Imagine gazing across a gently rippling body of water knowing good times lie ahead. The Green Lake area boasts friendly faces, satisfying meals, treasured shops, and an array of activities, indoors and out. Here then, is your guide.

Big Green Lake

aerial boat on lake

Lakes are Wisconsin’s mountains. They’re the hearts of their ecosystems and the focal points of surrounding communities. Growing up on a lake defines a person in all aspects of their life, from the things they learn and the way they have fun to a deeper appreciation of the reciprocal exchanges between humankind and the environment. Everyone who grows up on Big Green Lake owes a part of themselves to the lake. And everyone who visits aims to find that connection for themselves.

Exploring Green Lake by Bike

Biking on path
Photograph provided by Green Lake Greenways

Abundant in beauty, history, and culture, the Green Lake area is best explored by bicycle. Green Lake has 18 miles of paved and compacted-gravel bicycle paths and endless miles of rolling, low-volume, scenic town roads. The published bicycle paths and routes assure that you can sample Green Lake in two hours, but to see the best will take a week. Many visitors ask their hosts, where should we ride tomorrow? The answer is, how many tomorrows do you have?

Concerts in the Park

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Overlooking Green Lake in a venue like no other, this free concert series takes place at Deacon Mills Park! The Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to bring your family, friends, chairs, and blankets and relax by the water while enjoying live music and a cold beverage!

Cover Artist: Robin Wallenfang

Photograph by Robin Wallenfang

Robin Wallenfang is a freelance artist with over 40 years of experience in oil painting, mural painting, and stained glass. She has a gallery, studio, and workshop at Wallenfangs of Green Lake, where she exhibits her work. Several of her murals in the area can be seen at the Berlin and Ripon libraries, the Green Lake Conference Center Kraft Dining Hall, Knickerbocker Landing in Princeton, and at Wallenfangs of Green Lake.

Dickens of a Christmas Celebrates 31 Years

Christmas Parade
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Wisconsin can have unpredictable weather when December rolls around—will it snow early or will it hold off until January? We never know, but what is predictable is the amount of fun during the annual Ripon Chamber of Commerce’s Dickens of a Christmas.

From the Land: Folk Art Festival

Photograph provided by From The Land

From the Land has survived rain, wind, cold, snow, and a nearby tornado over the past 20 years. Because of loyal artists and patrons, the show has grown and continues to thrive, even during a pandemic. A sincere thank you to all who’ve provided support for From the Land, which takes place the third weekend in October.


Lawsonia Golf Course
Photograph by The Fried Egg, provided by The Golf Courses of Lawsonia

Golf is a game of risk and reward, a game once banned in 1457 for being a distraction from archery, and a test of patience—because who wouldn’t use tiger-sized litter boxes to defend a pint-sized hole? It’s my favorite bar sport that’s not technically a bar sport. Whether played at a highly competitive level or enjoyed while hanging out with friends and drinks, you’ll find the Green Lake area offers courses you’ll want to play over and over again.

Green Lake-The Good Life

boats on Green Lake
Photograph by Crea Stellmacher

Visiting Green Lake, with miles of shoreline, stunning sunsets, events, and activities year-round, easily becomes visiting the good life. Your entire family will always have something to enjoy!

Green Lake Area Animal Shelter

Kittens from Animal Shelter
Photograph provided by Green Lake Area Animal Shelter

Adopting from the Green Lake Area Animal Shelter (GLAAS) saves the lives of two animals—the one adopted and the one moving into the empty space. An open admission shelter, GLAAS accepts and places primarily dogs and cats, but can help with any animal issue, offering assistance and referrals for situations outside their scope.

Green Lake Association: Caring For Big Green

people on pier
Photograph by Clearview Productions

If you’re looking for a relaxing day on the shore or an excitement-packed afternoon zipping across the water, Big Green Lake has something for everyone. The lake sees thousands of visitors each year and holds an important place in so many hearts and memories.

Green Lake Conference Center

Green Lake Conference Center gate
Photograph by Ben Mott

Jessie Lawson of Chicago weathered a storm of her own in the summer of 1888 while boating on Green Lake. Shelter was taken on Lone Tree Point, and she decided to purchase that spot as a refuge from the pressures and harried life of the city. She and her husband, Victor, developed a farm with European-inspired architecture, much of which remains today. In the 1920s, the H.O. Stone Development Company of Chicago turned the farm into a luxurious country club, adding Lawsonia Links Golf Course. In 1943, Northern Baptists purchased the property for training and conferences.

Green Lake Conservancy: A Gift of Wood-for-Wood

W4W Conservancy towering white pines
Photographs by Marcella Jones

Tucked away down an unpaved road in the northwest region of Green Lake County is a special place with towering white pines and deciduous hardwoods that overlook the Upper Fox River Valley. Deer, coyote, fisher, frogs, snakes, turtles, and even an occasional wandering black bear or bobcat find refuge in this wild place. Ravens nest here along with a variety of songbirds amid the maple, oak, and pine interspersed with openings and wet seepages supporting native plants and their pollinators.

Green Lake Festival of Music

The Spektral Quartet, named Chicagoans of the Year in 2018 by the Chicago Tribune
Photograph provided by Green Lake Festival of Music

The Green Lake Festival is excited to be able to present live events again in 2021, having cancelled the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Festival, under the new leadership of Executive and Artistic Director Sam Handley, is taking every precaution, including social distancing, frequent hand washing, and either proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours or proof of a vaccine in order for musicians to participate. Audiences will be smaller and distanced, with temperature checks and masks required for all performers and audience members.

Art in the Park

Art Show
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

While Green Lake is a picturesque paradise year-round, perhaps one of the most beautiful sites throughout the summer months is in the heart of its downtown at Playground Park. With rushing waters from the dam, stunning landscape, and a charming footbridge cascading with flowers, Playground Park appears to be right out of a storybook. What could make it better? Why the amazing talents of over 100 artists from throughout the Midwest, of course.

33rd Annual Harvest Fest

Harvest Fest pumpkins
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

When Wisconsin welcomes a bountiful harvest each fall, festivals celebrating the state’s rich farming heritage also sprout up across the state. Locally, one of the largest is Green Lake’s Harvest Fest, organized by the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and supported by local organizations and businesses.

Mapes Hotel

Mapes Hotel
Photograph provided by Mapes Hotel

Something amazing happens when two Riponites, a father and son duo, put their heads together and dream big. Their spontaneous thoughts turn into well-executed and positive ventures.

Markesan: A Grand Community

On the lake
Photograph by Chris Scott

Markesan is a small town in the southern central part of Green Lake County. There are state-of-the-art education facilities for young people and comfortable living centers for seniors in the community. Families in Markesan make homes that last a lifetime.


Downtown Montello
Photograph by Matthew Faltz Photography

West of Princeton on Highway 23 is the community of Montello and an array of shopping, services, and natural beauty. Craft and gift stores, an old-fashioned candy and ice cream store, a vintage movie theater, and cafés, pubs, and supper clubs fill the historic downtown district. There’s also a pharmacy, grocer, hardware store, sporting goods store, golf course, massage studio, bookstore, bank, auto repair shop, realtors, and more.


wine glass

With its charming local shops, bustling antique stores, and famous Flea Market, Princeton is the place to spend a day, weekend, or week to be completely transported into small-town life bursting with appeal.


Downtown Ripon
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Experience Ripon—this isn’t just a message for nature enthusiasts wanting to surround themselves with acres of parks, trails, rivers, and lakes. Ripon has long been a friendly destination energized by community celebrations, eclectic shops, tasty cuisine, and historic character. All who visit feel welcome by the city’s charm and natural beauty.

Ripon College: Committed to Neighboring Communities

Ripon College professsor and student
Photograph provided by Ripon College

Established in 1851, Ripon College is a best-value private college and a national leader in liberal arts education. Ripon is devoted to ensuring that every student realizes his or her unique potential.

Thrasher Opera House: Live Music Year-Round

Thrasher musician
Photograph provided by Thrasher Opera House

The historic 200-seat Thrasher Opera House, built in 1910, holds true to its purpose as a community gathering place. Since reopening in 1998, Thrasher typically provides 50 to 60 nights of diverse programming each year, including music and theatre performances, comedy, community events, and educational workshops for youth and adults.

Whooping Crane Festival: Fun and Educational For The Whole Family!

Whooping Crane greeting people
Photograph provided by the International Crane Foundation

After canceling its 2020 festival during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Princeton Whooping Crane & Nature Festival is back and preparing for a 2021 event! The festival will take place Saturday, September 11, at Princeton Public School, located at 604 Old Green Lake Road in Princeton.

Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff


For more than 40 years, the Wisconsin State Championship Chili Cook-Off has been held in downtown Green Lake, bringing together chili chefs from around the state and beyond to compete for the state title and a chance to compete at the international level.