No matter the season, we all need to get outside for some fresh air and clear our heads. A great way to do that is by exploring new areas and learning about the deep Wisconsin history along the way. Each of these tours offers a very different experience, and each has its own unique story to tell.
As one of the stops of the Underground Railroad’s path through Wisconsin, Burlington is an old town that was once full of abolitionists among other prominent figures throughout the years. Taking even a short trek of this tour will tell you so much about who paved these roads we walk and how Burlington came to be.
Chestnut Street Bend – Coffee House of Chestnut and Pine
Museum of Burlington Historical Society – Dyer Monument
Wehmhoff Square – Pioneer Cabin –Refurbished by the Burlington Historical Society
Lincoln Monument – A depiction of Lincoln giving his second inaugural address
Echo Veterans Memorial Park – Burlington dam spillway at sunset
Fred’s Parkview – Classic burger and fries to end the day
Did you know we have the Cheese Capitol of the World, right here in Wisconsin? Well, maybe that’s not too much of surprise, but the depth of cheese history, and the amount of cheese production that still happens in Plymouth, is crazy! In the downtown, the streets are lined with murals retelling the story of this prominent cheese city, starting with the some of the original cheese families of the state, the Gentine’s and the Sartori’s. Many of the murals you will see here were done by the Walldogs.
Plymouth Arts Center – History of Sargento
King Midas Flour Mill – Beginnings of industry for Plymouth
Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center – For a delicious grilled cheese
Isaac Thorp – Plymouth’s first resident
Plymouth Cheese Exchange
Plymouth Maid Ketchup
S&R Cheese – The beginnings of the Sartori Company
If you’re looking for more detailed historic mural tours, you have to make the drive north for the Historic Mural Capital of Wisconsin, Ashland. The city is a port on Lake Superior, near the head of Chequamegon Bay, and its location in itself provides a beautiful view. However, around almost every corner of Ashland’s downtown resides large, detailed paintings, each providing new insight into its past. All of these murals have been created by two local artists, working with the community to attain these stories and photographs of real Ashland residents. This tour is very easy to walk, but they also offer the tour by trolley for a faster trip through the town.
Lumberjack Mural – The industry that sparked the north woods city
Veterans Mural – Ashland’s veterans
Waitress Mural – A touching local story
Ore Dock Mural – As a port city, their docks have played a big role.
Waukesha is full of art! As the birth and final resting place of guitar legend Les Paul, this city has fully embraced its musical past. They had the Walldogs come through, and along with local artists, painted this history all throughout the downtown. Also, Gibson Guitar Company selected Waukesha, for two years in a row, as a Gibson Guitar Town. Gibson sent 10 foot guitar statues and worked with the community to decorate and install guitars on almost every street, to celebrate this designation and Les Paul’s hometown. From murals to guitars, along with other public art the city already had, there’s a lot to see in a short walk through downtown Waukesha.
Waukesha County Museum – The Les Paul Experience
919 N. Barstow St. – Waukesha City Mural
Fox River Riverfront path – Murals and sculptures along this
Clock Tower Lot
The Almont Gallery
Taylor’s Peoples Park – Tasty sandwiches and a great selection of brews
Brian Mohsenian is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Watch the full Wisconsin Walking Tour episode on Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Smart TV, Apple TV, and at discoverwisconsin.com.