A Day in West Bend: Art, Riverwalk, and Gourmet Popcorn

Amid the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine, West Bend, Wisconsin, offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Photo from Visit West Bend

From the impressive Museum of Wisconsin Art, to a brand new Riverwalk and walkable downtown area, West Bend offers a fun day out for families.

Museum of Wisconsin Art

The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) stands as a testament to the rich art and culture of Wisconsin, dedicated entirely to showcasing the talents and visions of local artists.

With a collection that includes almost 5,000 contemporary and historic works of art by more than 350 artists, the museum covers an impressive 32,000 square feet in the heart of downtown, along the picturesque west bend of the Milwaukee River.

Its expansive windows follow the curve of the riverbank, offering stunning views and an abundance of natural light that enhances the art within.

Families looking for a creative outlet will delight in Studio Saturday, a weekly event hosted by MOWA.

These hands-on art projects offer different creative themes each week, making it a perfect spot for kids to explore their artistic side while parents can appreciate the breadth and depth of Wisconsin’s art scene.

West Bend Riverwalk

One of West Bend’s most picturesque attractions, the Riverwalk, is a vibrant pathway that runs more than 3 miles along the scenic Milwaukee River.

Just a short walk from MOWA, the West Bend Riverwalk presents a serene setting dotted with sculptures and artistic pieces that reflect the creativity of the community.

During the warmer months, the Riverwalk transforms into a bustling corridor of life and energy. It becomes a favorite spot for walking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading enthusiasts looking to soak in the beauty of nature while getting their heart rate up.

When the snow blankets West Bend, the Riverwalk doesn’t lose its charm. Instead, it turns into a winter wonderland where you can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Beyond its beauty and recreational opportunities, the Riverwalk serves as a connector to Regner Park, one of West Bend’s largest green spaces.

The Riverwalk is easily accessible from various points in West Bend, ensuring that everyone can join in on the fun. Trailheads can be found at East Washington Street and North River Road, Riverside Park on South Indiana Avenue, and several parking lots including Northwestern Avenue and Hi Mount Road, East Water Street and Veterans Avenue, Kuester Lane South and North Main Street, as well as the North Main Street Overlook and the Historic Train Depot downtown.

Historic Downtown West Bend

Completing your visit to West Bend, don’t miss the opportunity to explore its historic downtown.

This vibrant area, home to more than 200 small businesses within the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), is a haven for those who love to explore boutique shops, specialty businesses, and local restaurants.

Making a day of it in downtown West Bend allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, cuisine, and community spirit.

Be sure to stop by Laughing Mountain Gourmet Popcorn on Main Street. This colorful shop makes more than 30 types of gourmet popcorn. The Bear Claw flavor is a reader favorite!

More Day Trip Ideas


East Troy Electric Railroad

Shalom Wildlife Zoo

Lapham Peak

Holy Hill

100 Best Day Trips From Milwaukee For Families

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Happy exploring!

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