A Winter Day in Appleton, Wisconsin
I am often asked how to get out and explore in the winter. The weather often deters people from traveling or think that it’s too cold to walk, hike, or shop. I totally get this, it’s cold outside and you want to stay home where it’s warm and cozy. But, I want to encourage you to get out and find cozy places outside of your home! You can still travel to winter destinations in the cold of December.
Appleton Wisconsin is the true definition of a Wisconsin hidden gem. We spent a cold December day here and as a first-time visitor it was the best way to get introduced to this city. See how we spent our winter day here!
Coffee at Copper Rock
I always like to start my day off exploration at a local coffee shop. Copper Rock was the coziest coffee shop with it’s brick covered walls and wood benches. When you walk in, you’re greeted with the warm smell of coffee beans roasting. Copper Rock’s menu is creative and unique. Since they roast their coffee beans onsite, they have a lot of freedom and creativity to create fun and unique drinks. Copper Rock sources it’s bean from all over the world. Each bean is carefully sampled to give you a unique look into the world of coffee and has been family owned and operated since 2002.
I had the chai latte and a lavender honey macaroon, it was so good! Next time you’re in Appleton, make sure to get your caffeine fix here. It is the coziest spot right in the heart of downtown Appleton.
Shopping in Downtown Appleton
The shopping in Downtown Appleton is incredible. There were so many cute home decor shops and boutiques. I’m sharing a few of my favorite stores we went into below.
Blue Moon Emporium
As an artist myself, Blue Moon Emporium was one of my favorite places we visited in all of Appleton. Blue Moon Emporium is a curated marketplace featuring the works of local artists. You can find unique items like Wisconsin-themed clothing, ceramics, screen-printed pillows, jewelry, accessories and other handmade goods.
I love when stores support local artists, and if you’re from Wisconsin you need to buy all the prints from here to decorate your home! They are just too cute.
Candles are my love language so when I heard about Eco Candles, I knew I had to visit immediately. Right when you walk into Eco Candles you are greeted with an incredible scent that lingers through the entire store. They have candles that line the walls and we created our own tea light candle pack of 10. It was so fun to smell all the different candles and create our own custom pack of our favorite scents!
The Vintage Garden
Home decor galore! The Vintage Garden had the most incredible selection of home decor. My favorite were all the signs that artists have made and that The Vintage Garden sells. As a calligraphy artist, it was so fun to walk around and see all the different hand lettered signs. The Vintage Garden was also running a mega holiday sale on all of their holiday decor so if you’re looking for any items for next year I would definitely look into The Vintage Garden!
Create your own Chocolate Bar at Wilmar Chocolates
After a little shopping, we headed to Wilmar Chocolates. Wilmar specializes in chocolates and confections made in small batches with 100% wholesome ingredients. All their recipes incorporate fresh Wisconsin products, and they have won several awards for their delicious chocolates. Each chocolate is handcrafted with care; hand-stirred, hand-cut, hand-wrapped, and hand-packed one piece at a time.
Mix it Up Chocolate bar station is a Wilmar tradition that allows shoppers to create their very own chocolate bar! First, you fill out a piece of paper to pick 4 ingredients. I chose: pretzels, potato chips, sprinkles and rice crispers. Next you choose your chocolate, dark or milk? I chose milk chocolate but you can also choose half milk half dark chocolate! Once you choose your ingredients, you can also choose a spice and you can even make your chocolate spicy, but I added sea salt to mine! Once your done making all your decisions, the mixing process begins! They take all of your ingredients and mix them together. They put it into a chocolate bar mold and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes. While you wait for your bar, walk around the store and explore! There are some great options to try and buy.
Once your bar is cooled, it’s time to try your creation! Mine was delicious and I can’t wait to go back and try an entirely new creation. The Mix It Up Chocolate Bar is available Thursday-Saturday 11am-5pm.
Grab a Brew & Food at Stone Arch Brewpub
After all that chocolate, I needed some real food. The number one recommendation I got when I told people I was traveling to Appleton was Stone Arch Brewpub. It is the oldest brewpub in the state of Wisconsin and specialize in using locally sourced ingredients. I like a fruitier beer and was pleasantly surprised with the amount of options I had to choose from. I had the Elixir Fruited Sour and it was delicious.
I had heard such great things about the food that we also ordered cheese curds and beer cheese mac and cheese! Sadly, our server forgot to put our cheese curds in which was a total bummer because Stone Arch Brewpubs cheese curds have won awards. We will try again next time. The beer cheese mac and cheese was delicious and we will definitely be going back to Stone Arch to try more of their beer and food menu.
Cure Your Sweet Tooth at Doughlicious
If the chocolate bar making wasn’t enough sweets for one day, you need to check out Doughlicious. I am a cookie dough fanatic and so when researching Appleton I came across a cookie dough dessert shop I knew I had to go. I tried the monster cookie dough filled with peanut butter, m&m’s, oats and chocolate chips. So yummy and unique!
I packed so much into our day in Appleton because I didn’t want to miss a single thing and there is so much to do here, even in the winter! Don’t be afraid to get out and explore when it’s cold, find a few indoor activities and you will be surprised how much fun you can have!
Bonus- If you have more time in Appleton, here are a few bonus locations I recommend:
Player 2 Arcade Bar: A 21+ Arcade bar and a ton of fun!
The History Museum at the Castle: is the history museum and aims to
inspire people to discover and appreciate the rich history of the Fox Cities!
Bubolz Nature Preserve: Rent some snowshoes and hit the trails for a fun outdoor winter activity!
This post was in partnership with Fox Cities but all opinions are my own.