Lake Geneva, a year-round playground in southerly Wisconsin, grew up about picture-perfect Geneva Lake. Throughout the Gilded Age, well-off Midwesterners with names prefer Wrigley, Schwinn, and Swift built palatial summer residences along the shore, motivating the city’s nickname, Newport the the West.

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In 1968, the so late Hugh Hefner opened his an initial Playboy society Hotel through star-studded entertainment, and also Lake Geneva came to be a swinging paradise. Thirteen year later, his bowtie-clad cocktail Bunnies and also their Playmates hopped into oblivion. Lake Geneva morphed right into a family-friendly location with good times and great eating for all ages.

Lake Geneva sits close to the Illinois border about 80 mile northwest that Chicago and 50 miles southwest that Milwaukee. This is our guide to what to do, wherein to eat, and where come stay.

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Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Things To perform In Lake Geneva

View The Mansions indigenous A tour Boat

Board a sightseeing watercraft for a report cruise of Geneva Lake through Lake Geneva Cruise Line. You’ll get an up-close see of the numerous historic mansions and also their exquisitely manicured lawns. Numerous themed tours space offered, consisting of sunset and brunch cruises. The most talked-about is the U.S. Mailboat Tour throughout the summer months: Postal jumpers (usually athletic university kids) leap from the watercraft to deliver and retrieve mail from the piers that lakeside residents, then leap ago again. The boat never stop or slows down. Tours operate from downtown Riviera Docks seven days a mainly from may 1 through October 31.

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Hike The Geneva Lake shore Path

A 21-mile trail, the Lake Geneva Shore course circles the lake. You have the right to hike the in a day, return you might want to break it increase into much shorter lengths. The 3.5-mile segment in between downtown and also Chapin roadway passes chewing gum tycoons William and also P.K.’s Wrigley chateaus homes and also boathouses, and also Lake Geneva windy Library, which to be designed by a protege of famous architect candid Lloyd Wright. The whole trail is walkable, yet the terrain different from dirt to paved. Keep in mind that bikes, skates, skateboards, and also motorized vehicles room not permitted on the path. Undertake sturdy shoes.

Fun Fact: Wrigley estates is comprised of several homes and buildings — that’s why the is plural.

Be Amazed at The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Master illusionist Tristan Crist delivers thrilling Vegas-style magic and also comedy in one intimate setting. The fast-paced 60-minute show has audience participation and also a helicopter that suddenly shows up on stage. Initially from Milwaukee, Crist operated as a featured performer at such venues together the Circus civilization Museum in Wisconsin Dells and also Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in las Vegas. His new year-round home, Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, has actually 175 tiered seats. You’re close come the action, yet that won’t help you figure out exactly how he does what the does. The magic.

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Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Take A course At Lake Geneva college Of Cooking

Chef john Bogan offers entertaining hands-on culinary classes for all skill levels. You’ll prepare a three- come four-course restaurant-quality lunch or dinner using classic techniques and also locally sourced ingredients. Climate take a chair in the formal dining room and feast upon her creations, along with appropriate wine pairings. Toques and also aprons space provided. Sign up for a scheduled course on Lake Geneva institution of Cooking’s website or call to book a personal party.

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Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Zip through The countryside On A Scooter

Rent a engine- scooter from Lake Geneva Scooter Tours and Rentals and also admire the Wisconsin scenery on low-traffic back roads. Check out on her own, or join a three-hour guided tour roughly Geneva Lake. Scooter rentals begin at under $60 an hour. Three-hour guided tours room under $150 a human with a four-person minimum. Helmets are provided. Choose up your scooter from Lake Geneva Scooter Tours and Rentals at The hill Top chalet at cool Geneva Resort and also Spa (more on that below).

Step ago In Time in ~ The Lake Geneva Museum

Stroll follow me a recreated “Main Street” to discover the early background of Lake Geneva and also glimpse the lives and also lifestyles that those who shaped the region. Watch Potawatomi indigenous American artifacts, one 1890 fire hose wagon, and a 1920s dental job-related station. Style buffs: The museum’s residence is a 1929 brick low-rise that previously housed the Wisconsin Power and also Light utility. Join to Lake Geneva Museum is under $10 because that adults and also there is a discount because that seniors.

Sip and also Savor in ~ Studio Winery

Raise a glass at Studio Winery, a combination tasting room, art gallery, and also live music venue. Small-batch artisanal wines and also distilled soul are produced on-site from local and also imported grapes and grains. Tasting prices begin at under $10 for five samples or are totally free with a two-bottle purchase. Party snack platters and also chocolate pairings are extra. Examine the calendar for musical performances and for craft and also painting classes.

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Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Best Restaurants In Lake Geneva

The Lake Geneva foodie step is as diverse as that is plentiful. Among the Wisconsin mainstays are fried cheese curds (fresh cheddar nuggets breaded and deep-fried till melty), Friday night fish fries, and farm-to-table produce and protein. If you wish to imbibe, questioning the bartender for a Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet. Here are a couple of recos:

Hunt club Steakhouse overlooks one of three golf courses at Geneva nationwide Resort and Club while serving up element steaks and also scrumptious seafood. Save room because that the carrot cake topped v Wisconsin cream cheese frosting.

Oakfire serves up Neapolitan-style pizzas and other casual Italian fare through a spectacular lake view.

Sprecher’s Restaurant and Pub is a brewpub well-known for Wisconsin-brewed handmade beer and gourmet sodas. The source beer is legendary.

A Lake Geneva icon for 50 years, maritime-themed Popeye’s ~ above Lake Geneva it s okay raves because that its rotisserie chicken and also cheesy broccoli soup.

Pier 290 is notable for modern American fare and also comfort standards on the Geneva Lake waterfront.

Two dual-identity coffee shops serve up premium brews and more: Avant Cycle café rents, sells, and also fixes bicycles. Inspired trains, employs, and celebrates world with disabilities come prepare them for future project opportunities.

Editor’s Note: For much more dining tips, inspect out our full list of the best restaurants in Lake Geneva. Yes, Popeye’s and also Sprecher’s do the list!

Where come Shop In Lake Geneva

Charming downtown Lake Geneva is lined v one-of-a-kind specialty stores in ~ walking distance of each other. You’ll uncover a endowment trove of apparel, artwork, house goods, and also gourmet foods. Satisfy your sweet this at any kind of of several confectionaries and also bakeshops, and also bring your faithful four-legged companion a brand-new treat indigenous the pet boutique.

Best many hotels In Lake Geneva

You’ve got wealth of options for overnight accommodations, indigenous quaint bed and breakfasts to deluxe hotels and from holidays rentals come wooded campsites. Plenty of offer water views. These room a few of our favorites:

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Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Maxwell Mansion

Built in 1856 together the summer residence of a prominent Chicago surgeon, Maxwell Mansion is a 24-room boutique hotel fully restored and also furnished come its initial grandeur. Mansion rooms room appointed through exquisite antiques and also en-suite baths. Rooms in the former stables and also carriage residence are decked with modern equestrian themes.

A clandestine speakeasy in the mansion basement is open up to hotel guests Friday and also Saturday nights. That is, if you recognize the always-changing password. Check the Maxwell Mansion Facebook web page each main to find it.

Grand Geneva Resort and also Spa

Hugh Hefner’s previous Playboy society Hotel, which closed in 1981, was transformed into the luxe Grand Geneva Resort and also Spa. The sprawling campus encompasses 355 guest rooms, suites, and also villas; two golf courses; many casual and fine dining options; equine stables; indoor and also outdoor swim pools; a ski slope; an indoor water park; a purchase arcade; and also a personal airport with a helipad. Hail the cool Trolley to take you around the complex.

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Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Lake Lawn Resort

Just minutes from downtown Lake Geneva in Delavan is Lake Lawn Resort, a historic hotel and recreational enclave ~ above Delavan Lake. The property was the winter house of a travel circus in the mid-1800s. A modest guest house opened in 1838, and also it grew significantly from there. Substantial renovation to be completed in 2012, and also today Lake Lawn Resort has 272 guest rooms and also suites, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa, a golf course, a marina with boat rentals, and watersports. The Lake Lawn Queen cruise boat will take it you ~ above a tour of the lake. The basic Store Gift Shop is a delightful emporium jam-packed through sundries, apparel, games, and also Wisconsin-branded merchandise. Dining venues attribute American heartland cuisine. Indulge in a gigantic, freshly small cinnamon role at breakfast and experience sweet decadence.

Big Foot coast State Park

Whether your camping format is a pop-up tent or a luxury RV, huge Foot beach State Park overlooking Geneva Lake have the right to anchor her stay. The park has 100 wooded campsites, 34 with electric hookups, plus pit toilets and showers. Recreational amenities incorporate 6.5 mile of long trails and picnic areas. Walk the 2.5 miles follow me Geneva Lake Shore course to downtown Lake Geneva. You’ll happen the colossal stone Manor, the largest mansion top top the lake. Find booking details and make bookings here.

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Pro Tip: Lake Geneva, designated a Bird City Wisconsin, is an ornithology lover’s dream destination. Inspect out a cost-free bird-watching kit comprise binoculars, identifier book, and map native the Lake Geneva public Library and also explore the many natural areas and also avian hotspots.