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A Walking Historical Pub Crawl – Appleton Style

A Walking Historical Pub Crawl – Appleton Style

Written by: Alison Hutchinson; Convention Sales & Marketing Representative

Downtown College Avenue is known for it’s vibrant nightlife and many pubs and taverns but most people probably overlook the fact that they all have a lot of history to offer.Thanks to the History Museum at the Castle, they’ve came up with a great way to enjoy the nightlife and learn a little while you’re there with a Historic Pub Crawl featuring downtown Appleton pubs.

Our tour guide was Nick Hoffman, Chief Curator at the History Museum. He took us inside four downtown taverns and highlighted others noted for their individuality and preservation. The most interesting tidbit that we were all surprised to hear; Appleton long ago, was a “dry” city..for 75 years! It wasn’t until April 6, 1909, that liquor was approved in the city but it didn’t take long to catch on; by 1935 there were 76 taverns in Appleton, 35 on the Avenue alone.

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Our first stop was Dr. Jekyll’s Bar; it contained many original features including a “P” shaped bar to encourage conversations.  This tavern location is popular with Lawrence University students past and present, due to the closeness to the campus.

jims-placeJim’s Place is full of history and it’s showcased on the walls in it’s pictures, the woodwork in the main bar and the original back bar with it’s antique cash register. It is still framed out where it once had a separate area for women and children.  We are standing next to the structure in the photo.

Bazil’s Pub and Provisions, is technically 3 bars in one..with the option of the Old Town Tavern connected next door and No Idea? bar downstairs, they’ve got options! It wasn’t Bazil’s until 1993, the bar itself used to fall under other names but it’s history has been kept alive with new owners. Some say they used to offer a free meal for the working man and then we were shown photos of pots that used to sit next to bar for men to relieve themselves in..slightly gross but back in the day considered normal bar etiquette.

cleosdowntownapp4Our favorite stop was Cleo’s Brown Beam Tavern; it’s been around for decades and the decor is nothing short of unique. Christmas is celebrated everyday, all year long here, with it’s over-the-top Holiday decor displayed about the tavern. It’s home to the popular dirty snowball drink. Cleo’s is considered a Hallmark of downtown Appleton and plans on staying that way!

mcguinness-irish-pubThe last location we visited was McGuinness Irish Pub, a little off the Ave on S. Walnut Street, but still a staple of the downtown scene. Some tax records may show that it is the oldest tavern in Appleton, as opposed to Fox River House, located just down the block. Both taverns were once located across the street from the George Walter Brewing Company, which has long-since been gone.

The History Museum at the Castle walking tours are great for convention-goers as a fun and interactive introduction to local history. Tours begin at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, Lawrence University, CopperLeaf Hotel, or the Museum. It is $7.00 per person for walking tours. Tour packages can include visiting the Museum’s exhibits for an additional fee of $3.00 per person. Happy Pub Crawling!

Kids Shopping Made Easy at the Elf Shop!

Written by: Matt Ten Haken, Director of Sports Marketing
Elf ShopThe popular One Stop Elf Shop for kids is back at the Appleton farm market!
The Farmer’s Market is always great place to find a unique gift for that hard-to-buy-for loved one. With the One Stop Elf Shop, that holiday shopping experience has gotten a little easier for kids too. Last Saturday, our family stopped in at the Elf Shop for our two girls (ages 2 and 5) to buy gifts for each other. We were greeted by a host of friendly elves, that escorted our girls around the shop and helped them each spend their money. There were plenty of unique gifts to choose from featuring items from many of Downtown Appleton’s favorite retailers. In no time, our girls found the perfect gifts for each other and were checked out. Then, they were able to decorate a gift bag for their presents. Located at the far west side of indoor farmer’s market, the Elf Shop has a little bit of something for every shopper.
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Overall, it was a great experience for the girls and a rare stress-free shopping experience for the parents! The One Stop Elf Shop will be open on Saturdays from 9am-1pm during the Farm Market inside City Center until December 17. BONUS: Mrs. Claus made an appearance on Saturday morning and stopped and talked with the girls for a bit. The girls had wide eyes listening to how many cookies Mrs. Claus needs to bake for Mr. Claus!
Black Friday and Small Business Saturday – Check off your list in Wisconsin’s Shopping Place!

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday – Check off your list in Wisconsin’s Shopping Place!

Whether you’re a die-hard Black Friday shopper, the casual ‘maybe I’ll go’ type, if you prefer to stick to small businesses, or skip the chaos all together and online shop, the Fox Cities is the place to be for your Holiday shopping. Afterall, they don’t call us Wisconsin’s Shopping Place for nothing! With hundreds of stores in and around the Fox River Mall area and our unique downtowns’ with one-of-a-kind boutiques, we’ve got everything you need to check off your holiday shopping list!

black-friday-mall-post-crescentBlack Friday – Some stores are set to open as early as 3pm on Thanksgiving Day with all others opening throughout the night and into Friday morning. The Fox River Mall will be opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving, but each individual store will open at it’s own discretion. Click here to see the Top 10 things to know before Black Friday in the Fox Cities!
*Photo credit – Post Crescent


Small Business Saturday – A great opportunity to take advantage of some great deals and contribute to your local community!


  • Downtown Appleton  -Pick up a Shop Appleton Passport at participating business (or download online). Bring your passport to downtown businesses while you shop and receive a stamp at each location. Turn in your passport for a chance to win great prizes, including $350 Appleton shopping spree!
  • Downtown NeenahSelect downtown retailers will be offering Shop Small sales and specials along with some great giveaways from Future Neenah! Visit their Facebook page everyday this week, like and comment on their post of the day for a chance to win! Follow them on Instagram and look for their #shopsmall promotion and participate in their Shop Small Selfie Saturday photo contest while you’re shopping for even more giveaways! Click here for details!

Off the Downtown Path but Worth the Small Business Stop!

  • Simon’s Specialty Cheese – When in Wisconsin, give the gift of cheese! Or just get it for yourself🙂 Simon’s offers delicious fresh made cheese, gifts, and more!
  • Wilmar Chocolates – Handmade specialty chocolates in create your own or pre-made gift boxes, they make the perfect party gift!
  • Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass Gift Shop – Unique, one-of-a-kind, beautiful glass pieces available in a wide-range of prices will fit any budget. They also feature a large collection of holiday ornaments and gifts!
  • Lemon Loves Lime – Children’s Boutique Clothing Store in Downtown Menasha
  • The Snake Pit-Timber Rattlers Team Store – Extended hours on Saturday and a special gift with purchase! Open Saturday 10am-3pm
  • Chic-to-Chic – Women’s Consignment Boutique in Appleton, offering name brand and high-end woman’s clothing and accerssories.
  • Creative Juices Artisan Shop – Shop local artists and handmade items, and a chance to win giveaways and door prizes! lOcated in Kimberly, open 10-3pm
  • Jansport Factory Store – Outlet prices on Jansport gear, collegiate and local high school team apparel! Open saturday 10am-4pm
  • Urban Evolutions – Reclaimed and repurposed furniture, home and holiday decor! Open Saturday 10am-5pm
Fox Cities Holiday Gift Guide

Fox Cities Holiday Gift Guide

As Thanksgiving approaches and the infamous Black Friday ads start to emerge, and we’re hit with the holiday shopping bug. But one question remains…what do you buy them all?! Well, the Fox Cities isn’t known as Wisconsin’s Shopping for nothing! From big box stores and the Fox River Mall to our great downtown’s with local boutique and specialty shops, we’ve got everything you need to check off your holiday gift list!

For Ladies

Handbags, clutches, wallets and wristlets..we ladies can never have enough! Macy’s, located in the Fox River Mall, has a large selection of designer handbags that are sure to please any girl.

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Looking for something a little more unique? Stop in one of our great boutique shops like the Vintage Garden in Downtown Appleton..From warm winter accessories to unique decor, you’re sure to find the perfect one-of-kind gift!

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For Men

Take him out to the ballgame!! Get him tickets to a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers baseball game! As the single A affiliate team to the Milwaukee Brewers and a game at Fox Cities Stadium it’s always a great time! They feature weekly game night specials, fun for the kids and an interactive crowd experience! Also on sale now are the Jordy Nelson Charity Softball Game tickets! A great event with a great cause! Click here to view ticket package options.

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Continue the sports vibe with a stop at Jansport Factory Store. They stock Collegiate and local sports team apparel at 50% off retail!


For Kids

Whether you’re shopping for a toddler or a teenager, we’ve got some great shops to help you find just the right gift. The Learning Shop in Appleton has a wide-range of toys for any age, from classic wooden toys and games to the latest trends!

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Stop at Items of Interest in Downtown Appleton to find unique gifts for the whole family! They feature fun and interactive toys, games and novelty gifts. They also have some really cool artisan items and accessories; great for the hard-to-please-teen!

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Friends and Family

Red Door Mercantile in Downtown Neenah features distinct areas within the store filled with gifts, antiques and home decor, all at a wide-range of price points to fit any budget!

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Gift baskets always make great gifts and with the Fox Cities boasting plenty of specialty stores, there’s something for everyone on your list. Places like Simon’s Specialty Cheese, The Olive Cellar and Wilmar Chocolates all offer beautiful gift baskets!

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Don’t forget your Furry Friends!

Lucy’s Closet Pet Boutique in Downtown Neenah offers specialty pet accessories, apparel and treats; from the pampered princess to the tough dog, they’ve got it all!


The DePawsitory in Downtown Appleton features Eco-friendly toys, pet apparel, locally handcrafted accessories and Wisconsin-made treats! Everything you need to keep your furry friends happy this holiday season!

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The Big Bundle Up 2016

The Big Bundle Up 2016

big-bundle-up-1With the spirit of the holiday season upon us, donating winter items is the perfect way to give back to Fox Cities’ families in need.

The Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau is once again teaming up with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for their annual ‘Big Bundle Up’ collection drive! We invite both Fox Cities’ visitors and residents to drop off new or handmade hats, mittens and scarves for children and adults.

All items will be donated locally to Harbor House and Homeless Connections. Donations will be collected at the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Collection site: Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, 3433 W College Ave, Appleton
What:                   New or handmade hats, mittens and scarves for children and adults
When:                  Nov 17, 2016–Jan 2, 2017
Drop-off during business hrs Monday – Friday, 8am – 4:30pm

Fox Cities Home for the Holidays

Fox Cities Home for the Holidays

While the weather is still unseasonably warm (not complaining), it’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is only a couple short weeks away! Holiday events, shopping and Santa too of course! The Fox Cities has everything you need to get in the spirit of the season!


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Downtown Appleton  Decorated Windows– Downtown Appleton held a special Window Walk event on November 11th to showcase the many businesses that decorated their windows to celebrate the season. Even though that event has passed, you can still enjoy the beauty of the store windows throughout the months of November and December!

Festival of Trees at Trout Museum of Art – Local businesses and artists have decorated and designed wreaths, trees and stockings that will be on display at the museum through November and into December. Join them on December 1 as all of them will be up for silent auction with proceeds to benefit local non-profit organizations. This exhibit is free to enjoy so don’t miss it!

Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade – Tuesday, November 22, Wisconsin’s largest night-time light parade and the theme this year is “Christmas Lights on Parade” and will feature 20 marching bands and 75 floats! You won’t want to miss it! Parade start time is 7pm.

Fang’s Holiday Extravaganza!  – Sunday, November 27 head out to Fox Cities Stadium and join Fang and Whiffer for some holiday fun at the ballpark! Cookie decorating, fun kids activities, and visit Santa and his reindeer! Come anytime from 10:30am – 1pm, admission is FREE!

A Very Neenah Christmas – Friday, December 2 from 5-8pm. Visit downtown Neenah for festivities. Featuring their popular living window displays, horse-drawn carriage rides, fun family activities and visits with Santa!

St. Nick’s Night at Scheels – Tuesday, December 6 from 5pm-8pm. Games to play and Christmas crafts throughout the store!

Downtown Appleton Avenue of Ice – Saturday, December 17 head down to Houdini Plaza from 10:30am – 2:30pm for live music, ice carving displays, horse-drawn carriage rides, refreshments and a visit with Santa!

Christmas ParadeSANTA!

Fox River Mall, November 12 – December 24. Santa will be in the Macy’s wing of the mall. Schedule will vary check their website for details!

Breakfast with Santa  – Come have breakfast with Santa on Sunday, December 11 from 8am-Noon at the Thompson Center on Lourdes. Tickets are $6, children 3 and under are FREE!


dsc_6817Downtown Appleton Small Business Saturday – Saturday, November 26; Shop or dine at nearly 100 businesses. Pick up a Shop Appleton Passport and take it to participating stores, get at least 5 stamps and you can enter to win great prizes! Over $1500 in prizes to give away including a $350 shopping spree!

Harley Davidson of Appleton – Men’s Shopping Night, Friday December 9 from 5-8pm; Stone Cellar will be pouring seasonal craft beers, free gift to the first 200 customers and enter to win some great prizes! Ladies Night, Friday, November 18 from 5-8pm; Receive FREE gift wrapping, snacks, refreshments, manicures, prizes and more!

Christmas Market at Rose and Bee in Kaukauna – December 2, 5-8pm and December 3, 10am-5pm. You’ll find new and vintage furniture, decor, handmade items and more!

For even more Holiday events and activities click here

Fox Cities Best of 2016

Fox Cities Best of 2016

Appleton and the Fox Cities received some great recognition this year! Check out the “Best of” lists we landed on in 2016! Find out why The Fox Cities isn’t just a great place to visit, but a great place to live!

45377_490486727679580_1480329044_n.jpgSpats “The Tav on the Ave” in Downtown Appleton made the list of Most Over-the-Top Burgers in Wisconsin, by Yahoo Travel.

Mihm’s Charcoal Grill in Menasha landed on two lists this year; Top 10 Best Butter Burgers in Wisconsin and Best Mom and Pop Restaurants in Wisconsin, by OnlyinYourState.comTravel

_DSC0437.jpgWisconsin named it’s Seven Man-Made Wonders of East Central Wisconsin and two Fox Cities locations made the list; Hearthstone Historic House Museum in Appleton and the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass in Neenah.


The Source Dog Friendly.jpgThe Source Public House made it in the Top 8 Wisconsin Spots for Dog-Friendly Dining by Travel Wisconsin. Offers a full menu, great bar and patio seating with views of Lake Winnebago.




Carmella’s Italian Bistro makes the Top 10 Most Highly Rated Restaurants in Wiscosnsin by Only in Your


NeenahMarina_day.jpgThe City Of Neenah ranked #7 on the list of Hidden Gems: 10 of Wisconsin’s Most Underrated Towns by Discover Wisconsin



Fratello’s Restaurant in Appleton lands in the Top 11 Waterfront Restaurants in Wisconsin by Only in Your Situated along the Fox River they offer up-scale dining and full water views.


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Top 10 Candy Shops in Wisconsin by Only in Your; Crazy Sweet in Appleton makes the list. Offering old-time classic candy and new favorites, you’ll find it all!


t-rats-stadium-smallThe Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium ranked in the Top 9 Finest Grass Fields of Minor League Baseball by Appleton ranked #5 in the 2016 Top Ten Best Minor League Baseball Towns by Home of The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, single-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.



Community First’s Fox Cities Marathon was named one of the Best Half Marathons in Wisconsin by


Travel Wisconsin ranked Manderfield’s Bakery in the Top 10 Must-Visit Donut Shops in Wisconsin. With three locations throughout the Fox Cities, they’re busy baking up fresh donuts everyday!


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Mile of Music, an annual music festival held in Appleton, was named one of the Top 10 Music Festivals Worth The Trip by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
*Photo Credit Graham Images



Stone Cellar Brewpub made the Top 5 for Best Beer Gardens by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Featuring craft brews and great food.




Appleton was ranked #9 on the list of Best Places for Children in 2016 by for the second year in a row!



_dsc9576editedjune2016Money Magazine ranked Appleton #24 on the Best Places to Live in 2016

Appleton ranked #12 for 2016 Best Places for Millenials by


LawrenceUMain Hall_AppletonWI.jpgUSA Today ranked Appleton one of the 25 Best Small College Towns for Lawrence University.