Summer is right around the corner and, oh boy, does Oshkosh have the fun planned for you! From enjoying the waters by boat, to indulging in a delectable meal, to visiting one of Oshkosh’s largest parks, or enjoying yourself at one of their signature events, there is really something for everyone while stopping in! Let’s dive into the top ten reasons why we love Oshkosh!
Beat the heat this summer out on the waters in Oshkosh. Fishing, boating, tubing, swimming, jet skiing, paddle boating, and more…you name it! Oshkosh has the perfect water activity for you to cool off. If you’re looking to find a rental for the day, Midwest Rental Company is located right in Oshkosh and is the Fox River’s premier boat rentals. Can’t decide where to head out on the water? With more than 140,000 acres of water surrounding Oshkosh there are plenty of options. Top spots to check out include: Lake Winnebago or the Fox River.
If you’re more in the mood for an afternoon or night full of cruising the waters, be sure to hit up On the Loos Cruises for a beautiful paddlewheel riverboat tour. There are themed nights throughout the week that pair up with their cruises, some being: Narrated Sight-Seeing, Tiki Tuesday, and Friday Happy Hour. Learn more about the cruises you can take here!
You can’t visit Oshkosh without visiting an iconic drive-in for a taste of your favorite ice-cream. Between Leon’s Frozen Custard and Ardy & Ed’s Drive In… you can’t go wrong and both spots will provide a fun experience!
Head back to the 50’s for some car hop service at Leon’s Frozen Custard. Leon’s opened in 1947 and is known for the old-school parlor with a retro vibe. Be sure to enjoy their classic cone with your favorite custard to top it off!
At Ardy & Ed’s Drive In, take a blast to the past to the roller skating drive-in days. Roll down your windows and be sure to jive around to the 50’s and 60’s tunes that are playing in the background! Don’t leave without grabbing a real draft root beer and a bite to eat.
It wouldn’t be a Wisconsin favorite if we didn’t mention the breweries! For year-round fun, check out a variety of tasty brews. Better yet, bring your dogs along too! All of the breweries in Oshkosh have outdoor patios that are dog-friendly.
In the heart of downtown Oshkosh, wander into the Fifth Ward Brewing Company for a unique brewery experience! Here you can find a variety of bold and creative beers. Insider Tip: bring your favorite record and have them spin it on their record player!
Off of the beaten path and along the Wiouwash State Trail, you can find Bare Bones Brewery in Oshkosh. This brewery is a slightly newer addition to the area and opened its doors in 2015! You can find delicious handcrafted beers that change seasonally and if you need a bite to eat, they have some food or carry-in your own!
Along the shores of the Fox River, you can find the Fox River Brewing Company. Visit by boat or by land and be sure to bring your friends along! The sweeping view of the waterfront is one of the best parts of this brewery but we can’t forget to mention the delicious brews, dockside dining, and fun yard games too! Insider Tip: try their best known beer, the Blu Bobber Ale!
Calling all aviation lovers! Oshkosh is the place to be for those who love to fly; especially since it’s home to the largest annual gathering for other enthusiasts at AirVenture 2021. From July 26th to August 1st, take in the sights of the unique and historic aircrafts along with the world-class daily air shows. You don’t want to miss out on this family-fun event with so many different events and experiences for kids and adults, of all ages!
Can’t make the event this year? No worries! You can visit the EAA Aviation Museum all year long. Let your imagination soar high at the museum where you can see many displays, galleries, and even get hands on in the KidVenture gallery! Learn more about visitor information at the EAA Aviation Museum here.
Did someone say waterfront dining? Oshkosh did! With plenty of options for classic waterfront dining you will be sure to find your favorite location. Whether it has boats roaring by or live bands playing your favorite music, Oshkosh has it all!
As mentioned earlier, for a brewery and dining experience all in one, visit Fox River Brewing Company. You can’t go wrong with this hotspot that you can access right on the shores of the Fox River. Another favorite Oshkosh spot is Becket’s. This modern downtown restaurant is known for using local and fresh ingredients in their dishes. Be sure to check out their live music schedule for nights filled with jazz music!
Other locations to visit for waterfront dining include: Dockside Tavern, Ground Round at River’s Edge, and TJ’s Harbor Restaurant.
Let your inner-child come out at the new arcade in Oshkosh, The Mineshaft! Whether you’re looking for a day with the family or are grabbing a group of friends for an arcade day, Mineshaft has options for everyone. This arcade all started in Hartford, Wisconsin and was first called “The Commodore”. The old tavern was remodeled to look like a mine shaft, where the present name originated from! In 2019, the Mineshaft made its way to Oshkosh! You can plan a full day filled with food, drinks, and a large game room.
Menominee Park is one of Oshkosh’s largest parks and hosts many events throughout the summer. Whether you’re looking to head out boating or visit the zoo, there is plenty of fun to be had at the Menominee Park.
If you’re an animal lover, be sure to stop into the zoo! The Menominee Park Zoo is home to about 30 to 50 animals and is free for admission all season long. There are four permanent exhibits currently completed at the zoo: the wolf, elk, otter, and eagle exhibits. The zoo is free for all and is a great family-friendly option for kids of all ages!
On the eastern side of the park is the beautiful Lake Winnebago and you have to be sure to stop by for an early morning sunrise. Other fun activities to join in on while at the Menominee Park are biking the trails, throwing a line at the fishing docks, or visiting the beach for a day in the sun.
Find a bit of history in Oshkosh at the Paine Art Center & Gardens. There you can find a historic mansion, a museum, and twenty outdoor display gardens. The historic estate is known for preserving the mansion as well as all of the architectural features throughout while the display gardens are a great location for taking in all the beautiful scenery. Best part is that the annuals and bulbs are changing yearly, making it a new stop each summer!
The next upcoming exhibit at the Paine features “Walk this Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes”. Stuart Weitzman had put in over three decades filled with designing over 100 shoes with his wife, Jane Gershon Weitzman. Visit the exhibit between June 26th and October 10th to dive into the deep history and culture behind this collection.
For live entertainment and the sports fanatics, check out the Menominee Nation Arena which is home to the Wisconsin Herd, Wisconsin GLO and Fox Valley Roller Derby.
The Wisconsin Herd is the NBA G-League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks. You can join in on the fun this season with 24 different opportunities to see the Herd at the Menominee Nation Arena. The Wisconsin GLO is the professional women’s basketball team in Oshkosh and will offer exciting games all summer long! Find out how to watch them here.
Don’t make a trip to Oshkosh without heading downtown and visiting the Oshkosh Farmers Market. At their outdoor summer market you can head explore more than 130 vendors for a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, bread, and other ready-to-go foods! Fun fact: the Oshkosh Farmers Market has been named one of the top 100 farmers markets in the country!
While downtown, get ready to explore different stores to shop, places to dine, and experience different events while visiting. There are more than 200 locally owned businesses in downtown Oshkosh allowing for a wide variety of options to choose from. Learn more about downtown Oshkosh here.
Now you can really see why Oshkosh is the perfect destination for all summer fun activities! We just listed the top ten reasons why we love Oshkosh but what are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!
About Visit Oshkosh: The Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB) is a private, not-for-profit organization, funded solely through room tax dollars from Oshkosh hotels. Its mission is to promote Oshkosh, Wisconsin’s Event City and Winnebago County as a premier destination for corporate, sports and leisure groups and individual visitors.
Kortnee Hass: Digital Media Associate for Discover Mediaworks. A Wisconsin ‘now & forever’ transplant with a soft spot for squeaky cheese curds, craft breweries, and all things Wisconsin tourism.