Green Bay, Wisconsin, is known by most in the US for its winning football team, the Green Bay Packers. But there is more to this city than sports. Whether you are in Green Bay for a day trip or the entire weekend, you can find something unexpected to do on your visit to “Titletown.”
Sports fans flock to Lambeau Field to see the Packers’ championship titles. Others prefer to explore the nature and history of the city that’s sprinkled throughout the streets. But no matter what you do, take advantage of this mid-sized city’s big personality. Here are the best places to make memories in Green Bay.
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Soak up the Packers’ glory
As the most decorated football team in the NFL, seeing a Packers game is about as all-American as it gets. If you’re in town during the football season, (August-February) put on your green and yellow, and a cheesehead if you dare, and take in the local “Go, Pack, Go!” energy of a football game at Lambeau Field.
The team inspires sheer devotion in its fanbase (many of whom even own stock in the team). Experiencing the crowd is just as much part of a trip to Lambeau Field as the players are.
Buy your tickets well in advance of your trip to be sure of a seat – they’ve been sold out consistently since 1960.
If you can’t make a game, visit Lambeau for a stadium tour, which even gives visitors a glimpse at the team’s locker rooms and player’s tunnel. Top off your experience with some football footage and history at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame – the first hall of fame to honor a single American football team.
If you can’t see a Green Bay Packers football game during your visit, stop by the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame ©Jeff Bukowski/Shutterstock
Take in nature at Fox River State Trail
A trip to Wisconsin is not complete without an adventure outdoors. Bike, walk or skate along the 25-mile-long Fox River State Trail, where you’ll pass through downtown Green Bay and neighboring farming communities. You might even spot a deer or two along the way. You’ll need to purchase a state trail pass to bike, horseback ride or in-line skate on the trail – walking the trail does not require a pass.
Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes – some of the trail is gravel.
Stroll through the Green Bay Botanical Garden
For a serene experience, head to the Green Bay Botanical Garden. With 300,000 blooms in any given year, you can see brightly-colored tulips, magnolias, perennials and more. Families with young kids will love the maze and treehouse in the children’s garden. In addition to tours in the spring and summer, the garden hosts events such as scavenger hunts and landscape walks, with live music and food from local restaurants.
New Year’s travelers can take in the Garden of Lights event. Every year, the Green Bay Botanical Garden showcases 325,000-plus twinkling lights shaped into outdoor sculptures for visitors to view via horse-drawn carriage rides. It’s an event that can be as family-friendly or romantic as a traveler desires.
Learn about the Oneida Nation by taking a tour, or seeing a powwow performance. Here, a young dancer performs at the 49th annual United Tribes Powwow in North Dakota © Pierre Jean Durieu / Shutterstock
Take an Oneida Nation cultural tour
Before Green Bay was home to the Packers or the settlers, it belonged to the Oneida Nation. The Oneida Nation cultural tours are ideal for travelers interested in understanding the indigenous history of the city. Learn what life was like for the Oneida Nation in the 1700s, and as they came to Green Bay in 1823. They also offer interactive performances showcasing various styles of powwow dances.
Ride around at Bay Beach Amusement Park
Bay Beach Amusement Park is a hidden gem in a state where Six Flags (in nearby Gurnee, Illinois) and Wisconsin Dells get all the love. Here, arcade games, roller coasters and sugary concessions all come together for a good time. For as little as 25 cents per ride, you can have some fun riding around one of the oldest active amusement parks in the country. Go traditional with an old-fashioned Ferris wheel ride, or bring the kids and twirl in the tilt-a-whirl. After riding the rollercoaster, get a slushie, walking taco and kettle corn, and take in the excitement from one of the park’s picnic tables.
Explore the outdoors at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
The largest park in Green Bay deserves love and attention too, so head over to the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary after visiting the nearby amusement park. Though originally purchased by the City of Green Bay to develop as a golf course, the 600-acre sanctuary – making it the second-largest wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary program in Wisconsin – is now home to 4,500 birds, foxes, bobcats, wolves and other mammals . The sanctuary includes hiking trails and houses at an environmental education center, with animal talks and fishing at the Bay Beach Lagoon. Best yet? It’s free year-round.
Get active at the adventure park zoo
The Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo, locally known as NEW Zoo, is an adventure park and zoo in Green Bay. You can visit any of its 90 species, including lions, snow leopards and emus, along with Wisconsin wildlife, such as wild turkeys and deer. Children love visiting the petting zoo or turning their visit into a game by downloading one of the self-guided scavenger hunts. For a one-of-a-kind experience, check out the giraffe feeding, where visitors can feed lettuce and leaves to the zoo’s giraffes, Zuri and Nigel.
If you are a traveling family with kids and teenagers, the adventure park takes NEW Zoo to a whole new level. Reach new heights on the 36-foot climbing tower, and test your strength and agility climbing through the rope course. Younger kids can conquer their fear of heights on a smaller scale with the “kids course.”
Your kids will love feeding a giraffe at the NEW Zoo in Green Bay. Getty Images/iStockphoto
Hop on a train at the National Railroad Museum
This museum is one of Green Bay’s unique additions. The National Railroad Museum, founded in 1956, offers a popular 25-minute train ride through the surrounding wooded area along the Fox River. But visitors also come to see historical gems, including the Eisenhower collection – the museum’s staple exhibit, which features a steam engine called “Dwight D Eisenhower” used during World War II.
Other locomotives, sleeper cars and passenger cars are on display around the museum, highlighting both local, regional and countrywide train history. From US army locomotives to a general motors aerotrain, each display transports you to a different era of train travel. Also featured are a handful of displays honoring the Pullman porters, the Black sleeper car attendants who shaped the train travel experience post-Civil War.
Visit the Neville Public Museum
As Green Bay’s largest museum, the Neville Public Museum is the place to learn more about Green Bay’s history, from 10,000 BCE to the present. Established in 1927, with the current museum built in 1983, the museum showcases art, history and science, encompassing the impact of Green Bay’s location along the Great Lakes. “Highlights from the Neville Photograph Collection,” “Hometown Advantage: The Community and the Packers,” and “On the Edge of the Inland Sea” are three permanent collections to get a well-rounded perspective of the city.
The museum also hosts a free international film series, poetry nights and craft week for guests. Be sure to check the current exhibits before you visit. They rotate throughout the year.
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Marvel at vintage cars in the Automobile Gallery
Vintage car aficionados are sure to enjoy the Automobile Gallery, described on its website as “more Guggenheim than garage.” The gallery features a series of more than 80 restored vehicles, which are displayed in an open space that served as a Cadillac dealership from 1958 to 1997. The Guest Vehicle Program lets visitors “ooh” and “ahh” over cars from the 1900s to 2006 , including a fire-engine-red Ferrari from the ’80s, Porsches from the ’60s and ’90s, a carriage Cadillac from 1908 and a bright yellow Corvette from the ’70s.
Sip your way through the breweries of Green Bay
To finish off your Green Bay experience, stop for a pint at one of its many breweries. Wisconsin is a die-hard beer-drinking state, and Green Bay offers top-quality drinks that make any budget traveler happy. Sports fans may want to try the Badger State Brewing Company – a solid choice for a pre- or post-Packer game drink. For a beer garden and brewery experience, head to Titletown Brewing Company. Or, after a day at the Bay Beach Amusement Park or Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, stop at the nearby Stillmank Brewing Company for local beers paired with local cheeses.