Ripon is a delightful city in Fond du Lac County, best known as the home of renowned regional liberal arts college Ripon College. The town, which was founded in 1849, is credited as the birthplace of the Republican Party during the spring and summer of 1854. Its Little White Schoolhouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, preserves the history of the town's connection to the development and spread of the Republican Party prior to the American Civil War. Visitors can also sample wines and beers at a number of delicious local craft breweries and wineries, catch movies at the historic Campus Cinema, or dine at local staple restaurants like J's BBQ.


1.Vines and Rushes Winery

Vines and Rushes Winery
© Vines and Rushes Winery

Vines and Rushes Winery is a delicious farm winery located on the grounds of Ryan and Megan Prellwitz's family farm in Ripon, which is known for its production of decadent strawberry varieties throughout the year. The winery focuses on crafting delicious, drinkable wines from cold hardy grape varieties that can withstand Wisconsin's bitterly cold winter conditions. Visitors can taste all of the company's wines as part of complimentary wine tastings throughout the year at its tasting room, offered seven days a week. Wine varieties produced throughout the year range from standard red and white varietals to highly drinkable blends and gluten-free hard ciders. Wood-fired brick-oven pizzas are served up Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, while live music performances are showcased on weekend evenings.

410 County Rd E, Ripon, WI 54971, Phone: 920-748-3296

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2.Campus Cinema

Campus Cinema
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Campus Cinema is an historic single-screen theater in Ripon's downtown district, originally opened in 1935 as part of the Marcus Theatres chain by Ben Marcus. The historic theater has been restored to its 20th-century splendor and still showcases first-run movies throughout the week, offering evening showings throughout the week and matinees on weekends. Visitors can attend the season's top family-friendly films and blockbusters in an intimate, relaxed environment. Delicious concessions are offered for carrying into the theater, ranging from freshly-made popcorn and soft pretzel bites to American-style favorites like hot dogs, pizza, and ice cream. Special deals are available for frequent visitors, including deals for students and seniors.

103 Watson St, Ripon, WI 54971, Phone: 920-748-1227

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3.Little White Schoolhouse

Little White Schoolhouse
© Little White Schoolhouse

Little White Schoolhouse, also known as the Republican Schoolhouse, is an historic schoolhouse in Ripon that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark for its role as a founding location in the birth of the American Republican Party in 1854. The schoolhouse, which was built for public use by the Ripon community in 1853, was championed by New York native Alvan Bovay, a major figure in establishing the Republican Party in the 1850s. A meeting hosted at the schoolhouse by Bovay in March of 1853 led to the dissolution of the Whig and Free Soil Parties and the establishment of the united Republicam Party. Today, the schoolhouse is operated as a living history museum showcasing local history exhibits and exhibits on the region's connection to the Republican Party's birth.

305 Blackburn St, Ripon, WI 54971, Phone: 920-748-6764

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4.J's BBQ

J's BBQ
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J's BBQ is a delicious barbecue joint that was opened to the public in Ripon in 2014. Today, it has become known for its in-house smoked meats, which are rubbed and smoked daily on premises. Diners can enjoy all menu selections throughout the day until sellout, with guests encouraged to dine earlier rather than later to ensure menu availability throughout the day. Meat selections include tender, juicy beef brisket, barbecue pulled pork, chopped chicken, baby back pork ribs, and hand-breaded haddock filets. Jumbo bone-in and boneless wings are also served up drenched in barbecue sauce, alongside platters of jumbo hand-breaded shrimp. Homestyle sides are available to complement all meals, including the restaurant's famed homestyle macaroni and cheese and housemade cheddar jalapeno bread.

333 Watson St, Ripon, WI 54971, Phone: 920-748-2232

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5.Mr. And Mrs. P's Eatery

Mr. And Mrs. P's Eatery
© Mr. And Mrs. P's Eatery


Mr. And Mrs. P's Eatery serves up excellent home-cooked fare prepared onsite from scratch daily, emphasizing traditional, high-quality culinary techniques and family recipes. The restaurant, which is overseen by married duo Kathy and Joe Plucinski, is known for its affordable prices and laid-back, family-friendly dining environment. Breakfast is served up throughout the week, highlighting homestyle favorites like banana pecan griddle pancakes, artisanal breakfast sandwiches, smoked salmon platters, and creative eggs Benedict dishes. At lunch, diners can select from favorites like baked gourmet mac and cheese bowls, meatloaf and pot roast platters, reuben sandwiches, and patty melts. A wide variety of pastries are baked onsite daily, ranging from cake pops and cream puffs to gluten-free sweets.

1100 W Fond Du Lac St, Ripon, WI 54971, Phone: 920-896-0696

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6.Knuth Brewing Company

Knuth Brewing Company
© Knuth Brewing Company


Knuth Brewing Company was founded in 2015 by married duo Marie and David Knuth, specializing in creative, highly drinkable craft beers and delicious brewpub fare. Year-round flagship brews are served up on tap at the company's brewpub, including favorites like its Blue Eyed Blonde Ale, Red House Ale, Workers Mild Brown Ale, and My Sophia Belgian Tripel. Diners can build their own wood-fired pizzas for sharing, choosing from creative ingredients like goat cheese, kalamata olives, Thai chili sauce, grated carrots, and crushed peanuts. Wood-fired panini options include the chicken toga, stuffed with roma tomatoes and grilled chicken breast, or the Berlin club, topped with Swiss cheese, turkey, ham, and bacon. House-roasted coffee is also served up, along with shareable appetizers like soft pretzel bites, wood-fired nachos, and bruschetta.

221 Watson St, Ripon, WI 54971, Phone: 920-748-5188

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6 Best Things to Do in Ripon, WI