Located at the point where the Fox River enters Lake Winnebago in Winnebago County in Wisconsin, Oshkosh is a friendly town that has its origins in the lumber industry in the mid-1800s. The town boasts a variety of things to see and do for the whole family, from historic sites and cultural activities to outdoor recreation and sports. Oshkosh is home to several brewing companies, where visitors can taste some of the region’s top craft beers, as well as beautiful parks and green spaces for picnicking and fun in the sun, art galleries, museums and educational centers, and water parks. Here are some of the best things to do when visiting the charming town of Oshkosh.
1.Asylum Point Lighthouse
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The Asylum Point Lighthouse is a famous lighthouse located on a small island in Lake Winnebago’s Asylum Bay, just a few feet away from the mainland. Built in 1937, the tower marks the separation between North and South Asylum Bays and is one of Winnebago County’s historic landmarks. The tower is accessed via a wooden bridge, and although it is not open for tours, the area around the tower is an excellent spot for picnics, with beautiful views of beautiful Lake Winnebago.
3300 Sherman Rd, Oshkosh, WI 54901
2.EAA Aviation Museum
© EAA Aviation Museum
The EAA Aviation Museum, formerly known as the EAA AirVenture Museum, is dedicated to the preservation of historical and experimental aircraft. Situated next to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, the EAA Aviation Museum is home to over 200 aircraft, ranging from antiques and classics to warplanes, as well as a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibitions and activities. The museum features a children’s section, which has several interactive aviation-related exhibits and events, along with a “control tower” observation platform overlooking the old-time grass airstrip of Pioneer Airport behind the museum. Visitors can enjoy a range of aircraft rides at Pioneer Airport or at the adjoining Wittman Field, which hosts the annual AirVenture Fly-In and Airshow every summer.
3000 Poberezny Rd, Oshkosh, WI 54902, Phone: 920-426-4800,
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Friar Tuck’s is an Oshkosh institution that has been serving the community with fresh homemade cuisine for the last 30 years. The family-friendly restaurant has three locations around the town, all of which are open daily for lunch and dinner and serve menus of all-American casual cuisine, such as sandwiches, salads, chicken wings, hamburgers, hot dogs, soups, quesadillas, and more. Friar’s classic dishes include prime rib sandwiches, footlong cheeseburgers and fries, and a club sandwich combination of turkey, ham, bacon, and Swiss cheese on a hot or cold croissant. The hearty cuisine is complemented by a range of beverages and soft drinks.
1651 W South Park Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54902, Phone: 920-231-9555,
4.Hughes' Home Maid Chocolates
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Hughes' Home Maid Chocolates is a homegrown Oshkosh business that produces homemade chocolates made from the best locally sourced ingredients. Produced by the third generation of the Hughes family since 1940, Hughes' Home Maid Chocolates produces a variety of sweet treats including assorted dark, milk, and white chocolates, cherry cordials, creams and oysters, Easter eggs and other treats, and individual chocolates. Hughes' Home Maid Chocolates is open Monday through Saturday.
1823 Doty St, Oshkosh, WI 54902, Phone: 920-231-7232,
5.Military Veterans Museum and Education Center
© Military Veterans Museum and Education Center
The Military Veterans Museum and Educational Center is dedicated to preserving the story of the country’s citizen soldiers and recording their military experiences. Established in 1991 by a group of World War II veterans, the center features a variety of exhibits and displays of artifacts, artworks, books, documents, photographs, and personal items relating to military veterans and their families. The center is also home to the John E. Kuenzl Motor Pool, which houses a collection of military vehicles and pieces of particular interest, such as a piece of the Battleship USS Arizona, a WWII Soviet-built T34-85 tank, and a “Quad 50? anti-aircraft mount. The Military Veterans Museum and Educational Center is open from Friday through Sunday.
4300 Poberezny Rd, Oshkosh, WI 54902, Phone: 920-426-8615,
6.Menominee Park Zoo
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Stretching 109 acres along the shores of Lake Winnebago, Menominee Park Zoo is a seasonal zoo that boasts a rotating roster of 50 endemic and exotic animals each year. Established in 1945, the zoo features several amusement rides, paddleboats on the lake, a miniature train, and a merry-go-round. In addition to housing a variety of animals, the zoo features a wealth of hands-on exhibits and displays for all ages, plays an essential role in several educational activities and conservation programs, and hosts many of the city's annual events and festivals. The Menominee Park Zoo is open from the first weekend in May until last week of September.
520 Pratt Trail, Oshkosh, WI 54901, Phone: 920-236-5082,
7.New Moon Cafe
© New Moon Cafe
The New Moon Café is an artsy, comfortable space that serves delicious vegetarian cuisine, local Wisconsin-made beers and desserts, and gourmet coffee against a background of live music, open mic performances, poetry, and other entertainment. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the New Moon Café menu features hearty sandwiches and wraps, freshly made salads, homemade soups, burritos, quesadillas, and decadent desserts. The cuisine is freshly prepared with locally sourced ingredients and served with a variety of beverages, local beers and wines, and soft drinks.
401 N Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54901, Phone: 920-232-0976,
8.On the Loos Cruises
© On the Loos Cruises
On the Loos Cruises is a family-owned and operated business that has been providing relaxing cruises on a beautiful paddlewheel riverboat since 1989. Designed to showcase the most beautiful scenic spots on Lake Winnebago, Lake Butte des Morts, and the Fox River, cruises are available as standard journeys or customized trips. The paddlewheel riverboat features spacious upper and lower deck seating areas, modern bathroom facilities, a full-service bar and catering services, and unparalleled views of the Fox River and the surrounding waterways. On the Loos Cruises also offers private charter cruises for special celebrations, such as wedding parties, corporate gatherings, family get-togethers, and more.
1 N. Main St., Oshkosh, WI 54901, Phone: 920-479-0270,
9.Oshkosh Farmers Market
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The Oshkosh Farmers Market is an annual market that is held in both summer and winter that features around 130 vendors selling homemade and handcrafted items as well as live music and entertainment and themed events. Saturday mornings see about 40 vendors selling fresh local produce, locally raised meats, cheeses and other dairy products, vegetables and fruit grown in greenhouses and on hydroponic farms, delicious artisan foods, honey, chickens, and handmade jewelry and crafts. Local food artisans offer freshly baked bread, pastries and other goodies, candy, and homemade prepared and ready-to-eat foods.
547 N Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54901, Phone: 920-509-1830,
10.Ardy & Ed's Drive-In
© Ardy & Ed's Drive-In
Established in 1948, Ardy & Ed's Drive-In is a family-friendly restaurant and old-fashioned drive-in that serves classic all-American cuisine, draft root beer, and fountain favorites. The traditional drive-in has carhop servers on roller skates, offering a menu of hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, seafood baskets, and weekly specials along with milkshakes, root beer floats, and fountain sodas. The restaurant also has a gift shop that sells souvenirs, beer glasses, clothing, and other items from the famous eatery and is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday through Sundays.
2413 South Main Street, Oshkosh, WI 54902-7244, Phone: 920-231-5455,
11.Oshkosh Public Museum
© Oshkosh Public Museum
Located in the Edgar and Mary Jewell Sawyer House, which is part of the Algoma Boulevard Historic District, the Oshkosh Public Museum stands as an outstanding example of Edwardian elegance and documents the arrival of immigrants from Eastern Europe. Built on the site of the Sawyers’ second home, which was built in 1908, the house was donated to the City of Oshkosh in 1922 and was opened as a museum in 1924. The museum features an ornately carved staircase, several stained-glass windows, and a variety of interesting artifacts and items, including a folk-art clock called the Apostle's Clock, a Regina music box, and original artworks.
1331 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901, Phone: 920-236-5799,
12.Paine Art Center and Gardens
© Paine Art Center and Gardens
The Paine Art Center and Gardens is a beautifully preserved historic estate that features a glorious mansion and exquisitely manicured botanical gardens and grounds. The mansion boasts classic European-style architecture, an unparalleled art collection, public art galleries with changing art exhibitions, and a variety of unforgettable seasonal events. The Paine estate features 20 gorgeous gardens that showcase a variety of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in outdoor “rooms” that are designed to create a variety of intimate and grand settings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Paine Art Center and Gardens is open year round to visitors and offers a spectrum of inspiration through all the seasons.
1410 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901, Phone: 920-235-6903,
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13.Pollock Community Water Park
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The Pollock Community Water Park is a family-friendly water park that features a variety of fun rides and water-based activities. The 3.24-acre tract boasts a Lazy River with overhanging water features, such as water curtains and silly sprays, which visitors can float down on inflatable tubes, winding water slides for body sliding and inner tubing, and a 3,500-square-foot playground with pouring, dumping, and spraying water features. The park also has a 16,500-square-foot swimming pool with diving boards, sun decks with deck chairs, and umbrellas and shade structures. The Pollock Community Water Park is open from June 1 through August 21 and hosts several special events throughout the summer.
1550 Taft Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54902, Phone: 920-236-5086,
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Stevens Park is an urban park in Oshkosh that features open spaces for picnicking and a variety of outdoor recreational and sporting activities. The park features an asphalt trail for walking, jogging, cycling, and running, a baseball diamond, outdoor basketball courts, an outdoor soccer field, tennis courts, and a softball field. The park features large open spaces with plenty of shade and places to picnic as well as modern restrooms, on-site parking, and ample outdoor seating.
15.Union Star Cheese Factory Tour
© Union Star Cheese Factory Tour
Located 5 miles southeast of Fremont, the Union Star Cheese Factory is a family-owned cheese factory that produces a variety of cheeses made from locally sourced milk on a daily basis. The factory produces a wide range of cheeses and curds, from hard and semi-hard to semi-soft and spreads, and offers guided tours of the factory on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Guided tours show visitors how cheese and other related products are made, and they get to taste the end products that are produced by the factory.
7742 County Road II, Fremont, WI 54940, Phone: 920-836-2804,
16.Vines and Rushes Winery
© Vines and Rushes Winery
Located on the Prellwitz family farm in Ripon, Wisconsin, which is also the home of the Prellwitz Produce strawberry farm, Vines & Rushes Winery is a new winery that produces cold-hardy grape varieties on 5 acres of land. Vines & Rushes Winery produces wines from grapes varieties such as Marquette, St Pepin, and Petite Pearl and has a tasting room where visitors can sample the winery’s finest wines with complimentary wine tastings that include a variety of white and red wines and hard ciders. Open year round, seven days a week, Vines & Rushes Winery serves wood-fired pizza every Friday and Saturday along with live music and other entertainment.
410 County Rd E, Ripon, WI 54971, Phone: 920-748-3296,
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The Wiouwash State Trail is a rail trail in northeastern Wisconsin that traverses the four counties of Outagamie, Shawano, Winnebago, and Waupaca. The trail’s name is derived from the first two letters of the four counties it traverses and is used by hikers, bikers, walkers, horseback riders during the summer and snowmobilers during the winter months. The trail spans 41 miles and is divided into two sections, namely the northern segment, which spans 19 miles between the small towns of Birnamwood and Split Rock in Shawano County, and the southern portion, which extends 22 miles from north of downtown Oshkosh to Hortonville. The trail features endpoints at State Road, in Birnamwood, Split Rock Road, Split Rock, Lakeview Avenue in Hortonville, and River Mill Road, west of the US 45 in Oshkosh.
18.Bare Bones Brewery
© Bare Bones Brewery
Bare Bones Brewery is a locally owned brewery that produces a variety of beers on tap and by the bottle, including amber ales, creamy ales, American IPA, American lagers, and sweet stouts, among others. Located on the Country Highway, the brewery has a tasting room and a lovely shaded patio where visitors can taste some of the brewery’s best beers in a friendly, laidback atmosphere. Bare Bones Brewery also sells a variety of merchandise, clothing, and souvenirs and is open on Wednesday through Thursday in the evenings, and all day over the weekend.
4362 County Hwy S, Oshkosh, WI 54904, Phone: 920-744-8045,
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19.Fifth Ward Brewing Company
© Fifth Ward Brewing Company
Fifth Ward Brewing Company is a local brewer in Oshkosh that has been producing beer by the bottle and on tap for the last 160 years. Located on Main Street, the Fifth Ward Brewing Company presents a variety of beers, from year-round brews to seasonal releases, as well as sour and barrel-aged beers. The brewery offers free tours of the facility every Saturday afternoon along with beer tastings and talks throughout the week and serves delicious snacks and small bites from its partner, Gardina’s Wine Bar and Café. Fifth Ward Brewing Company’s spacious taproom and lovely outdoor beer garden can be rented for private functions and events.
1009 S Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54902, Phone: 920-479-1876,
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19 Best Things to Do in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- Asylum Point Lighthouse, Photo: Courtesy of Fredy Thürig - Fotolia.com
- EAA Aviation Museum, Photo: EAA Aviation Museum
- Friar Tuck's, Photo: Courtesy of ALF photo - Fotolia.com
- Hughes' Home Maid Chocolates, Photo: Courtesy of Grafvision - Fotolia.com
- Military Veterans Museum and Education Center, Photo: Military Veterans Museum and Education Center
- Menominee Park Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Cerovsek - Fotolia.com
- New Moon Cafe, Photo: New Moon Cafe
- On the Loos Cruises, Photo: On the Loos Cruises
- Oshkosh Farmers Market, Photo: Courtesy of Elena Dijour - Fotolia.com
- Ardy & Ed's Drive-In, Photo: Ardy & Ed's Drive-In
- Oshkosh Public Museum, Photo: Oshkosh Public Museum
- Paine Art Center and Gardens, Photo: Paine Art Center and Gardens
- Pollock Community Water Park, Photo: Courtesy of Dusan Kostic - Fotolia.com
- Stevens Park, Photo: Courtesy of Sandeep - Fotolia.com
- Union Star Cheese Factory Tour, Photo: Union Star Cheese Factory Tour
- Vines and Rushes Winery, Photo: Vines and Rushes Winery
- Wiouwash Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia.com
- Bare Bones Brewery, Photo: Bare Bones Brewery
- Fifth Ward Brewing Company, Photo: Fifth Ward Brewing Company
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Henryk Sadura - Fotolia.com