Tag: Appleton

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!

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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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!

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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 State.com


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 State.com. 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 State.com; 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 lawnstarter.com. Appleton ranked #5 in the 2016 Top Ten Best Minor League Baseball Towns by smartasset.com. 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 Runnersgoal.com.


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 smartasset.com 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 local.niche.com.


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


Haunted Fox Cities

Haunted Fox Cities

With Halloween approaching many people flock to the popular haunted house Burial Chamber or Neenah’s Most Haunted for a scare, but some seek a more “real” paranormal experience. Below are a few places in the Fox Cities that are rumored to have had frequent paranormal activity.

10530480_973713412646957_3808768251781511911_o.jpgHearthstone Historic House – Although it is popular for being the first home in the world powered by a hydroelectric central station using the Edison system, that is not all it’s known for. The museum is said to still be occupied by the second owner of the house, A.W. Priest., who owned the home until 1930. Staff, volunteers, and visitors have experienced unusual sounds, such as sneezing when no one sneezed, and the feeling of being watched. Hearthstone embraces this unexplained activity and offers two different haunted experiences leading up to Halloween.

IMG_1485 (1).jpgStone Cellar Brewpub – The oldest brewery in the Fox Cities is a favorite among locals. Apparently it is also a favorite of someone who never left. Bartenders and patrons have witnessed pint glasses moving either from the bar to the floor or from the bar into the dishwasher by themselves. Employees decided to name the individual causing these unexplained acts, Charlie, although paranormal experts believe Charlie may actually be George Walter, the third owner of the building.

175930_300543766721930_1063543925_oAppleton Curling Club – The home to several bonspiels and curling leagues during the winter, Appleton Curling Club is also rumored to be home to a former member or two. Witnesses claim to have heard unexplained footsteps and have seen chairs fall over on their own in the club’s bar area.


Former Bootleggers Bar/Greenville Station – Possibly the most haunted place on this list, Greenville Station has been investigated by several paranormal experts. Some investigators have heard voices and footsteps coming from the floor above. Others have had their hair pulled or legs pinched. One investigator claims to have gotten punched by an unseen force, resulting in a bruise.

riversideRiverview Cemetery – One of the Fox Cities most well-known hauntings, is the story of Kate Blood. Her gravestone, along with her husbands, sit in a separate part of the cemetery. Stories and legends say she murdered her 3 children before killing herself, hence the 3 small gravestones that sit near hers, but records show she only had one child and that she died of disease. She was a mere 26 years old when she died and the reason for their separate grave site remains a mystery.

376864_490084654341150_1121343302_n.jpgThe Zuelke Building – An iconic building in downtown Appleton, now utilized for businesses and office space, is rumored to be haunted by its’ namesake, Irving Zuelke. Most reports come from late-night cleaning crews who say they’ve seen the half torso of a man, one man said he was tapped on the shoulder while cleaning. Music seems to stir up activity here, as one story states that during an event, a pianist took a break from his playing and all the elevators in the building quite working. As he started to play again, the elevators mysteriously started running again.

*Photo credit: Hearthstone Historic House facebook page; Riverview Cemetery via Appleton Post Crescent; Zuelke Building facebook page.


Our Fox Cities Fall Traditions

Written by: Matt Ten Haken, Director of Sports MarketingLotsOfPumpkins

Apple Picking, Friday Night Football, Pumpkin-flavored everything, Jumping in huge leaf piles….what is there not to like about the fall?! Every family has their favorite fall traditions, here are some of the best autumn activities we like to do, and they’re all right here in the Fox Cities.
Pumpkin & Apple Picking
There are oodles of options for picking your favorite fall produce in the area. We have frequented Sprangers Orchard over the last few years. You can pick your own, or they have a huge pre-picked selection for you to choose from as well. Also, try their delicious apple cider and caramel apples. Sprangers staff is always friendly and helpful, it makes the experience really enjoyable! They are located just outside Appleton, in the Heart of the Valley area, check out their Facebook page.
Pumpkin Carving
A hidden gem that we love to go to each year is the Rades Family Pumpkin Carving Display on Appleton’s east side. Each year the Rades family transform their entire front yard into a pumpkin-themed paradise. They carve intricate designs into dozens of pumpkins and add in special lighting, music, and displays. Our girls have been especially fond of the Disney princess carvings over the years. The display runs the nights of October 29-31, this is non-scary event so it’s great for the whole family. Donations are accepted and appreciated for the Fox Valley Humane Association. Click here for details!
Freaky 5K
The final run/walk that we do each season is the YMCA’s Freaky 5K on October 29. Starting and finishing at Appleton’s Pierce Park, the run takes competitors through three parks and some of the city’s most distinct neighborhoods. Costumes are encouraged! Our girls love the 1/4 Mile Mini-Monster Dash. The 5K field ranges from competitive runners looking for a personal best to novice walkers looking to show off their Halloween costumes. This is a great family event that culminates with post-event food, drinks, and activities. Click here for more information!
dsc_2255Hike our Nature Preserves
We love to head out and take hikes with our kids this time of year and with three different nature preserves located right here in the Fox Cities, it’s an easy drive to any of them and a great way to spend a gorgeous fall day! 1000 Islands Environmental Center, Heckrodt Wetland Reserve and Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve all offer free access to their trails and nature centers. The trails aren’t too long so it’s great for kids and there’s plenty of nature to take in while you’re there. Stop in and visit their nature centers too where you’ll find information about the area, animals, and activities to engage the kids!

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Written by: Amy Karas, Convention Sales and Marketing Manager

Fall is here and that means football season is too. Here in the Fox Cities, with Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, just a short 30 minute drive away; there are plenty of opportunities for both area residents and visitors alike to catch a home game. Don’t want to deal with the game day traffic? Hop on a shuttle from one of our local bars and enjoy the ride! The Bar on Lynndale or the Bar on College Ave, D2, or Tanner’s Bar and Grill in Kimberly, all offer transportation and beverages for just $20 per person!

13925839_10154203901144733_8403565281344930166_oWith our 20 communities and Lawrence University in Appleton, the Fox Cities is also home to countless local football teams and plenty of games to catch on any given fall weekend. Lawrence University plays their home games on Saturday afternoons at the Banta Bowl in Appleton. Area public and private high schools have varsity football games on Friday nights at Appleton East, North and West, Kaukauna, Kimberly, Neenah, Menasha, Fox Valley Lutheran, Xavier and St. Mary’s Central fields.


14355697_1467980143216059_811243965567511418_n.jpgDuring football season, Monday nights in the Fox Cities is the place to be if you want to talk shop with Packer players. Clubhouse Live is a weekly pro sports talk program hosted by Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ty Montgomery and his special guests. Watch it live at 6:30pm at The Clubhouse Sports Pub & Grill inside the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton, or stream it at clubhouselive.com or postcrescent.com. ‘In the Huddle’ is a Packer radio show hosted by Justin Hull, Packers safety Chris Banjo and tight end Jared Cook. Watch it live at Game Day Sports Bar in Appleton from 6-7pm or listen to it on 105.7 WAPL. Both shows are free to the public!

1973584_10152820185483513_6731381116984047219_o.jpgThere is also an abundance of sports bars throughout the Fox Cities for game-day fun. They offer plenty of flat screen tv’s and game day specials including drinks, food, trivia and giveaways. Some of the more unique venues with great game day specials include Holidays in Neenah, where Packer fans congregate downstairs and Chicago Bears fans come together upstairs; Bad Badger Sports Bar in downtown Appleton, which is a popular venue for Wisconsin pro and college games and features a bowling lane as a bar top; and Game Day Sports Bar in Appleton, with plenty of flat screens playing multiple games you’re always on top of what’s happening in any game, food and drink specials, and their heated outdoor patio is open year-round!

*Photo credit: Lawrence University facebook page; Inside the Huddle facebook page; Bad Badger Sports Bar facebook page.