By Kristy Alpert
Flashy festivals and modern marvels are two things you won’t find in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Though football culture reigns supreme, you’d be hard pressed to find a single cheesehead who would bat an eyelash if they saw a Packer walk by them at the grocery store. In this town, anything more than being down-to-earth and authentic is just “not the Green Bay way.”
There are two main things that this city holds dear: community and football. Not only is Green Bay the smallest city to have a National Football League (NFL) team, but it is also the only NFL city where the team is entirely owned by its fans. The Green Bay Packers have been a mainstay in the city since being founded in 1919, and aside from being 12-time national champions, this “Titletown” team has truly solidified this small-town community.
Although this city by the bay is mostly famous for football, Green Bay is actually Wisconsin’s oldest city and touts a remarkable history rich with Native American ancestry and successful entrepreneurial legacies, from shipping materials to European hat makers in the 1600s to inventing the first splinter-free toilet paper in the 1900s. It’s Green Bay’s authentic Americana culture and wide-reaching history that make this city of more than 100,000 people such a great destination for groups looking to experience, taste and play the Green Bay way.
Experience Green Bay
Any trip to Green Bay would be amiss without a little Titletown exploration, and Lambeau Field Stadium is a must see for groups visiting the city. This impressive stadium is quintessential to the city’s culture of football and family fun, and a tour of the facility really gives groups the true Green Bay experience.
“Lambeau Field Stadium Tour is a must see for sports fans and historians,” said Brenda Krainik, director of marketing for the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It gives unprecedented access and behind-the-scenes fun. The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame is one of the best museums in Wisconsin.”
Although Green Bay is a relatively small town, part of what makes it so friendly for groups is the plethora of tour options available. Along with the tour of Lambeau Stadium, the city also boasts a Packers Heritage Trail Segway Tour, an Oneida Nation Reservation Tour, a dinner sightseeing and cocktail tour aboard the “Foxy Lady II” and many more opportunities.
“Group travelers have a huge selection of activities to choose from when visiting Green Bay,” Krainik said. “Historical, culinary, religious, natural spaces, sports, educational and Native American topics can all be part of a trip to Green Bay. Travelers know us for football, so they are shocked to learn how many group-friendly attractions we have.
“Take the Foxy Lady II for instance; this cruise offers a whole different view of the city. Seeing the landscape from the water and hearing about the local shipping industry during the sightseeing cruise is a great way to get to know the city.”
Other great ways to explore the city and its local and regional history include the Bay Beach Amusement Park (don’t miss the thrilling Zippin Pippin rollercoaster), the Green Bay Botanical Garden (perfect for classes, catered meals and horticultural group tours), the Neville Public Museum and the National Railroad Museum.
“The National Railroad Museum has a massive collection of trains and memorabilia,” explained Krainik. “With rotating exhibits, a train ride and the vintage train barn, there is much to see and do. This is a perfect spot to cater in a ‘hobo’ lunch and eat among the train cars.”
For a chance to see the wilder side of Green Bay, groups can take an educational tour of the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, roam with the buffalo at the Oneida Reservation or even visit the newly opened educational center at the NEW Zoo, which will offer group tours and scavenger hunts year round.