Whether you are snowmobiling through Eagle River, enjoying a fish fry in Door County, kayaking through the Apostle Islands or cheering on the Green Bay Packers, a trip to Wisconsin will have you wishing you could “stay just a little bit longer.”
Find out more about Wisconsin at DiscoverAmerica.com
Population: More than 5.7 million people live in Wisconsin.
Geography: Part of the U.S. Midwest, Wisconsin is bordered by Minnesota and Michigan to the north, Illinois to the south and Minnesota and Iowa to the west. Lake Michigan lies to the east.
Higher Education: Wisconsin’s state program, the University of Wisconsin System, includes 26 campuses. The state’s flagship university, University of Wisconsin–Madison, is located in Madison, Wisconsin. Founded in 1848, it is the oldest and largest public university in the state and is considered a “Public Ivy” for its academic excellence. Beloit College, a private liberal arts school, is the state’s oldest institution of higher learning. Founded in 1846, Beloit offers more than 50 undergraduate programs and a number of pre-professional options, though it is best known for its anthropology and geology studies. Another private option is Marquette University. Located in Milwaukee, Marquette University maintains 11 schools and colleges and is the largest private university in the state. The school is best known for its nursing, engineering and communication programs.
Major Industries: Manufacturing, agriculture and services make up the majority of Wisconsin’s industry. The Badger State’s main manufacturing outputs include machinery, transportation equipment and food products. Its agricultural outputs include dairy, cattle, grain corn, nursery products and soybeans. It also produces significant portions of the U.S. ginseng and cranberry supply. Services such as tourism and health care are other major industries.
Sports Teams: Cheeseheads, as some Wisconsin fans are called, cheer for the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers, the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks, and Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers.
Famous Wisconsinites: Actors Willem Dafoe, Chris Noth, Spencer Tracy, Orson Welles and Gene Wilder; comedian Chris Farley; pianist Liberace; authors Alice Sebold and Laura Wilder; painter Georgia O'Keeffe; musician and guitar designer Les Paul; architect Frank Lloyd Wright; baseball commentator Bob Uecker; race car driver Danica Patrick; and former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist were all born in the Badger State.
Pop Culture: The 1995 road trip comedy Tommy Boy, starring Chris Farley and David Spade; the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually, starring Colin Firth; the 2007 legal drama Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney; and the 2011 comedy Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, all have scenes set in Wisconsin.
Culinary Specialties: Owing to its German roots, Wisconsin serves up a lot of bratwurst, usually topped with sauerkraut and washed down with a beer. Dumplings and pierogies are also readily available, a testament to Wisconsin’s significant Polish population. The state’s geographical location makes fish fries a staple and its agricultural heritage ensures dairy products such as cheese and ice cream are a part of most meals. But the dish that distinguishes Wisconsin from other states is Milwaukee’s cannibal sandwich, raw ground beef topped with thin slices of raw onion and smothered between two slices of dark rye bread.
• Stretched end to end, Wisconsin’s rivers and streams extend for some 43,000 kilometers — enough to circle the globe.
• There are nearly 25,000 kilometers of signed and groomed highways for snowmobiling in Wisconsin.
• Wisconsin is home to the largest cross-country ski marathon in North America. The American Birkebeiner, or Birkie for short, is a 52-kilometer cross-country ski race from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin.
Adventure Idea: Wisconsinite Carl Eliason invented the first snowmobile in 1924. For a taste of Wisconsin history and its winter weather, rent a snowmobile for a day. Weave through Eagle River’s 965 kilometers of trails surrounded by pristine forests and frozen lakes. And don’t forget to check out the Ice Palace, an annual sculpture carved from 3,000 blocks of ice. It’s located on Trail #13!