Ashland is at the top of Wisconsin, stretched out along Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay. Located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 2 and Wisconsin Hwy. 13 just over an hour east of the Twin Ports of Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota, Ashland is perched as the major commercial center for the surrounding area. Though relatively small (2000 U.S. Census population of 8,695), Ashland and the surrounding area are home to a vibrant community of thinkers, artists, musicians, and alternative farmers, due in part to the presence of environmental science leader Northland College.
With the recent addition of numerous passing lanes between Ashland and the Twin Ports, the impact of the lack of any 4-lane highways in and out of town (save for a small stretch of U.S. 2 and WI 13 west of town) has been lessened somewhat. The major routes to the city include:
- From the west, U.S. Highway 2 via Iron River (27 miles), Superior (65 miles) and Duluth (70 miles). Also connecting to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul via Interstate 35 (215 miles).
- From the north, WI Highway 13 via Washburn (11 miles) and Bayfield (23 miles)
- From the east, U.S. Highway 2 via Ironwood (38 miles) and Michigan's Upper Peninsula
- From the south, WI Highway 13 via Mellen (24 miles) and Park Falls (60 miles)
Of course, if you're coming to Ashland from out of town, you'll have your own vehicle with you, but remember your walking shoes, a bicycle, or maybe a pair of roller blades. Ashland has a four-mile-long paved Lake Walk that is dog-friendly and a good vantage for sunsets. The rest of the town in easily accessible by foot or human-powered vehicle as well.
The many murals that Ashland's artists have painted on the side of landmark buildings.
Lake Superior. It's the biggest fresh water lake in the world (by surface area).
The local parks. There are several parks in town with beautiful views.
Ashland is a gateway to year-round outdoor recreation. There's inland and Great Lakes fishing and boating, hunting, hiking, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding, and more seasonal festivals in the area than you can shake a stick at.
- Bay Theatre, 420½ W Main St, ☎ . 6 screens, shows 7 days a week with matinees on Saturday and Sunday.
- Northland College, 1411 Ellis Ave, ☎ . Northland College is a unique college with an environmental liberal arts curriculum. Offers summer programs for high school students.
The city government has been working with local merchants for the last decade to revitalize Main Street businesses, and there are positive steps forward. Many interesting small boutiques crowd shoulder to shoulder along West Main. East Main street is still behind in the aesthetic department, but may take the cake for utility with a hardware store, electronics shop, several restaurants, and more bars than you can shake a stick at.
- 2nd Street Bistro, 201 E Main St, ☎ . Serving fresh, local fish; bacon & burgers from the Sixth Street Market; organic salad greens; and featuring live local musicians on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Supports local family farms to enhance their seasonal menus. Also displays works of local artists on its walls. Famous for their incredible sweet potato fries - they're out-of-this-world. Also has a good selection of craft beers, including a wide variety of New Glarus brews (including Spotted Cow, Fat Squirrel, and Organic Revolution).
- Black Cat Coffeehouse, 211 Chapple Ave, ☎ . A locally-owned coffee shop and restaurant featuring fair trade certified coffees, chais, and teas, as well as a diverse food menu. Great vibe and atmosphere, and THE place to catch up on area happenings and gossip. Good selection of books and board games available for whiling the time away as well. Certainly a favorite of the Northland College community.
- Buddies Burgers, 612 W Main St, ☎ . Home of "Wisconsin's Best Burgers" and a great ice cream selection set among a 1950s-style diner atmosphere.
- Deepwater Grille & South Shore Brewery, 808 W Main St, ☎ . Located in the historic LC Wilmarth building, and home to two restaurants, three bars, a second-floor outdoor patio open during the summer months and overlooking Chequamegon Bay, and a large list of their own on-site brewed beverages. Extensive menu featuring everything from Raspberry Chicken to South Shore Stew to Brewery Malt-Crusted Pork Tenderloin. South Shore Brewery beers available include Red Lager, Cream Ale, American Pale Ale, Honey Pilsner, Belgian Trippel, and Maple Amber. Other popular beers produced throughout the year include Nut Brown Ale and Rhodes Scholar Stout.
- Explorer's Point, 30580 W US Hwy 2, ☎ . Adjacent to the newly-renovated Lake Superior Lodge Hotel on the west end of Chequamegon Bay, near the intersection of US Hwy 2 and WI Hwy 13. Offers gorgeous views of the bay and its north shore. Family dining that includes an expansive menu, featuring "Dean's Famous BBQ Ribs" and huge steaks. Includes an impressive 30-foot stone fireplace and wood-timbered ceiling.
- Frankie's Pizza, 1315 E Lake Shore Dr, ☎ . 4PM daily. Eat in or take out available. If you're looking for a gut-busting delight of goodness-soaked pizza and a few classic arcade games, this family-owned beloved area icon is your place. Walk it off afterward on Ashland's lakeshore path, located just behind the restaurant.
- Pizza Pub, 1402 Lake Shore Dr, ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight. Free Delivery. Great homemade pizza and appetizers. Also has banquet room available.
There are many bars along East Main Street.
Pizza Pub (715 682-6641) is a pizza restaurant with bar located at 1402 Lake Shore Drive East.
The Blue Room bar is located nearby Pizza Pub.
- The Crest Motel, Hwy 2 - 13 & Sanborn Ave., ☎ . Single story, modest, drive-up rooms, free wi-fi, view of lake, family owned, moderately priced.
- Hotel Chequamegon, 101 Lake Shore Dr, toll-free: . Beautifully restored, continental breakfast, free wi-fi, small pool, small exercise room, whirlpool. Located downtown on the lake.
The city of Ashland has 2 campgrounds. These campgrounds are on a first come first serve basis.
- Kreher Park, toll-free: . Located on Lake Superior, this is an RV only campsite. Kreher Park has bathrooms, showers, water & electricity hook-ups and a pumping station. RV fees $20 per night.
- Prentice Park, toll-free: . Offers tent camping as well as pop-up camp sites. Prentice Park has restrooms, electricity hook-up and an artesian well. $15 for pop-ups and $10 for tents.
|Routes through Ashland|
|Duluth ← Superior ←||W E||→ Hurley → Ironwood|
|END ←||N S||→ Spooner → Baldwin|
|Superior ← Washburn ←||N S||→ Prentice → Marshfield|