20 Famous Historic Sites And Landmarks In Wisconsin

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Wisconsin is a state in the upper Midwest of the United States. It is referred to as ‘America’s Dairyland’ because of its long history of cheese production, dating back to the 19th century. Just as it is popular for its cheese, and also its beer, Wisconsin landmarks are also huge contributors to the fame of the state.

Historic sites in Wisconsin represent the state’s rich history and culture, beginning with the Paleo-Indians, who first settled there around 10,000 BCE. Most of the famous natural landmarks in Wisconsin were also formed in that period, during the Wisconsin Glaciation. 

These make up the famous places in Wisconsin worth visiting. From hiking its many trails, touring the museums, and taking snaps with monuments of significant figures to soaking in the scenery of the mountains and gorges, the state offers plenty of attractions to curious and fun-loving visitors.

Most Famous Landmark In Wisconsin

Milwaukee Art Museum

Founded in 1888, Milwaukee Art Museum prides itself as Milwaukee’s first art gallery. It was formed by several small art centers that donated their art collections to the museum.

The 142,000-square-foot is a stand-out fixture in Milwaukee, with a spectacular architectural extension that is the Shields Building, designed by Milwaukee artist James Shields.

This gallery that Milwaukee is famous for boasts over 25,000 artworks, some of which are over five centuries old. The museum features one of the largest collections of paintings, which are mostly works of native Wisconsin artists. It also houses a reception hall, auditorium, exhibition space, and stores.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin Landmarks

Basilica of St. Josaphat

The Basilica is an important Wisconsin historical site located in Milwaukee. It is one of 82 minor basilicas in the United States. Just a mere look at the Basilica probably tells you why it is one of the most famous landmarks in Wisconsin.

The church, which became USA’s third basilica in 1929, is the largest in Milwaukee, with the main floor boasting a seating capacity of more than 1000 while the galleries can contain hundreds more.

St Josaphat building is incredibly styled like St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome and features one of the largest copper domes in the world. In 1973 it was enlisted in the U.S National Register of Historic Places.

Tripoli Shrine Temple

Tripoli Shrine Temple is a branch of the American Masonic society named Shriners International. The temple is one of the top historic sites in Wisconsin that depict ancient architecture.

The temple building, designed by architects Alfred Clas and Shepard, was constructed in 1926 and opened two years later, becoming the first temple in Wisconsin.

The building is subtly modeled after the Taj Mahal in India and is lauded as one of the few best examples of Moorish Revival architecture in the United States. A tiled dome sits on top of the building while the entrance features sculptures of two kneeling camels.

The temple’s excellent architecture and its historical significance of accommodating 13,000 Shriners in the area make it one of the most famous Wisconsin landmarks.

North Point Water Tower

North Point Water was built in 1873 to commemorate 145 years of service of the Milwaukee Water Works.

The Victoria Gothic-style structure, designed by Charles A. Gombert, is built of cream-colored local limestone, with a roof and iron-galvanized spire reaching over 175 feet. The iron standpipe inside the water tower spans four feet in diameter and is 120 feet tall.

This monument in Wisconsin was designated National Historic Place by both the US and the state.

Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson Museum, located in Milwaukee, is a ride through the history of the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The iconic brand was one of two American motorcycle companies to survive the great depression. Such a resilient feat is one for the archives, hence the establishment of a three-building complex in 2008, to showcase vintage Harley-Davidson vehicles manufactured over the past 100 years.

The museum offers private tours of the collection of motorcycles and also hosts exhibits. There is so much to be thrilled about in this museum, especially for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Baraboo, Wisconsin Landmarks


Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area

One of the most famous natural Wisconsin landmarks, Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area is home to a scenic deep gorge, which was formed during the retreat of the last glacier.

The place was named “Peewit’s Nest’ by early settlers who discovered an abode that looks like the nest of a peewit.

Pewit’s Nest was designated a State Natural Area in 1985 by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The decision to declare it a natural area is because some visitors began to abuse some of the features in the area.

The department is now working to build stairways, walkways, and railings that will enable visitors to view to safely view the gorge. Wisconsin is known for the great outdoors and there are always new places to be discovered.


Devil’s Lake

Devil’s Lake is one of the most interesting natural Wisconsin landmarks in Baraboo. The 374-acres lake sits in a deep chasm within the Devil’s Lake State Park.

The lake, which was once connected to the Wisconsin River, is referred to as the ‘Sacred Lake’ or ‘Spirit Lake’ by the Ho-Chunk people who first occupied the land between 12,000 to 16,000 years ago. The Ho-Chunk tribe believes that the lake communicates with them during celebrations.

The area has spectacular scenery and is a popular camping destination for families who want to escape into nature. How about packing some tasty Wisconsin food and enjoy a tranquil time in nature.

Madison, Wisconsin Landmarks


Wisconsin State Capitol

The most popular historic site in Madison happens to be home to the Wisconsin legislature and supreme court, and also the Office of the Governor. The domed building sits at the southwestern end of the Madison Isthmus.

The building, designed by Manhattan-born architect George B. Post, was constructed in 1917, becoming the third capitol in Madison.

Although it is an imposing Beaux-Arts architecture, the capitol is not just the most famous structure because of its architectural style but because it is the tallest building in Madison thanks to the law prohibiting buildings taller than the columns surrounding the 187-feet dome.

The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001. It stands out as one of the most respected historic sites in Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

You can’t list the top historical landmarks in Madison, Wisconsin without mentioning the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

UW-Madison was founded in 1848, becoming the first public university in Wisconsin, as well as the largest public university in the state. At 174 years, it is the oldest public university in Wisconsin.

Through the years of the university’s existence, several National Historic Landmarks were designated on the campus. Also, the scenic Madison Arboretum is a National Historic Landmark owned and operated by the university.

Other Famous Historic Landmarks in Wisconsin

Wind Point Lighthouse, Racine County

Wind Point Lighthouse was built in 1880 as a replacement for Racine harbor’s first lighthouse.

Standing at 108 ft the lighthouse is one of the tallest active lighthouses on the Great Lakes of North America. It is also of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes, which is a testament to the quality of Orlando Metcalfe Poe’s design of the tower.

The tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, which makes it one of the most famous Wisconsin landmarks.

Photo Credit: tammykayphoto/Depositphotos.com

Lambeau Field, Green Bay

Fans of the American NFL competition will know the historic grounds of Lambeau Field. The stadium is home to the Green Bay Packers and is the largest venue (81,441 capacity) in Wisconsin.

It was opened in 1957 and has been the home of the Packers ever since. The Packers completed their 51st season at Lambeau in 2007, making it the oldest continually operating NFL stadium.

The stadium’s record attendance is 79,704, which was achieved in 2015. Without a doubt, the Lambeau Field is the biggest attraction in the city of Green Bay.

Dr. Evermor’s Forevetron, Sauk County

Located in Sumpter town, Sauk County, Dr. Evermor’s Forevetron is the largest scrap metal sculpture. The metal artwork is 50 ft high and 120 ft wide and weighs 300 tons. It was built in the 1980s by Tom Every.

The sculpture comprises several notable metals including lightning rods, two Thomas Edison dynamos, high-voltage components from 1920s power plants, and the decontamination chamber from Apollo 11 spacecraft, among others.

These fascinating pieces of metal connected by bolts and pins is one of the perculiar Wisconsin landmarks in Sauk County. Other interesting artworks in Dr. Evermor’s Art Park include the Forevetron Bridge, Bird Symphony Bass, Loudspeaker Bird, etc.

National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, New Franken

The National Shrine of our Lady of Good Help, also known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, is a Marian shrine of the Roman Catholic church. It is located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay,

Adele Bielsa, a Belgian-born woman said she saw the Marian apparition thrice in 1859. The shrine was built on the site of the reported apparition.

Although Bielsa saw the apparition in 1859, it was formally approved in 2010. This becomes the first Marian apparition approved by the Catholic Church in the United States.

Since the approval was made, the shrine has become one of the most visited historical landmarks in Wisconsin. The statues in and around the chapel are also regarded as some of the top monuments in Wisconsin.

The Highground Veterans Memorial Park, Neillsville

The Highground Veterans Memorial Park was established to commemorate fallen veterans and also honor surviving military personnel. The park,  located along Ridge Road, Neillsville, spans over 148 acres.

The memorial was established by Tom Miller and others who were inspired by the deaths of their friends and fellow servicemen during the war in Vietnam.

This Wisconsin monument is open to veterans and visitors from all parts of the country. Features in the park include a gift shop, a museum, and a visitor center. Guided tours are also given to visitors, so they can fully understand and appreciate the efforts of the fallen heroes.

Acuity Flagpole, Sheboygan Falls

Acuity Flagpole is the tallest flagpole in the United States. It was raised in 2005, standing at 338 feet, 6 feet wide at the base, and weighing 65 tons(without the flag).

The flag, which is over 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, outdid a flag raised in 2003 by the same company. The flagpole is located on Acuity’s campus, between Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Other Famous Natural Landmarks In Wisconsin


Kettle Moraine State Forest

Kettle Moraine State Forest is a 56,000-acre landmark in Campbellsport, comprising five units. Located in Font du Lac county, the forest is one of the most popular natural landmarks in Wisconsin for nature lovers.

The forest is marked with several trails that are each almost 100 km long. The trails are suitable for activities like cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and cycling.

The five forest units altogether make Kettle Moraine State Park one of the most famous places in Wisconsin to catch some fun.


Sturgeon Bay Canal Lighthouse, Sturgeon Bay

One of the most famous Wisconsin historical sites in Door County is the Sturgeon Bay Canal Lighthouse. It is located on the south entrance to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.

The lighthouse, standing at 98 ft(30 m), was built in 1899. To support and stabilize the structure, a steel bracing was attached to it in 1903.

The lighthouse is inaccessible by visitors all year long, except during the annual Lighthouse Walk. This is the only period participants are allowed to explore the tower. The Walk happens during the first week of June.

Horicon Marsh Education And Visitor Center, Horicon

Horicon Marsh is a marsh that was formed by the Wisconsin glaciation during the Pleistocene era. The marsh is located in northern Dodge and southern Fond du Lac. This is the largest cattail marsh in the United States.

The area incorporates a national and state wildlife refuge. The State Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area is among the nine units of the Ice Age National Scientific, which are being considered as evidence of the Ice Age of the Pleistocene era.

The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center was established on the marsh to provide educational opportunities on the abundant wildlife resources of the wetland, their ecology, and applied management.


Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield

Apostle Islands is one of the few famous Wisconsin landmarks in Bayfield. It is popular for its historic lighthouses, sandstone caves, and primary forests.

The islands are a group of 22, but the National Lakeshore is home to 21 of them, excluding Madeline Island(15359 acres), which is the largest. The first occupiers of the islands were the Anishinaabe people who migrated from the east coast.

Most of the islands are scenic and have a relaxing atmosphere. Some, like Sand Island, have beautiful sea caves that would interest budding cavers. Other attractions on the islands are kayaking and boating.

Discovering More Landmarks In Wisconsin

Visitors who come to Wisconsin with less excitement, end up leaving the state with memories that will last a very long time. This is in no small part due to the interesting features and history of the landmarks in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee, the state’s most populous city, is home to most of the famous historical places in Wisconsin. In many of these iconic attractions, you will also find meaningful Wisconsin monuments that represent a key part of the state’s past.



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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