The first time I heard about Oshkosh, I was intrigued by the city’s reputation for being a hub of outdoor recreation, arts, and culture. Situated on the banks of Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh is a city that offers a wide range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests.
And I say this with confidence because I’ve had the opportunity to explore the city and its surroundings. And to be honest, all I can say is that this city truly lives up to its reputation as a vibrant and diverse destination. In this article, I’ll share 15 of the best things to do in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, if you’re looking for a fun getaway.
Things To Do In Oshkosh, Wisconsin
1. Take A Tour Of The Paine Art Center And Gardens
The Paine Art Center and Gardens is a stunning historic estate that offers you a chance to experience the beauty of nature and art in one place. The estate was built in 1927 and was home to Nathan and Jessie Paine, the owners of the Paine Lumber Company.
In 1948, they established it as a museum to showcase their extensive art collection and provide a space for the community to enjoy. Today, the Paine Art Center and Gardens is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Oshkosh that attracts visitors from all over the world. Get to see the revolving art exhibitions, the beautiful gardens, and the stunning architectural details of the estate.
You can also take a guided tour of the historic mansion to learn more about the history of the estate and the Paines. In addition, the grounds are available for events and weddings, making it a unique and beautiful setting for special occasions.
2. Catch A Show At The Grand Opera House
The Grand Opera House is a magnificent and historic venue that has been entertaining audiences for over a century. Built in 1883, this iconic building has played host to countless performances, concerts, and events.
Although its name suggests a focus on operatic performances, the Grand Opera House has been a stage for a wide range of performing arts, including plays, musicals, comedy acts, and more. Per year, it hosts 25 public performances and over ten youth events.
Therefore, whenever you need that fix of live entertainment, why not consider a visit to this opera house? After all, it’s not only a place to enjoy a performance, but also a place to relive the rich cultural history. So be sure to include it in your list of entertaining things to do in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
3. Visit The Asylum Point Lighthouse
The Asylum Point Lighthouse is a historic structure that was erected in 1937. This lighthouse is a well-known landmark in the area and is located on the shores of Lake Winnebago. And although it was never used as a navigational light, it has become a symbol of the city’s rich maritime history.
Unfortunately, the lighthouse is not open to the public for tours or visits, but it remains a popular spot for photographers and visitors looking to capture its beauty. You can also enjoy the park surrounding the lighthouse, which offers picnic tables, hiking trails, and a boat launch area.
This park is a great place for families and friends to spend time outdoors and soak in the beauty of the lake. And despite its limited access, it’s still one of the top-rated attractions in Oshkosh that draws visitors from near and far.
4. Have Fun At Pullock Community Water Park
Pullock Community Water Park is one of the top spots to visit in Oshkosh during the summer season. This is because it offers a wide range of water-based activities and attractions that are sure to entertain visitors of all ages.
The park features several water slides, swimming pools, family-friendly themed events, and splash zones, among others. This means that whether you’re looking to relax or to get an adrenaline rush, you are sure to find something to suit your taste.
There are also shaded areas for those who need a break from the sun, as well as picnic areas for families who want to enjoy a meal together. So, you can spend an entire day at the water park without ever feeling overwhelmed or bored.
5. Sample Local Beer At Bare Bones Brewery
One of the best things to do in Oshkosh if you’re a beer enthusiast is to visit Bare Bones Brewery. This local brewery was established in 2015 and became the first craft brewery in Oshkosh after 20 years.
Today, it offers a unique selection of handcrafted beers that are sure to please even the most discerning palates. You can try their American lagers, American IPA, amber ales, as well as their seasonal beers.
A visit to this brewery is a fun and relaxing experience, where you can sample the brews, chat with friends, or simply relax and unwind. So call your friends and make your way here for a truly authentic and memorable beer experience.
6. Visit The EAA Aviation Museum To Learn The History Of Flight
Aviation Museum is a world-renowned destination for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The museum showcases over 200 aircraft and provides a comprehensive look at the history of aviation and its impact on society.
As you walk through the museum, you’ll see some of the most iconic aircraft from the early days of aviation to the latest advancements in technology.
And if you travel with kids, they’ll love the KidVenture Gallery, where they can experience hands-on learning and interactive exhibits about aviation. They can also climb into the cockpit of an F-22 replica and experience what it’s like to be a pilot. But if you want to feel the real thrill of flying, you can book a flight at Pioneer Airport, which is a few steps from the museum.
7. Learn About The History Of The Military At The Military Veterans Museum & Education Center
If you want to learn about the sacrifices and achievements of military veterans, then the Military Veterans Museum & Education Center is a must-visit destination. This museum showcases the rich history of military veterans who have served this country with honor and bravery.
As you tour the museum, you will be able to see various exhibits and displays that highlight different eras of military history. You’ll see the military vehicles, motor pool, and weapons. You can also visit the Medal of Honor exhibit, which features artifacts and information about the prestigious award, including profiles of recipients and the stories behind their acts of bravery.
There is a lot to see and learn at this museum that is dedicated to preserving the memories of our veterans. Therefore, remember to include this museum on your list of places to visit in Oshkosh to take your time and really soak in the history and stories of these heroes.
8. Play A Game Of Golf At Glow In The Park Indoor Mini Golf
Glow in The Park Indoor Mini Golf in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is a unique and exciting way to enjoy a game of mini golf with friends or family. This game is played with a brightly colored golf ball and is designed to be played in a dark environment filled with glowing neon lights and special effects.
One of the most exciting aspects of this game is the course design. Each hole is a creative, imaginative, and challenging work of art designed to be thrilling. The course is also made to be both challenging and fun, from tunnels and caves to moving objects and interactive elements.
I suggest booking your round ahead of time, as it can get quite busy during peak hours. You’ll definitely have a blast playing this game, and I recommend it to your list of fun things to do in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
9. Admire Arts At Jambalaya Arts
Jambalaya Arts is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting and fostering the arts of local and Wisconsin-based artists. It hosts several events and exhibitions throughout the year that showcase a wide range of artistic styles and mediums, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and more.
This gallery is only open from Thursday to Saturday, so be sure to check the schedule before you go. And if you fall in love with a piece of art, you can take it home with you, as most of the works on display are for sale.
Although Jambalaya Arts is a small organization, it has a big impact on the arts community. Therefore, this makes it one of Oshkosh’s attractions that highlights the talent and creativity of local artists.
10. Have Fun At Menominee Park And Zoo
Menominee Park and Zoo is a 100-acre park that offers a unique blend of outdoor recreation and wildlife education. The park features a wide range of amenities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, fishing lakes, and playgrounds.
Additionally, the zoo is home to nearly 50 animals, including wolves, elk, otters, birds, llamas, goats, and more. You can watch the animals up close and even interact with some of them. The zoo is a popular destination for families, school groups, and nature lovers of all ages. Note that the zoo is only open during summer.
What’s more? You can rent canoes, Kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and explore the scenic lakes in the park. And being among the famous attractions in Oshkosh, be prepared for a fun a filled day with plenty of activities.
11. Shop For Fresh Goods At The Oshkosh Saturday Farmer’s Market
The Oshkosh Saturday Farmer’s Market is a vibrant market that brings together local farmers, artists, and food vendors to sell their products in a bustling outdoor atmosphere. Held every Saturday from 8 am to 12:30 pm, this market is a must-visit destination if you love fresh, locally-grown produce and handcrafted goods. And with a wide selection of seasonal fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and more, there is something that will suit your taste.
Not only does the market offer a diverse range of products, but it is also a great place to get a taste of the community. Local artists showcase their paintings, jewelry, and other crafts, and there are often food vendors offering delicious bites from their carts and trucks. You can also enjoy live music and entertainment, meet new friends, and taste the many flavors of Oshkosh. And for this reason, it deserves a spot on your list of the best things to do in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
12. Spend A Day At Stevens Park
Oshkosh is blessed with several beautiful parks that offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation, and Stevens Park is certainly one of them. This well-maintained park offers lush green spaces and features amenities that cater to a wide range of interests.
One of the park’s main attractions is its extensive network of walking trails. You can stroll through the lush green spaces and enjoy the natural beauty and peaceful surroundings. The park is also a popular spot for picnicking, with several picnic tables and grills available for public use.
And if you’re looking for a bit of adventure, the park also offers several recreational opportunities, including basketball courts, a baseball diamond, tennis, and softball.
This is one of the top spots in Oshkosh for families and friends to come together and enjoy the outdoors. It has almost everything you need for a perfect day out, thus making it a must-visit.
13. Hike The Wiouwash State Trail
Do you love spending time outdoors, exploring nature, and getting some exercise? Then why not hike the Wiouwash State Trail? This beautiful trail is a perfect destination for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors and connect with nature.
Stretching for over 20 miles, Wiouwash State Trail is a multi-use trail that offers scenic views, wildlife sightings, and an opportunity to get away from it all. It runs from downtown Oshkosh (near the university) to the Village of Hortonville.
The trail is pretty smooth and flat, making it suitable for walkers, cyclists, and even horse riders. You can find picnic areas and rest stops along the way, offering a great opportunity to take a break and refuel. And with its mix of natural beauty and recreational opportunities, this is definitely the best place in Oshkosh to spend a day or an afternoon.
14. Attend The Waterfest Concert Series
One thing about Oshkosh is the abundance of outdoor events and activities, especially during the summer months. And one of the most highly anticipated events is the Waterfest Concert Series, which began in 1985.
This series of concerts features some of the biggest names in the music industry and attracts thousands of people from all over the region. Therefore, expect a mix of popular genres, including rock, country, hip-hop, and more.
One of the best things about this event is the lively atmosphere. You’ll see people of all ages enjoying the music, dancing, and socializing with each other. And that is why attending one of these concerts is sure to be one of the best things to do in Oshkosh.
15. Go Antique Shopping At The Originals Mall Of Antiques
Are you a fan of vintage and antique items? If yes, the Originals Mall of Antiques is where you need to do your shopping. This unique shopping destination offers a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind items and rare finds, perfect for collectors and antique enthusiasts alike.
The mall houses over 100 vendors, each offering his own unique collection of items. Popular items sold here include rare coins, antique jewelry, and vintage furniture.
In addition to its impressive collection, this is federally licensed to buy and sell guns, making it an ideal place for gun collectors to find their next prized possession.
And with so many options available, you can easily spend hours browsing the mall and discovering new and exciting pieces.