Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Journey Information

Lake Geneva, generally known as the “Hamptons of Chicago” and the “Newport of the Midwest,” is likely one of the finest small cities in Wisconsin. Considered one of three principal 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 plenty of impartial eateries.

This is all the pieces you should know to plan a visit to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

High 5 Can’t Miss

  • Keep on the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, situated on 1,300 rolling acres simply exterior of city. 
  • Take a look at the Yerkes Observatory, generally known as the birthplace of recent astrophysics. 
  • Be 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 time 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 strategy. This grand resort boasts 358 visitor rooms and over 60,000 sq. ft of assembly and occasion area on 1,300 rolling, hilly acres exterior city. Three onsite eating places, a ski hill, and a golf course spherical out the facilities. Considered one of Journey + Leisure’s finest Midwest resorts for a fall getaway, this AAA 4-Diamond operation is a wonderful base for exploring Lake Geneva any time of 12 months. 

Maxwell Mansion

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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 principle mansion, 14 within the carriage home, and 7 suites and one commonplace 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 aside from typical chain resorts.

In line 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 inventive décor and particular occasions.” Krause suggests ordering a specialty cocktail on the Apothecary Bar and listening to dwell 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 a phenomenal renovation, and the property shines from its lakefront location,” Krause says. “You possibly can 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 regardless 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 may borrow, and marina entry.

Lake Garden Resort

Within the larger Lake Geneva space, discover Lake Garden Resort. “Lake Garden Resort is a good place to spend the weekend, with a phenomenal setting on Delavan Lake. There’s fairly a bit to do: You possibly can 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 

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Geneva Lake Brief Path

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

You possibly can see historic turn-of-the-century estates up shut and trendy new properties. “You stroll via the lakefront yards of those properties. We don’t know of another lake in america with any such public entry,” Krause says. 

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Black Level Property and Gardens 

“Set on the very 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 time residence to the state of Wisconsin for public enjoyment, and it is now acknowledged for its architectural significance on the Nationwide Historic Register. You possibly can solely entry the Queen Anne-style dwelling through Geneva Cruise Line’s 3.5-hour personal tour.

Yerkes Observatory

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Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of recent astrophysics, is likely one of the nation’s most necessary ground-based observatories. And it nearly grew to become condos. Fortunately, a gaggle of devoted locals and summer time residents intervened to avoid wasting 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 improvement, and now open to the general public for excursions and occasions. Einstein was right here! I’ve been on the tour a couple of instances, and I really like seeing the telescope and listening to about our native contribution to astronomic discoveries.” 

Mail Boat Run

Geneva Lake is one among solely a handful of locations within the U.S. that also affords mail service by boat. Be 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 instances. It appears to be like so difficult to leap on and off the piers! But it surely’s a whole lot 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 supplied in the summertime from June 15 via Sept. 15, so plan your go to accordingly.

Huge Foot Seaside State Park

This 271-acre state park boasts 5 miles of mountain 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 Huge 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 present, I take walks via the park with mates. Guests love the open areas for giant picnics, simply throughout the road from the seashore.” 

Geneva Lake

Considered one of Wisconsin’s largest and deepest inland lakes, Geneva Lake is famend for its cleanliness and lovely aquamarine hue — reap the benefits of it when you go to in the summertime. Clearwater Out of doors affords 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 case 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 inventive cocktails, and we all the time 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 wonderful eating possibility proper now. The meals is implausible, 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 we have now friends from out of city as a result of there’s one thing for each foodie and dietary restriction, and the menu modifications seasonally,” says Krause. The cafe focuses on artisan merchandise from southeastern Wisconsin producers.

Pier 290 

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Situated on the Williams Bay aspect of the lake, Pier 290 supplies an outside bar, sandy seashore, fireplace pits, and a phenomenal backdrop for a waterfront meal. “Considered one of my favourite spots is Pier 290, the one restaurant straight on Geneva Lake. And it is truly constructed subsequent to the working shipyard of Gage Marine, which simply celebrated its a hundred and fiftieth anniversary on the lake,” Hill says.

Krause agrees: “Pier 290 is our special 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 dwell music practically each weekend, and the present store is to not be missed.”

Finest Time to Go to

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Although there’s motive to go to Lake Geneva year-round, the normal summer time season (Memorial Day via Labor Day) is the preferred because the climate is heat and youngsters are out of faculty. But when you do not have to fret about college schedules, the spring and fall shoulder seasons supply gentle climate and extra inexpensive costs. The Geneva Lakes Boat Present on the Abbey, a showcase of classic and basic boats from across the nation, is fashionable within the fall.

Winter can also be a particular time to go to. In line with Hill, “​Our busiest weekend of the 12 months, and probably the most 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, and so they 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 metallic 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. 

The way to Get There

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

The way to Get Round

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

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