Southeastern Wisconsin Itinerary at a Glance
From the Gilded Age mansions of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to the big-city pleasures of Milwaukee, the region brims with group-friendly opportunities for every interest. Learn about auto manufacturing history, get immersed in motorcycle culture and connect with nature at America’s largest freshwater cattail marsh.
You’ll experience these great attractions and more:
- Yerkes Observatory
- Black Point Estate
- East Troy Electric Railroad
- Harley-Davidson Museum
- Horicon Marsh
- Wisconsin Automotive Museum
Details and Tips
Length: 3 Nights
Suitable for: Adults and families seeking to enjoy museums and history
SOUTHEASTERN WISCONSIN DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY
Day 1: Williams Bay, Lake Geneva and East Troy, Wisconsin Attractions
What do Carl Sagan and Edwin Hubble have to do with Wisconsin? They both studied at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, home to the largest refracting telescope. Take a tour of the observatory and learn about the discoveries made by some of the top minds in astronomy. The architecture and the story of the building add another layer to the tour.
Cruise Geneva Lake with Lake Geneva Cruise Line; themed excursions include the famous Mailboat Cruise, an ice cream social cruise and the Black Point Estate tour. Step back in time at Black Point Estate, one of the oldest homes on the lake. Built as a retreat in 1888 for Chicago beer baron Conrad Seipp, the home remains a place to relax, refresh and explore. Just like the Victorian VIPs who established the estate, you’ll arrive in style and enjoy stunning Geneva Lake views on your cruise to this magnificent mansion, considered one of the finest examples of period architecture and furnishings in the Midwest.
Next, reflect on simpler times aboard the East Troy Electric Railroad. The historic rail cars travel 10 miles through beautiful Southeast Wisconsin; one option is a dinner excursion.
Day 2: Things to Do in Milwaukee
Head to Milwaukee, where you’ll experience the stories, history and architecture of a city recently recognized as “National Geographic Travel Best of the Best for 2023.” Stop at North Point Lighthouse and Museum in historic Lake Park to enjoy the exhibits and perhaps climb the 74-foot tower for a breathtaking view. Just down the road, the Jewish Museum Milwaukee spotlights the history of Milwaukee’s Jewish community. Permanent exhibits explore themes of immigration, intolerance, diversity, respect and freedom. Highlights include a wall-size tapestry by Marc Chagall, the Settlement Cookbook and an exhibit on Israeli leader Golda Meir (who grew up in Milwaukee).
A Milwaukee stay wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum. With an unrivaled collection of over 300 motorcycles and related memorabilia on display, you’ll get an in-depth look into the lifestyle of the motorcycle community. The gallery of motorcycles spans from 1903 to the present, including a motorcycle owed by Elvis Presley, Serial #1 and more. Before leaving, be sure to hop on a Harley-Davidson in the Experience Gallery.
Day 3: More To Do in Cedarburg and Hartford, WI
Today we’ll head north to the lovely Main Street town of Cedarburg and visit the Wisconsin Museum of Quilt and Fiber Arts. Here you’ll learn about and appreciate the artistic, cultural, historic and social importance of quilts and fiber arts. Continue to Horicon Marsh and the Explorium. Horicon Marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States and home to over 300 kinds of birds, including egrets, cranes and the American pelican, plus mammals, fish, reptiles and plants. Explorium exhibits highlight the history and conservation of the marsh.
Then it’s on to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford. The largest auto museum in the state, it features an ever-changing display of classic and vintage autos and artifacts, plus the largest assembled group of Hartford-built Kissel luxury automobiles. Over 100+ vehicles on exhibit include Studebakers, Kaisers, Nashes and other U.S.-made cars.
Day 4: Final Day of Activities in Racine, Wisconsin
Travel south to Racine for a stop at one of the authentic Danish bakeries to learn about the official pastry of Wisconsin, kringle. This delicious treat comes in a variety of flavors and you’ll have a hard time deciding which is your favorite. Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Racine Zoo is home to some of the world’s most remarkable and endangered wildlife. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the grounds while enjoying the animal encounters. The zoo offers interactive education programs, and special events throughout the year.
Lead photo: Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay
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