Every once in a while, our name appears in an article, not necessarily promoting us specifically, but what may be around us or things to do in the area. The first article is from Travel Wisconsin and as you can see Oshkosh made the list of things to do, see, and places to eat. The second article is a feature story for the Circus World Museum in Baraboo. Though Baraboo is roughly a 2 hour drive from Oshkosh, it is an easy enough day trip for those who are looking for something different to experience. I hope you enjoy both articles as much as I did.
“Wisconsin’s Event City,” Oshkosh is home to over 1,000 events and festivals, including the famous EAA AirVenture and the Country USA music festival. The city on the western shore of Lake Winnebago also has more than its share of year-round fun. Here are our top picks for an Oshkosh weekend getaway, any time of year.
Where to brunch
Pilora’s Café dishes up the café essentials – friendly service and wholesome food – with a dash of originality. From jazz music in the background to some unusual menu items (like cornbread pancakes with Door County cherries and the Moroccan ham sandwich) Pilora’s makes a point of offering something different. They also brew Alterra coffee, so you can fuel up on a proper cup of joe before heading out for your Oshkosh adventures.
Where to explore
The EAA’s AirVenture fly-in every August isn’t your only chance to experience Oshkosh’s world-renowned Experimental Aircraft Association. The EAA AirVenture Museum, open year-round, features over 200 historic airplanes, plus movie theaters, galleries, flight simulators, and two “hands-on” interactive galleries for all ages.
Where to shop
You’ll find a lot of unique shops on (and just off) Main Street. A few to get you started:
- AtomicKatz for vintage clothing and mid-century modern furniture
- Chic to Chic for women’s consignment deals
- Crescent Moon for antiques & architectural salvage
- House of Heroes for comic books and games
- Market Boutique on Main for handmade gifts, accessories and home décor
- Pedestrian Arts Gallery for stained glass, ceramics, wall art and jewelry
If big-name stores are more your style, The Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh, across from the EAA, is home to 55 of the best. We recommend adding a whole day to your Oshkosh itinerary if you want to hit the outlets!
Where to get your culture on
The Grand Opera House, built in 1883, is the oldest operating theater in Wisconsin. It puts on a fun variety of entertainment, from the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra to musicals, rock ’n’ roll shows, and karaoke nights. The Paine Art Center and Gardens is a 1920’s estate with an amazing art collection and display gardens. Their Family Discovery Gallery offers hands-on art experiences for children. Admission: $9 adult/$5 youth.
Where to go for dinner
Gardina’s Wine Bar & Café has a great menu of American/Mediterranean starters, cheese plates, salads and sandwiches, with nightly entrée specials. But it’s their pizza that steals the show. Bring an appetite and brace yourself for some tough decisions: there’s an impressive selection of wines, craft beers, and – bonus – individual-sized cheesecakes. Jam to live music Friday and Saturday nights.
Where to stay
The Brayton Bed & Breakfast is just a short walk from Main Street. Warning: if you stay in this beautiful, friendly B&B, you might not want to leave…especially on the weekends, when you can enjoy an afternoon wine and cheese social in the living room, and homemade desserts later in the evening. Rates: $129.00-$299.00 nightly.
Learn more about all the fun Oshkosh has to offer here.
Liven Up Your Vacation: Visit the Circus World Museum
If you have enjoyed luxuriating yourself in your suite at Brayton B&B, drinking fine wine, eating local cheeses, and visiting the occasional museum, take a vacation from your vacation. Plan a day of highly charged entertainment at the Circus World Museum. The Circus World Museum is a two hour drive from Oshkosh; far enough away to be a significant day-trip, but close enough that you can still make it back to your suite for an evening drink. A premiere Wisconsin attraction, the Circus World Museum is a historical site that attracts thousands of visitors a year, and is loved by both children and adults.
What sets the Circus World Museum apart from your average circus is its remarkable history. The circus, originally named ‘The Ringling Bros. Circus’, was founded in 1884 by the five Ringling brothers. The Ringling Bros. Circus ran for thirty-five years, and in that time expanded to an empire consisting of the three largest circuses in America. In 1959, after the circus industry had gone into decline and The Ringling Bros. Circus had long been closed, its gates once again opened. This time it was named the Circus World Museum, a museum with a mission to preserve the circus industry, so it could be understood and loved by future generations.
The Circus World Museum is home to several of the original buildings used by The Ringling Bros. Circus; these buildings are the largest groups of original circus buildings in North America. Located on the north bank of the Baraboo River, they date from 1897 and 1918, and the area they comprise is now a National Historic Landmark. As well as these historic buildings, artefacts from the old circus are displayed in the many exhibits on offer across the site. Here you can see everything from the cage wagons in which lions were kept, to original poster art advertising circus shows.
Of course it would be unheard of to go to a circus and not see a show. With the spirit of the original Ringling circus, there are a variety of shows on offer to suit a multitude of interests and tastes. Gymnastics, acrobatics, elephant shows, clown shows, and contortionist shows, are just a few of the performances on offer for visitors. Just make sure to look at the performance schedule on arrival so you won’t risk missing your favorite.
Eating and Drinking
If your trip to the Circus World Museum falls during the summer season, then their deluxe onsite restaurant, Cookhouse Grill, is open for business. If not, or if you would prefer to eat away from the circus, why not venture into Baraboo? Baraboo is a bustling city with a diverse range of eateries. Here you can sample the best burgers American cuisine has to offer, as well as some top-notch Mexican and Italian food.
Driving is certainly the easiest, and most cost-effective, way of getting to the Circus World Museum, and will give you the chance to experience some of the beautiful scenery of Wisconsin between Oshkosh and Baraboo. It is important, however, that you consider safety before hitting the road. Whether you plan to rent a car or bring your own with you to Oshkosh, you must ensure that you are covered against breakdown in the Wisconsin area. Purchasing breakdown cover is simple, as it can be bought quickly and easily online, and there are many cheap deals to be found. While it is unlikely you will need to use it, breakdown cover is priceless for the piece of mind it will give you during your trip. Once you’ve got your breakdown cover in the bag, and have set a date for your trip to the Circus World Museum, simply jot down the directions below and you are ready to go.
1. Head northwest on Church Ave towards Central St(0.4 mi)
2. Turn left onto Wisconsin St (0.5 mi)
3. Continue onto Ohio St(0.9 mi)
4. Turn right onto W South Park Ave(2.0 mi)
5. Turn left to merge onto U.S. 41 S toward Milwaukee (2.4 mi)
6. Take exit 113 for WI-26/County Rd N toward Waupun (0.4 mi)
7. Turn right onto WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Co Rd N. Continue to follow WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S (21.5 mi)
8. Take the Wisconsin 26 S/U.S. 151 S ramp to Waupun/Madison (0.4 mi)
9. Merge onto US-151 S (1.0 mi)
10. Take exit 147 to merge onto US-151 BUS S/WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Fond Du Lac St toward Waupun. Continue to follow US-151 BUS S/Fond Du Lac St.(1.6 mi)
11. Turn right onto EMain St.(1.0 mi)
12. Turn left onto WI-68 W/Fox Lake Rd. Continue to follow WI-68 W (9.5 mi)
13. Continue onto State Hwy 33 W/W State St. Continue to follow State Hwy 33 W (44.8 mi)
14. Turn left onto Washington Ave(0.6 mi)
15. Turn right onto Water St. Destination will be on the left.