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Oshkosh, WI: Your Comprehensive Guide to Wisconsin’s Waterfront City

Along the shores of Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh, WI, charms newcomers with its vibrant lakeside setting and diverse industries. With a population around 66,000, Oshkosh provides the benefits of a midsized city wrapped within a quaint, picturesque landscape. The city traces its roots to the 1800s as a thriving lumber and manufacturing hub. Today, major companies like Oshkosh Corporation and various healthcare networks continue driving employment. The acclaimed public school system, higher education opportunities like the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and family-friendly amenities like the Menominee Park Zoo make Oshkosh an appealing choice for families and professionals. See what makes our Winnebago County city unique, and find opportunities to get in on the fun!

Embracing the Oshkosh, WI, Community

Airventure in Oshkosh, WI

EAA AirVenture 2019 (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) by lic CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED

Community Events

Throughout the year, Oshkosh comes alive with exciting annual community events. In the heart of winter, every February, the city comes alive with the thrill of the Battle on Bago. This fishing tournament on Lake Winnebago attracts participants from throughout the Midwest, thanks to a staggering prize pool of over $300,000 in cash and prizes. Prefer to wait until it gets a little warmer? The summer edition of the tournament, the Otter Street – Battle on Bago CRR Walleye Tournament, takes place Father’s Day weekend.

As winter thaws and July sun warms the city, Oshkosh becomes a global hub for aviation enthusiasts with Airventure. Regarded as the world’s largest gathering for those with a passion for the skies, this event offers an immersive experience, complete with air shows, interactive displays, and enriching workshops. But if you’re more into sports on the ground, July also serves up the Waupaca Boatride Volleyball Tournament. The sandy courts of Oshkosh attract more than 2,500 players and a whopping 40,000 spectators, all eager to witness or participate in one of the globe’s grandest volleyball tournaments.

Farm-fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and local goods are the heart and soul of the Downtown Oshkosh Farmers Market. From June to October, every Saturday morning witnesses a burst of freshness and creativity. And for those who like their winter produce, there’s an indoor market variant from November to April. In Oshkosh, there’s an event for every season and a memory to be made for every visitor. Whether you’re a resident or a tourist, mark your calendar, and experience the best of Oshkosh all year round.

Music & Seasonal Festivals

For those who seek out live music opportunities wherever they go, July also offers Lifest. This Christian music festival boasts a lineup of more than 100 bands and artists, making it a musical pilgrimage for many. Additionally, Waterfest, held against the picturesque backdrop of Lake Winnebago, enlivens summer evenings from June to August with stellar performances by both local and national acts.

To wrap up the summer in style, the Winnebago County Fair in August provides the quintessential fair experience—thrilling rides, a plethora of food vendors, and a close-up look at farm animals, making it a tradition for both locals and visitors alike. Get together with friends and family for a perfect summer evening.

As the festive season approaches, Oshkosh turns into a Wisconsin winter wonderland. The Celebration of Lights in Menominee Park captures the holiday spirit perfectly, with over a million lights setting the scene. Similarly, the Paine Art Center and Gardens, with its annual Nutcracker in the Castle event, offers a whimsical journey, recreating the magic of the beloved ballet through meticulously decorated rooms and corridors.

Attractions Around the City

Oshkosh offers an array of attractions and sights that make it a popular destination in Wisconsin. The Oshkosh Public Museum provides an immersive overview of the region through historical exhibits and cultural displays focused on lumber heritage, Native American artifacts, wildlife, and pioneer life. Rotating shows highlight local arts and profiles of notable Oshkosh figures.

Downtown Oshkosh delights visitors with more than 200 indie shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues along Main Street Historic District. Catch a show at the historic Grand Opera House or admire paintings at the Paine Art Center and Gardens, an imposing estate built in the 1920s displaying American masterpieces.

Find Fun Outdoors in Oshkosh

Outdoors lovers have plenty to do as well. Lake Winnebago, as Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, is the crown jewel of Oshkosh’s outdoor attractions. The lake is a hive of activity year-round. During the warmer months, it beckons boaters, kayakers, and paddleboarders to its shimmering waters. Its shoreline also provides ample opportunities for picnicking, sunbathing, and even camping. Anglers often flock to the lake, with walleye, perch, and bass being popular targets.

Adjacent to the lake is Menominee Park, sprawling over 109 acres. It’s the perfect destination for families, equipped with playgrounds, a small zoo, and beautifully manicured gardens. The park’s winding trails offer serene walks with occasional views of the lake, making it ideal for joggers, bikers, and those seeking a tranquil escape amidst nature. In winter, when the lake freezes over, the park transforms to accommodate ice fishing and skating.

In addition to Menominee Park, Oshkosh boasts numerous green spaces, such as the Wiouwash Trail, offering miles paths for hiking, biking, and birdwatching. And if you’re inclined towards water sports, the Fox River running through the city is perfect for canoeing or kayaking, allowing explorers to discover Oshkosh from a unique perspective.

Dine at Some of the Oshkosh’s Most Popular Restaurants

From brunches to BBQ, you will never leave Oshkosh, WI, hungry. There are delectable options for every set of tastes and dietary restrictions. Stop in for a bite, and you just might find a new favorite spot!

  1. Fox River Brewing Company – This brewpub overlooking the river serves up award-winning craft beers along with hearty pub grub like burgers, Memphis-style ribs, and fish fry Fridays.
  2. Bar 430 – A trendy gastropub offering small and large plates alike for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Find delectable cheese curds, specialty sandwiches, and more to pair with their featured drinks.
  3. The Roxy Supper Club – The Roxy is an upscale supper club dishing up surf and turf with an old-school Rat Pack vibe and live entertainment.
  4. Two Brothers Family Restaurant – A classic all-American diner serving hearty breakfasts and homemade pies, this restaurant is awarded for having the best breakfast in Winnebago County.
  5. Becket’s – Enjoy the waterfront dining with modern American fare and nightly specials. Come for dinner and stay for the weekly live jazz musicians.
  6. The Ruby Owl Tap Room – This chic taproom and eatery features an impressive beer list on tap and elevated pub grub.
  7. Parker John’s BBQ & Pizza – Stop by Parker John’s BBQ & Pizza for authentic Southern BBQ—mouthwatering brisket, ribs, pulled pork and all the fixings.
  8. Pilora’s Cafe – Make this cozy cafe your new favorite morning spot! They serve up breakfast classics, burgers, soups, and desserts like  for breakfast, lunch or afternoon coffee.

Move Into the Neighborhood with Toy Box Boat & RV Storage in Oshkosh, WI

Settling into Oshkosh, WI? Toy Box Boat & RV Storage is a local storage solution designed to cater to your specialized RV and boat storage needs. As the seasons change and Wisconsin’s winters demonstrate their ferocity, the residents of Oshkosh and its neighboring regions know the importance of protecting their valuable seasonal vehicles from the elements. And this is precisely where Toy Box shines.

When you choose Toy Box Boat & RV Storage, you’re not just picking a storage facility; you’re selecting a partner dedicated to ensuring the safety, security, and pristine condition of your prized vehicles. Our brand-new, state-of-the-art facility offers heated storage units that span up to an impressive 750 square feet, allowing even the most expansive RVs and boats to be comfortably housed and protected from Wisconsin’s weather. Check out our different vehicle storage options, and reserve your spot online today!

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Katie author photo

Katie Mest

About the Author: Katie Mest is a Content Marketing Specialist at Storage Asset Management in York, PA. She specializes in writing about the self storage industry, including storage tips and helpful resources. Outside of work, Katie enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors and snuggling in with a crochet project and her cat, Billie.