What's New in Wisconsin 2023 - TravelMole

What’s New in Wisconsin 2023

Thursday, May 18, 2023 0


Celebrating its 175th anniversary of becoming a state in 2023, Wisconsin is in the midst of a year that is packed with new developments, attractions and experiences. Check out a sampling of the state’s latest and greatest below.




Harley-Davidson Museum


Harley-Davidson will celebrate its 120th anniversary by launching the Harley-Davidson Homecoming event, an annual four-day festival filled with music, food and moto-culture. The inaugural event will take place at the Harley-Davidson Museum and other venues throughout the Milwaukee area on July 13-16, 2023, and welcomes riders, enthusiasts and fans to meet in Milwaukee for a huge celebration.


Eau Claire Children’s Museum


Opened in January 2023, the new $12 million Eau Claire Children’s Museum features a total of 24 exhibits and a brand-new early childcare and 4K preschool program to be open year-round in its 3,000-square-foot, two-story building. The building runs on 100% renewable energy and includes a musical instruments room, a life-sized game bubble from the game “Trouble” and a climbing wall.


Eau Claire Sculpture Tour


The Eau Claire Sculpture Tour will once again take the claim of the largest in the nation when new sculptures rotate in for the 2023 season in June. The tour features more than 70 sculptures and allows visitors to vote for their favorites to be crowned Sculpture of the Year. The winning sculpture gets to stay as new sculptures get installed every year.


Food + Farm Exploration Center


The Food & Farm Exploration Center is a state-of-the-art educational center that is in development in Plover. The center will offer interactive exhibits, inside and out, to bring modern farming to life. The facility broke ground in 2022 and is slated to open in summer 2023.


Sun Prairie Explore Children’s Museum


Opened in early 2022, the Sun Prairie Explore Children’s Museum is a 4,800-square-foot space with plenty of places for imaginative play and hands-on learning. The Explore experience is developmentally appropriate for children between the ages of 0-8, offering a wide range of both permanent and rotating exhibits.


Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua’s Listening Room


Every summer in Bayfield, the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua venue hosts an array of musical performances. In late 2022, the venue introduced The Backstage, a new alternate venue, event center and home to the famous house band, the Blue Canvas Orchestra. With this new space, music and the other acts that keep crowds of people coming to Big Top Chautauqua will soon be available year-round (on a much smaller scale).


Installation of 400th Barn Quilt in Shawano County


Twelve years after its launch, The Shawano County Barn Quilt Project installed its 400th barn quilt in October 2022. The project was started in 2010 by local Shawano photographer Jim Leuenberger, who had seen similar quilts in other states. The purpose of the project is threefold: to encourage the preservation of the beautiful, old barns in the county, to promote tourism in Shawano County and to provide an opportunity for clubs like 4-H and FFA to conduct a community service project by painting and/or sponsoring a barn quilt. Go here for a guide to the area’s barn quilts.




Scheduled to open in 2023, Pinseekers in DeForest is a three-story, 36,300-square-foot golf and entertainment venue including a golf range powered by Top Tracer, restaurant and bar, rooftop terrace, mini bowling and natural terrain mini golf course.


Children’s Imaginarium


Set to open in fall 2023, the Children’s Imaginarium in downtown Wausau will have 10,000 square feet dedicated to professionally designed, highly interactive, hands-on exhibits. All exhibits and programming will be rooted in STEM and will be a place for all children and families to spend time together interacting, learning and playing.


Sift & Winnow


Located in Mount Horeb, Sift & Winnow is a new boutique offering a carefully curated collection of lifestyle items to enrich your everyday moments. The shop is the atelier of featured copper enamel jewelry artist, Linda Winther, who specializes in color, line and shape to inform the jewelry she creates.




Emrick Lake Campground at the Preserve


Opening in late May 2023, Emrick Lake Campground in Oxford will be the one of the largest campgrounds in the state with 500 new RV sites, including several cabins and a large waterslide located right on the pond. The owners’ mission is “to provide our guests the most amazing camping experience possible – through exceptional service and unmatched amenities.”


Milwaukee Riverwalk Extension


The Department of City Development (DCD) is continuing efforts to improve and expand Milwaukee’s Riverwalk system, which represents more than 3 miles of pedestrian access along the Milwaukee and Kinnickinnic Rivers. Now, The Node project will create 3,000 square feet of new aquatic habitat and will be part of the new 4,300-linear-foot Riverwalk extension near Komatsu Mining’s new South Harbor Campus. The proposed design aims to modify the existing landscape and dock wall to develop the aquatic habitat and spawning zone with new landscaping and native plants. Stairs and ADA-accessible ramps will provide all individuals the opportunity to access the edge and “touch” the water. The space will expand educational offerings along the river related to fish habitat, the Great Lakes and the Harbor. Construction will begin in 2023.


Beloit’s Outdoor Art Trail


Since Beloit’s inception in 1836, the city has seen nearly 190 years of American history unfold. From innovation to education and so much more, artists have created memorable history for community members and visitors to enjoy. Take the new self-guided Outdoor Art Trail digital tour to unlock the details of Beloit’s unique history! Complete 10 stops to receive an exclusive Beloit & Beyond Outdoor Art Trail sticker.


Milwaukee Downtown Dog Park


Plans are in motion for a new downtown Milwaukee dog park, which will be located between Plankinton Avenue and the Milwaukee River at Clybourn Street. Spearheaded by the Downtown Neighbors Association of Milwaukee, the park will include a 12,000-square-foot dog run with a publicly accessible Riverwalk extension. Other proposed features are separated small and large dog areas, synthetic turf with irrigation to ensure cleanliness, water stations, agility stations, public art and more.


Area 31 ATV/UTV Complex


What was once a Yamaha testing facility is now an action-packed UTV driving adventure located in Minocqua. Whether riders want to enjoy a thrilling UTV ride or try one of Area 31‘s brand new 2022 Polaris RZR 1000s, it can now be done through various routed one-way trails.


Plover River Crossing


The Plover River Crossing in Portage County is a new pedestrian bridge that will add roughly 1.3 miles of trail and provide easy access for walkers and bikers to the Plover River Trail segment of the popular 27-mile Green Circle Trail. The Green Circle is the Stevens Point Area’s 27-mile nature trail which circles through the beauty of river shores, trees, wild birds, and animals.


Oconomowoc Duffy Boat


Enjoy a 90-minute cruise on a zero-emissions electric boat on Fowler Lake in downtown Oconomowoc. The new Duffy Boats are 100% electric powered which keeps waterways clear of pollution and emissions. As a bonus, they run silent, so music and conversation are possible.


International Crane Foundation 50th Anniversary


Founded in 1973, the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo is an organization that combines research, captive breeding and reintroduction, landscape restoration and education to safeguard the world’s 15 crane species. In 2023, the Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a series of events including an anniversary celebration in September and the Great Midwest Crane Fest in November.


Great Pinery Heritage Waterway


The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway in Wausau is an overarching historic river trail system that combines the histories of three rivers that meet in the heart of the city. The new scenic, urban and historical water trail is 108 miles long (the fourth longest in the state), offering visitors and residents paddling opportunities on the Wisconsin River, the Lower Big Rib River and the Lower Eau Claire River on markedlandings that tell the story of our rivers and the people that lived along their banks. Many of the launches are ADA-accessible.


Ariens Nordic Center


Northeast Wisconsin’s premier Nordic center, the newly opened Ariens Nordic Center in Brillion includes 5k of lighted trails for cross-country skiing designed by Morton Trails and a state-of-the-art 20-point Kurvinen Biathlon Target System. The center’s robust snowmaking system covers all trails, a 3k paved roller ski loop and more.


Herbal Safaris


Located on 72 hilly acres in west-central Wisconsin, Bull Brook Keep Farm is now offering guided “herbal safaris” that focus on helpful native herbs, trees and shrubs, many of which can be found in every backyard, driveway and park. On these guided walks, visitors learn to see what’s right at our feet and learn how these plants can be used.




Great Lakes cruise options continue to grow in Wisconsin. Both Bayfield and Green Bay received first-time visits by cruise ships in 2022. Viking’s Octantis visited Bayfield on six occasions this year, while The Ocean Navigator, operated by American Queen Voyages, was the first ever cruise ship to visit Green Bay. Two visits took place in 2022 with two more planned for 2023. The Ocean Navigator also visited Sturgeon Bay on July 1, 2022. La Crosse was also visited by a Viking cruise ship as part of its America’s Heartland voyage in September 2022 with further visits planned for 2023. Sturgeon Bay will see additional cruise ship activity in 2023 with Hapag Lloyd’s cruises ship the Hanseatic Inspiration that added Sturgeon Bay to their Great Lakes portfolio for next year. Viking’s newest ship, The Polaris, launches in 2023 and will include Algoma as part of its Great Lakes cruising itinerary, marking the destination’s first-ever visits by a cruise ship.




Heidel House Hotel and Conference Center


The historic Heidel House, which closed its doors in spring 2019, recently reopened as a completely remodeled hotel and conference center. Improvements and new additions include a new lobby and newly renovated guest rooms, banquet rooms and pools. The property has also reimagined its dining options, boasting lake views and mouthwatering entrees at the Oakwood Restaurant and Waves Pub & Grill.


Hotel Verdant


Located in downtown Racine, Hotel Verdant will welcome its first guests in June 2023.


On track to be a LEED Gold-certified hotel, the boutique property will feature 80 guest rooms as well as spaces for gatherings of many sizes, including space that can hold events for up to 200 people. The hotel’s generous lobby comes with a fireplace, two food and beverage venues, and the hotel’s meeting and banquet spaces.


Green Lake Inn


Green Lake Inn‘s new owner Matt Rogatz gave the property a $400,000 renovation in the summer of 2022, including new furniture in all 17 rooms, wireless internet, smart cable TV and other amenities. Further enhancements include a new fire pit, picnic areas and a shuttle bus that can be rented to large groups.


The Trade Hotel


Coming to Milwaukee in June 2023, The Trade Hotel pays homage to the hardworking history and modern spirit of today’s Milwaukee. Located in the heart of downtown adjacent to Fiserv Forum, this Marriott Autograph Collection property offers 207 luxurious rooms and suites plus destination dining with a rooftop restaurant and lounge boasting stunning city views. Highlights include a two-story VIP suite with a private entrance and over 9,000 square feet of sophisticated indoor/outdoor meeting spaces for groups up to 300.


Potawatomi Hotel and Casino Expansion


Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee is currently undergoing a $100 million renovation to the casino’s third floor. The 120,000-square-foot project will include 1,800 slot machine stations, a new bar with 28 bar-top “slot seats” and 4K televisions. The project will also see the addition of Rock & Brews, a restaurant whose co-founders include Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS. Construction will be completed by the spring of 2023.


Owl Ridge Cabin


The owner of the Stewart Inn of Wausau opened a new luxury lodging businesses called Owl Ridge Cabin in December 2022. Tucked away in the woods east of Wausau on Owl Ridge Road, the 1,100-square foot cabin features an open-concept floorplan, heated floors and clean contemporary design.


Eagles Roost Resort and Marina


Located in Cassville, Eagles Roost Resort and Marina is is opening a new business on Main Street that will offer an interactive tourist center and rentals, including boats, e-bikes, kayaks, canoes and more.


Blanc Chalet


Formerly known as the Swiss Aire Motel, the Blanc Chalet in New Glarus is currently undergoing a major renovation. No reopening date has been set.


Country Jam USA


After 33 years in the town of Union, Country Jam USA will be moving to a new, permanent location in the town of Wheaton. This will allow them to own their own location, and thus allowing them to create permanent buildings for lodging (cabins), more campsites, better pavilions, food services, parking and more.


BizStarts Marketplace


BizStarts, the Milwaukee-based nonprofit that’s helped to mentor and train entrepreneurs since 2008, has announced its plans to open a BizStarts Marketplace, which will allow its small business hopefuls to sell their wares and communicate with customers.


Wisconsin Brewing Company Park / Lake Country Live


In 2022, Oconomowoc welcomed the Lake Country Dockhounds minor league baseball team to the new Wisconsin Brewing Company Park. Additionally, the park serves as a new event venue outside of ball games for the city, hosting concerts, an Oktoberfest, outdoor movie nights and other sporting events.




U.S. Senior Open Championship


SentryWorld will host the 43rd U.S. Senior Open Championship from June 29–July 2, 2023. This is the first Senior Open and third USGA championship to be played on the 200-acre parkland course in Stevens Point. The 7,320-yard championship golf course was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., who redesigned it in 2013 with on-course architects Bruce Charlton and Jay Blasi. In 2021, Jones and Charlton further renovated the course in preparation for the U.S. Senior Open.


Wisconsin Farm Technology Days


One of the largest agricultural fairs in the Midwest, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days will be held in Baraboo, July 18 – 20, 2023, at the grounds of the Badger Steam & Gas Engine Show.  Attendees will enjoy exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, food trucks and lots more.


Mile of Music


Mile of Music, the beloved, community-supported (read: free access to live acts) music festival that takes over 40 venues with 700 live-music sets throughout a mile-long main street in Appleton, celebrates its 10th year from August 3-6, 2023. In 2022, Rolling Stone noted that the festival is a “blueprint for how to foster emerging talent.”


Dodge County Antique Power Show


For the first time in 118 years, Case’s 150 H.P. engine is going to be in Wisconsin. The Dodge County Antique Power Club is bringing in Kory Anderson’s 150 HP Case custom-built steam traction engine to its 2023 show, August 4-6. It’s the largest steam traction engine ever built, giving attendees a chance to see history in action.


Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival


The longest-running and largest corn festival in Wisconsin, the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival will celebrate its 70th anniversary, August 16-20, 2023 in Sun Prairie. Named one of the best food festivals in the Midwest, the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival is always held the third full weekend in August.


NASCAR 2023 at the Milwaukee Mile


NASCAR racing will return to the Milwaukee Mile for the first time since 2009. A NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will be held at the historic racetrack at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis on Aug. 27, 2023. The Milwaukee Mile, the self-proclaimed oldest operating motor speedway in the world, has hosted at least one auto race every year since 1903 (except during U.S. involvement in World War II).


Portage County Cultural Festival


Celebrating diversity in Portage County, the Portage County Cultural Festival will return on May 13, 2023. The festival provides an opportunity to sample food, music, folk dances, native crafts and children’s games from around the world.


Warrens Cranberry Festival 50th Anniversary


Held during the last weekend of September each year, the Warrens Cranberry Festival will commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2023. The free event celebrates all things cranberry with arts and crafts, over 100 farm market vendors and a variety of food stands serving unique and delicious cranberry treats.


Mount Horeb Trollidays


This new tourism event in Mount Horeb highlights the Wisconsin town’s reputation as the “Troll Capital of the World.” For the entire month of December, trolls will be taking over Mount Horeb and encouraging locals and visitors to shop, eat and play in the Mount Horeb area.


Harvest Moon Fest


On September 16, join the town of Cassville for the first Harvest Moon Fest at the Stonefield Historic Site. Enjoy live music from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., shop local vendors and stop into the saloon for drinks from local Wisconsin breweries and wineries. Top the evening off with bonfires, axe throwing and more.






Located in La Pointe’s Farmhouse Kitchen and Inn, Mijim is a new restaurant that serves modern Ojibwe-inspired dishes with French soul on small plates. Opening in June 2023, Miijim will feature an ever-evolving menu featuring the seasonality of the Chequamegon Bay and its farmers, foragers, hunters and gatherers. The restaurant is led by Chef Bryce Stevenson, a native of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation and also part of a growing food sovereignty movement of Native American chefs.


Commodore – A Bartolotta Restaurant


With a plan to open in summer 2023, Bartolotta Restaurant Group will expand its award-winning dining portfolio with The Commodore – A Bartolotta Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant and elevated catering venue on Nagawicka Lake near Delafield. The Commodore will revitalize the historic waterfront property that was most recently the Seven Seas restaurant and once served as Hasslinger’s Pleasant View Hotel & Resort when it opened in 1905.


Seven Acre Dairy Company


The newly opened Seven Acre Dairy Company is housed in a restored cheese factory on the banks of the Sugar River in Paoli. The historic location will offer a true farm-to-table experience with a dairy cafe serving cheese and butter from the next-door farm as well as boutique hotel rooms, event space, fine dining and even cheese caves.


Three Waters Reserve: Fall Foraging Workshop Series & Wild Harvest Chef’s Table


Three Waters Reserve is committed to restoring and preserving the historic natural landscapes of the Lower Sugar River Valley, connecting people to the bounty of this beloved land through purposeful events and unique culinary experiences. The new Fall Foraging Workshop Series allows attendees to forage for native wild edibles, while the Wild Harvest Chef’s Table features an unforgettable gourmet meal, dessert and cocktail pairing prepared by wild foods chef, John Marks, of Culinary Nirvana LLC.


Great Northern Distilling


Central Wisconsin’s first craft distillery will be opening soon in a new facility in downtown Stevens Point (official opening date is TBA). Great Northern Distilling‘s new location will feature an expanded production area, tasting room and event space. Committed to small batches using ingredients sourced from 150 miles or less, Great Northern is known for their award-winning spirits including Potato Vodka.


Driftless Social


Mount Horeb’s Driftless Social will serve steaks, seafood, a wide selection of martinis, Old Fashioned cocktails and wines, as well as bar food offerings. Located in a historic downtown building that has housed restaurants since 1911, the owners are giving the space a new shine, with a new 36-foot bar and handmade booths. The bar opened for business in November 2022 (on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays), with the kitchen to follow in early 2023.


Sturgeon Spirits


Sturgeon Spirits, the first craft distillery in Oshkosh, opened its doors in late October 2022.  The spot blends Oshkosh’s sturgeon spearing tradition with a unique interactive distilling experience, including such flavors like rhubarb liqueur, sour cherry liqueur and apple and cinnamon liqueur. Along with these seasonal fruit liqueurs, Sturgeon Spirits will also produce grain-to-bottle whiskey, bourbon, gin and vodka.


Bailey’s Run Vineyard


Bailey’s Run Vineyard in New Glarus is expanding in a big way in May 2023 with the opening of the Whiskey Run Distillery and the addition of additional meeting space, which will allow the venue to host private events with anywhere from 15 to 150 guests.


SPH Axe-Throwing


Skal Public House in Mount Horeb has launched SPH Axe-Throwing, located right next door to the popular restaurant & bar. SPH offers four axe throwing lanes, a full bar with the area’s largest tap beer selection, plus a large assortment of bottles, cans and craft cocktails.


Buck & Honey


Mount Horeb is set to become the latest location of Buck & Honey’s, which already has restaurants in Sun Prairie, Monona and Waunakee. The 150-seat restaurant will be on the first floor of the 11,080-square-foot brick building and an event space with capacity for 200 will occupy the upstairs.


Artemis Provisions & Cheese


Located in Mount Horeb, Artemis Provisions & Cheese is a new meat, eggs and cheese delivery service that focuses on humanely raised, hormone and anti-biotic free local products. Artemis partners with local farms who raise grass fed red angus beef, pork, chicken and eggs.


New Glarus Brewing Co.


To celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2023, The New Glarus Brewing Company released the 30th  Anniversary Quadruple in April as part of the brewery’s Thumbrint series, which are made in smaller batches with the beer enthusiast in mind. The 30th Anniversary Belgian Quadruple will be distributed statewide and sold exclusively in the new Thumbprint four-pack cans.

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