when the field is still green and the sun is shining, is a must when a season of wins (hopefully) has worn the field, snowflakes fall on the yellow helmets, the crowd is equal parts green, gold and blaze orange, and the breath of 80,000 fans shouting “Go Pack Go” in unison cuts through the frigid air.
2. See your favorite performer at Summerfest
I mean, it’s “The World’s Largest Music Festival”, so I’ve got to put it on the bucket list. Every summer over 11 days, Summerfest is made up of performances from over 700 bands on 11 stages. Some of the biggest names have played here, including Paul McCartney, Def Leppard, Tim McGraw, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga and Mötley Crüe. Summerfest 2017 opens on June 28 and runs through July 9, headlining Red Hot Chili Peppers and P!nk, among others.
3. Attend the U.S. Open at Erin Hills
How often do golf’s greatest players make their way to Wisconsin? Don’t miss your chance to see them on the sport’s biggest stage, taking place this year at Erin Hills, June 12-18.
4. Cheer on competitors in the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games
The games, which declare the “Fittest on Earth,” are coming to Madison in 2017. They’ve been held in Carson, Calif. for the past seven years and will be moving to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison for at least the next three years. Ticket information will be available in early spring.
5. Try a cream puff at the Wisconsin State Fair
Each state has their State Fair with unique sights, games and foods, but there’s nothing quite as legendary as the Wisconsin State Fair cream puff. It’s been sold at the fair since 1924 and more than 350,000 are enjoyed each year. The 2017 Wisconsin State Fair takes place August 3-13—show up with an appetite!
6. Go behind the scenes at New Glarus Brewery
Those who have tasted Spotted Cow but can’t buy it in their own state would want you to take advantage of your location and tour the New Glarus Brewery, sampling some local beers along the way. Self-guided tours are free and are available Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays 12-5 p.m.
7. Jump Around at Camp Randall
The Wisconsin Badgers have a pretty great track record when it comes to sports – something worth celebrating. And celebrate, they do. Between the third and fourth quarters of every home football game, all 80,000 fans in attendance ‘Jump Around’ to the well-known House of Pain song (pretty much starting an earthquake on the entire Madison isthmus). The Badgers’ home opener in 2017 is on September 9 and you know you want to be a part of this college game-day tradition.
8. Tour a cranberry marsh
Wisconsin harvests more than 60 percent of the country’s cranberries, and 21,000 acres across Wisconsin are home to cranberry marshes. Tour a cranberry marsh during the fall harvest season in Junction City, Wisconsin Rapids, Pittsville, Warrens, Fifield, Eagle River and Manitowish Waters.
9. Attend a Native American Pow-Wow
Wisconsin is home to the largest number of Native American tribes east of the Mississippi River, and the cultural influence is apparent in the names of many Wisconsin towns (looking at you, Oconomowoc, Mukwonago, Manitowoc, Ozaukee…). Join the many celebrations in 2017, including the Ho-Chunk Memorial Day Pow-Wow May 27-29 or the Ho-Chunk Labor Day Pow-Wow September 2-4, both in Black River Falls.
10. Experience Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians
Holy Hill is situated atop southeastern Wisconsin’s highest point overlooking 435 acres. Its stunning location is just one reason why 500,000 visitors from all over the world descend on this spiritual haven in Erin, Wisconsin each year. Whether a pilgrimage to worship, meditate or pray, or just a trip to admire the beautiful architecture of the neo-Romanesque church built in 1926, Holy Hill is a place everyone should experience.
11. Learn about Frank Lloyd Wright by visiting Taliesin
Frank Lloyd Wright, thought of as one of the greatest architects of all time, called Wisconsin home and his estate, known as Taliesin, is available for tours. Take the House Tour every day May-October at 12 and 3 p.m. or try the Twilight Tour, a two-hour excursion with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, on July 1, August 5 and September 2.
12. Snap a photo at Cave Point County Park
No need to go to Hawaii. The photos will look the same. Cave Point County Park in Door County features cliffs overlooking clear blue water. You won’t believe you’re in the same country, let alone state.
Wisconsin has so much to see and do, and 2017 is no exception. What’s on your Wisconsin bucket list? Share with us on social media using #DiscoverWisconsin.
Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Growing up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. She enjoys nothing more than catching a Packers, Brewers or Badgers game, indulging in a cheese curd or 12, and traveling from corner to corner of this great state. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)