The Lake Geneva area has been a popular luxury resort community in southeastern Wisconsin since the 19th century. In a bid to escape the summer heat, many of Chicago’s rich built lavish mansions on the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva. One of the most beautiful, and today open to the public, is the Queen Anne-style Black Point Estate, a former summer home of the wealthy beer magnate Conrad Seipp. Lake Geneva continues to attract summer visitors who can enjoy attractions, such as the Aerial Adventure with more than 1,200 feet of ziplines, and shows, such as the Dancing Horses and the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, while learning more about the city’s past in the Main Street Historic District.
© Black Point
Once the summer home of Chicago businessman Conrad Seipp and his descendants, Black Point Estate & Gardens was built in 1887 on the banks of Geneva Lake. It was a place where the family used to escape from Chicago’s summer heat and the hustle and bustle of city life. In 2005, William O. Petersen, Seipp’s great-grandson, donated the beautiful 20-room Queen Anne-style “cottage,” surrounded by 8 acres of beautiful grounds with 620 feet of untouched Geneva Lake shoreline and antique furniture and décor, to the state of Wisconsin. After extensive restoration, Black Point Estate & Gardens was opened to the public in 2007 as an historical home museum. The property is managed by the Wisconsin Historical Society and is considered one of the best examples of Queen Ann architecture.
W4270 Southland Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-248-1888
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Established in 1897, the Yerkes Observatory is part of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Located by Geneva Lake in Williams Bay in a verdant 77-acre park, the observatory contains a 40-inch refracting telescope, the largest of its kind in the world. It provides access to the telescope and laboratory space to the students and the scientific community and bridges several important perspectives in formal and informal education. The observatory introduces the most important topics in contemporary research in the field of astronomy and provides an opportunity to engage in observational astronomy. the Yerkes Observatory offers public tours on Saturdays all year round.
373 W. Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191, Phone: 262-245-5555
3.Safari Lake Geneva
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Safari Lake Geneva is a unique wildlife habitat located only about 5 miles from downtown Lake Geneva. Surrounded by 75 acres of untouched wildlife habitat, Safari Lake Geneva is home to more than 50 exotic wild animals from all over the world. The animals live free, in environments that approximate their natural habitat, and visitors can observe them from the company’s safari truck or wagon. Visitors can observe American bison, domestic yak, Ankole-Watusi cattle, camel, llama, greater rhea, alpaca, Brahman cattle, miniature horses, nilgai antelope, scimitar-horned oryx, blackbuck antelope, miniature zebu, and others. While driving through the wildlife habitat, visitors can also spot native wild animals that live in the surrounding forests, such as white-tailed deer, muskrats, and painted turtles. The tours last about 1 hour and visitors can feed the animals that approach their vehicles.
W1612 Litchfield Road, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-475-8089
4.Geneva Lake Museum
© Geneva Lake Museum
Founded in 1983, the museum is located in the 1929 Wisconsin Power & Light building in historic downtown Lake Geneva. The large space gave local history buffs and the Museum Board the idea to create the Main Street Historic District. It spreads over a 2.5-acre area and includes most buildings in the 700 blocks of Main Street. Visitors can visit a lovingly restored log cabin housing Potawatomi tools and a collection of arrowheads, a blacksmith shop, ice-cutting tools, horseshoeing tools, a fire engine house with an 1890 hose wagon, a 1920s dental work station, an 1890s school room, and many other turn of the century structures. There are also some additional areas to display various artifacts as well as a store and a meeting room. Read more
255 Mill St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-248-6060
5.Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy
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Located in Williams Bay, north of the Williams Bay Beach, the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy is a fascinating 231-acre park with an interesting and diverse mix of ecosystems. The wetlands are located at the park’s south end, just across from the beach and in the park’s northeastern section. Beside wetlands, Kishwauketoe also has oak woods, prairie, kettle, deciduous forest, a meadow, two creeks, and an arboretum. Visitors can explore the park along 4 miles of trails and raised boardwalks. All along the trails are lush plants such as wild geranium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, tall meadow rue, may apple, sedges, and various grasses. The park provides a home to many birds and wild animals such as deer, fox, coyote, raccoon, and opossum. There is a small pavilion offering both shelter and a venue for various activities.
251 Elkhorn Rd, Williams Bay, WI 53191, Phone: 262-903-3601
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Dancing Horses is a magnificent spectacle that features a range of horse breeds that dance and perform together with their trainers in a visually stunning show of equestrian artistry. The show is performed in a small and intimate yet state-of-the-art 300-seat theatre. The unique live show is a product of its founder’s dream and a love of horses. The current performance is called The Power of a Dream, and to the spectators it brings back memories of the childhood so many of us had. It is performed by a group of magnificent horses and their talented and creative professional trainers and partners.
5065 WI-50, Delavan, WI 53115, Phone: 262-728-8200
© Geneva Java
Located in the basement of the lovely old First Baptist Church in downtown Lake Geneva, Geneva Java is a popular coffee and restaurant that offers fresh-baked scones, bread puddings, cookies, and other baked delights to go with your favorite coffee. The coffee is freshly roasted Fiddleheads brand coffee, with a large selection of hot or cold beverages. They also serve lunch with salads, home-made soups, and delicious hearty sandwiches. Try their Lumberjack Special with a thick pile of roast beef and real roast turkey with cheddar cheese, bacon, and their special barbeque mayo. If you are not too hungry, try their famous Fiesta Chicken with avocado ranch and cilantro. On a warm summer days, enjoy your coffee and meal on their cozy back patio.
252 Center St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-812-4065
8.Geneva Lake Brewery
© Geneva Lake Brewery
The Geneva Lake Brewery was founded in 2011 by the father-son team Pat and Jon McIntosh as a fulfillment of a life-long dream to offer high quality craft beer using natural local ingredients. The brewery is set up in a classic industrial park location at the east end of Lake Geneva, with a small, unpretentious tap room. The venue is fairly basic, but the quality of their beer exceeds everyone’s expectations. There is no food, though you can bring your own, and there is no entertainment, but the choice of high quality beers on tap is enough to keep attracting beer aficionados from all over the region. Their tap list is extensive, with a solid spread of varieties. Some of the most popular are the Cherry Wheat Saison, the Imperial Cherry Stout, and the Short Session Triple IPA.
750 Veterans Pkwy, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-248-2539
9.Lake Geneva Cruise Line
© Lake Geneva Cruise Line
The lake is a big part of the city of Lake Geneva, so there is no better way to explore it than on board of one of the Lake Geneva Cruise Line boats. They offer a wide range of sightseeing tours around the lake and along its coast. You can choose to get a close view of the lavish mansions and estates that are spread along the shores. If you are interested in local history, there is a tour that will tell you all about the famous names of people who settled in the lake area. You can also just enjoy a relaxing evening dinner cruise, the famous US Mailboat Tour, or the Ice Cream Social Tour – as you can imagine, it involves sampling some great ice creams. Whatever tour you choose, you will love the lush greenery that surrounds the lake. Tours operate from April to November.
812 Wrigley Dr., Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-248-6206
10.Lake Geneva Pie Co
© Lake Geneva Pie Co
A charming little shop on Geneva Square, the Lake Geneva Pie Company has been treating locals and visitors to delicious pies since 2001, quickly gaining a reputation for the best pies in the area. This family-owned bakery specializes in fresh sweet and savory pies that are made from the best possible ingredients, and it has won many awards for its delicious treats. You can get a whole pie or just a slice, take it with you or sit at one of several tables in the charming, small shop decorated with local original art. They also serve coffee with their pies. At lunch time, you should try their pot pies and quiches. The Lake Geneva Pie Company is proud to donate more than 100 pies a year to different local organizations for fund raising.
150 E Geneva Square, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-248-5100
11.Lake Geneva Scooter Tours & Rentals
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Surrounded by rolling hills, winding roads, and scenic lakeside paths, the Geneva Lake area is wonderful for exploring on a scooter. Lake Geneva Scooter Tours and Rentals provides its clients with automatic comfortable scooters, helmets, and maps of Lake Geneva’s best scooter-friendly scenic roads before sending them off to enjoy their exploration. The map will point them to Fontana Beach, Edgewater Park in beautiful Williams Bay, Yerkes Observatory, and many other delightful spots. The riders can go alone or can join one of the company’s guided scooter tours. The company has been operating since 2009, providing more adventurous visitors with a fast and comfortable means of exploring the area. A valid driving license is required. Things to Do in Wisconsin
Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-249-0600
© Studio Winery
Created by two artists, Studio Winery is both a working winery and an artist studio. The two artists make their own wine onsite, making small batches of high-quality artisanal wines produced from grapes sourced from the West Coast and the Midwest. They offer daily wine tasting in the lovely space surrounded by art created by the wine makers and their former students. There is live music by local talent every Saturday in the studio/wine tasting room or on a patio outside if weather permits. The winery also offers art classes known as Corks and Canvas. While sipping good local wine, visitors can also learn how to express their inner artistry on canvas. No talent is required, and each participant can have one-on-one instruction.
401 Sheridan Springs Road. Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-348-9100
13.Tristan Crist Magic Theatre
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The 51-seat Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is a very popular Lake Geneva entertainment venue offering fun and exciting magic and illusion shows, combined with a bit of comedy, providing about 1 hour of great fun for the whole family. The theater is located on Main Street in downtown Lake Geneva and visitors rave about Mr. Christ’s tricks, such as the one in which he walks through a mirror and turns into a motorcycle, a few feet from the public eyes. He often changes his tricks and adds new ones every year, keeping the public amazed and highly entertained. The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre also offers to bring the show to other venues such as resorts, meeting rooms, and other larger spaces that can accommodate bigger audience.
609 W. Main St. Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-248-0505
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Aerial Adventures is a fantastic adventure for the whole family, developed in 2008 on a heavily forested abandoned railroad right of way just outside Lake Geneva. At the time, it was one of very few ziplines in the States. Today, it has three ziplines that add up to more than 1,200 feet of zipping. You can zip in a group of eight together with two experienced facilitators. There is a “dismount” platform at height of 45 feet above the tree line. You will land on two runways and end your tour at the ladder platform a few steps above the ground. After that, you will head to a 50-foot-high ropes challenge and a challenging climb to the top of the 40-foot-high climbing tower. For more fun, join in a Bubble Soccer game, a new attraction. Aerial Adventure is great for team building, birthday parties, and other group activities.
302 E Townline Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-325-8299
15.Avant Bicycle & Cafe
© Avant Bicycle & Cafe
Located in the charming Lake Geneva downtown, Avant Bicycle and Café is a popular local coffee bar that offers not only great lattes, cappuccinos, and iced coffees but also the repair and rental of bikes. It is a perfect combination for visitors who are planning on exploring the city’s beautiful green spaces on a bike, or for locals who need a bit of bike tweaking before heading out. The shop is spacious, very cozy, and tastefully decorated, so do not feel guilty if you linger over your excellent coffee before heading out on your bike ride. Owning a bike is not a prerequisite to stop by for a cup of hot java, their coffee is that good.
234 Broad St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Phone: 262-203-5141
15 Best Things To Do in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
- Black Point, Photo: Black Point
- Yerkes Observatory, Photo: Courtesy of Ivan Kurmyshov - Fotolia.com
- Safari Lake Geneva, Photo: Courtesy of claudettethebat - Fotolia.com
- Geneva Lake Museum, Photo: Geneva Lake Museum
- Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, Photo: Courtesy of Jason - Fotolia.com
- Dancing Horses, Photo: Courtesy of romolotesei - Fotolia.com
- Geneva Java, Photo: Geneva Java
- Geneva Lake Brewery, Photo: Geneva Lake Brewery
- Lake Geneva Cruise Line, Photo: Lake Geneva Cruise Line
- Lake Geneva Pie Co, Photo: Lake Geneva Pie Co
- Lake Geneva Scooter Tours & Rentals, Photo: Courtesy of Oleksii Nykonchuk - Fotolia.com
- Studio Winery, Photo: Studio Winery
- Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, Photo: Courtesy of Leo Li - Fotolia.com
- Aerial Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of muro - Fotolia.com
- Avant Bicycle & Cafe, Photo: Avant Bicycle & Cafe
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of dkissel2 - Fotolia.com