Top Free Things To Do In Wisconsin | Midwest Living

Top Free Things To Do In Wisconsin

Buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the National Mustard Museum and the Chazen Museum of Art are just a few of the free things in Wisconsin.
  • Madison

    Wisconsin State Capitol The only capitol built on an isthmus—between lakes Monona and Mendota in Madison—the 1917 building also has the only granite dome. Free guided tours highlight architecture and art—mosaics, stained glass and murals.

    Chazen Museum of Art The building is a work of art. Galleries display African, Asian and 21st-century international works.

    Olbrich Botanical Gardens The 16 acres encompassing a Rose Garden showcase hardy shrub varieties in a space inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style.

    University of Wisconsin Arboretum These 1,200 acres feature prairie, savannah, marsh and deciduous forest, plus 20-plus miles of trails.

  • The Hop MKE


    The Hop MKE The new streetcar connects Milwaukee's central train and bus station to many of the city's attractions and hotels. Take advantage of free rides for the first year of service (through about November 2019); after that, rides are expected to be low-cost, about $1.

    Harley-Davidson Factory Arrive early to get tickets for a free 30-minute tour of the famed motorcycle factory. You'll see powertrains being assembled and tested and get a chance to sit on the latest Harley-Davidson models.

    St. Joan of Arc Chapel This little Marquette University chapel has a big history. Originally constructed in France more than five centuries ago, the Gothic chapel was dismantled and moved to Long Island in the 1920s. It was later moved to Milwaukee, painstakingly reassembled and rededicated in 1966.

    Thomas A. Greene Geological Museum Lapham Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee houses 75,000 fossils as well as minerals found by the namesake amateur geologist, who lived in Milwaukee in the late 1800s.

  • Wingspread
    Photo courtesy of SC Johnson

    Free Frank Lloyd Wright sites

    Wingspread, Racine (pictured) Completed in 1939 for then-SC Johnson leader H.F. Johnson Jr., Wingspread is the largest Prairie-style home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Visitors see features like a disappearing dining table and cantilevered balcony bedroom.

    SC Johnson Headquarters, Racine Tours touch on architectural highlights, such as the Great Workroom’s lily pad-shape columns in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 1939 SC Johnson Administration Building, as well as Wright’s 1950  SC Johnson Research Tower.

    Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Madison Wright and the city struggled to agree on the building’s function and 60 years passed between his design submission and the structure’s completion (in 1997, 38 years after his death). A 2014 renovation includes touches honoring Wright’s style, including leaf-pattern carpeting in his favorite autumn palette. Visit the Beyond the Drawing Board exhibit to learn more about his commitment to finishing this project.

  • National Mustard Museum

    All about mustard

    National Mustard Museum You don't have to be a mustard-lover (though it certainly helps) to appreciate the quirky yet classy homage to ketchup's counterpart. Located 7 miles west of Madison in Middleton, the museum features a variety of mustards on The Great Wall of Mustard, antique mustard pots, a few simple displays and a video explaining the condiment's history.

  • Kitchen and bath inspiration

    Kohler Design Center and Kohler Factory, Kohler Take a factory tour or explore the three-level design center. The 36,000-square-foot Design Center showcases upscale, cutting-edge kitchen and bath products. On the three-hour factory tour (reservations required), you'll see workers polish faucets and fire high-end toilets as you learn about the manufacturing process and Kohler history.

  • Jelly Belly tours

    More in Wisconsin

    Jelly Belly Warehouse, Pleasant Prairie Sample Jelly Bellies and take a 30-minute Jelly Belly trolley tour through the cavernous distribution center, off the I-94 Milwaukee/Chicago corridor near the state line. The free tour includes stops to watch large-screen videos of how the company makes candy corn, taffy and gummies as well as its signature jellybeans.

    Racine Heritage Museum, Racine Learn about Racine's first settlers, star athletes and teams, and local businesses such as Horlick's Malted Milk and Little Golden Books.


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