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Wisconsin in United States.svg
Flag of Wisconsin.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Madison
Government U.S. State
Currency US dollar (USD)
Area 169,639 km2
Population 5,726,398 (2012 est.)
Language English(No official language)
Religion Christian 81%, Protestant 50%, Roman Catholic 29%, No-Religion 15%, Other 2.5%
Electricity 120V/60Hz (North American plug)
Time Zone UTC -6/-5

Wisconsin is a state in the Midwest of the United States of America.

The name Wisconsin means "meeting of the waters" and is of Native American origin.

Wisconsin borders Illinois, and Iowa to the south, Minnesota to the west, and Michigan to the north. To the east lies the long Lake Michigan shoreline and in the northwest a smaller Lake Superior shoreline.

Wisconsin is known nationwide for its dairy heritage, or as "America's Dairyland". Being home to two Great Lakes, thousands of inland lakes and waterways, the state could easily be called the nation's "waterworld" instead.


Wisconsin regions map.png
Southeast Wisconsin
Southeast Wisconsin is the state's most populous region. The major cities are Kenosha, Milwaukee (Wisconsin's largest city), Racine, and Waukesha. The popular summer getaway destination of Lake Geneva is also included in this region; as well as the scenic areas of the Kettle Moraine, and Lake Country, Waukesha Co.
Southwest Wisconsin
The major cities are La Crosse and Madison (capital city and campus of the University of Wisconsin).
Northeast Wisconsin
The major cities are Appleton (Houdini central), Green Bay (home of the intensely beloved football Packers), and Oshkosh.The popular summer getaway destination of Door County is also included in this region.
North Central Wisconsin
The major city is Wausau, gateway to the northwoods.
Northwest Wisconsin
The major cities are Eau Claire and Superior.


Other destinations[edit]


The southern portion of the state is mainly agricultural and urban while the northern half is mostly rural and forested and is more similar in appearance to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The central region acts as a transition zone with both forests, farm land and small cities.

The state's largest city and urban area is Milwaukee located in southeastern Wisconsin. In south-central Wisconsin lies the state capital Madison. Green Bay is listed as the state's third largest city. Wisconsin is a popular Midwestern travel destination both in the summer and winter months.


Wisconsinites speak with a dry Midwestern accent and tend to emphasize their vowels. Perfect examples include the words "roof" and "bag"!

People in the state commonly refer to a drinking fountain as a "bubbler". Also note that unlike most of the Midwest, Wisconsinites in the northern part of the state refer to soft drinks as "soda" rather than "pop".
It's common for people in many parts of the state to refer to ATM's as "Tyme Machines" (named for what was the most common type of ATM in numerous areas meaning Take Your Money Everywhere). Most people in the state also tend to refer to parking garages as "parking ramps".
However, these phrases are uncommon in southeastern Wisconsin.


Wisconsin is in the Central Time Zone (-6 GMT), as are all neighboring states except Michigan, which is in the Eastern Time Zone (with the exception of a small portion of the Upper Penn. which borders Wisconsin also in the central time zone).

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

As of 2016, Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) offers nonstop service to/from 38 destinations in North America. The largest carriers at MKE are Southwest Airlines [9] and Delta Air Lines [10], followed by American [11], United [12], Frontier [13], Alaska [14], Air Canada [15] and OneJet [16]. Travelers originating internationally can make an easy connection to MKE from nearly all major hub airports in the U.S.

By boat[edit]

These services are only available from late Spring through early Fall.

  • Captain Rob Cruises (""url=" Cruise Lake Pepin and the Mississippi from Pepin, Wisconsin. Two hour trips.  edit
  • Lake Express, [1]. Car ferry between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Muskegon, Michigan. Two and a half hour trip.  edit
  • S.S. Badger, [2]. Car ferry between Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Ludington, Michigan. Four hour trip.  edit

By bus[edit]

Greyhound and Megabus serve Milwaukee, Madison, and other cities. Also check Van Galder and Jefferson Bus lines. Check their websites from services, schedules, and fares.

By rail[edit]

  • Amtrak [17] connects Chicago to Milwaukee via the Hiawatha service. The Empire Builder line, strectching from Chicago to Seattle/Portland, travels through Wisconsin, making five stops in the state (Milwaukee, Columbus, Portage, Wisconsin Dells, Tomah, and La Crosse).
  • The Chicagoland Metra [18] also has a line that stretches up all the way to Kenosha.

Get around[edit]

The state publishes Getting Around Wisconsin Without A Car: A Public Transportation Guide.

By car[edit]

Unless there is a sign saying otherwise, it is legal to make a right turn after stopping for a red light.

By bus[edit]

Several bus companies provide service with-in the state.

  • Badger Coaches, [3]. Runs 6+ daily roundtrips between Milwaukee and Madison.  edit
  • Greyhound. Greyhound busses provide travel throughout the state, along all major cities and towns along I-43, US 45, I-90, I-94, and more, servicing among others Appleton, Brookfield, Eau Claire, Fond du lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Racine, Stevens Point, Waukesha, Wisconsin Dells, and more. They also sell tickets (often cheaper) for other companies.  edit
  • Indian Trails, """, [4]. Daily service from (Chicago via) Milwaukee to Michigan's Upper Peninsula stopping in Marinette, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Sheboygan. Onward connections are available. Buses have wifi and power outlets.  edit
  • Jefferson Lines, [5]. Connects Milwaukee, Madison, and La Crosse daily with interim stops across Wisconsin. Jefferson prides itself on its 'eco-friendly' new coaches. Connections are available at Minneapolis.  edit
  • Lamers Coach, [6]. Daily. Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton, Waupaca, Stevens Point, Wausau.  edit
  • Van Galder Bus Company, [7]. Daily. Madison, Janesville, Chicago.  edit
  • Wisconsin Coach, (toll free: +1 877-324-7767, ), [8]. Wisconsin Coach offers several services around Southeast Wisconsin to/from Milwaukee. $26.  edit

By plane[edit]

Wisconsin's largest international airport, Mitchell International in Milwaukee (MKE), is a focus city for Southwest Airlines. Other airports with air service are located in Green Bay (GRB), Madison (MSN), Appleton (ATW), Wausau/Stevens Point (CWA), Rhinelander (RHI), La Crosse (LSE), and Eau Claire (EAU). Service to the far western "Indianhead" region of the state can be found across the Minnesota border in Minneapolis (MSP) and Duluth (DLH). Travel between Wisconsin cities by air requires a connection in Chicago, Minneapolis or Detroit. It is usually faster and less expensive to travel within the state via automobile.

By train[edit]

Amtrak has two lines that service the state. The Hiawatha has 7 daily roundtrips between Milwaukee and Chicago, with additional stops outside of Racine and at Mitchell Field Airport. The Empire Builder runs once daily, and effectively parallels I-94 to Chicago coming all the way from Seattle, Washington. The Train station has recently been remodeled into a nice clean and modern looking building located downtown.

See[edit][add listing]

Milwaukee has a number of good attractions:

  • Milwaukee Public Museum-has exhibits like a butterfly room, European village, and rainforest replica. There is also an IMAX theater
  • Milwaukee Art Museum-is an impressive lakefront building designed to resemble a sailboat, and contains much great art
  • Maier Lakefront Festival Park-This is where the world's largest music festival, Summerfest, is held. Other festivals are held here as well.
  • Miller Brewery Tours - The Miller brewery, 4251 West State St, a couple miles west of downtown, offers tours and samples.
  • Additionally, the city has many neighborhoods such as Bay View, Brady Street, Bronzeville (Martin Luther King Dr.), Riverwest and Third Ward which are known for shattering the stereotypical "beer, brats and bowling" views of many outsiders. These areas tend to pride themselves on their racial and/or social diversity and each are home to an eclectic mix of ethnic restaurants, shops, clothing boutiques, bars and nightclubs.

Madison is the state capital. The capitol building has one of the world's largest domes. The University of Wisconsin has several small museums and a large hill crowned by Bascom Hall. Connecting capitol square and the university is State Street, with many shops and ethnic restaurants. Other attractions include the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, UW Arborteum, and Henry Vilas Zoo.

Wisconsin Dells has many touristy attractions:

  • Noah's Ark - world's largest waterpark
  • Mt. Olympus-Competing water and go-cart park
  • Wisconsin Ducks & other tours-The Ducks and other boats provide tours of the scenic bluffs along the rivers of the area
  • Mini Golf Courses-There are many, like Pirate's Cove

Door County is a scenic peninsula with numerous sites. Peninsula State Park is the third largest in the state and has beaches, campsites, a lighthouse, and an observation tower high on a bluff. There are several other lighthouses, and wineries. The county is also well known for its cherries, and there are many stands selling them. Boats run to Washington Island off the northern tip, through an area littered with shipwrecks.

Do[edit][add listing]

Tourism is one of Wisconsin's largest industries, relying on Illini and others who enter during the summer for fishing and its parks and recreational facilities such as those in Wisconsin Dells, those entering during the fall for a very popular hunting season, and Winter for ice-fishing, ice-sailing, ice-skating, skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, and much more.

If you look at your left hand, palm facing away from you, some locals say it looks like the shape of Wisconsin. Door County would be your thumb, a peninsula extending far into Lake Michigan. Door County is well known as a vacation destination for family outing (esp. family reunions) and its laid-back vacations. It has numerous apple and cherry orchards, boating opportunities on Lake Michigan, and many B&Bs. As well, there is an active arts community with several galleries worthy of note like the Edgewood Orchard Gallery and the Potter's Wheel.

Noah's Ark is "America's largest Waterpark" in Wisconsin Dells. Wisconsin Dells is full of waterparks, amusement parks, shopping and shows. It also includes Tommy Bartlett's Watershow, one of the world's greatest waterski shows. Wisconsin Dells is also famous for its ducks, truck-like vehicles that can travel on land and sea that travel from lake to lake and along the rivers of "the Dells" to demonstrate the sights and nature. A good family destination.

Hiking, bicycling, and in the wintertime, cross-country skiing are popular overland activities. Wisconsin was one of the first states to begin conversion of abandoned railroad right-of-ways into bicycle trails. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail traverses all parts of the state, extending for more than 1,600 km (1,000 miles), and offering evidence of Wisconsin's recent natural history. The most popular segments of this trail, since they are nearest to large urban centers, are in the Kettle Moraine region.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Fried cheese curds, a Wisconsin delicacy

As a consequence of the large German immigration to Wisconsin, German meals found their way into the local eating habits. Bratwursts are common and well liked, with Sheboygan claiming to be the home of the bratwurst. The Bratwurst is a state delicacy served during summer cookouts, preferably boiled in beer prior to being grilled.

The modern hamburger was said to have been first served as a meatball-like product when its creator realized they stayed on the bun better if flattened. It was first sold at a Seymour, WI fair.

Frozen custard is also a Wisconsin delicacy not found often outside the Midwest. Frozen custard is similar to ice cream (it is NOT yogurt!). It is unique in that there is far less air in it (making it less "fluffy" and far more smooth and creamy). It contains egg, making it richer and creamier. It has an inappropriate reputation as unhealthy relative to ice cream when in fact most frozen custards have less calories, less fat and less sugar, being less healthy only in that it has slightly more cholesterol than ice cream.

Wisconsin and the surrounding area is famous for its dairy products, and there are various regional specialties following this theme. Even fast-food chain restaurants in this region often give the option of fried cheese curds as a side in addition to the more common french fries.

Bouja soup (various spellings include Bouya and Booya) is a popular Polish Soup found in Eastern Wisconsin reflecting the heratage of a large Polish immigrant population. Bouja is typically made from chicken, pork, beef, beans, cabbage, rutabagas, and other vegitables and seasonings, which is then simmered for period of 6- 24 hours (see recipes for Bouja Soup). Bouja is a favorite food sold at church gatherings, fund raisers, large family gatherings and some county fairs. It is not uncommon to see signs for a "Booya Boil" throughout the summer months.

Do not forget the Friday All you Can Eat Fish Fry. Ususally Cod, it is served in either breadcrumb or beer batter. Deep fried, served with Tartar Sauce and Fries, a very yummy delicassy. Most Restaurants have Fish Fries on Fridays, and some of them offer All You Can Eat for a very inexpensive price.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Alcohol Drinking Age[edit]

The drinking age in Wisconsin is 21. However, persons under 21 and over 16 who are with a parent, legal guardian, or spouse (if the spouse is 21 or over) may, at the discretion of the establishment, be sold and allowed to drink alcohol beverages. The under age consumption of alcoholic beverages is also allowed on private non-alcohol selling premises with parental presence and consent. Under age drinking is also allowed for medical and religious purposes.


Milwaukee is home to the Milwaukee Brewers - both the baseball team and numerous breweries. Until Pabst closed its Milwaukee brewery and began contracting out its production during the late 1990s Milwaukee was the brewing capital of the nation. Although only one major brewer (Miller) remains in the city, its brewing heritage lives on in the large number of micro-breweries and brewpubs it has to offer. Some more famous "small" breweries in Wisconsin include Point (located in the college town of Stevens Point), City (formerly G Heileman), New Glarus, Berghoff, Leinenkugels (in Chippewa Falls), Riverwest and Sprecher (both from Milwaukee, the latter also makes many fine sodas). Many restaurants and bars have their own local breweries inside the facility such that patrons can see the tanks as they eat.

Grays Brewing is well know for its sodas also using real grain sugar (rather than the fine, processed sugar used almost everywhere else in all American food) which gives the flavor a unique and outstanding flavor. Gray's makes primarily fruit-flavored sodas and reuses (not recycles) its bottles, so bring 'em back.

Point Brewing is now offering various sodas, including rootbeer, diet rootbeer, cream and other flavors. The tour of the brewery is said to be quite fun and extensive and concerts are held in the summer (Rock the Brewery).

Sprecher Brewing also is well known, and is gaining recognition nationwide, for its sodas, particularly its root beer and unique labels such as Orange Dream, Raven Red, etc. A Root Beer or Orange Dream float with vanilla Frozen Custard is about the best beverage one can find. Tours are held Fridays and Saturdays all year-round, and everyday during the busy summer season. The cost of the tour is $4 for adults and $2 for those under 21. The price is well worth it, however, considering that the tour includes plenty of social time with unlimited samples of their sodas, and up to 4 samples of their beer.

Drinking and driving

The law in Wisconsin is very strict, the maximum blood alcohol level 0.08. You are required by law to consent to a breathalyzer test. Failing to do so will end in your driver's license revoked.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Wisconsin offers the usual assortment of chain motels, usually located just off the interstate highways, as well as a number of larger resorts. Bed & Breakfasts-- from the one bedroom in a home to large, historic, buildings, and inns are also popular. Some areas, such as Baraboo also specialize in casino hotels.

Stay Safe[edit]

When driving in rural areas during dusk and after sunset, keep on the lookout for wildlife, especially whitetail deer. Slow down when you see deer near the side of the road or crossing the road in front of you. If you see one deer cross the road in front of you, slow down, even if the deer has completely crossed the road. Always assume that there is at least one more deer following behind. Car/deer collisions can cause serious damage to your vehicle, and in very rare circumstances, even injury to the driver and/or passenger(s).

Avoid going for walks in the woods during late November. The week of Thanksgiving is Wisconsin's gun deer hunting season, and you may be mistaken for a deer by an errant hunter. If you must venture out, wear a blaze orange colored jacket and hat. You can purchase blaze orange clothing at any store that sells hunting gear.

When driving at night, particularly during the weekends, be on the lookout for people driving erratically. Drive defensively. Wisconsin has a serious problem with drunk driving. If you spot a drunk driver, keep the following tips in mind:

Keep your distance. The closer you are to a vehicle that is being operated by a drunk driver, the greater the danger.

Do not try to pass the vehicle.

Call 911 and tell them you wish to report a drunk driver.

Give the exact location of the vehicle, including the name of the road or cross-streets and the direction the vehicle is travelling.

Give a complete description of the vehicle, such as make, model, color, and license plate.

Describe the manner in which the vehicle is being driven.

Do not follow or try to stop the car or detain the driver. Leave that part to the police.

Use caution in certain areas of Milwaukee, the state's largest city. The north side of the city tends to be higher-crime, however not much there is of interest to visitors.


Wisconsin people, especially towards the northern end of the state, generally do not like having their pictures taken, nor do they like being videotaped, so if you like taking pictures and/or videos, it is best to keep the picture taking and video taking to nature areas.


Get out[edit]

  • Michigan - Michigan's Upper Peninsula lies to the northeast of Wisconsin and features stunning natural beauty.
  • Illinois - America's crossroads and home of Chicago, Illinois lies across Wisconsin's southern border.
  • Iowa - Rural Iowa is Wisconsin's southwestern neighbor and provides the opportunity to explore America's agricultural heartland.
  • Minnesota - Known for cold winters and its ten thousand lakes, Wisconsin's western neighbor is an ideal destination for wilderness enthusiasts, while shoppers need to travel only twenty miles from the Wisconsin border to enjoy shopping in the Twin Cities at the Mall of America.Create category

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