The 15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Wausau Right NowJuly 16, 2021
While the demolition zone at Wausau Center Mall is booming with progress, don’t miss the rest of the excitement happening around Wausau this summer. There’s so much to do and you don’t have to travel beyond central Wisconsin or spend a lot of money to have fun.
Here are 15 of the top things you’ll want to work into your schedule right away:
Pack a picnic for The 400 Block
Bring your own food or do grab and go from Downtown Grocery, La Prima Deli or Polito’s Pizza, a nearby restaurant on Third Street. Then, find a spot on the green space of The 400 Block and enjoy the open air.
Get your coffee, beer and art fix at Whitewater Music Hall
Live music and regional craft brews at Whitewater Music Hall — what could be better? Once the home of the Masonic Lodge, the iconic brick building is the new canvas for Rise Up Central Wisconsin’s latest mural that can be seen on the north-facing wall over Washington Street.
Find these iconic Wausau hot spots and take your picture, #wausauwings. There’s the red telephone booth by La Prima Deli, the top of Jefferson Street Inn ramp for a cool cityscape in the background, anywhere under the colorful umbrellas of Third Street and in front of one of the city’s many amazing murals.
Take a walking tour of art and historical museums
If you haven’t guessed it yet, Wausonians love their art. There’s plenty to see in the heart of downtown. Stroll between award-winning museums and exhibits including Leigh-Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Marathon County Historical Museum , 319 Gallery and Center for Visual Arts. They’re free and open daily.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at these snack stops
For hard-pack ice cream and fine chocolates, there’s Sweets on 3rd. Sweet Lola’s is the go-to for gourmet cupcakes like peanut butter s’mores. And while you’re at The 400 Block for an event, stop by Chip’s Popcorn Wagon for cotton candy or a bag of freshly popped popcorn.
Cheer on the Chucks
Get your ticket to fun when the Wisconsin Woodchucks are up to bat at Athletic Park. Collegiate players make up the teams in the Northwoods League, the largest organized baseball league in the world. It has turned-out major league players like Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmerman.
Gotta get to Goatapalooza
Invasive plants invading Barker-Stewart Island are currently under siege by a team of hungry goats brought in by the Parks Department. Visit them at the park on July 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for an evening of all-things-goats or register for a session of goat yoga for $5. Space is limited.
Channel your inner child on the obstacle course at Riverlife Park
Located along the Wisconsin River, this newer park is packed with free family entertainment, including an interactive playground, paved paths and a workout area with cardio and static weight stations for adults. Top off your visit with an ice cream cone at the concessions building.
Third Street is the place to be Wednesday and Saturday evenings for al fresco dining and live music. Local restaurants are set up in the street from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. until September 15. Reservations are recommended.
Dance the evening away at Concerts on the Square
Kick back with some friends on Wednesdays starting at 6 p.m. for some great free concerts. Bring your lawn chairs or picnic blankets and get ready for a good time. Carry-ins are allowed, and food trucks are on-site.
Observe the Wausau Center Demolition Zone
Watch history in the making as Downtown Wausau is transformed into a modern-day mixed-use development. The Wausau Center Mall demolition will be done soon so stop over for a look at the action. Latest news at Downtownrefresh.com
Catch the action at WhiteWater Park
There’s nothing quite like Wausau’s Whitewater Park where paddlers from around the world make their way through the kayaking course. Wausau Whitewater hosts events and releases throughout the summer. Walk along the River’s Edge Trail paved path by the Wisconsin River and you might get a glimpse of a paddler.
Find fresh and local veggies at the Farmers Market
The spring to fall outdoor market held on Wednesdays and Saturdays is your place for locally sourced fruits and vegetables as well as cheese, meat and baked goods. Located in the gathering space near Oak Island Park, the market offers an opportunity to meet the farmers and learn how buying locally grown food benefits the environment, the economy and your well-being.
Walk your way through historical neighborhoods
Download a self-guided walking tour map or pick one up at the Woodson History Center and stroll by the homes of the 1800s. View various architectural styles and learn about the prominent citizens who built them. Discover why the area was first called Big Bull Falls.
While department store shopping is out and smaller, experience-based retail shopping is in, Downtown Wausau is delivering the goods with an ever-expanding list of shops. Janke’s, Wisconsin’s oldest bookstore, is a true gem and rare find today amid the online shopping trend.
Evolutions in Design promises a unique visit every time by changing up the floral and home décor store on a bi-weekly basis. For locally made items like jewelry, apparel and glassware, there’s The Local, where every product sold comes with a story about its creator and passionate artisan.
The Third Street Lifestyle Center, partially located in the historic Washington Square building, is a group of locally owned businesses that include health and beauty services, restaurants and the Jefferson Street Inn, a full-service boutique hotel.