With long coastal stretches along both Lakes Michigan and Superior, the leafy state of Wisconsin presents some of the most picturesque scenery in the Midwest.
Lush rolling hills and fertile soil make for prime agricultural land, while mesas, forests and small glacial lakes round off Wisconsin's wonderfully varied topography. The winding Saint Croix River creates the natural border with Minnesota in the west, before meandering north towards the verdancy of the colossal Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Eastern Wisconsin is characterised by the sprawling lake-side metros of Green Bay and Milwaukee.
Wisconsin is also a delight for outdoors enthusiasts, who have the choice of casting for trout in the Kinnickinnic River, tapping trees for maple sap in the Northwoods, exploring the historic lighthouses and stunning waterways of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, or going mountain biking across the Kettle Moraine.
The state boasts a rich culture and thrilling pro-sports scene too. Scandinavian immigrants have had an impact on Wisconsin heritage, particularly in the north, which boasts some of the best Nordic ski trails in the country. Each year, international athletes travel to Wisconsin for the American Birkebeiner ski marathon, the most significant cross-country skiing event in America.
As for the arts, Wisconsin was the home state of visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the founder of the Prairie School of Design. In the village of Spring Green, visitors can tour Taliesin, his home and architectural magnum opus.
Two things Wisconsin are perhaps best known for often go hand in hand: beer and American football. Milwaukee is the brew city, home to the famous Miller Brewing Company as well as countless microbreweries, with German immigrants credited for introducing its famous bratwursts and brews.
These are all perfect accompaniments to watching Wisconsin's beloved Green Bay Packers take the field. Adventurous visitors are welcome to join Wisconsin fans, or 'cheeseheads', in braving snow and freezing temperatures to cheer them on at their home stadium, Lambeau Field.
The odd nickname bestowed upon Packers fans is a testament to another of Wisconsin's claims to fame: dairy products. Often called America's Dairyland, Wisconsin produces more cheese than any other state in the country.
Wisconsin is a home of pastoral serenity, traditional Americana and natural wonders. Visitors will be entranced by its diverse array of attractions and outdoor activities, whether it's braving the ski slopes or unwinding by the side of a Great Lake, craft beer in hand.
Miller Park is the home of major league baseball's Milwaukee Brewers. Opened in 2001, the ballpark combines state-of-the-art features, including a unique fan-shaped convertible roof, with the 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' nostalgia of America's pastime. Ballpark tours are also available. But if visitors are able to get tickets, there is perhaps no better way to experience the best of American sport than by watching a ballgame with popcorn and a hot dog on a warm summer evening.
The Miller Brewery, established in 1855, is a landmark in Milwaukee. Visitors can participate in a free and entertaining guided tour of the brewery, packaging centre and historic caves on the premises. Tours last around one and a half hours and conclude with samples either at the old Miller Inn or in the beer garden, a seasonal option.
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is commonly referred to as 'The Domes', due to its memorable architecture. Its three giant glass vault-like structures are bursting with diverse plant life. Visitors can explore a different habitat in each dome: arid, tropical or floral.
Home of the Green Bay Packers football team, Lambeau Field is an iconic American football stadium. Today, its preserved retro style and original seating bowl boast modern facilities and services, despite the disadvantages of an outdoor stadium in Wisconsin's notoriously cold winters. If visitors can get tickets and stand the cold, watching the Packers play at home is an amazing experience. If not, a tour of the stadium where some of the greatest legends in American football have played is the next best thing. When attending a football game at Lambeau Field, visitors should arrive early for a barbecue and join the tailgate party in the parking lot.
Eccentric millionaire Alex Jordan Snr built the House on the Rock in retaliation to renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who dismissed his architectural aspirations. The Japanese-style house is rambling and dark, containing many collections of antiques and curiosities. From the late 1960s, the collections increased in eclectic directions, with additions of mechanical musical instruments, dolls, model ships and guns. The world's largest carousel is housed inside as well as a recreation of the squid and the sea monster from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The most famous feature is the Infinity Room, which juts out unsupported from the House 218 feet (66.5m) into the surrounding valley. There are also hotels, conference facilities, a spa, golf course and Japanese gardens.
Wisconsin Dells takes its name from the distinctive sandstone formations in the glacial gorges of the Wisconsin River. Three of its water parks claim the titles of the biggest in the US: Noah's Ark is the largest outdoor park; Wilderness Territory is the biggest indoor park; and Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park is the largest resort and water park complex. There are plenty of things to do if you'd like to stay dry, including golf, go karts, horse riding, Timber Falls Amusement Park, live entertainment, restaurants and shops. The Wisconsin Dells are open in winter too, with snowboarding, skiing and ice fishing. The Ho-Chunk Casino is also a great place for adults to enjoy themselves.
Wisconsin's climate is typically continental, with four distinct seasons. Its relatively short summers are warm, with pleasantly cool evenings. Winters are often harsh, with very low temperatures and heavy snowfalls. In the north, lakes and streams may be covered with ice from November to April. These cold conditions are precisely why Wisconsin is so popular among winter sports enthusiasts.
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