Lake Geneva, WI is the perfect place for a day trip or weekend escape. Whether you’re coming from Chicago (one and half hour drive), Milwaukee (less than an hour drive) or anywhere in between, this little city will charm you.
I took the train the train from Chicago to Fox Lake (the end of the line for the Milwaukee District North Line Train) where my parents picked me up. My family and I have been visiting Lake Geneva since I was really young, and it’s a special place to us. My parents met at The Riviera (which used to house a bar called Top Deck), my sister got married at Horticultural Hall, and we used to drive up every summer to enjoy the lake on our boat. So, when I asked if they wanted to meet there for the day, of course they were all in.
My parents and I first drove to William’s Bay to take in the view. We stopped into Daddy Maxwell’s for coffee to go, which I would not recommend doing. However, I would recommend sitting down for breakfast there though! The food looked delicious and the restaurant was quirky and fun with a round dining room. We walked up the pier in Williams Bay; it was a quick stop due to it being very windy. The view was gorgeous though, the sun was shining, the lake and sky were both blue as could be. From there, we drove into Lake Geneva proper, and parked by The Riviera, which was just opening up for the season. It was exactly how I remembered it, with the kitschy souvenir stores, the Italian ice, the candy store, and the smell of fresh popcorn wafting down the length of the building. I can remember being in love with the candy store and their wall lined with containers of delicious treats.
I bought some salt water taffy for old times’ sake. My sister, brother-in-law, and beautiful baby niece met us at Popeye’s for lunch. No, not Popeye’s the fast food fried chicken chain – Popeye’s on Lake Geneva; home of delicious house-roasted rotisserie chicken and the best burgers in Wisconsin. It’s a nautical-themed restaurant with good fish fry and a selection of local beers (including New Glarus Spotted Cow, my favorite). I split a cheeseburger with my mom and it was so delicious. They put Merk’s spead cheese on it, which is life-changingly good.
After lunch, we shopped on Main Street a bit, popping into the cute boutiques and outdoors-y stores. We stopped into Geneva Jake’s and Clear Water in search of a Lake Geneva shirt for the baby. After shopping for a bit, we walked over to Horticultural Hall, which is the beautiful wedding venue on Broad Street where my sister and her husband got married. It had a pretty little garden outside that was blooming with these tiny purple flowers (Glory of the Snow). We were there to visit the brick with their names and wedding date etched on it within the path to the hall’s front door. It was displayed prominently in the center, close to the door. Once we found it, they drove back to my parent’s house, it was a little too cold for the babe.
From there, I dragged my parents back to Main Street to check out a couple of stores we didn’t get to before. This included two adorable boutiques with pretty jewelry and cute clothes (Edie Boutique and Blooming Byrds) and The Lake Geneva Antiques and Art Bazaar. It’s no secret I love to browse through thrift stores, so they let me peek around until I was satisfied. The dual level antique store was fun to browse through, but we left empty handed. We crossed the street to Kilwin’s Confectionary for a couple of scoops of ice cream. This place has all sorts of goodies, ranging from homemade caramel to chocolate covered fruits to ice cream. I had Lake Geneva Mud, which was delicious.
We finished our little day trip with a walk along the Lake Path, which goes all the way around Lake Geneva, 21 miles in total. The houses along the lake are huge and gorgeous and gave me some major life goals. My favorite is the Stone Manor, which used to be many things (a private residence, a girl’s school, a restaurant…), but is now a set of six luxury condos. It was a relaxing walk with a fantastic view of the lake; if you’re planning on making the trip out to Lake Geneva, definitely include the Lake Path in your plans.
There are many ways to enjoy a Sunday, but being on Lake Geneva has to be one of my favorites. I’m so happy we were able to visit the beautiful town that holds so many good memories for us. A big thank you to my family for coming with me! See you soon, Lake Geneva!
Have you ever been to Lake Geneva? What did you think? Do you have a favorite day trip spot?