BEST Things to do in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin | 2024 Travel Guide

Looking for the best things to do in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 2024? I have put together a list of the top things to do in this beautiful lakeside city.

Best Things to Do in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

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Lake Geneva is a popular resort city located in southeastern Wisconsin and one of the best places to visit in the Midwest. Here are the best things to do in Lake Geneva.

Walk the Geneva Lake Shore Path

Geneva Lake Shore Path
Walk along all or part of the Lake Geneva Shore Path, a 21-mile trail around Geneva Lake, that offers stunning views of the forest, water and impressive waterfront homes. Each property maintains its portion of this public-access path, so the terrain varies.

You can find a self-guided audio tour here.

Take a Lake Cruise

view of houses from lake cruise on Geneva Lake at Lake Geneva Wisconsin

If you would rather not walk the Lake Shore Path, enjoy similar views by taking a cruise around Geneva Lake, the second deepest lake in Wisconsin.

The narrated boat tours by Lake Geneva Cruise Line give you the history of all those magnificent mansions that rim the shoreline. There’s also an evening dinner cruise and the famous U.S. mailboat tour with mail “jumpers” delivering the mail to piers with the boat never slowing down.


Lake Geneva is one of the best places to play golf in the Midwest. You can find two 18-hole courses at Grand Geneva Resort designed by Jack Nicklaus. Geneva National Resort is home to a 54 hole award-winning golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino.

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Enjoy an hour of live magic, comedy, and illusion at the family-friendly Tristan Crist Magic Theatre-Revel just outside downtown Lake Geneva. The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is home to illusionist Tristan Crist, known for his large-scale illusions performed up close and personal.

Best Things to Do in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in the Summer

Spend Time at the Beach

Lake Geneva Wisconsin
Visiting Lake Geneva in the summer? Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities on the water, including boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, wake boarding and more.

If you would rather relax spend some time on the beach. Popular beaches include, Williams Bay Beach, Fontana Beach and Riviera Beach.

Best Things to Do in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in the Winter

Lake Geneva offers many winter activities making it a great winter weekend getaway from Chicago.

See Snow Sculptures Built During Winterfest

snow sculptures at winterfest in lake geneva, wisconsin
Winterfest is the most popular annual event in Lake Geneva.

The highlight of Winterfest is the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship, during which you can watch talented and award-winning sculpting teams from across the country create large snow sculptures at Riviera Plaza and Flat Iron Park in downtown Lake Geneva.

Other activities during Winterfest include the Downtown Ice Sculpture Walk, bonfires on the beach, live entertainment and more.

See the Winter Realms (formerly Ice Castles)

Lake Geneva Wisconsin Winter Realms ice castles at night

One of the best things to see in Lake Geneva in the winter is Winter Realms (formerly the ice castles), a unique frozen attraction. This is a very popular event and ticket sell quickly. You can find tips on visiting the Winter Realms here.

Go Skiing and Snowboarding

skiing at Grand Geneva

You can go skiing and snowboarding in and around Lake Geneva at The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort, Vail Resorts’ Wilmot Mountain and Alpine Valley.  The slopes are relatively small so they are best for kids and beginners.

Other winter activities include sledding, ice skating as well as snow tubing (at Wilmot Mountain only).

Where to Stay in Lake Geneva

• Grand Geneva Resort & Spa – is a AAA Four-Diamond resort. Amenities include a spa, several restaurants, golf courses, ski center as well as indoor and outdoor pools. Guests of Grand Geneva may purchase half-day passes to the waterpark at Timber Ridge on a first-come, first-served basis, based on availability. Click here to see latest prices.

• Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark – Family friendly all-suite hotel has kitchens with full-sized refrigerators. Other amenities include a spa, game arcade and pools. Staying at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark includes passes to their year-round indoor/outdoor waterpark. It is located on the grounds of Grand Geneva and there is a trolley between both resorts throughout the day. Click here to see latest prices.

• Ridge Hotel – This large resort is located about four miles from downtown Lake Geneva, along the shores of Lake Como. Amenities at this pet friendly resort include indoor pool and sauna and championship golf. The hotel has ice castle packages for those visiting in the winter. Click here to see latest prices.

Where to Eat in Lake Geneva

• Egg Harbor Cafe – One of the best breakfast spots in Lake Geneva.
• Joni’s Diner – This 50s style is a great spot for breakfast and lunch.
• The Next Door Pub & Pizzeria – Known for its pizza made from scratch such as Pub’s Famous Garbage Pizza.
• Oakfire – Located downtown with a view of the lake. They also two large outdoor seating sections for those than want to dine outdoors duing the warmer months.
• Popeye’s on Lake Geneva – Fun atmosphere and known for their year round outdoor rotisserie. Outside dining is available seasonally. They have an All You Can Eat Fish Fry every Friday.
• Pier 290 – Upscale lakeside restaurant located right on the beach with amazing lake views. Also has an outdoor bar and fire pits.

Best Time to Visit Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is a year round destination although many activities are seasonal. The temperature varies greatly from warm summers to cold and snowy winters. You can find the average weather here.

Summer is the busiest season for visitors and tourists and offers warm-weather activities like boating and swimming in the lake.

Winter offers cold winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and popular winter events including Winterfest and Winter Realms.

Personally, my favorite season to visit Lake Geneva is the fall when the temperatures are more moderate and you can enjoy the beautiful fall colors with fewer crowds.

Getting to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva is located about 49 miles from Milwaukee, 74 miles from Madison and 83 miles from Chicago.

While close enough for a day trip from Chicago or Milwaukee, I recommend staying at least 2 or 3 days. In fact Lake Geneva has been a popular weekend getaway from Chicago for decades.

(Make sure to check out my essential road trip packing list and road trip music playlist to make sure you have all your road trip essentials before you go.)


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