17 Best Things to Do in Rhinelander, WI

Rhinelander, WI
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You immediately think of Milwaukee, Madison, or Green Bay as prime destinations when you think of Wisconsin.

While it may not be as popular as these cities, Rhinelander makes a strong case as one of the ideal places to visit in the state.

Located in Oneida County, Rhinelander is a small yet booming city filled with hidden tourist attractions and things to do.

If you find yourself in the area, don't hesitate to explore what this beautiful city offers.

From museums and parks for the kids, breweries and farmers' markets for the older folks, to outdoor thrills for all ages, you'll find many things to do in the city.

Here's a list of the 17 best things to do while in Rhinelander, WI:

Visit the Oneida County Courthouse

Exterior of the Oneida County Courthouse
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While you're in the historic downtown, check out the Oneida County Courthouse.

This courthouse is an architectural marvel.

The Tiffany glass dome sitting atop this historic building will immediately catch your attention.

The beautiful ceiling of Oneida County Courthouse's interior
Hope found, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The level of design and detail that went into this courthouse is simply astounding, and it's worth a visit.

The Oneida County Courthouse is open to the public Monday through Friday, and you can request tours.

Side view of Oneida County Courthouse's exterior
Corey Coyle, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn about Rhinelander History

Fortunately, you can indulge your wonder and curiosity by taking a guided tour of the Rhinelander Historical Society.

Established in 1991 as a charitable non-profit organization, the Rhinelander Historical Society seeks to educate the public about the city's history, culture, and heritage.

The society offers a variety of tours such as the Rhinelander Walking Tour, Rhinelander Architecture Tour, and even a Ghost Walk.

Knowledgeable guides lead each tour, taking you to some of Rhinelander's most historic and significant sites.

You'll even learn something about the city that you never knew before.

During these tours, every detail and information you'll learn will enrich your Rhinelander experience moving forward.

Meet the Hodag

The Hodag of Rhinelander
Gourami Watcher, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It's hard to visit Rhinelander without meeting the "Hodag," the city's number one attraction.

The Hodag is a mythical creature that's been part of the city's history and identity since the late 1800s.

It's also why Rhinelander is also known as the "Hodag Country."

Are you wondering what a Hodag looks like?

Think of a cross between a dragon and a dinosaur with extra horns.

This creature is essential to the city's culture; you'll find its statue in the middle of the downtown area.

Bring Your Kids to the Northwoods Children's Museum

The Northwoods Children's Museum is an interactive children's museum that offers fun and exciting exhibits and plays.

Located on West Division Street in Eagle River, the Northwoods Children's Museum features a variety of hands-on exhibits designed to educate and entertain children of all ages.

With 24 interactive educational exhibits to explore, your kids will learn and develop life-long skills to create memorable moments with family.

You can also take your kids to the Discovery Toy Store located inside the museum, where they can find a variety of toys, books, and games.

This hands-on play museum is the perfect place to take your kids for a weekend of fun.

So check it out during your trip to Rhinelander, WI.

Watch a Movie at the Rouman Cinema

Catch the latest blockbuster at the Rouman Cinema.

Located on Lincoln Street in downtown Rhinelander, the Rouman Cinema is a historic movie theater that has screened films for decades.

Although the theater has undergone some renovations, it still retains its vintage charm.

In addition, the theater has two screens that show first-run movies at a reasonable price.

So if you're looking for a fun and affordable activity while in Rhinelander, catch a movie at the Rouman Cinema.

Check Out the Historic Downtown

Daytime view of Rhinelander's Historic Downtown
Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rhinelander's historic downtown is one of the best places to start exploring the city.

The downtown area is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and businesses that have been around for decades.

It's also where you'll find the iconic Hodag statue—though, in truth, it's just one of many hodag statues in the city.

Check out some of the historic buildings in the area, such as the Rhinelander City Hall.

Explore the Northwoods at the Holiday Stables

Rhinelander is the perfect basecamp for your outdoor adventures, and the holiday stables are the ideal starting point.

Located in the Northwoods, the Holiday Stables let you explore the natural beauty of Rhineland's forests and lakes on horseback.

The holiday stables offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, wagon rides, hiking, and a petting zoo.

You'll also have a guide who will take you on a tour of the area and tell you all about its history and wildlife.

Check Out the Northwoods Zip Line

You can't leave Northwoods without enjoying a zip-line tour through the area's wilderness.

The Northwoods zip line is one of the longest in Wisconsin, and it's a great way to take in the natural beauty of the area.

You'll zoom through the forest canopy and get a bird's eye view of the area's wildlife.

Other activities include an aerial trek, Argo ATV, and kayak river adventure tours.

Explore the Wisconsin River on a Canoe

Fall trees near the Wisconsin River
Keith Bell / Shutterstock.com

The Hawk's Nest Canoe Outfitters has canoe and kayak rentals so you can explore the Wisconsin River and other waters in the Northwoods.

You can also go on a guided tour of the river, where you'll learn some trivia about the area while relaxing on the river.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can even go on a camping trip.

The Hawk's Nest Canoe Outfitters offers canoe camping, day and overnight trips, fishing, complete outfitting, and shuttle service.

Take a Hike at the Rhinelander Riverwalk

If you want to explore the beautiful Wisconsin River on foot, walk through the scenic trail skirts of the Rhinelander Riverwalk.

This trail offers mesmerizing views of the river and is the perfect place for a quick hiking trip or a stroll.

There's also a bandshell where concerts and music festivals play every Wednesday evening during the summer.

The music will entertain visitors as they enjoy the lovely views of the river.

Some nearby sidewalks and trails even extend to Rhineland's downtown business area.

Visit the Hodag Farmers' Market

Since its inception in 1995, the Hodag Farmers' Market has served locals and visitors alike.

Located in the historic Pioneer Park in Rhinelander, the Hodag Farmers' Market sells locally produced goods such as in-season food, fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, syrup, honey, etc.

Shopping at the Hodag Farmers' Market is also a great way to connect with the people and learn more about the culture and heritage of Rhinelander, WI.

So if you're looking for a unique and authentic shopping experience, drop by the Hodag Farmers' Market.

The market is open every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from early June until mid-October.

Visit the Pioneer Park Historical Complex

Rhinelander train station at Pioneer Park Historical Complex
Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to learn more about Rhinelander, WI, and its rich history, head to the Pioneer Park Historical Complex.

The complex comprises many historic buildings, including the Rhinelander Logging Museum, School Museum, Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, Soo Line Depot, and a model railroad display.

Rhinelander is famous for its logging industry and the lumber boom of the 19th century.

You'll find out all about it at the Rhinelander Logging Museum.

You'll also see authentic lumberjack equipment, a recreation of an 1870 lumberjack camp, and other collections of artifacts and items from Rhinelander's logging past.

Visit the Rhinelander Brewery Taproom & Gift Shop

This place initially closed 50 years ago.

The Rhinelander Brewery has just reopened and now serves its iconic craft beers to the locals and visitors of Rhinelander, WI.

Located in the Hodag Country district, this brewery is an absolute must-visit for connoisseurs.

Upon entering the place, you will find ten craft beers on top.

There's also a gift shop where you can take home the famous Rhinelander "Shorty" bottles.

You can also buy cans, bottles, and even growlers filled with craft beer.

There are also tours and tastings available.

The staff will even give you a brief history lesson about Rhinelander brewing, so make sure to check that out.

Check Out Rhinelander's Art Scene

Exterior of the Artstart, Inc.'s federal building headquarters
Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Artstart, Inc. is a group of volunteers dedicated to supporting the arts and artists in Rhinelander and the Northwoods.

The group headquarters is in the historic Federal Building located in downtown Rhinelander.

With the help of local artists and educators, they managed to turn the place into a regional arts and culture center.

Artstart, Inc. celebrates and promotes the art scene in Rhinelander by educating visitors about the area's art and artists.

They also offer a variety of programs such as art classes, galleries, exhibits, performance spaces, and more.

Have Fun at the Eagle Falls Adventure Golf & Laser Tag

The Eagle Falls Adventure Golf & Laser Tag is a family-friendly center that offers a mini-golf course adventure and an adrenaline-pumping laser tag arena.

Located along the Eagle River, the Eagle Falls Adventure Golf & Laser Tag offers two 18-hole miniature golf courses, an arcade, and a 3,000 sq. foot indoor laser tag arena.

The golf course features a nature-filled landscape that's themed with a fishing cabin, fishing dock, and bath shop.

There are also waterfalls, fountains, and ponds that highlight the course and its natural beauty.

The indoor laser tag arena features a Northwoods theme and multiple levels that will give you and your family or friends fun and exciting time.

Challenge your friends and family to a game of laser tag or enjoy the stunning views of the Wisconsin River while playing a round of mini-golf.

Either way, you're sure to have a blast at the Eagle Falls Adventure Golf & Laser Tag.

The place is excellent for visitors of all ages and will be a fun experience.

Play Some Bowling at Nick's Hodag Lanes

If you're in the mood for some night-out bowling, Nick's Hodag Lanes is the place to go.

Nick's Hodag Lanes is a 20-lane bowling alley that offers open bowling, leagues, and tournaments.

The facility also has a full-service bar and a nearby steakhouse for some food and refreshments.

Whether you're an experienced bowler or simply looking for a fun night out, Nick's Hodag Lanes is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring Rhinelander, WI.

Drop by the "Celebrating Rhinelander's Industry" Mural

The massive "Celebrating Rhinelander's Industry" mural celebrates the city's rich industrial history.

Local Wisconsin artist Alicia Rheal painted the mural, which stands 53 ft. wide by 12 ft. high.

The mural is in Davenport Street in the heart of downtown Rhinelander and features various scenes depicting the industry founders in Rhinelander, WI.

It starts with the founding of the first logging business in Rhinelander by Anderson Brown, which coincides with the inception of the local railroad in 1886.

Overall, the mural features 24 founders and their iconic businesses that helped shape Rhinelander's industry into what it is today.

The mural spans the entire outer wall on the west side of the AirPro Fan & Blower Company's main office building.

The "Celebrating Rhinelander's Industry" mural is a work of art that's worth checking out in Rhinelander, WI.

Final Thoughts

Rhinelander may not be the first city that comes to your mind when you think of Wisconsin.

But it will be once you've visited this hidden gem of a town.

There's so much to do and see in Rhinelander that it'll be hard to fit everything into one trip.

But with a suitable itinerary and some careful planning, you'll bask in the beauty and experience the best that this city offers.