Visitors to Wisconsin have long been amazed by the state’s diverse and impressive architecture. Not only are we home to towering lighthouses and Victorian-era buildings, but also Frank Lloyd Wright landmarks and other awe-inspiring marvels. During your visit, be sure to check out some of our architectural gems and prepare to feel inspired.
Visit a Historical Lighthouse
One of the most iconic lighthouses resides in Door County, the Cana Island Lighthouse, situated on a small island near Baileys Harbor. The dazzling white tower rises 89 feet above the ground, and you can tour both the lighthouse and home of the former lighthouse keepers. Before you leave, take a selfie with your loved ones to remember it by.
Also in Door County is the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, located in Peninsula State Park. The lighthouse sits on a bluff overlooking the waters of Green Bay and is open for tours during the summer. The pale brick picturesque lighthouse and keeper’s house feature rusty red and forest green accents. Some of the original furnishings are displayed inside.
Embark on an Urban Architecture Tour
If your travels take you to Madison or Milwaukee, don’t miss out on the chance to take a self-guided or guided tour of the local architecture.
Madison is home to architectural gems like Bascom Hill, which features brick and sandstone in its buildings. You also don’t want to miss the Old Market Place neighborhood and scenic Orton Park with its diverse homes representing Italianate, Queen Anne, Greek and Tudor revival and more styles of architecture. And, of course, you can’t visit Madison without seeing the Wisconsin State Capitol Building, known for its incredible granite dome that towers 265 feet above the capital city.
If you’re in Milwaukee, you’ll find plenty of architecture walking tours. One of the tours focuses on downtown landmarks like the Mackie Building and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Marvel at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Famous Landmarks
No trip to Wisconsin is complete without a visit to one of the landmarks designed by iconic architect and proud Wisconsinite, Frank Lloyd Wright. The Wisconsin landscape and way of life fueled his inspiration, so it’s no wonder why we’re home to some of his most beloved architectural works.
The most famous of these is Taliesin, Wright’s ancestral home in the artistic community of Spring Green. Wright designed Taliesin in a style that complements the local landscape and melds state-of-the-art with an unmatched beauty. The estate spans over 600 acres and is open to visitors between May and October.
To take in more of Wright’s unique architecture, you can drive along the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail, a route that takes you across southern Wisconsin. This self-guided driving tour spotlights nine of Wright's designs, including the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center and First Unitarian Society Meeting House in Madison, the Wyoming Valley School in Spring Green and the AD German Warehouse in Richland Center.
Wisconsin offers countless architectural marvels representing an incredibly diverse range of styles. From the innovative, nature-inspired designs of Wright to the mighty Capitol dome, you’ll remember our buildings and structures long after your trip has ended.
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