Every destination has a few can't-miss attractions that make it special, and Manitowoc is no exception! From delicious cheese curds to quirky festivals and maritime adventure, Manitowoc is full of possibilities. Curated below is a list of ten activities you should add to your itinerary!
1. Explore the Wisconsin Maritime Museum
Explore fascinating maritime heritage at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, the largest museum of its kind in the Midwest. Get up close to life-size historic vessels, real artifacts and interactive exhibits for all ages. Don't leave without taking a tour through the USS Cobia, a WWII submarine docked in the Manitowoc River.
2. Bike the Mariners Trail
Pump up your tires or rent a bike from Broken Spoke Bikes or the Manitowoc Marina to spend a day on the Mariners Trail. This scenic 7-mile trail follows the shore of Lake Michigan, with gardens, picnic areas, beaches and restrooms along the way north to Two Rivers.
3. Attend a festival
Wisconsin is home to some fabulously wacky festivals, and Manitowoc lays claim to the wackiest. Attend Sputnikfest, a space-themed celebration commemorating the chunk of Sputnik IV that crash-landed in the middle of 8th Street in 1962. Other big festivals to see in Manitowoc include the Wisconsin Sand Sculpting Festival, Lakeshore Balloon Glow, Metro Jam, Acoustic Fest, and Fourth on the Shore.
4. Ride the S.S. Badger
Lake Michigan's biggest passenger cruise ship ports right here in Manitowoc! From mid-May to mid-October, the historic S.S. Badger Lake Michigan Carferry travels across the lake daily to Ludington, Michigan. Take a bike or car with you to explore both coastal cities in one great vacation.
5. Visit the Rahr-West Art Museum
Named one of USA Today’s "10 Great Places To See Art In Smaller Cities," the Rahr-West Art Museum features fine art set in a Victorian mansion. Plan your trip around the rotating exhibits that interest you and see works from Georgia O'Keeffe, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso in the permanent collection. An exhibit on Russian Sputnik IV is up year-round with a marker in the street it fell in right outside the museum.
7. Try a new restaurant
Did you know Manitowoc has over 100 different restaurants? Sometimes we get into a routine and go to our favorite restaurants every chance we get, but we promise you are missing out on some good eats around town, including Wisconsin staples like fried cheese curds and global flavors like pad thai! Go to our restaurants page and sort by region, cuisine type, and time of day to narrow down the list and find the perfect spot.
8. Kayak the Manitowoc River
The Manitowoc River swerves through the tranquil Manitou and Henry Schuette Parks, industrial areas with towering cranes and eventually out through the downtown area to Lake Michigan. Rent a kayak, pedal kayak or stand-up paddleboard from the Manitowoc Marina to explore the area and get some fresh air. Kayak launches can be found at the Manitowoc Marina, Manitou Park and Lower Henry Schuette Park.
9. Tour the downtown on a pedal pub
Experience downtown Manitowoc like never before by taking a ride on a pedal pub! Fueled by leg power and beer, these traveling pubs are the most fun way to bar-hop. Manitowoc has two options: Manitour Pedalers and Manitowoc Tavern on Wheels.
10. Go brewery hopping
Manitowoc's rich brewing history and current industry make it a great destination for beer lovers. Home to Briess Malt & Ingredients, Manitowoc's breweries use the freshest malt and are known to make some creative brews. Take a tour through each one: PetSkull Brewing, Sabbatical Brewing and Craft Creek Brewing. Can't get enough? Check out Courthouse Pub's microbrews.