Download GPX file for this article
44.265556-88.401667Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Appleton is a growing city in central-eastern Wisconsin, with a population of approximately 72,000 residents and a metro area of ~350,000. It is known as being safe, quiet, and visually pleasant. It is perhaps most famous as the boyhood town of Harry Houdini, the famed magician.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Ground transportation from the airport to downtown is limited to taxis and rideshare companies. For a single person expect to pay around $15 dollars for the 15-minute ride although prices vary with each cab service. Hotels like the Radisson Hotel, Candlewood Suites, and the Hampton Inn offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.

By car[edit]

The primary roads into the metro Appleton area are Interstate 41 and US 10. Interstate 41 runs north-south on the west side of the city, and turns east-west across the north side of the city. Interstate 41 connects to Green Bay to the northeast and Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, and Milwaukee to the south. WIS 441 loops from Interstate 41 across the south and east sides of the metro Appleton area. US 10 is an east-west highway that connects to Manitowoc to the east, and Stevens Point and Wausau to the west.

By bus[edit]

Both Amtrak and Lamers Bus Connect offers daily service to Appleton via their Milwaukee-Green Bay route.

Get around[edit]

Getting around town is accomplished efficiently and cheaply by using the public transportation system or by taxis. Public buses are reliable and the standard fare is $0.50. Same-day transfers are free. If you are staying downtown in the Raddison or Copperleaf you can easily walk to nearby restaurants bars and shops.

Bird Rides offers 100 electric scooters which users can use to get around most of the city. A ride costs $1 plus 39 cents for each minute of use.

Note that parking on any city street is illegal from 2 AM to 5 AM every day of the week. You can usually call the Appleton Police Department and ask to get approval to be parked overnight, but during the fall and winter months it is not uncommon to be denied due to leaf collection or snow removal, so don't depend on this option. If you will have your own vehicle in town when you visit, make sure you have private parking available to you.


Map of Appleton


  • 1 History Museum at the Castle, 330 E. College Ave, +1 920 735-9370. Daily 10AM-4PM. Local history exhibits, including an interactive one exploring Houdini's life and tricks. $15 Adults, $10 Children (3-17). The History Museum at the Castle (Q7739769) on Wikidata History Museum at the Castle on Wikipedia
  • 2 Building for Kids, 100 W. College Ave, +1 920-734-3226. Daily 8AM-4PM. Hands-on science, art, and play exhibits for children. $9.50 Adults and children.
  • 3 Paper Discovery Center, 425 W. Water Street, +1 920-380-7491. W Th Sa 11AM-4PM; F 1-6PM. Waterfront museum in an old paper mill featuring exhibits on the paper industry, which still plays a major role in Appleton's economy. Make your own paper, or look for bald eagles and pelicans from the next door cafe. $10 adults and children; $7 seniors. Atlas Science Center (Q7132612) on Wikidata Atlas Science Center on Wikipedia
  • 4 Trout Museum of Art, 111 W. College Ave, +1 920 733-4089, . Tu W 10AM-4PM; Th F 10AM-7PM; Sa 10AM-5PM; Su noon-4PM. Rotating art exhibits. $10.


  • 5 Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve, 4815 N. Lynndale Dr., +1 920 731-6041. Trails open dawn-dusk. 8½ miles of trails through mixed habitat - hiking in the summer, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Nature center with interpretive exhibits on local wildlife and a restored historic schoolhouse. Cross-country ski rental is available.


  • 1 Fox Cities Stadium (Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium), 2400 North Casaloma Drive Appleton, WI 54912, +1 920-733-4152. Stadium that hosts baseball and major music concerts Fox Cities Stadium (Q7805195) on Wikidata Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium on Wikipedia
  • 2 Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (PAC), 400 W. College Ave, +1 920 730-3782. Features high quality shows such as the famous Chinese Acrobats, and mainstream plays such as Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and Les Misérables. Also hosts the Fox Valley Symphony and touring music and comedy performances. Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (Q5476645) on Wikidata Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on Wikipedia
  • 3 Fox Cities Exhibition Center, 355 W Lawrence St. Constructed convention center in downtown Appleton. The center will be hosting multiple events such as the Wisconsin Tourism show and Oshkosh Corperation meeting. Fox Cities Exhibition Center (Q29613413) on Wikidata Fox Cities Exhibition Center on Wikipedia


  • Octoberfest- Annually on a Saturday in late September, downtown College Avenue is filled with booths offering local artwork, food and drink, antique car displays, and live music for Northern Wisconsin's largest outdoor festival.
  • Mile of Music- First weekend of August. Started in 2013, this four-day music festival focuses on emerging acts, both local and national, especially in the folk, alternative, and Americana genres. Features more than 200 performers and over 900 performances in a variety of venues in downtown Appleton. All shows are free.


In general, Appleton is well-respected for the quality of the education in its public schools, both at the primary and secondary levels.

  • Lawrence University - a small, private liberal arts college. Ranked #1 university in Wisconsin by Forbes magazine.
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh-Fox Valley - a two-year collegiate campus of the University of Wisconsin System.
  • Fox Valley Technical College - a technical (community) college of the Wisconsin Technical College System.


The Appleton Area is widely considered to be the shopping capital of Wisconsin by locals and visitors. It has a good mix of big chain stores and small businesses.

Heading east from the Fox River Mall on Hwy 96 (Wisconsin Ave) to the other side of Interstate 41, you'll find more stores including Home Depot, Sam's Club, Woodman's grocery store, and the largest Fleet Farm in Wisconsin. There's an old saying "if you can't find it at Fleet Farm, you probably don't need it."

Or, head east from the mall on College Ave to find Wheel & Sprocket, and more hotels and restaurants. Continue on College Ave to downtown Appleton which has an eclectic mix of shopping, coffeehouses, restaurants & bars.

Many of the westside "big box" stores also have store locations along Appleton's eastside Hwy 441 corridor, known locally at Darboy. Eastside stores include Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Home Depot, Lowe's, Menard's, Office Max, Best Buy, Target, Festival Foods, Pick 'n Save, Tractor Supply Co, Goodwill, plus the usual mix of Starbucks, Walgreen's, restaurants, movie theatres and hotels.


  • 1 Fox River Mall, 4301 West Wisconsin Ave, +1 920-739-4100. M-Sa 10AM-9PM; Su 10AM-6PM. The primary shopping destination for visitors is the Fox River Mall, Wisconsin’s largest shopping mall with more than 180 retailers, along the Interstate 41 corridor just west of Appleton, in Grand Chute. The Fox River Mall is anchored by Macy's, Target, JCPenney and the largest sporting goods store in Wisconsin, Scheel's All Sports. Many stores, restaurants, hotels and office buildings are nearby. Fox River Mall (Q5476902) on Wikidata Fox River Mall on Wikipedia
  • 2 Northland Mall, 900 W Northland Ave, +1 (920) 739-7397. A small mall on the northside which is anchored by Kohl's and Festival Foods. Northland Shopping Mall (Q7059536) on Wikidata Northland Mall (Appleton, Wisconsin) on Wikipedia
  • 3 City Center Plaza, 100 W College Ave, +1 (920) 730-4280. Mall in downtown Appleton. It hosts the Appleton farmers market during the winter months.


Downtown Appleton has numerous restaurants, many within a short walking distance from the PAC. Vince Lombardi's Steakhouse at the Paper Valley Hotel has great steaks at a reasonable price, and if you're lucky you might get an autograph from NFL visiting teams staying at Paper Valley the night before Packer home games.

Waterfront dining is available near downtown along the Fox River waterfront at Fratello's Riverfront and Pullman's, and at Waverly Beach along the north shore of Lake Winnebago.

The Appleton area has plenty of coffee shops and cafés as well, such as Tempest Coffee Collective, Seth's Coffee, Copper Rock, Brewed Awakenings, and Acoca.

Many of the big restaurant chains are near the Fox River Mall -- T.G.I. Friday’s, Chili’s, Qdoba, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Machine Shed, Bennigan's, Outback Steakhouse and so on. Inside the mall, Fox River Brewing Company is accessible from the food court. Outdoor seating is available.

Other places are Wooden Nickel, Spat's, Dick & Joans and Old Bavarian.


Downtown Appleton is packed with bars, each with different atmospheres. If you are in town and looking to go out for a few drinks, the entire stretch of College Avenue from Richmond on the west to Drew Street on the east is lined with bars and clubs. There are a few bars to be found within a block north and south of College Avenue too. Plan your night ahead though, as parking on the streets anywhere within the city is illegal from 2 AM to 5 AM.

The Stone Cellar Brewpub brews several standard beers and seasonal beers. They also have a wide variety menu selections and a great atmosphere in the cellar of Appleton's first brewery (built in 1858), or if the weather cooperates you can sit outside in the beer garden.

On St. Patrick's Day, or any day if you're Irish, be sure to visit McGuiness Irish Pub or The Durty Leprechaun.

If you're staying downtown at the Paper Valley Hotel and you don't feel like venturing far, The Clubhouse just off the lobby has plenty of beer, sandwiches, pizza, and 20 big screen TVs.


Like most cities, Appleton features a wide range of hotels from very affordable budget options to 3-star hotels that charge a small fortune. This is a really small list of the hotels in Appleton.

  • Cambria Suites Appleton Hotel, 3940 N. Gateway Dr, +1 920 733-0101.
  • Comfort Suites Appleton Hotel, 3809 W Wisconsin Ave, +1 920 730-3800. All-suite hotel with indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, fitness center and game room. Free hot breakfast buffet and a lounge onsite.
  • Microtel Inn & Suites, 321 Metro Drive, +1 920 997-3121. Budget hotel.
  • Candlewood Suites, 4525 W College Ave, +1 920 739-8000. Extended stay hotel with full kitchens, free High-Speed Internet, free shuttle service to/from the airport, a great fitness center, a business center and free guest laundry.
  • 1 Hilton Appleton Paper Valley (former Red Lion and Radisson Paper Valley Hotel), 333 W. College Avenue (downtown Appleton, across the street from the Copperleaf Hotel), +1 920 733-8000, toll-free: +1-800-333-3333. Connected to the Fox Cities Expo Center. Most famous as being the hotel where many VIP's stays when they visit Northeastern Wisconsin, it's the only hotel in the Appleton/Green Bay area to fulfill the NFL requirements, so the hotel hosts all of the visiting teams who are coming in to play the Green Bay Packers.
  • 2 Copperleaf Hotel, 300 W College Ave, +1 920 749-0303. 300 W. College Ave. Appleton's most expensive hotel, built in 2003. Located in the heart of downtown Appleton, a short walk from many restaurants, bars, and one block from the Performing Arts Center.

Stay safe[edit]

Burglaries and thefts of unlocked cars and properties occur occasionally throughout the city, so be sure to hide your valuables.

Go next[edit]

Appleton is conveniently located alongside major interstate and intrastate highways, and also has a Greyhound office for people seeking long-distance travel.

Out of state visitors can use the public airport Appleton International Airport.

Routes through Appleton
MenomineeGreen Bay  N  S  OshkoshMilwaukee
Stevens PointWaupaca  W  E  ManitowocCar ferry to Ludington

This city travel guide to Appleton is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.