October 20, 2021
Sheboygan sailing. Photo by Christopher Rydblom.

Checking out the Ryder Cup? Here are 15+ other things to enjoy when you visit Sheboygan

Sheboygan is a mecca for golf, but you can enjoy art, design studios, shopping, outdoor recreation, great food, and a whole host of fun activities during the Ryder Cup – or anytime!

Experience Art on Many Levels at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center – we’ll go with JMKAC from now on to save keystrokes – is a gem of an arts and culture museum in this city of 50,000. A variety of galleries and exhibits cover everything from . Even the public restrooms in the JMKAC have received multiple international awards for their design and creativity – which makes sense, given the area’s influential history in fixtures and plumbing. The JMKAC is right in downtown Sheboygan. More…

Sheboygan and City Green: the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and the State Trunk Tour Podcast

Marvel at innovation and history at the Kohler Design Center

Just west of Sheboygan is Kohler, a company town home to the massive manufacturer of fixtures, plumbing equipment, furniture, tile, engines, and generators. The company began in 1873 making farm implements; ten years later they made their first bathtub and the rest is history. The Kohler Design Center is a three-story showcase of innovative designs and technology. Browse history as well as the latest and greatest in faucets, toilets, showers, and more. If you’re building or refurbishing your house or bathroom, this place is full of inspiration. It’s worth seeing just for the colorful “wall of toilets” in the back. Some shopping at The Shops of Woodlake are just across the way, too. More…

Wall of designs at the Kohler Design Center
Toilets, sinks, showers, and a statue all catch your eye along the back wall at the Kohler Design Center.

Climb some dunes at Kohler-Andrae State Park

Dunes by Lake Michigan at Kohler-Andrae State Park, south of Sheboygan, Wisconsin

South of Sheboygan, the land juts out into Lake Michigan a bit and the water has responded over the centuries by depositing more sand than usual in the area now known as Kohler-Andrae State Park. The area is one of the last natural preserves along Lake Michigan and also boast sandy beaches and plenty of park amenities. Exhibits and information kiosks provide insight regarding the natural history of the area, native plants, and how the dunes shift over time. An observation tower provides a great view of the dunes, beaches, and the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan. Miles of trails and boardwalks reveal a variety of ecosystems through the park; the protected dunes natural area alone covers 135 acres. The park is accessible just minutes off I-43, about ten minutes south of downtown Sheboygan. More…

Salute Old Glory with the World’s Largest Free-Flying American Flag on the Nation’s Tallest Flagpole

Acuity Insurance maintains their headquarters along Interstate 43 in Sheboygan, and their location can be spotted for miles around with Old Glory waving high in the air at what they call the “World’s Largest Symbol of Freedom.” The U.S. flag at Acuity gets hoisted to 400 feet above the surrounding terrain and is visible for miles. The flag itself is the world’s largest free-flying American flag; it measures 70×140 feet and weighs 250 pounds. At the base is the Sheboygan County Veterans Memorial, with commemorative bricks placed in a teardrop design with over 750 inscribed pavers.

Walk amidst the Wreck of the Lottie Cooper – a true shipwreck- – at Deland Park

Wreckage of the ship Lottie Cooper, on display at Deland Park in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Lake Michigan can be unforgiving for ships. Built in 1876, the Lottie Cooper was a three-masted schooner that capsized and sank in gale force winds in 1894 just off Sheboygan’s coast, one of an estimated 10,000 ships that have been lost on the Great Lakes – 62 of them just off Sheboygan. In fact, just this year it became official that the coast off Sheboygan will be designated as the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary. The remains of the Lottie Cooper were discovered during survey work on the harbor floor; they were recovered, re-assembled and are now on display at Deland Park. You can explore the recreated ship’s hull and even walk through. You have your choice of a guided tour, or just tour it yourself!

(Freshwater) Surfin’ USA: experience the Freshwater Surf Capital of the World

Now that we’ve shown how Lake Michigan can take down ships, how about waxing up your board and hitting those waves??Sheboygan juts out into Lake Michigan and numerous sandbars lurk offshore. During northeast or west-southwest winds – especially above 20 mph – the waves generated draw surfers from all over. There’s a reason Sheboygan is referred to as the “Malibu of the Midwest” as well as the “Freshwater Surf Capital of the World” – and in late September, water temperatures are still pretty comfortable! If you don’t feel like hanging ten yourself, you can watch those who will, especially from the overlook or the sands at South Beach. And yes, a shop in Sheboygan will rent you a surfboard.

Book a Sailing or Fishing Tour on Lake Michigan

If you’d rather kick back and enjoy the water from a boat or cast a rod to catch some fish, we understand. A variety of fishing charters and sailing charters will take you out on the lake for an enjoyable day or tour. Some will go north a ways and let you see some of the action at Whistling Straits from the water!

Savor a true Sheboygan-style brat – double-style – at Sly’s Saloon

Although some Germans may quibble with this assertion, Sheboygan bills itself as the “Bratwurst Capital of the World.” You’ll find great brats all over the county, but if you hit downtown Sheboygan we recommend Sly’s Midtown Saloon & Grill, which serves up their classic Double Brat with American potato salad and baked beans – for only $8 every day. More…

Double Brat Special at Sly's Midtown Saloon & Grill, on 8th Street in downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Relax or take in a show at City Green

City Green is an arts and entertainment green space downtown that hosts art installations and shows, markets, live music and other performances. The open-air space is great for meeting up with friends and family or just relax and contemplate. It’s at the corner of 7th Street and New York Avenue.

City Green in downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Imbibe in craft brews at 3 Sheeps Brewing Company

Sheboygan’s largest craft brewery is 3 Sheeps, which sits on the north side of town along North Avenue just east of Highway 42 – a pretty straight shot to and from Whistling Straits. Their offer a large, airy tap room, a patio, plenty of activities, and occasional live entertainment with your beer selections. Their 3 Sheeps Pils, Rebel Kent Amber Ale, Cashmere Hammer Nitro Stout, and Really Cool Waterslides IPA are among their most popular, but they put out over a dozen options across a variety of styles for you to whet your palate. More…

The barback at 3 Sheeps Brewing, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Pamper yourself at one of the many spas in the area

Ritual Spa in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

With upscale accommodations like the American Club in Kohler and Blue Harbor Resort along the lakefront in Sheboygan, the opportunities to get pampered here are vast. Reflections, Jomaji, Fuzion, Entourage, Sasé, Float Doctor, Nouvelle, and The Spa Studio all offer a variety of spa and salon services to treat you the way you deserve. More…

Pedal or Paddle while you enjoy drinks on the street or the water

Sheboygan has both “pedal taverns” and “paddle taverns” where you can enjoy drinks with friends as you pedal down the street (Shebikin’) or paddle on the water (Sheboatin’). With a driver to guide you and your foot power to help it along (yes it’s optional to pedal, they have motors, too) you can take in and burn calories at the same time while enjoy a nice tour of the area. The bikes accommodate over a dozen of you and your friends and let you bar-hop in a very fun way! More…

Segway your way around Sheboygan on a tour

Segway On the Lake offers guided Segway tours of Sheboygan’s downtown, beaches, lighthouse and more. Glide along and learn about the city’s maritime history, take in nice views, and learn your way around. More…

Get a shot with the BRAT at Johnsonville Marketplace

The BRAT sculpture, an Insta-worthy spot at Johnsonville Marketplace at the Johnsonville Sausage Company HQ, just outside Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin

About 15 minutes west of Sheboygan is tiny Johnsonville, Wisconsin, home to the largest sausage brand by revenue in the U.S. Across from their beautiful headquarters along County Road J, you’ll find their new Johnsonville Marketplace, which just opened last year. Along with a massive variety of Johnsonville products, you can find a nice array of Wisconsin cheeses, beverages, fun clothes to wear, and even grills designed for efficiently cooking up the state’s favorite tailgating food. For your Instagram, be to snap a pic in front of the soon-to-be-iconic BRAT sign out front. Yes, it’s similar to the “LOVE” sculpture in Philadelphia… that’s part of the fun of it! More…

Enjoy a U.P. treat – the “pasty” – at Sheboygan Pasty Company

Pasty from the Sheboygan Pasty Company, located inside Four of a Kind Bar in Sheboygan

U.K. visitors are familiar with the pasty, a savory pastry pie stuffed with meat and vegetables and crimped down to form an easy-to-eat meal. The U.P. – Upper Peninsula of Michigan – became a hotspot for pasty consumption during the heydays of immigration and the mining industry. Just a few hours south in Sheboygan, enterprising folks took their grandparents’ pasty recipes and opened Sheboygan Pasty Company in the back area of a tavern called Four of a Kind, which sits on the south edge of a roundabout on the south end of downtown one block from the Sheboygan River. Today, they serve classic and new varieties of the traditional U.P. pasty, with popular condiments like gravy or ketchup. You can’t get a true pasty easily in most places, so give one a try while you’re in Sheboygan! You can enjoy them in the bar or take them to go, hot and fresh or frozen for later. More…

Eat REALLY fresh and local at the Sheboygan Farmers Market

Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the Sheboygan County Interfaith Organizations (SCIO) Farmers Market sets up in Fountain Park at 8th & Erie Streets in downtown Sheboygan. This Saturday the 25th from 8am to 1pm, browse the fresh, natural offerings from area farms from produce to flowers, meats and more. More…

Sheboygan has a whole host of other activities nearby, too. The Historic Wade House in Greenbush takes you to the 19th century about 20 minutes west along Highway 23; Road America is in nearby Elkhart Lake, although no races are scheduled and the area is actually being used for Ryder Cup camping through the 27th; Plymouth, Elkhart Lake, and Sheboygan Falls are lovely towns nearby that offer history, boutique shops, and a relaxing vibe. Explore and have fun! Our friends at VISIT Sheboygan can offer up more information on anything that will tickle your fancy.

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