The small town home of the Packers has big town energy and amenities!
I’ve long loved Green Bay and not just because I am a Packers fan (and owner!). So with the colder season approaching (and football under way) here are a few ideas for your next visit to the smallest community to have its own NFL team. With the fall timing and a mission to go beyond everything Lambeau, you may note the absence of Green Bay’s great botanical garden, zoo, amusement park, bike trails, boat tours, and other more summery attractions. Yet still the list is long!
For a true Wisconsin tradition, consider the Friday fish fry. Since 1923 Maricque’s has served the highly prized (and increasingly rare) lake perch as well as bluegill, whitefish, walleye, cod, and catfish, maybe even smelt if you’re lucky.
An even more local dish is booyah. The Booyah Shed is your hookup for this hearty traditional soup, as well as burgers, fried curds, tots, fish fry, and much more.
Mangiare is a new Tuscan-themed Italian restaurant (and sister to Republic Chophouse, perhaps the finest local steakhouse) with an impressive wine list and a stylish but relaxed ambiance. The porchetta is delectable and the sharable antipasti and build-your-own boards make it good for group outings, while a kids’ menu makes families welcome.
Cedar & Sage Grill House features ingredients and influences from the Oneida Nation, including tribal white corn and other produce, freshwater fish, and bison as well as other regionally sourced ingredients. The bison filet mignon is excellent.
Art, History and Stories
In what was once a Cadillac dealership showroom, is now The Automobile Gallery. Founder William “Red” Lewis, Green Bay native and father of the touchless car wash, believed this growing collection of 50+ classic cars represented works of art more than historical objects. A visit here compels one to agree.
The National Railroad Museum is one of the finest of its kind in the nation. Watch for special events such as the Festival of Trees (November 17, 2022 – January 1, 2023), Rails and Ales, or the Polar Express and Great Pumpkin Train Rides. For history, science, and art, all with a regional and local focus, the Neville Public Museum is a good stop right downtown. Cross the bridge over the Fox River from there to support a local indie bookstore at Lion’s Mouth. Check their calendar: the store and UntitledTown, host literary events throughout the year.
With at least a dozen breweries in the great Green Bay area, you don’t have far to go to find great beer. From the diminutive family-run Noble Roots Brewery to the larger older regional Hinterland, Badger State (next to Lambeau) and Titletown (right downtown) Breweries. Just north of town in Suamico you’ll find Ahnapee Brewing (with 888 Cheese Co., a grilled-cheese restaurant across the parking lot, delivering to the taproom) as well as small-town charming Thumb Knuckle Brewing in Luxemburg.
For those who prefer grapes to grains, Captain’s Walk, in its magnificent pre-Civil War home, and Mona Rose Wineries offer tastings. Or for a mixed group in that regard, LedgeStone Vineyards is also home to Gnarly Cedar Brewery with a laidback lingering sort of tasting room with views across the vineyards to the stony edge of the Niagara Escarpment. If you’re looking for stronger stuff, Paradise North Distillery produces small batches of bourbon whiskey, rums, vodka, and the most impressive chocolate-flavored vodka you’ll ever have. Great views out into the Bay from there.
Colder weather doesn’t mean staying indoors. Locals sit out on the lake ice to fish here, after all. Cross-country skiing opportunities abound, including 19 miles of trails in Suamico at Brown County Reforestation Camp alone, and snowshoeing at Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve even offers limited equipment rentals onsite.
When temps go below freezing, the skating rink and tubing hill in the Titletown District next to Lambeau get popular. And right across the walk from the hill you can stay active indoors at The Turn Restaurant with its Topgolf Swing Suite. Don’t rule out the simulator if you aren’t a golfer. You’d be surprised how fun it is for all ages to play dodgeball against a team of virtual zombies.
Pack the Cooler
Think of this as taking a taste of Green Bay home with you. Meat eaters will love the Maplewood Meats Italian sausages and bacon (and more) as well as Luxemburg’s Salmon’s which has arguably the best hot dog in the state (and more).
While Racine often comes up in any conversation about Wisconsin’s official pastry, Uncle Mike’s Bakery is a must-stop for fans of the multi-layered Danish-style Kringle. Take one home with you.
For local cheese, spend some time at De Pere’s Scray Cheese for cheddar, edam, fontina, and gouda, or stay in the car and use the drive-thru window to get some fresh curds on the run.
Shall we end with chocolate? Seroogy’s in De Pere has been making gourmet chocolates since 1899. The Chocolate Meltaway bars are a good place to start, but check out the gift boxes with the holidays coming up.
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