Not well-known as a popular tourist destination outside of Wisconsin, Fox Cities should definitely be on your radar. Furthermore, you may like it as a new and refreshing hotspot to visit in the Midwest. Located along the Fox River, Fox Cities actually consists of 19 charming communities. Among those is Appleton, the largest and most prominent. If you go, this will be the center of things to see and do. On the other hand, you shouldn’t overlook the smaller towns. For instance, you may want to set aside time to visit Neenah, the birthplace of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Take a closer look and see why Fox Cities is worth a visit or maybe two.

Bergstrom-Mahler Museum Of Glass

165 N. Park Ave.
Neenah, WI  54956
(920) 751-4658
www.bmmglass.com

Despite its marvelously picturesque setting overlooking 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. In fact, it’s even worth a visit from larger Wisconsin cities like Green Bay, Madison or Milwaukee. If you do make the short trek, you will understand how impressive this museum is. It clearly is among the best glass museums in America.

John Nelson and Evangeline Bergstrom

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. It was Evageline’s passion for collecting glass paperweights that served as the impetus for establishing the museum. You can find the museum inside their Tudor Revival home along Lake Winnebago. Subsequently, the home was 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. Of those is a significant portion from the 19th century. In all, its permanent collection holds nearly 5,000 objects, including dazzling contemporary glass and radiantly colored art glasses. That’s coupled with exquisite, centuries old Germanic glass. The earliest Germanic glass piece dates back to the 16th century. This represents the older as part of the Mahler Collection of Germanic Glass. Incidentally, the glass was donated by Ernest Mahler, first chairman of the museum and his wife Carol. The Austrian-born Mahler was a famous chemist and recognized as a leader in the paper industry.

Related: Best Glass Museums In America

Downtown Appleton Farm Market

333 W. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54912
(920) 954-9112
www.appletondowntown.org

Known as the area’s largest farmer’s market, Downtown Appleton Farm Market is held on Saturdays. You can find it at City Center Plaza through May, with up to 50 vendors. On the other hand, the market really gets going in mid June, as the weather is noticeably warmer, crowds are larger. What’s more, there are more than 150 vendors on hand to sell a variety items. For instance, fresh local produce, meats, gourmet cheese and freshly baked goods. If that’s not enough, there are also unique arts, crafts and live music. Even further are the friendly customers who come to socialize and purchase gourmet items. In other words, you will have a great time if you’re lucky to visit the downtown farmer’s market.

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

400 W. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911
(920) 730-3760
www.foxcitiespac.com

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. For example, it includes 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. You will notice it impressive features as it leads to the theater’s upper levels. As one of the finest performing arts centers in Wisconsin, PAC is home to Broadway Across America. It’s a Live Nation-branded organization that presents and produces Broadway-caliber shows.

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center 20th Anniversary

In fact, PAC is celebrating its 20th anniversary beginning in 2022. To mark the occasion, it will host several shows in 2022 and into the following year. For instance, Jesus Christ Superstar is coming in October followed by Disney’s Aladdin in December. Next year, the celebration continues with Cats in March and Hamilton in May. By all means, visiting the PAC during its celebration will be a memorable occasion.

Related: American Music Museums To Visit

History Museum At The Castle

330 E. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911
(920) 735-9370
www.myhistorymuseum.org

Housed within a Tudor Revival structure, the History Museum at the Castle is a local history museum that shouldn’t be missed. With this in mind, it’s especially recommended 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. What’s more and even more fascinating, it houses the Houdini Historic Center. To clarify, that’s named after former Appleton resident Erik Weisz. Of course, he’s 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 has an impressive collection of Houdini artifacts and replicas. In addition, there is an ongoing Houdini exhibit on the second floor. There, you will find many hands on experiences and amusing photo opportunities. The History Museum at the Castle is one of the best family-friendly attractions in Appleton.

Related: Wisconsin’s Great River Road

Mile Of Music Festival

Downtown Appleton
Appleton, WI 54911
(920) 831-6580
www.mileofmusic.com

Held annually in downtown Appleton, 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, Mile of Music featured 200 artists over four days. In fact, with what’s billed as 100 percent original music, it draws 80,000 attendees. Due to its widening popularity, the festival is now bigger and better than ever before. The growing event is held during the first weekend in August.

Trout Museum Of Art

111 W. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911
(920) 733-4089
www.troutmuseum.org

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.
(920) 733-4152
www.milb.com

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. What’s more, there’s even budget seated in a large grassy area. That’s not to mention great ballpark food and an assortment of drinks. The family friendly stadium opened in 1995 and over the years, the Timber Rattlers have won nine league championships. Moreover, several well-known MLB players and managers have spent time with the local team. In fact, four former team members are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. These players are Pat Gillick, Earl Weaver and Goose Gossage and. Harold Baines. The latter, a former Chicago White Sox star, is the newest to be inducted into Cooperstown.

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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.