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Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Journey Information

Lake Geneva, generally known as the “Hamptons of Chicago” and the “Newport of the Midwest,” is without doubt one of the greatest small cities in Wisconsin. Certainly one of three important communities on Geneva Lake, this posh but approachable resort city is known for its Gilded Age estates constructed by notable Chicago households. It additionally has a world-renowned observatory, a winding 21-mile shore path across the lake, a well-known mail boat cruise, and lots of impartial eateries.

This is all the pieces it’s essential to know to plan a visit to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

High 5 Can’t Miss

  • Keep on the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, positioned on 1,300 rolling acres simply outdoors of city. 
  • Take a look at the Yerkes Observatory, generally known as the birthplace of contemporary astrophysics. 
  • Be a part of the well-known Mailboat Tour because it delivers mail to lake properties through boat. 
  • Take pleasure in a meal at Pier 290.
  • Go to in the course of the summer season for beautiful climate excellent for lake days. 

Finest Lodges and Resorts

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

A former Playboy Membership, the lately renovated Grand Geneva attracts inspiration from native Wisconsinite Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature architectural method. This grand resort boasts 358 visitor rooms and over 60,000 sq. toes of assembly and occasion house on 1,300 rolling, hilly acres outdoors city. Three onsite eating places, a ski hill, and a golf course spherical out the facilities. Certainly one of Journey + Leisure’s greatest Midwest resorts for a fall getaway, this AAA 4-Diamond operation is a superb base for exploring Lake Geneva any time of 12 months. 

Maxwell Mansion

Journey Wisconsin

Mere blocks from downtown Lake Geneva, this boutique property has two distinct vibes: the lovingly restored historic mansion and the equestrian-chic Carriage Home and Stables. Maxwell’s has six rooms in the primary mansion, 14 within the carriage home, and 7 suites and one customary room within the stables. A heated out of doors pool and three distinct watering holes — a speakeasy, a craft cocktail bar, and a seasonal out of doors tiki bar — set this distinctive spot other than typical chain accommodations.

In keeping with Barb Krause, writer of At The Lake Journal, a quarterly print publication concerning the Geneva Lake space, “Maxwell’s house owners, Luke and Monica, have a wealth of hospitality expertise, and it reveals of their artistic décor and particular occasions.” Krause suggests ordering a specialty cocktail on the Apothecary Bar and listening to reside music. “There are such a lot of cozy corners within the mansion and across the property to sit down and have a dialog,” she provides.

The Abbey Resort

Within the enclave of Fontana-on-Geneva Lake, The Abbey is billed as the one full-service lakeside lodging. “The Abbey has undergone an exquisite renovation, and the property shines from its lakefront location,” Krause says. “You’ll be able to simply stroll to close by retailers and eating places within the village of Fontana.”

With 334 visitor rooms, together with suites and villas, lodging can meet your wants irrespective of who you journey with. Grand Geneva Resort and Spa concierge Sarah Hill notes that the 35,000-square-foot Avani Spa is especially glorious. Different facilities embody two full-service eateries, a espresso store and bar, indoor and out of doors swimming pools, a cinema and leisure middle, bikes you’ll be able to borrow, and marina entry.

Lake Garden Resort

Within the better Lake Geneva space, discover Lake Garden Resort. “Lake Garden Resort is a superb place to spend the weekend, with an exquisite setting on Delavan Lake. There’s fairly a bit to do: You’ll be able to golf, get a remedy on the spa, and take a ship experience. Plus, there is a newly designed restaurant, 1878, with lake views,” Krause shares. Lake Garden’s 250 acres embody two miles of Delavan Lake shoreline and 271 visitor rooms with a balcony or patio. 

Finest Issues to Do 

Journey Wisconsin

Geneva Lake Brief Path

Certainly one of Geneva Lake’s important sights is the general public strolling path. Krause explains that “the Shore Path is an incredible piece of residing historical past. The trail encircles your entire lake and is sort of 22 miles round, so most individuals stroll only a portion of it at a time.”

You’ll be able to see historic turn-of-the-century estates up shut and fashionable new properties. “You stroll via the lakefront yards of those properties. We don’t know of some other lake in the US with this kind of public entry,” Krause says. 

Journey Wisconsin

Black Level Property and Gardens 

“Set on the best pure level of Geneva Lake, Black Level Property is a historic home museum on the lake’s southern shore,” Hill says. The earlier house owners donated this summer season residence to the state of Wisconsin for public enjoyment, and it is now acknowledged for its architectural significance on the Nationwide Historic Register. You’ll be able to solely entry the Queen Anne-style dwelling through Geneva Cruise Line’s 3.5-hour non-public tour.

Yerkes Observatory

Journey Wisconsin

Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of contemporary astrophysics, is without doubt one of the nation’s most essential ground-based observatories. And it nearly grew to become condos. Fortunately, a bunch of devoted locals and summer season residents intervened to save lots of the storied construction from demolition.

Krause expands: “Yerkes Observatory is housed in a grand, historic constructing with stunning structure … we’re so grateful that it has been saved from the wrecking ball and growth, and now open to the general public for excursions and occasions. Einstein was right here! I’ve been on the tour a couple of occasions, and I really like seeing the telescope and listening to about our native contribution to astronomic discoveries.” 

Mail Boat Run

Geneva Lake is one in all solely a handful of locations within the U.S. that also presents mail service by boat. Be a part of the two.5-hour Mail Boat Run for an iconic space exercise. The boat traverses the lake and makes about 50 mail drops.

“I’ve been on the mail boat tour a number of occasions. It seems to be so difficult to leap on and off the piers! However it’s a number of enjoyable to look at, and the residents get into it, too, ready on the pier with youngsters or their canines,” Krause says. “Between stops, the mail jumper tells you about our lakefront historical past.” It is solely provided in the summertime from June 15 via Sept. 15, so plan your go to accordingly.

Large Foot Seaside State Park

This 271-acre state park boasts 5 miles of climbing trails, a household campground, a picnic space, a swimming seashore, and a playground. For glorious fishing, go to the on-site lagoon, a duplicate of Geneva Lake.

It is a particular spot for Krause. “We initially moved to Lake Geneva as a result of my dad grew to become superintendent at Large Foot Seaside. So we grew up having fun with the park as a household, taking walks, grilling out, and studying to cross-country ski within the winter,” she says. “At the moment, I take walks via the park with associates. Guests love the open areas for giant picnics, simply throughout the road from the seashore.” 

Geneva Lake

Certainly one of Wisconsin’s largest and deepest inland lakes, Geneva Lake is famend for its cleanliness and beautiful aquamarine hue — make the most of it in the event you go to in the summertime. Clearwater Out of doors presents kayak and standup paddleboard leases. Hill suggests renting a motorboat, too. ​”It is a fairly large lake, about 5,000 acres, so renting a ship lets you see greater than paddling can. Folks like to hire pontoons, particularly households,” she says.


The Lake Geneva space is a golfer’s delight. The 2 most notable spots are the Grand Geneva, which has two programs, and the Geneva Nationwide, which has three programs (one is reserved for members). In the event you can’t swing a tee time at these elite programs, loads of different choices exist. 

Finest Eating places

Oakfire Pizza

Oakfire Pizza is a must-visit for its wood-fired pizzas and creative pasta. “I really like Oakfire Pizza — the country décor, lake views, and the open ground plan. The bartenders craft artistic cocktails, and we at all times share cheese curds, salad, and pizza,” says Krause.


Helmed by Chef Simon Cumming, Sopra in Lake Geneva embraces Italian-American influences and seasonal merchandise. “That is our prime high quality eating choice proper now. The meals is improbable, very eclectic,” Hill says.

Easy Meals Group Café, Market, and Bakery 

Easy Café is ideal for breakfast or brunch. It’s our go-to when now we have visitors from out of city as a result of there’s one thing for each foodie and dietary restriction, and the menu adjustments seasonally,” says Krause. The cafe focuses on artisan merchandise from southeastern Wisconsin producers.

Pier 290 

Journey Wisconsin

Situated on the Williams Bay aspect of the lake, Pier 290 offers an out of doors bar, sandy seashore, hearth pits, and an exquisite backdrop for a waterfront meal. “Certainly one of my favourite spots is Pier 290, the one restaurant instantly on Geneva Lake. And it is really constructed subsequent to the working shipyard of Gage Marine, which simply celebrated its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary on the lake,” Hill says.

Krause agrees: “Pier 290 is our big day vacation spot, and by that, I imply birthdays, good days at work, or only a random Wednesday. We desire the out of doors and tented seating, even within the winter. They’ve reside music practically each weekend, and the present store is to not be missed.”

Finest Time to Go to

Journey Wisconsin

Although there’s purpose to go to Lake Geneva year-round, the standard summer season season (Memorial Day via Labor Day) is the preferred because the climate is heat and children are out of college. But when you do not have to fret about faculty schedules, the spring and fall shoulder seasons provide gentle climate and extra reasonably priced costs. The Geneva Lakes Boat Present on the Abbey, a showcase of classic and traditional boats from across the nation, is in style within the fall.

Winter can be a particular time to go to. In keeping with Hill, “​Our busiest weekend of the 12 months, and some of the enjoyable, is Winterfest weekend.” Yearly, in the course of the first week of February, Lake Geneva hosts the U.S. Nationwide Snow Sculpting Championship. “Groups fly in from all around the nation, they usually craft these huge, huge types [in] downtown Lake Geneva … it’s only a hoot,” Hill says.

The snowy season additionally permits for Nordic snowboarding, downhill snowboarding, ice fishing, and ice boating, when sailboats on steel runners glide on the frozen lake. “Hanging out at Chuck’s on a Saturday afternoon within the winter to look at ice boats is a ceremony of passage,” Hill says. 

Find out how to Get There

Lake Geneva is 80 miles from Chicago and 40 miles from Milwaukee. In the event you’re flying in from outdoors the area, O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) or Milwaukee Mitchell Worldwide Airport (MKE) are your greatest bets, although MKE is preferable — it is nearer to Lake Geneva and you may encounter much less visitors than in the event you drive from Illinois.

Find out how to Get Round

The Lake Geneva space would not have public transportation, so that you want a automotive. Hire a car at MKE or O’Hare. Milwaukee earns comfort factors for an on-site rental automotive operation, whereas O’Hare offers free, 24-hour shuttle service to the rental automotive parking construction.

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