Wisconsin Travel: Arts and Culture

From sculpture gardens and local art galleries to world-class museums and traveling exhibits, Wisconsin is full of amazing and unexpected ways to absorb the arts. Here’s to finding the right match for your palate.

Watch a show at Center Pablo at Confluence in Eau Claire, Eau Claire County

Right in the heart of downtown, Center Pablo at La Confluence is a perfect addition to Eau Claire’s thriving art scene.

The state-of-the-art venue was completed in 2018. Since then, it has attracted well-known musicians, high-end theater productions, comedians and local artists. At the Center Pablo, visitors can enjoy three galleries, showcasing collections and works by regional and national artists.

To continue your artistic visit, go to Craft Forge Studios. This collection of studios provides space for artists to paint on canvas, blow glass, carve wood, and create other mediums. Browse the on-site gift shop for a memorable piece of local art to take home.

And while you’re in Eau Claire, Acoustic Coffee prepares fantastic dishes for lunch. Choose between the hot hoagie – made with homemade bread baked each morning – or the pita sandwiches, and pair it with one of the cafe’s rotating soup options. Or treat yourself to a sweet baked good.

Buy art in Green Bay Olde Main Street Neighborhood (Brown County)

Just east of downtown, Green Bay’s Olde Maine Street is the city’s arts district, with studios, galleries, public murals, and shops. The garage art is a former cannery transformed into an artistic centre. Inside the century-old building, visit two galleries featuring works by local artists. The nonprofit art center rotates exhibits frequently, making repeat visits fresh and inviting.

The Olde Main Street area also has murals and other public art that is fun to seek out or just discover. One of the most colorful and selfie-worthy murals is a large room called Morty the moose. It is as if Rocky and Bullwinkle had to take a ride in the Beatles Yellow Submarine!

To end the day with a good meal, head to the nearby De Pere restaurant for dinner at Union Hotel. Originally an 1800s boarding house, the hotel operates an upscale and beautifully decorated steak and seafood restaurant.

Choose between cuts like a New York strip served with blue cheese or a dry-aged porterhouse. If you’re feeling more surf than turf, savor the lobster ravioli or seared ahi tuna served with honey-soya sauce. And pair it with a fine wine from the Union Hotel’s impressive menu.

Dress up like a zombie to support the arts in the Northwoods (Vilas County)

For a completely unexpected adventure, you can support arts programming in the Northwoods by pretending to be the living dead! Land of the Lakes Arts hosts its popular zombie ramp the last weekend of October. This organization is dedicated to promoting the arts in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The event kicks off on Thursday, October 27 with a wine and magic tasting performed by Harry Houdini’s great-grandnephew at the Twilight Supper Club. The next day, show off your creative side with a Halloween-inspired arts and crafts event in downtown Land O’ Lakes.

And on Saturday, you become the canvas as talented members of Land O’ Lakes Arts do their makeup for a professional-looking zombie appearance. Buses then shuttle between seven bars and restaurants. And the night ends with a Zombie Ball at The Gateway Lodge with dancing, raffle and costume contest.

For a convenient stay, spend the weekend at the historic Gateway Lodge. A grand living room exemplifies turn-of-the-century Northwoods with its massive hand-built fireplace, exposed beams, and impressive animal mounts. When you’re not flexing your brains, take a dip in the heated indoor pool or relax in a redwood sauna.

Start your fall getaway at TravelWisconsin.com.

About Marco C. Nichols

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