15 Best Places and Things To Do in Appleton, Wisconsin

Appleton, Wisconsin, located in the heart of the Fox River Valley, is a vibrant city known for its picturesque landscapes, thriving arts scene, and rich history. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a culture lover, or a foodie, Appleton offers a variety of attractions and activities that cater to different interests.

1. Fox Cities Performing Arts Center


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Start your visit to Appleton by immersing yourself in the city’s lively arts scene. The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art venue that hosts a wide range of Broadway shows, concerts, and other performances. Catch a show and enjoy world-class entertainment right in the heart of downtown Appleton.

2. Hearthstone Historic House Museum


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Take a step back in time by visiting the Hearthstone Historic House Museum, the first residence in the world to be powered by hydroelectricity. Explore the beautifully restored Victorian mansion and learn about the innovative technologies used by the McNeil family in the late 19th century.

3. The Building for Kids Children’s Museum

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If you’re traveling with children, a visit to The Building for Kids Children’s Museum is a must. This interactive museum offers a variety of hands-on exhibits and activities designed to engage and educate young minds. From a giant bubble station to a pretend grocery store, there’s no shortage of fun and learning opportunities here.

4. Appleton Memorial Park

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Nature lovers can escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Appleton Memorial Park. This expansive park offers walking trails, picnic areas, a swimming beach, and even a small zoo. It’s a great place to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and take in the natural beauty of the Fox River Valley.

5. History Museum at the Castle


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Immerse yourself in Appleton’s history at the History Museum at the Castle. This engaging museum showcases the life and achievements of Appleton’s most famous resident, Harry Houdini. Explore interactive exhibits, learn about Houdini’s magical escapades, and gain insight into the city’s past.

6. Paper Discovery Center

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Learn about Appleton’s rich papermaking heritage at the Paper Discovery Center. Discover the history of the paper industry through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and even create your own paper. It’s an educational and fun experience for visitors of all ages.

7. Bubolz Nature Preserve

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Bubolz Nature Preserve is a hidden gem nestled in the outskirts of Appleton, Wisconsin. Spanning over 700 acres, this expansive nature preserve offers a peaceful retreat where visitors can reconnect with nature and explore the diverse ecosystems of the area. Bubolz Nature Preserve boasts several well-maintained hiking trails that wind through its lush woodlands, meadows, and wetlands. The trails cater to different skill levels, from easy walks to more challenging hikes. As you stroll along the trails, keep an eye out for native wildlife, including birds, deer, and other small mammals.

8. Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin

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The Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin is a delightful destination for butterfly enthusiasts and nature lovers located in Appleton, Wisconsin. This enchanting garden is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of butterflies and their habitats. he highlight of the Butterfly Gardens is its butterfly conservatory, a climate-controlled enclosure that provides a suitable environment for a variety of butterfly species. Step inside and find yourself surrounded by fluttering wings as butterflies dance through the air. Take your time to observe their vibrant colors and graceful flight patterns up close.

9. Erb Park

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Erb Park is a popular community park located in Appleton, Wisconsin. With its wide range of recreational facilities and beautiful green spaces, Erb Park offers something for everyone. Erb Park is equipped with various sports facilities, making it an ideal destination for athletic activities. The park features baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, and basketball courts. Whether you’re looking to play a casual game or participate in organized sports leagues, Erb Park has you covered.

10. St. Mary’s Church

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St. Mary’s Church is a historic and prominent place of worship located in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. It holds significance for both its architectural beauty and its role as a religious and community center. St. Mary’s Church stands as a testament to the rich history of Appleton. The church building itself is an architectural masterpiece, featuring stunning stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and detailed stonework. It showcases a blend of Gothic Revival and Romanesque architectural styles, adding to its visual appeal.

11. The Trout Museum of Art

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The Trout Museum of Art is a dynamic cultural institution located in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. It is a hub for visual arts, offering a range of exhibitions, educational programs, and community events. The museum hosts a diverse array of exhibitions featuring local, regional, and international artists. Visitors can explore various artistic styles, mediums, and themes through rotating exhibits that showcase paintings, sculptures, photography, and other visual art forms. The exhibits often reflect the museum’s commitment to contemporary and modern art.

12. Pierce Park

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Pierce Park is a scenic public park located along the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. With its picturesque views, recreational facilities, and natural beauty, Pierce Park offers a serene and enjoyable outdoor experience. Pierce Park offers breathtaking views of the Fox River. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverfront promenade and soak in the picturesque scenery. The park’s location provides a peaceful escape from the city, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the water.

13. Outagamie County Pet Exercise Area

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The Outagamie County Pet Exercise Area, also known as the “Dog Park,” is a dedicated space in Appleton, Wisconsin, where dogs and their owners can enjoy off-leash play and exercis The dog park provides a secure and designated area for dogs to roam and socialize off-leash. Dogs can freely explore the fenced-in space, run, play fetch, and interact with other dogs under the supervision of their owners.

14. Appleton Historical Society Museum and Resource Center

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The Appleton Historical Society Museum and Resource Center is a treasure trove of local history, artifacts, and information located in Appleton, Wisconsin. If you have an interest in the rich history of the area, this museum is a must-visit. Here’s what you can expect when exploring the Appleton Historical Society Museum and Resource Center.

15. Saint Bernadette Parish

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Saint Bernadette Parish is a vibrant Catholic community located in Appleton, Wisconsin. The parish is dedicated to fostering spiritual growth, building community, and serving others. Saint Bernadette Parish offers regular worship services, including Masses, sacraments, and liturgical celebrations. Whether you are a parishioner or a visitor, you can attend Mass to participate in the Catholic liturgy, receive the sacraments, and engage in communal prayer and worship.

With its mix of cultural attractions, natural beauty, and historical sites, Appleton offers something for everyone. Whether you’re exploring the city’s museums, enjoying outdoor activities, or savoring the local cuisine, Appleton is sure to leave you with lasting memories of a delightful visit.