Not well-known as a popular tourist destination outside of Wisconsin, the Fox Cities should definitely be on your radar as a new and refreshing hotspot to visit in the Midwest. Located along the Fox River in the east central part of the state, the Fox Cities refers to 19 charming communities in this region, that includes Appleton, the largest and most prominent, and a few along northern section of Lake Winnebago.
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum Of Glass
165 N. Park Ave.
Neenah, WI 54956
Despite its marvelously picturesque setting that overlooks Lake Winnebago, the admission-free Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass only draws 20,000 visitors annually. However, this hidden gem in the peaceful city of Neenah is unquestionably worth the 7.5-mile trip from Appleton or even from larger Wisconsin cities like Green Bay, Madison or Milwaukee and elsewhere. First opened to the public in 1959 as the Bergstrom Art Center, the center is named after Neenah native and businessman John Nelson Bergstrom and his wife Evangeline, whose passion for collecting glass paperweights served as the impetus for establishing the museum in their Tudor Revival home and gifted to the City of Neenah.
World’s Largest Glass Paperweight Collection
Today, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass holds the world’s largest collection of glass paperweights, with a significant portion from the 19th century. In all, its permanent collection holds nearly 5,000 objects, including dazzling contemporary glass, radiantly colored art glasses, and centuries old Germanic glass. The earliest Germanic glass piece dates back to the 16th century, as part of the Mahler Collection of Germanic Glass, donated by Ernest Mahler, first chairman of the museum and his wife Carol.
Downtown Appleton Farm Market
333 W. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54912
Known as the largest farmer’s market in the Fox Cities area, the Downtown Appleton Farm Market is held Saturdays inside the City Center Plaza through May, with up to 50 vendors. Hosted year round by Appleton Downtown Inc., the farm market really gets going in mid June, as the weather is noticeably warmer, crowds are larger yet manageable, and more than 150 vendors on hand to sell a variety of fresh local produce, meats, gourmet cheese and freshly baked goods, as well as unique arts, crafts and live music.
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
400 W. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911
Located in the heart of downtown Appleton, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art facility that hosts more than 350 events annually, including world-class productions of many of Broadway’s most popular shows. The facility also features a beautiful lobby with a rotunda and four-level atrium, as well as a grand staircase that leads to the theater’s upper levels. As one of the finest performing arts centers in Wisconsin, PAC is home to Broadway Across America, a Live Nation-branded organization that presents and produces Broadway shows.
History Museum At The Castle
330 E. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911
Housed within a Tudor Revival structure, the History Museum at the Castle is a local history museum that shouldn’t be missed, especially for first time visitors to the Fox Cities area. Initially built as a Masonic temple in 1923, the museum was also previously known as Outagamie Museum and even more fascinating, the Houdini Historic Center, named after former Appleton resident Erik Weisz, immensely better known as the world-famous illusionist and stunt performer Harry Houdini.
Harry Houdini At The Museum
Despite the name change, the History Museum at the Castle continues to hold a very impressive collection of Houdini artifacts and replicas as part of the ongoing AKA Houdini exhibit on the second floor, with many hands on experiences and amusing photo opportunities.
Mile Of Music Festival
Appleton, WI 54911
Held annually at various spots along a one mile stretch in downtown Appleton, the Mile of Music Festival is the largest of its kind in the Fox Cities. Presented by Fox Communities Credit Union and produced by Willems Marketing & Events led by CEO and festival co-founder Dave Willems, Mile of Music featured 200 artists over four days last year performing what’s billed as 100 percent original music, while drawing an estimated 80,000 attendees.
Trout Museum Of Art
111 W. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911
Named after its founders Dr. Monroe and Sandra Trout, the Trout Museum of Art is one of the premier facilities for visual arts in the Fox Cities. With a prime spot along College Avenue at Houdini Plaza, the popular museum is operated by Fox Cities Building for the Arts, described as a collaborative business enterprise established in 2013 that manages and houses the non-profit museum and empowers other local community arts organizations. Th Trout spent more than 40 years in the healthcare industry and his wife Sandra attended Appleton High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Baseball
2400 North Casaloma Drive
Appleton, WI 54912.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are a minor league team and Class A affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Timber Rattlers home field is at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, with a seating capacity of 5,170 fans and affordable seating on grass. The family friendly stadium opened in 1995 and over the years, the Timber Rattlers have won nine league championships and several well-known MLB players and managers have spent time with the local team, including three members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Pat Gillick, Earl Weaver and Goose Gossage. Harold Baines will be inducted this summer in Cooperstown, New York.
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.
During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.