Wisconsin knows how to do winter right, which means endless possibilities for date nights, both indoors and outside. Here are more than a dozen possibilities, some romantic and others just plain fun.
For Outdoor Lovers
Not afraid to venture outside when the weather's nippy? Then you're in luck, as there are plenty of opportunities for wintertime fun with your sweetheart. Wisconsin's state parks regularly host candlelight snowshoe, hiking and skiing events. Some are guided, others are not, but all you have to do to find your way is follow the twinkling lights. Most events end with cocoa-sipping around a roaring bonfire. Or check out the full moon and snowshoe hikes at Horicon Marsh, some of which allow pets to tag along.
Skating fans should head for Madison's Tenney Park, arguably one of the most romantic skating spots in the state. The park straddles the winding Yahara River and features several picturesque bridges. Skate hand-in-hand in the lagoon or glide under the park's steel pedestrian bridge. Afterward, snuggle in front of the fire glowing in the warming shelter.
For Adventure Seekers
Those looking for both romance and adventure should first check to see if the world-famous Apostle Islands Ice Caves are accessible. This bucket-list adventure involves hiking out a mile on frozen Lake Superior from Meyers Beach near Bayfield, then admiring the incredible ice formations created every winter in sea caves both pint-sized and ginormous.
If the caves aren't accessible due to thin ice, sign up for an ice-climbing session at Governor Dodge State Park with Vertical Illusions. Aimed at beginners, you'll learn how to scale a natural frozen waterfall at this Dodgeville area park. Or try your hand at winter ziplining, available through businesses such as Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, BigFoot Zipline in Wisconsin Dells and Northwoods Zip Line near Minocqua.
For Art Fans
Winter is a great time to check out some of Wisconsin's top art museums, like the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, home to one of the premier collections of Chicago Imagist works. Designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the eye-catching, glass-laden structure features spacious galleries and a rooftop sculpture garden and restaurant. Another good option is the Milwaukee Art Museum, which boasts 30,000 works of art from antiquity to the present. The facility has some of the best collections of American decorative arts, German Expressionism, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960. Time your visit to catch the opening or closing of the museum's moveable sunscreen, which sports a 217-foot wingspan.
If you prefer to create your own art, head for the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, which offers open studio time from November through April. You can try everything from printmaking and ceramics to drawing from a live model.
Always wanted to take a cooking class? There's no better time to head into a warm, fragrant kitchen than winter. Glorioso's Appetito in Milwaukee offers cooking classes focused on Italian cuisine. Think fresh pasta with carbonara sauce or arancini. Private lessons are available, too. At The Palate in Stockholm, you may find classes featuring Chinese cuisine, autumn fruits and vegetables, or international brunch dishes such as breakfast pho or shakshuka.
And don't forget about special events. Over in Kewaunee, Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery hosts Frozen Tundra Wine Fest when the temps drop. Billed as the Midwest's largest outdoor wine festival, guests are encouraged to sip wine by the glass or bottle while snuggled around outdoor fire pits. You can also enjoy live music, dine at the on-site local food trucks, take a carriage ride and more.
Want to make a weekend out of it? We've got you covered on romantic getaway ideas in Wisconsin – take a look!