20 Best Things to Do in Oshkosh, WI

Oshkosh, WI
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Oshkosh isn't just a well-known clothing brand, but also a charming city whose attractions draw travelers to Wisconsin.

As a city surrounded by water, Oshkosh is a choice spot for fishing enthusiasts.

On the other hand, its downtown area provides many entertainment options for curious tourists.

The city is also rife with history.

Founded in 1836, Oshkosh took its name from the chief of the nearby Menominee people.

Oshkosh has thrived over the years because of its many industries, such as the Oshkosh Corporation.

The company is one of the world's leaders in manufacturing emergency, utility, and military vehicles.

Are you curious about Oshkosh, Wisconsin? Check out the list below.

Learn the History of Flight at the EAA Aviation Museum

Outside View of EAA Aviation Museum
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Aviation history is on full display at Oshkosh's EAA Aviation Museum.

If you or your kids are aircraft geeks, you'll never want to leave this place.

The museum showcases more than 200 aircraft dating back from the early days of flying.

You can also check out classic airplanes and warplanes that saw combat.

Front View of EAA Aviation Museum
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Your kids will also enjoy several interactive activities in the children's section.

For example, they can see what it's like to be an air traffic controller at the observation platform.

This platform overlooks the old Pioneer Airport airstrip.

Every summer, you can also go on to Wittman Field to attend the AirVenture Fly-In and Airshow.

Visit the EAA Aviation Museum at 3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902.

Aircrafts in EAA Aviation Museum
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Go Hiking Along the Wiouwash Trail

The Wiouwash Trail demands different approaches, depending on the season.

If you go there in summer, you can pick between biking, walking, or horseback riding.

On the other hand, you'll need a snowmobile during winter.

The Wiouwash Trail also crosses the counties of Outagamie, Shawano, Winnebago, and Waupaca.

Notably, the first two letters of these four counties form the trail's name.

The 41-mile trail gives hikers plenty of opportunities for taking photos of local plants and wildlife.

See Live Performances at The Grand Oshkosh

Exterior of The Grand Oshkosh
The original uploader was Royalbroil at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The Grand Oshkosh is another historic building that's retained its appeal over the years.

Opened in 1883 under the name "The Grand Opera House," the theater has been holding lively productions.

Every performance season, The Grand Oshkosh features more than 25 live performances.

Likewise, around ten youth events round out the schedule.

The theater also hosts other activities, such as corporate meetings, weddings, and community theater shows.

Visit The Grand Oshkosh at 100 High Avenue, Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Spend a Day at Menominee Park

Welcome sign of Menominee Park
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If you prefer to stay on the ground, you can bond with your family and friends at Menominee Park.

Since Menominee is one of Oshkosh's largest parks, you won't run out of things to do.

Go to the park's eastern side to admire the beauty of Lake Winnebago.

If you go there in the early morning, you might catch the sunrise, too.

Waters of Menominee Park
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A great way to relax at the park is to take a boat from Miller's Bay.

You can simply row the day away or cast a line in the water.

Bikers and joggers could follow the many trails and stop by the free zoo and beach.

The zoo houses 30 to 50 animals and welcomes more than 100,000 visitors a year.

Likewise, the zoo offers four permanent exhibits, featuring wolf, elk, otter, and eagle.

Admission to the park is also free.

Animal sculpture at Menominee Park's zoo
Helene Woodbine / Shutterstock.com

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at the Winnebago County Community Park

Besides history, Oshkosh also boasts dazzling outdoor destinations.

You can go fishing or boating at the lakes, streams, and rivers that crisscross the county.

Likewise, you can enjoy a quiet walk in the woods or feel the breeze in its many open spaces.

At the Winnebago County Community Park, you can also play several sports.

You can try soccer, rugby, disc golf, horseshoe, ping pong, and even archery.

Bring your pup to the dog park, too.

Kids can also jump around the playground.

In the winter, you can also follow the snowshoe and snowmobile trails carved on the snow.

Visit the Winnebago County Community Park at 625 E. County Rd. Y, Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Remember American History at the Tribal Heritage Crossing

More hiking opportunities abound in Oshkosh.

One of these trails is the Tribal Heritage Crossing of the Wiouwash trail, a recently built causeway.

This causeway allows travelers on foot, bicycle, or roller skates to cross the Lake Butte Des Morts on their way to the Wiouwash.

You can fish at this crossing.

More importantly, its kiosk overlooks explain the natural history of all eleven Native American tribes in Wisconsin.

These overlooks are also significant because they show a glimpse into the water system, the ancestral home of these tribes.

Of course, you'll have the chance to haul some fish but also learn something new about American history.

Visit the Tribal Heritage Crossing at Marine Drive, Oshkosh, WI.

Enjoy the Artwork at the Paine Art Center and Gardens

Outside View of Paine Art Center and Gardens
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The Paine Art Center and Gardens is part of a wonderfully preserved historic estate.

Its centerpiece is the Tudor Revival-style mansion built in 1925.

The founders, Nathan Paine and Jessie Kimberly, were successful industrialists.

They wanted to showcase beautiful artwork, stylish architecture, and delightful nature.

Inside the mansion, you'll find several artworks acquired by the Paines.

There are also public galleries that host different exhibits.

Welcome sign of Paine Art Center and Gardens
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Outside, you'll see twenty perfectly maintained gardens filled with various species of trees, wildflowers, and shrubbery.

Make your inner horticulturist happy by visiting these gardens.

Let their beauty inspire your next gardening project!

The center is in the National Register of Historic Places and is open year-round.

Visit the Paine Art Center and Gardens at 1410 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Pay Tribute to American Heroes at the Military Veterans Museum & Education Center

Field of honor at the Military Veterans Museum & Education Center
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Yet another museum you can visit in Oshkosh is the Military Veterans Museum & Education Center.

This time, you'll see exhibits featuring military gear used in the great battles in modern American history.

You'll also hear many poignant stories told by the area veterans themselves.

Among the artifacts collected in the museum are military vehicles, various small arms and artillery, a .50 caliber Browning machine gun, and personnel gear.

The museum path also allows you some time to pay respects to the veterans who have answered the call of duty.

Visit the Military Veterans Museum & Education Center at 4300 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902.

Check Out Antiques at the Originals Mall of Antiques

If you're looking for a quirky souvenir or an exciting gift, you'll want to visit the Originals Mall of Antiques in Oshkosh.

The mall houses more than 100 antique dealers that should give you a diverse selection of unique items.

Moreover, if you're a firearm lover, you need to list this mall in your itinerary.

The Originals Mall is federally licensed to buy and sell guns so that you can update your armory.

If you just need another house ornament, you can purchase antique firearms as well.

Some traders also offer rare rocks and minerals for sale, so keep an eye out for them.

Otherwise, you can simply join the mall's vegan bake sale or its seasonal flea market.

Visit the Originals Mall of Antiques at 1475 S Washburn St., Oshkosh, WI 54904.

Learn Local History at the Oshkosh Public Museum

Exterior of the Oshkosh Public Museum
The original uploader was Royalbroil at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Another museum you can visit in Oshkosh is the Oshkosh Public Museum.

It is located at the historic Edgar and Mary Jewell Sawyer House.

This museum is another component of the city's Algoma Boulevard Historic District.

View of Oshkosh Public Museum at night
Keith Homan / Shutterstock.com

The museum's Edwardian style will surely remind you of the splendor of yesteryear.

There are also artifacts tracking the influx of European immigrants searching for a new home.

Among these objects are the folk-art clock named the Apostle's Clock and a Regina music box.

You can also find original artworks inside.

Visit the Oshkosh Public Museum at 1331 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Buy Fresh Produce at the Oshkosh Farmers Market

Every summer and winter, Oshkosh holds its annual farmers' market.

The market hosts about 130 local vendors who sell homemade souvenir items.

Every Saturday morning, you can drop by the market to grab fresh produce from 40 vendors.

For entertainment, the market also holds live concerts and themed events.

In terms of the produce, you can rely on their freshness.

The market sells locally raised meats, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables, and many artisanal foods.

Visit the Oshkosh Farmers Market at 547 N Main St., Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Take a Long Stroll at Stevens Park

Oshkosh also provides visitors with a green zone for relaxation and fun activities.

This zone is Stevens Park, where you can hold picnics, go biking, jogging, and cycling.

Likewise, the park also offers outdoor sports facilities.

The baseball diamond and basketball courts are perfect to sweat your worries away or bond deeper with your family or friends.

You can also play tennis or softball at the park.

There are also several open spaces for tourists who just want to take in the day's warmth fully.

Visit Stevens Park at 54 Frankfort, Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Step Into the Past at the Morgan House

Outside View of Morgan House
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience the highs of the upper-middle-class Victorian lifestyle at the Morgan House, another Oshkosh historic building.

You can still feel the original woodwork when you brush your hands along the walls.

Today, the museum is now the home of the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society.

The group offers guided tours inside the museum.

Facade of the Morgan House
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

You'll learn about the Victorian period on these tours through the house's original furnishings and period artwork.

Since it belongs to the National Register of Historic Places, the Morgan House adds to the historical flavor suffusing the air in Oshkosh.

Visit the Morgan House at 234 Church Avenue, Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Unleash Your Inner Snake Charmer at the MToxins Venom Lab

Satisfy your taste for the peculiar by visiting the MToxins Venom Lab in Oshkosh.

If you've ever been curious about venomous snakes, this venom lab will indulge you and teach you something new about these reptiles.

Nathaniel Frank founded the MToxins Venom Lab.

His work has helped produce antivenoms that have saved numerous lives.

In the past decade, he has also worked on many large-scale venom research projects.

When you go to the lab, you'll see Frank and his team extract venom live from the reptiles under their care.

They take venom from snakes, spiders, and scorpions.

Afterward, the team will also turn the venom samples into antivenom in front of you.

They will also explain the process and introduce you to other useful substances made from venom.

The venom lab also houses the Jack Facente Serpentarium, which cares for 85 reptiles from all over the world.

Visit the MToxins Venom Lab at 717 Oregon St., Oshkosh, Wi 54902.

Sample Local Beer at Bare Bones Brewery

Following the mantra "Fear No Beer," the Bare Bones Brewery will surely give you a beer experience you'll never forget.

The brewery opened in 2015 and has the distinct honor of being Oshkosh's first craft brewery in 20 years.

Bare Bones offers a variety of beers on tap or by bottle.

You can try their amber ales, American IPA, American lagers, and their seasonal beers.

When you enter the brewery, you can find a tasting room and a shaded patio, where you can savor your drinks in peace.

The brewery also sells merchandise, like clothing and souvenir items, in case you want more than beer.

Visit the Bare Bones Brewery at 4362 County Hwy S, Oshkosh, WI 54904.

Engage in Interesting Art Works at Jambalaya Arts

If you’re much interested in art, take time to visit Jambalaya Arts on North Main Street.

The art gallery is open from Thursday to Saturday and serves as a venue to showcase works of local and Wisconsin-based artists.

This non-profit gallery has been around for more than 20 years and has featured over a hundred artists since its founding.

It has been an active creative space for artists to express their voices and share their talents with the public.

View the works of current artists like Chris Antonelli, Ray Fehrenbach, Jesse Lain, Maddy Sue, Paul Marxen, and many others.

Appreciate the art pieces at Jambalaya Arts.

Enjoy Nonstop Music at the Waterfest Concert Series

Musician playing a flute at Waterfest Concert Series
Jeffok714, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting Oshkosh in the summer? Then, you’ll get to catch and enjoy the music at the Waterfest Concert Series.

This music festival began in 1985 and was hailed as “Wisconsin’s Largest Free Music Festival.”

The celebration highlights the quality of life in the Fox Valley Area with its name referring to the region’s most valuable waterway resources.

Get a Pass Pack and Season Pass Discount Offers from the event’s official website; US Armed Service Veterans and kids aged 12 and below are welcome for free.

Band performing at Waterfest Concert Series
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

You can catch different programs at the historic Fox River or join the River Walk starting from the remarkable Leach Amphitheater to The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Campus.

Stop by the Convention Center and Best Western Premier Hotel to enjoy waterfront dining.

Watch the outstanding line-up of Pop, Jazz, R&B, Rock, Blues, and Roots Music artists and musicians for eight nights of good music and entertainment.

You can drop by the downtown beer gardens, clubs, and patios after the Waterfest Concert Series events and enjoy until the wee hours.

Have a Fun Competition at Glow In The Park Indoor Mini Golf

Show your putting skills and have great fun at Glow In The Park Indoor Mini Golf.

They’re located on South Koeller Street and as they say, “this is not your ordinary mini golf course.”

Book tickets in advance at the website so you can secure your tee-time slot when you arrive.

Games are designed for all ages so this is a great bonding activity you can enjoy with the whole family.

Putt your way around the course with your colorful golf ball, and see if you can get through the fun obstacles.

With surprises on every corner, you might also fall into a rabbit hole that takes you to a fanciful world.

Have rounds of fun play at Glow In The Park Indoor Mini Golf.

Drop by Elsewhere Market & Coffee House

Located on North Main Street, Elsewhere Market & Coffee House features a unique shop that sells one-of-a-kind items and fresh coffee brews.

You’ll find an array of exclusive housewares, ceramic pieces, jewelry, body essentials, paper products, sustainable household products, and others; all these are inspired by the Elsewhere Collection Properties.

While you browse through the lovely items on display, you can order your cup of Espresso variants like Americano, Macchiato, Cortado, Espresso, Cappuccino, and  Latte.

They also have Coffee Drip, Cold Brew, Turmeric Latte, and Hot Chocolate on the menu.

Try their Signature Coffees including Spiced Lavender Mocha, Thai Iced Coffee, and Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

If you prefer tea, you have choices of Loose Leaf, Chai Latte, or Matcha Latte.

Pair your hot or cold drinks with local pastries like cinnamon rolls, croissants, cookies, and muffins.

Bite into tasty Baguette Sandwich varieties like The Saucisson, The Caprese, The Red Pickle, and The Ham & Cheese, or have a delightful serving of Veggie Quiche.

You can visit Elsewhere Market & Coffee House from Tuesday to Sunday.

Savor Classic American Cuisine at Chalice Restaurant

For hearty servings of delicious American fare, dine in with the family at Chalice Restaurant on North Main.

With four decades of family cooking traditions, the restaurant still serves all-time favorite dishes and welcomes guests with a relaxing casual ambiance.

Take bites of tasty appetizers like sautéed Portabello Bites, Broccoli Bites, Shrimp Cocktails, and much more.

Try Salad servings like the Hot Italian Salad, Garlic & Butter Shrimp Salad, or the cold Tenderloin Chef Salad; they also have Specialty Salads like Apple Waldorf, Pasta Salad, and Marinated Tomato.

You’ll enjoy savory dinners like Garlic & Butter Haddock, Haddock Au Gratin, or Open-Face Tenderloin; likewise, enjoy delectable grilled fish dinners every night for more healthy options.

If you’re craving sandwiches, their Roast Beef, Philly Style Roast Beef, Sub Supreme, and Denver are good choices on the menu.

They offer juicy burger options of half-pound Angus beef or Homemade Garden Patty; enjoy burger selections like Chalice, Pastrami, Deluxe, and Jacked Up Frisco Burger.

Their fish and chicken dishes including Grilled Fish Fillet and Chicken Deluxe are equally flavorful, along with their vegetarian style Portabello Mushroom Sandwich, Grilled Cheese, and No Meat selections.

Finish off with delicious desserts like Brownie Sundae and Strawberry Shortcake by Chalice Restaurant.

Final Thoughts

When you go to Oshkosh, you'll get treated to a variety of delights, from historical attractions to natural wonders.

Experience another dimension of American history and partake of the bounty in its waters.

Your trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, will be a vacation you won't regret.

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