The third-largest city in Wisconsin, Green Bay sits on a picturesque inlet of Lake Michigan known locally as the Bay of Green Bay. The city’s nickname, Titletown USA, is in honor of the Green Bay Packers’ 13 NFL championships (including four Super Bowl victories). Professional football is in the DNA of this thriving waterfront city, but Green Bay is an all-around winning tourist destination.
Things To Do In Green Bay
Whether your interests lean toward the cultural or the outdoorsy, Green Bay knows how to pack your itinerary with fun. There are so many fascinating things to do, you’ll want to extend your stay!
1. Meyer Theatre
The historic Meyer Theatre opened in 1930 as a glamorous vaudeville house and movie palace. Over the decades, famous names like Liberace, Johnny Cash, and the Beach Boys appeared on its stage, until the building fell into disrepair. A massive restoration effort was completed in 2002, and today the 1,000-seat theater once again hosts live performances, including concerts, comedians, and touring troupes. Most of the original architectural details are intact.
The Meyer Theatre is home to the much-heralded juke-box musical comedies of Let Me Be Frank Productions, headed and written by the madcap Frank Hermans. See a show while you’re in town to find out what the silliness is about.
2. Green Bay Botanical Garden
The formal gardens and natural areas at Green Bay Botanical Garden showcase the area’s outdoor beauty all four seasons. Throughout the 47 sprawling acres, intersected with meandering paths and trails, are more than two dozen showy gardens and architectural structures. An herbal display features medicinal, culinary, and ornamental specimens. A hosta-and-shade perennial glen flourishes around a peaceful stream and the constructed ruin of a stone spring house. Other gardens celebrate conifers, hostas, apple trees, and even Vietnam veterans. The annual calendar features a lights festival in winter and outdoor concerts in summer.
3. Kohler Waters Spa At Lodge Kohler
Relax or reinvigorate at the elegant Kohler Waters Spa at Lodge Kohler. Yes, it’s the same Kohler name known world-over for luxe bath and shower fixtures and design innovations. The menu lists massages, hydrotherapy, Vichy shower, wraps, facials, and salon services, many incorporating Kohler body care products. Lightly scented Hollyhock is the spa’s signature fragrance. Before or after your treatment, indulge in the thermal suite of amenities that includes a steam room, sauna, and cool-plunge pool. Save some me-time for a lounge-about in the Hydromassage Experience Pool, a state-of-the-art therapeutic whirlpool designed by Kohler hydro pros. My Green Bay Stone massage was elevated with basalt rocks gleaned from Lake Michigan.
4. Bay Beach Amusement Park
One of the oldest amusement parks in the country, Bay Beach Amusement Park has thrilled visitors of all ages for more than a century. Choose from 23 nostalgic rides and attractions like bumper cars, choo-choo train, tilt-a-whirl, and Ferris wheel. Catch a ride on the wooden Zippin Pippin roller coaster, a replica of Elvis Presley’s favorite ride at a Memphis theme park. Entrance and parking are free, and most ride tickets are 25 cents. The Zippin Pippin will cost you 4 tickets.
5. Parallel 44 Winery
Wisconsin’s frigid winters might not seem conducive to premium winemaking, but the folks at Parallel 44 Winery proved differently. After all, the 44th parallel north runs through renowned wine regions Tuscany and Bordeaux. The winery grows cool-climate grapes specially bred to withstand freeze and frost, and presses them into unique-to-Wisconsin fruit-forward reds, whites, and roses from sweet to dry to bubbly. Visit the winery for flights and tours, then sit back on the terrace and savor your sips.
6. Lambeau Field Experience
You don’t have to be a football enthusiast or a Green Bay Packers fan to enjoy touring the team’s home, Lambeau Field. (I’m not and I did.) Green Bay is the smallest city in the National Football League to host a team. You probably won’t see them play because games have sold out since the 1960s, and the wait for season tickets is 100,000 names long (but if you insist, find a legit ticket broker.) Instead, book a stadium tour paired with admission to the Packers Hall of Fame and Museum. You’ll learn the history of this once-scrappy team and how it became beloved Super Bowl champs, view the advertising-free playing field, and drool over the treasure trove of shiny trophies and rings on display.
Packers Pro Shop is worth a whirl not only for green-and-gold tees and tchotchkes but upscale goods sprinkled with Packers logos like Tommy Bahama and Dooney and Bourke. A green retro pickup truck is filled with foamy cheesehead hats, a snarky reference to Wisconsin residents. (The state is a leading cheese producer.)
Best Restaurants In Green Bay
Green Bay restaurants focus on delicious and hearty American fare. The dining scene is amped up with the bounties of land and lakes, plus a few distinctly Wisconsin culinary traditions.
7. Plae Bistro
Known for imaginative American cuisine with a healthy twist, Plae Bistro is a neighborhood fave. Many ingredients come from the bistro’s own garden. The grilled-cheese bites (small sandwiches) served with housemade tomato bisque for dipping combine some of Wisconsin’s best taste treats.
Across from Lambeau Field on the Titletown recreation and entertainment plaza is Hinterland, Green Bay’s first brewery and a farm-to-table eatery. Order a Packerland Pilsner and a plate of fried cheese curds — a Wisconsin menu mainstay. Other sure bets are the venison meatloaf and the goat cheese and wild mushroom wood-fired pizza.
9. Taverne In The Sky
Lodge Kohler’s fifth-floor restaurant, Taverne in the Sky, is notable for open-flame rotisserie cuisine and awesome views of Lambeau Field. House specialties include pork tenderloin and sturgeon, both wood-fired. The panoramic bar has outdoor balcony seating with firepits. Did you know Kohler is also a premium chocolatier? Order a shot of Kohler Original Recipe Dark Chocolate Brandy, perhaps on the rocks with a splash of soda. Order one for me, too, please.
10. Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe
When in Green Bay, you definitely need a kringle, and the place to get it is Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe. What is a kringle? It’s a large buttery, flaky Danish pastry filled with gooey goodness, rolled into a pretzel shape, and topped with frosting. Michael Vande Walle, also known as Uncle Mike, has won more than 100 baking competitions, including the North American Kringle Champion. My favorite is the Door County Cherry Kringle, but his Sea Salt Caramel Pecan Kringle is a multi-award winner.
11. Farmer’s Market On Broadway
Green Bay’s largest farmer’s market is also a summertime entertainment venue and social hub. Each week, more than 150 vendors converge at the Farmer’s Market on Broadway to sell an astonishing array of garden-plucked produce, home-prepared and -packaged edibles, carnival fare, and healthy take-outs. Joining them are flower peddlers, artisans of many talents, and colorful street performers. Relax for a spell in the beer garden with a local craft brew, or hang out near the stage to listen to live music. If you feel like dancing in the street, kick up your heels. Many people do.
Best Hotels In Green Bay
Overnight accommodations are plentiful and varied in the greater Green Bay area. Among them are boutique and branded hotels, charming inns, retro motels, home rentals, and campgrounds. Here are a few recommendations for hotels in Green Bay:
12. Lodge Kohler
Just footsteps from Lambeau Field, Lodge Kohler was designed as a nod to Wisconsin’s scenic Northwoods with artful references to great moments in Packers history. The amenity-rich hotel features a swimming pool, fitness center, spa, and two restaurants: Taverne in the Sky and Leaps and Bounds Cafe. Guestrooms and suites are appointed with the latest in Kohler design technology, including vessel sinks and 3-headed showers programmable for your desired spray intensity and water temperature. In my view, 93 degrees is perfect.
13. Hotel Northland
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Hotel Northland is just as much a crown jewel today as when it opened in 1924. A recent renovation revived the lobby’s classic grandeur and swathed the guest rooms in contemporary luxury. Dine in the elegant Walnut Room or Poke the Bear sports pub, two different takes on American cuisine. Located downtown Green Bay, the independent boutique Hotel Northland is an Autograph Collection Hotel by Marriott Bonvoy.
14. Radisson Hotel And Conference Center
Across the street from Austin Straubel International Airport, the newly renovated Radisson Hotel and Conference Center is a moderately priced option. The lobby exudes a contemporary prairie ambiance with soothing earth tones and a massive bling-bling chandelier. The guest rooms and suites sport modern finishes and sparkling baths. Amenities include a fitness center, sauna, indoor swimming pool, and several dining options. Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar, which serves farm-to-table American and regional cuisine, is popular with locals.
Feeling lucky? The Oneida Casino, which is attached to the Radisson hotel, is ready for action with thousands of slot machines, a bingo hall, poker room, and table games.
Pro Tip: Green Bay is home to two magnificent hidden waterfalls tucked into county parks, Fonferek’s Glen and Wequiock Falls. About 30 feet high, both were created by the Niagara Escarpment. Wequiock Falls is most impressive in the spring.