10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Green Bay
Named after a sub-basin of Lake Michigan, Green Bay was first settled in 1669, and despite its relatively small size - its population is a little more than 100,000 - it boasts a number of excellent tourist attractions. While most people know the city for the National Football League team that carries its name, the Green Bay Packers, many don't realize that Green Bay is, in fact, the smallest metropolitan area in the US to have a major pro sports franchise. Given its size, it's easy to get around and makes for an excellent place from which to explore Northeast Wisconsin.
See also: Where to Stay in Green Bay
1 Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers
For those with a passion for NFL football, the Green Bay Packer's home turf, Lambeau Field, is a must. Opened in 1957 and the longest continuously occupied stadium in the league, it underwent major renovations in 2003 and can now seat 72,000 people. In addition to watching the third oldest NFL team in action (it was formed in 1919) you can take a guided tour of the stadium, including the Atrium, a private suite, and the players tunnel.
Address: 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay
2 National Railroad Museum
Railway buffs will be in the seventh heaven when visiting the National Railroad Museum. Founded in 1956, it's one of the oldest and largest museums dedicated to the country's rich railroad heritage and includes a large collection of restored rolling stock and engines, photos, archives, and a library. Of particular interest is the Eisenhower collection, the centerpiece of which is the British Railways steam engine, Dwight D Eisenhower, used by "Ike" during WWII. While there, be sure to pony up the small additional fee for the 25-minute train trip around the site.
Address: 2285 South Broadway, Green Bay
3 Green Bay Botanical Gardens
The beautiful grounds of Green Bay Botanical Gardens include a variety of rare and unique plants. Something is almost always in bloom, be it tulips in spring or hydrangeas in the fall. Highlights include a fun children's garden, complete with a tree house, maze, and slide, and a lovely Scandinavian-themed summer house to hang out in and soak up the ambiance. A series of educational programs are available, as well as fun social events and tours.
Address: 2600 Larsen Road, Green Bay
4 The Walk of Legends and the Packers Heritage Trail
You'll find the Walk of Legends, an art walkway of 24 statues celebrating the legends and chronicling the history of football in Green Bay between 1895 and the present, in the heart of the city's Lombardi Avenue District. Beginning at Lambeau Stadium, this fun mile-long walkway consists of 24 granite and steel statues. Along the way, you'll learn about the Oneida Tribe of Indians, many of them pioneers of semi-pro football in Green Bay. The other football related trail to explore is the Packers Heritage Trail, a walking tour of important city landmarks associated with the team. During the tour, you'll find 22 commemorative plaques with interesting facts and stats. The tour ends in the Packers Heritage Trail Plaza with its statues of the team's founder and former star players.
5 Door County
Door County, 46 miles northeast of Green Bay, is an area of outstanding natural beauty just begging to be explored. The peninsula juts into Lake Michigan and is a land of apple and cherry trees, trout streams, romantic small towns, marinas, and diving schools. It's a wonderful area to explore, whether on foot, by bike, by car, or better still, by boat - especially around lovely Sturgeon Bay and Baileys Harbor or Washington Island, home to the oldest Icelandic settlement in the US. Renowned for its clear waters and great fishing, this small island sees its fair share of visitors and is easy to traverse by bike. The Door County Historical Museum is worth a visit for its informative displays on the history of the area, as is the Door County Maritime Museum with its numerous marine related artifacts.
6 Heritage Hill State Historical Park
This 48-acre open air museum is an excellent way to learn more about the earliest settlers in and around Green Bay. Costumed interpreters are on hand to recreate the life and times of the 1800s, and popping in and out of the 25 restored heritage buildings will inevitably lead to demonstrations of the kind of chores that would have been common at the time, including baking and weaving. A variety of fun educational programs and workshops are available throughout the summer.
Address: 2640 South Webster Ave, Green Bay
7 Neville Public Museum of Brown County
The Neville County Public Museum boasts a collection of more than 100,000 items relating to the arts, history, and sciences associated with Northeast Wisconsin. Highlights include prehistoric artifacts, an extensive library containing books and periodicals relating to the region, more than a million photos, and four million feet of film clips, as well as public records and maps. The Neville County Public Museum also regularly features traveling exhibits and runs an education program.
Address: 210 Museum Place, Green Bay
8 Historic Ephraim
The small town of Ephraim, an hour's drive northeast of Green Bay in Door County, is a popular summer getaway for locals and visitors alike. Sitting on the water and boasting a beautiful harbor backed by historical buildings, Ephraim is a great place to pursue recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, and sailing. While there, pop into the Anderson Store in the historic downtown area, it's included on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in the mid 19th century, and provides an insight into how a general store would have operated at that time. Also of note is the Pioneer Schoolhouse, which operated from 1880 to 1949 and now has displays of local historical items and photographs.
9 Bay Beach Amusement Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
Green Bay has something very unique that you don't find in most cities: a 700-acre wildlife sanctuary. Part of the Bay Beach Park Amusement Park complex with its fun rollercoaster and kids' rides, the sanctuary has numerous walking trails and animal viewing areas, providing an inner city escape to the countryside. The city's New Zoo is worth a visit, too, and features a variety of animals including local and exotic species and a petting zoo.
Address: 1660 East Shore Drive, Green Bay
10 Hazelwood Historic House Museum
Hazelwood Historic House is a perfectly preserved and restored mansion dating from the early 19th century. On display are period pieces and memorabilia, as well as collections belonging to the Brown County Historical Society. An excellent example of Greek Revival architecture, the home contains 10 rooms decorated in the style common to Green Bay from the 1840s to the1890s. A variety of fun tour packages are available, including formal teas.
Address: 1008 South Monroe Ave, Green Bay
Where to Stay in Green Bay for Sightseeing
We recommend these convenient hotels in Green Bay near Lambeau Field and downtown attractions:
- Lodge Kohler: luxury lodge, opposite Lambeau Field, contemporary decor, sports theme, full-service spa and pool.
- Hyatt Regency Green Bay: mid-range pricing, large atrium, steam room, indoor pool.
- Hampton Inn Green Bay Downtown: affordable rates, river views, comfy beds, complimentary breakfast.
- Super 8 Green Bay Near Stadium: budget hotel, clean rooms, fitness room, free breakfast and parking.