Green Bay in Wisconsin is known for being the state’s oldest settlement and in the 1600s this area was famous for beaver pelts, paper production, and a thriving shipping industry.
To this day, these industries are still at the forefront of employment in Green Bay, but visitors can also travel back to the days of old to see these firsthand at Heritage Hill State Park.
As well as heritage features, this city is also home to a vibrant shopping, dining, and nightlife scene, as well as a plethora of interesting and educational museums.
Green Bay is also known for the Green Bay Packers, its resident football team, and tours of the team’s home stadium are popular here.
Other attractions include taking in the gorgeous outdoor scenery that surrounds Green Bay, and hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing are all popular pursuits in line with the changing of the seasons.
Lets explore the best things to do in Green Bay:
1. Heritage Hill State Park
If you like your history then you will love this 48 acre park in Green Bay that sits nestled on the east bank of the Fox River.
Aside from the lush parkland, the big draw here is the heritage village which is made up of twenty five restored buildings that date back to the 17th century and are dotted all over the park.
Friendly guides in period garb will help you to feel the part even more and highlights here include live demonstrations by printers and blacksmiths.
There is even a fur trader’s cabin that dates from the 19th century.
2. Fox River State Recreational Trail
The Fox River State Recreational Trail runs along the Fox River in northeastern Wisconsin from the downtown Green Bay area.
The trail follows the river for 20 miles to the Brown County Line and is a favorite with hikers and ramblers who want to take in the local sights.
Certainly if you want to get a scenic view of Green Bay then this is an excellent activity that will let you take in the majesty of this area around the Great Lakes Region.
3. National Railroad Museum
Dating back to 1958, the National Railroad Museum has a mission to preserve and promote the history of railroad travel in the United States, and to that end has an impressive collection of over 70 engines and carriages.
There are also static displays such as photographs and railroad memorabilia and there are also educational films for visitors to enjoy.
As if that wasn’t enough, you can go for fun rides on the “Thomas the Tank Engine” railway ride that chugs around the museum.
Definitely if you like locomotives then this is the place to come, and there are also a selection of famous pieces that date from the steam engine era that enthusiasts will love.
4. Bay Beach Amusement Park
Bay Beach Amusement Park is nestled near to the mouth of the majestic Fox River and is the place to come if you are looking to have a little fun in the Green Bay area.
On the east bank of the river, the amusement park has a wealth of rides and attractions that visitors young and old will love such as roller coasters, amusement rides, and concessions.
There are also old-school activities like arcade games and a food court area if you get hungry between all the fun.
5. Neville Public Museum
As Green Bay’s largest museum, Neville Public Museum is the place to come to learn all about the area, and the range of exhibits here cover areas as diverse as science, art, and local history.
The museum features a signature permanent exhibit which is entitled “On the Edge of the Inland Sea” and has the aim of educating visitors about the history of this region of the United States which is also known as the Great Lakes Region.
The exhibits takes visitors on a walk through history from the Ice Age up until the present day and there are also rotating exhibits that change throughout the year.
6. L.H Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve
This preserve sprawls over 900 acres and sits on the southwestern shores of Green Bay and provides a safe haven for dozens of species of birds in the area.
Aside from being a preserve for wildlife, this is also an educational facility and there is an Interpretive Center where you can learn all about native plant and animal life in the area which includes species such as Canadian geese and wild ducks.
Aside from learning about the local flora and fauna, you can also get active here and follow one of the many trails in the area which are great for hiking in the summer months, or you can go snowshoeing or skiing in the winter.
7. Green Bay Botanical Garden
For those interested in the indigenous flora of Green Bay, the Botanical Garden will fill you in on everything you need to know.
These public gardens are famous as they span more than 40 acres of verdant and lush scenery and are divided into different zones such as seasonal gardens, areas of dense woodland, aromatic rose gardens, and even a New American Perennial Garden.
Depending on when you choose to visit there are special events that rotate throughout the year in line with the different holiday seasons such as the Concert in the Garden events which take place in the summer months and the Garden of Lights over the winter.
8. Oneida Nation Museum
If you are interested in learning how the original inhabitants of Green Bay and the wider Fox River area came to settle here then this is the museum that will give you all the answers.
The museum opened in 1979 and has a range of exhibits that visitors can enjoy both inside and outside its doors and these include a full history of the Oneida Nation.
Some of the artifacts on display here include Native American tools and memorabilia as well as colorful paintings and drawings.
There is even a replica of a traditional Oneida longhouse and if you fancy a souvenir then there is a gift shop that sells local handicrafts included bead work jewelry, arts and crafts, and literature about the area.
9. Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame
For a walk through the archives of some of the most famous players in the history of the Packers, come to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Here you will find 25,000 square feet dedicated to over 100 of these players and the aim of the Hall of Fame is to pay tribute to some of these greats and to educate visitors on the history of the football team.
There is memorabilia in the form of photographs and other exhibits and the Hall of Fame has a hands-on approach to the interactive exhibits so that even those not familiar with the team will find this an interesting and engaging experience.
10. Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo
Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo, also known as NEW Zoo is known for having over 40 acres of exhibits dedicated to animals in the area and you can expect to see local favorites such as grey wolves, mountain lions, and bears.
Aside from indigenous species there are also international animals like African lions and wallabies from Australia and you will even find penguins here.
Guests can tour the zoo and see the animals in replicas of their natural habitat and learn all about their preservation and environmental conservation.
11. Brown County Reforestation Camp
To learn more about ecology and the local environment in Green Bay, head over to the Brown County Reforestation Camp which sits close to NEW Zoo.
Here you will find a wealth of preserved land which is covered with hiking and nature trails and if you are feeling active then you can go for a walk and explore the area yourself on foot.
The camp is made up of unspoiled areas of forestland and the nature trails here are simply spectacular in the summertime, or you can visit in the winter when popular activities include cross-country skiing.
12. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary covers an impressive 700 acres in the Bay Beach area and is an ideal spot for nature lovers to take in the gorgeous sights of this region.
One of the premium activities to be enjoyed here is bird watching and there are thought to be over 250 species of birds resident in the park.
One the grounds of the Wildlife Sanctuary you will also find the Nature Education Center which spans three floors and has a range of interactive exhibits to teach you all about environmental conservation in the area.
Aside from birds, other animals that live here include wolves, flying squirrels, and bobcats.
13. Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
Part of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Weidner Center for Performing Arts is named after Edward Weidner, the founder of the university, and is also known for being a shining light on the Green Bay arts scene.
The center is home to musical and theatrical companies from the Green Bay area and has a capacity of over 2,000 spectators, so if you want to catch a Broadway musical or other performance with homegrown talent from the Green Bay area then this is the place to do it.
14. Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Tour
The resident Green Bay football team, the Green Bay Packers, are known for being unusual as it is actually the citizens of Green Bay who own this team, and as such this has led to this town being gripped by football fever.
If you have a chance to take in a football game here then it is definitely a loud and exciting experience, but even if you don’t happen to be here at the right time you can still go for a tour of the stadium and hear all about the amazing history of this unique sports team.
15. Grassy Island Range Lights
If you want to see something of a Green Bay phenomenon then head for the Grassy Island Range Lights, actually two preserved lighthouses that would once have stood proud at the mouth of the Green Bay Harbour.
The lighthouses used to warn ships in the channels of the harbor but have since been decommissioned and moved to their current location, and are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Wisconsin.