20 Best Things to Do in Ashland, WI

Ashland, WI
sally kane / shutterstock.com

Ashland is a city within the Ashland and Bayfield counties nestled in Wisconsin.

In addition, it's Ashland County's county seat and a port on Lake Superior.

The said port rests close to the head of the Chequamegon Bay and bears, as of 2020, a population of 21,360.

As a city whose history dates back to the 1880s, Ashland bears many stories, especially on its walls.

Ashland's historical walls are one of the numerous sights you can enjoy in the city.

Other than this, the city also offers a variety of shops and activities for you to try out.

Having that in mind, here are the 20 best things to do when visiting Ashland, WI:

Try Some Activities at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

A sign in Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

If you're interested in history and trying out some local activities, head to the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.

The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is open every day, with a closing time of five in the evening, and holds plenty of features.

For those interested in exploring history, the center holds different exhibits and programs presenting the cultural and natural history of the region.

Exterior of Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For activities, there are mile-long trails you can explore.

If you want something simpler, you can head to the Wisconsin Historical Society Area Research Center to check out the five-story observation tower.

Other than outdoor activities you can try, there's a gift shop you can peruse in the center.

View Historical Art at the Ashland Mural Walk

The first place you need to visit in Ashland is the Ashland Mural Walk.

Located in the business district of Main Street and spanning eight blocks is twenty murals featuring the city's history.

You can stroll through this road of murals at any day and time.

The mural has been around since August 2005, but the mural's history depiction goes back as far as the 1890s.

There is a brick road and a map you can check out if you want a proper tour of everything on the mural road.

With murals that can span as high as twenty-four feet, there is plenty to admire for both history and art fans.

See Preserved History at Soo Line 950 Locomotive

Another must-see attraction in Ashland is the Soo Line Depot & 950 Locomotive.

You can find this attraction next to the depot at Third Street West and see it in all its ten-wheeled, nineteen-thousand pounds of glory.

The locomotive first came into existence in 1900 and, at the time, became known as the largest steam locomotive in the world.

Before it became the 950, the locomotive first had the number 600.

After being sent to work in Wisconsin at the Superior docks in 1912, the locomotive received its current number.

By 1954, the engine had to retire, and it was in 1987 that the locomotive settled in its current location as part of a restoration project.

You can see this attraction at any time and get your fill of photographs.

Play Casino Games at the Bad River Lodge & Casino

Do you like games?

Then perhaps you'd like to test your luck at the Bad River Lodge & Casino.

Featuring a casino with hundreds of slots machines and other different casino games, you can have plenty of fun while getting a convenient stay at the lodge.

There are around fifty rooms available for booking at the lodge and plenty of convenience for guests.

Aside from the casino, there is also a gift shop, dining area, and even a grocery nearby.

If you are interested in what other amenities and features this venue has, you can check out their website for more details.

In addition to venue and service details, you can find all updates on the current status of the Bad River Lodge & Casino.

Go Golfing at the Chequamegon Bay Golf Club

The Chequamegon Bay Golf Club is the best spot to visit for anyone who likes sports or golf.

The club is open every day, starting at eight in the morning.

While the course has less than 20 holes, you'll find a challenge when playing it.

Plus, you can enjoy other features such as their store.

Along with these amenities, Chequamegon Bay Golf Club offers different classes and programs you can join.

If you are interested in the club's store, you can visit their website and check out their different passes and memberships.

Stroll Around Ashland Marina

Aerial View of Ashland Marina
Ashland Marina / Shutterstock.com

Ashland has its fair share of scenic sights, and if you're a fan of boats, you need to visit the Ashland Marina.

You can find the marina at the base of Ellis Avenue North and check out multiple boats with over a hundred boat slips available.

Other than the multiple boats, the marina also features different facilities.

Some facilities include a shop plus different amenities for the boats.

Whether you own a boat or otherwise, the marina provides plenty of accommodation.

You can check out their website for their rates.

Stay a Night or Two at the AmericInn by Wyndham Ashland

Another option for a comfortable stay in Ashland with convenient commodities is to book a room at the AmericInn by Wyndham Ashland.

More than a hotel you can find on Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay, the AmericInn by Wyndham Ashland is also a waterpark location.

The hotel has plenty of facilities and amenities to offer to its guests, including a sauna, indoor pool, and fitness center.

As for the different amenities you can enjoy in your room, one option you have a chance to book is a jacuzzi.

Aside from the different facilities and amenities, you can enjoy a beautiful lake view.

Enjoy Some Races at the ABC Raceway and ABC Racing Association

The ABC Raceway and ABC Racing Association is a place you'll want to visit if you are a racing fan.

You can find the racing track at Butter and check out the races every Saturday from mid-May to the end of August.

The venue allows for tents and an open seating area you can relax in.

What's more, you can enjoy food and drinks at their concession stand.

If you are interested in any news or applications for the races, you can check out the association's website for any updates.

Check Out the Unique Beers of South Shore Brewery

Are you looking to enjoy some local drinks?

Then head over to the South Shore Brewery.

The South Shore Brewery opens from Tuesday to Sunday and serves five award-winning flagship beers.

These beers are available all year and are all served in 12-ounce bottles.

Some flavors you can try are nut brown ale and Inland sea pilsener.

More than the flagship beers, the brewery also has a selection of specialty beers you can try.

If you check out their website, you can see what food pairs best with their different beers.

In addition to selling beers, the brewery also opens its doors for different events and has registration on its website.

Catch a Show at the Chequamegon Theatre Association

Take a break from your exploration and enjoy a performance by visiting the Chequamegon Theatre Association.

Chequamegon Theatre Association is a community theater that gained recognition as one of the top theaters in the state and provides a total of four plays in a year.

If you end up missing one of their plays, you may be interested in their summer workshop, where they open their doors for kids.

Check out their website for updates and details on the association's productions and workshops.

Sample Cheeses at Benoit Cheese Haus

Every city has its share of unique shops, and in Ashland, one of them is the Benoit Cheese Haus.

Anyone who is a fan of cheese will find delight in the over a hundred cheese options available in this shop.

Running for over forty years now, Benoit Cheese Haus also features a variety of other products you can enjoy.

From other spreads to honey and even meat, there are plenty of options to explore in this store.

You can visit the store any day except Sunday or purchase from their website.

You can also place an order for pick-up.

Taste Some German Sweets at Gabriele's German Cookies

For those craving something sweet, Gabriele's German Cookies is the best pit stop for you.

Enjoy a selection of chocolates, cookies, and other treats, as this shop offers a wide range of options to indulge your sweet tooth.

Aside from their sweets, Gabriele's German Cookies provides holiday-themed products for you to browse.

You can find full details on the shop's products on their website and make online purchases if you wish.

Gabriele's German Cookies is open from Monday to Saturday, starting at ten in the morning.

Purchase Local Crafts at Salmagundi

While there are plenty of interesting shops, there are also shops that feature local crafts, and one shop you need to visit for local items is Salmagundi.

Open since 2014 and featuring various artistic items you can peruse, Salmagundi is the place to go for anyone interested in local crafts.

From jewelry to hand-knitted items, there are plenty of crafts you can choose to purchase at this shop.

At this time, you can check out Salmagundi's website for online purchases or make an appointment to browse their showroom space.

Shipping takes less than three days, and you get the option of an on-the-house wrapping.

Visit the Bayview Park

The best place to get some amazing backdrop photos is Bayview Park.

One of the first things you can enjoy when arriving at this park is the photo-worthy view of the Ashland Lighthouse.

Aside from admiring the scenery, the park also has different amenities you can enjoy.

From fishing to having a picnic and other outdoor activities, the Bayview Park is an ideal place for some relaxation.

And if you are interested, there is also a trail of over ten miles you can explore.

Go Swimming at Maslowski Beach

Head to Maslowski Beach if you'd like to enjoy some swimming and sights.

Featuring a vast shoreline and different facilities to enjoy, you can swim and play around to your heart's delight.

Maslowski Beach provides different amenities for your accommodation, such as a pavilion, an artesian well, and so on.

Aside from this, the beach also holds access to different trails you can explore and a historical marker you can discover.

Among the different sights you can find when exploring Ashland, Maslowski Beach is one of the best sights where you can relax.

Surround Yourself with Nature and Animals at River Rock Inn & Bait Shop

Scott Bretting founded the River Rock Inn and Bait Shop in 2007, which boasts stunning lake sights and is situated directly across the street from the magnificent Chequamegon Bay on Lake Superior.

A complete-service bait shop is available to assist you in catching the fish of a lifetime.

They provide a wide variety of equipment, high-quality fishing rods, and fresh bait.

The hotel rooms at River Rock are renowned for their luxury and cleanliness.

Some rooms include full kitchenettes, a room for cleaning fish, a resting space for an outside grill, and other luxurious facilities.

Additionally, they offer a stunning rental cottage on Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay that is ideal for big parties.

Grab Your Morning Breakfast at Ashland Baking Company

Ashland Baking Company began operations in September 2001 with just a few staff members, a limited selection of items, and huge aspirations.

Since then, the bakery has expanded to provide the neighborhood with delectable baked products and supply and ship to various restaurants and grocery shops.

Every day of the week, they create their bread, pastries, sweets, sandwiches, and coffee.

They aim for quality in everything they do, from their artisan-baked items to the fair trade coffee they brew.

Numerous honors and prizes have been given to Ashland Baking Company, characterizing it as a must-see attraction on the south coast of Lake Superior.

Tour around and Explore the Ashland Historical Society Museum

In 1954, Angvick's Furniture Store's basement served as the first location for the Ashland Historical Society Museum.

The Ashland Historical Society Museum now gathers and preserves objects directly related to the history of Ashland, Wisconsin.

Every topic a tourist or long-time resident could be interested in is covered in great detail.

Many products in the Museum Gift Shop are not often found in other stores in Ashland.

Beautiful jewelry at affordable rates, images of nearby locations, hand-carved objects, locally produced goods, and cards.

There are also numerous new and secondhand books regarding the history of the Chequamegon Bay region.

Swim at the Beaches of Mission Springs Resort

For more than 80 years, Mission Springs Resort has been a family-run enterprise.

They have taken great care to maintain and refurbish their cottages since they were erected in the early 1930s.

Adore the vintage charm and find a spotlessly clean, well-kept place onsite.

Each cottage, as well as the Lake House, has a separate outside seating space.

You will have a picnic table, grill, and fire pit all to yourself.

Two exclusive beaches on their property, Chequamegon Bay, make it a fantastic place for families to unwind and children to swim.

You can grab some good panfish, bass, and perhaps even northern pike with a row boat.

Breathe and Relax at Ashland Hot Yoga

Ashland Hot Yoga is a multicultural, welcoming, and friendly community that provides various yoga styles to accommodate varied needs and aspirations.

Classes are held in a 100-year-old structure that has been a hot yoga studio for over two decades.

Some courses offer yoga, pilates, power flow, restorative, and other activities.

Their most popular class is Hot Power Flow, which aims to develop breath awareness while flowing through powerful, rhythmic asanas.

Ashland Hot Yoga is a terrific location to be whether you're searching for a challenge, to relax, or just to have some alone time.

Other Things to Do Nearby

In addition to the numerous sights you can find within the Ashland area and the different activities you can enjoy, there are other attractions and activities you can check out nearby.

Here are a few things you can do near Ashland:

Listen to Some Music at Big Top Chautauqua

Enjoy some music entertainment by heading to the Big Top Chautauqua via a twenty-seven-minute drive from Ashland.

Featuring hundreds of seats and a variety of musical talent, the Big Top Chautauqua is an ideal stop for any music lover.

You can find the tent theater at the foot of Mt. Ashwabay Ski Hill and check out any details on productions from their website.

With over thirty years of running productions, the theater featured numerous national and regional artists from plenty of genres.

The main feature you'll find with this theater are performances that hone in on history and environment.

In addition to ticket purchases, the Big Top Chautauqua website also features a merchandise shop you can browse.

Try Some Fishing With Beyond the Catch

By traveling twenty-seven minutes from the city, you get a chance to try fishing with Beyond the Catch.

Beyond the Catch is a fishing business that provides you the opportunity to try catching local fish in different areas.

There are different types of fishing experiences you can choose to book.

In addition, you can choose how long you wish to stay out on the water.

The business started in 2013 and currently has two boats.

To check out their different fishing options and rates, you can explore their website.

Final Thoughts

Ashland is a beautiful seaside city that offers plenty of history to explore and activities to try.

From a street filled with murals depicting different points of history to a beautiful park fit for photography, there is plenty to see when visiting this city.

More than the different attractions, there are many fun shops you can check out.

Visit Ashland if you're looking for a place that offers a variety of spaces to explore.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.