Wisconsin Getaway Ideas: Holiday Shopping Weekends

Get the bulk of your holiday shopping done in one fun weekend away, and you’ll be set to enjoy the rest of the season without running around like an elf on a deadline.

We’ve rounded up five of the top Wisconsin shopping destinations, with tips on where to stay and where to eat – since a good sleep and good meals are critical to a successful shopping mission. And, for when you or your travel companions need some respite from retail, we have tips on nearby must-sees.

Pleasant Prairie / Kenosha

At Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, midway between Milwaukee and Chicago, you’ll find deals in 90 big-name stores. Base yourself in Kenosha, right on Lake Michigan at the Best Western Harborside Inn. Stop at the nearby Coffee Pot for an omelet on your way to the outlets, and then get your shopping game on. For a change of pace that will leave you feeling full of beans, visit the nearby Jelly Belly Visitor Center and board the Jelly Belly Express for a tour. Finally, relax over dinner at Mangia Trattoria. Or, if relaxing isn’t your style, Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets will be open for midnight shopping on Thanksgiving – with some stores opening as “early” as 9pm.

Wisconsin Dells

Add the Tanger Outlet Center to your year-round list of reasons to visit Wisconsin Dells, and shop at over 60 brand-name stores. Make a classic Dells getaway of it: Stay on the Wisconsin River at Cedar Lodge and Settlement, go for a classic Mr. Pancake breakfast, and when it’s time for a break, explore the interactive exhibits at H. H. Bennett Studio, believed to be the oldest operating photography studio in the country. Discuss your finds and the day’s fun over dinner at Ishnala Supper Club, in the heart of stunning Mirror Lake State Park.

Johnson Creek / Lake Mills / Fort Atkinson

A favorite stop between Madison and Milwaukee, Johnson Creek Premium Outlets has a lineup of 60 name-brand stores. Stay in nearby Lake Mills, enjoy the fireplace and comfy beds at Sweet Autumn Inn, and spoil yourself with a stop at Water House Foods Café & Bakehouse on your way into Johnson Creek. After a day on your feet, sit down to dinner and a show at the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson. Their annual musical revue, “A Fireside Christmas” runs through December 22.

Appleton / Oshkosh

The Fox Cities are known as a top shopping destination, boasting both the Fox River Mall in Appleton, with its 180 shops and restaurants, and the 55 Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh. Stay on the shores of Lake Winnebago at the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel, and swing by La Sure’s Cafe for breakfast. When it’s break time, take to the skies: the EAA AirVenture Museum, one of the world’s finest aviation attractions, is just across the street. Top off the day with a pizza at Gardina’s Wine Bar and Café.


Not a typical mall but a “lifestyle experience,” Greenway Station in Middleton is a village of 35 stores and restaurants, and over 20 of them are local. Stay at the adjacent Hilton Garden Inn Madison West/Middleton to get the most of your shopping time. You’ll be just minutes away from the National Mustard Museum, which you can consider a break from shopping…or a chance to stock up on more gifts. Start your day with a scone from Prairie Café and Bakery; for dinner, try the classic Hubbard Avenue Diner (and be sure to leave room for pie).

Wish every weekend were a shopping getaway? We’ve got plenty more Wisconsin shopping suggestions to keep you going.

This entry was posted in Shopping, Cabins & Cottages, Hotels & Motels, Resorts & Lodges, History & Heritage, Museums & Galleries, Restaurants, City Getaways, Girlfriend Getaway