Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: Green Bay, WI

This very proud, very blue collar town is happy just the way it is.  At 104,000 people (city only), it is by far the smallest NFL team town.  Public transportation options are limited so to really take advantage of all the great attractions a CTer will want access to a private auto.  Nearby is the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and Door County.  Downtown is a bit quiet.  A former mall is slowly being torn down.  On the main street there are a handful of bars, restaurants, and shops.  Winters can be very difficult so plan for a warmer weather outing, but for the ultimate Green Bay experience, make an attempt to visit the city during a fall home football game (as long as you are not wearing a competing team's jersey!).


Attractions Visited:
-National Railroad Museum ( If an alien touched down and visited this museum it would come to the conclusion that railroad technology has not advanced since the 1960s.  While the displays are professionally designed and very well maintained (with the exception of some cars stored in the yard), there is almost no mention of recent advancements in either freight or passenger rail (HSR, etc.).  The highlight of the campus is the car buildings (one indoors, one covered) where a visitor can get up close to these prairie monsters, including the famous Big Boy.  After touring the Pullman passenger cars I am now very happy with the current accommodations offered by Amtrak.  For an additional fee there is a 30 minute train ride that circles the campus.  The Big Boy informational video is a delightfully dated (think early 1960s) film produced by Union Pacific.  

-Neville Public Museum ( Never complain when a city the size of Green Bay has a 'modern' public museum.  The first floor is dedicated to the gift shop, rotating exhibits (currently Badger Boys: Northeast Wisconsin and the Civil War), and a play area.  The second floor also has a sizable rotating exhibit hall (currently Alive in Wood: Bird Carvings by Gary Eigenberger-GREAT WORK), and permanent exhibits.  The tour is typical of most public museums, starting with the formation of the planet and walking the visitor through until the 1960s or so.  While not eye popping, the museum offers a nice break and an easy stroll.

-Captain's Walk Winery ( Who says wineries must be located in rolling hills surrounded by vineyards?  This winery makes its home in the southern section of downtown (easily walkable from most downtown hotels) in a well maintained historic home.  Free, limited-time, parking is usually available on surroundings streets.  The front lawn has a small sitting area.  Inside, the winery is cozy with the check out area at the entrance and tasting room in what would be a living room.  I have no doubt that on home football weekends the place would fill up quickly.  The winery does have a small charge for tastings (understandable!), but in my case the person waived the fee since I only tried two wines and purchased a bottle for home.  

-Oneida Casino ( With one flagship casino and five satellite locations (plus two more next two gas stations), there is no shortage of options.  The main casino offers a Radisson hotel, a buffet, two small grills, a parking garage, and a smoke shop.  A free shuttle service provides transportation between the main casino, IMAC Casino/bingo hall, and Mason Street Casino.  

For those wanting to learn more about the Oneida Nation, their main web site ( is informative.  The nation also has a small museum open on weekdays (

Mason Street Casino

-Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field (, While not toured in this visit, in 2007 I made my way to this holy land of football.  Unlike most football stadiums, Lambeau is open to the public almost year-around.  The stadium includes restaurants, gift shop, and a don't miss Hall of Fame.  The walking tour includes walks of the massive atrium, private boxes, and walking though the players tunnel.  

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1 comment:

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