Oconomowoc is the town of the 5 “O”s. It’s also my new hometown. We moved to Oconomowoc in early 2019 and love it so far – we came from Delafield and Pewaukee, so we were very familiar with the town, but living here, there is so much more to discover (and love!).
Oconomowoc is THE birthplace of Lake Country Family Fun and home to so many lakes that make this area a destination for tourism and settling in to raise a family. Per oconomowoc-wi.gov the history of Oconomowoc details are as follows -> The first recorded settlers are members of the Potowatomi and Winnebago tribes. What things caused them to settle here? Deep woodlands and clear lakes with wild game, fish, and the raw materials to build their homes. They named the area “Coo-no-mo-wauk,” which means “where the waters meet.” Well, the water still meets here and it’s still a great place to settle and live.
There are many reasons to [absolutely] love Oconomowoc, but we’ve categorized them into several themes below:
- Fowler Lake and Lac La Belle Activities: City Beach is a must see and do for many residents and visitors to the area. There is so much to do here. It is located on Lac La Belle near downtown Oconomowoc. There is a playground, plenty of sand to build castles on, and rentals available to explore Lac La Belle. Want to try out paddleboating, canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding? City Beach is the place to go! City Beach is also the location for summer concerts at the Band Shell. The American Legion Band performs weekly concerts on Wednesday nights, while on every other Friday, the beach is full of people for the summer concert series to “rock the dock”. Right next door to City Beach and Lac La Belle is Fowler Lake. Fowler Lake is a beautiful lake to walk around anytime of the year, and it is only about a 2 mile walk. Be sure to stop at the bridge at the dam between Fowler Lake and Lac La Belle to watch people fish or just to catch the gorgeous views of the lakes. With kids in tow, a stop at Fowler Park is a must. It’s a Lake Country Family Fun favorite! When we go for walks, we generally park downtown and follow Wisconsin Ave west, then north onto Main St., then right onto Lisbon Rd., then right again onto Greenland Ave, then right onto Oakwood Ave., then right again on Pleasant St., which brings us back to downtown in the municipal parking lot by the boardwalk. [History buff? Download this self-guided tour prior to starting out.] In the summer, Fowler Lake and Fowler Park, become the home of monthly Badgerland Ski Shows in conjunction with Moonlit Movies. These summer nights are must-have events in anyone’s calendar. The kids have a blast, and it is so wonderful to watch the community come together while everyone leaves with amazing memories.
- A town with many tastes: There are a number of niche restaurants (Crafty Cow, Sobie’s, Twisted Fire, Mantra Indian Bistro, Bello Gusto, Fiesta Cancun and more!) Each winter, fans loving the taste of chili come out for CHILIFEST and pick a winner! Don’t forget the tastes of great German food at the annual GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKET. The German Christmas Market is an amazing event and takes place (in heated tents) Thanksgiving weekend each year.
- The streets of Wisconsin avenue in downtown Oconomowoc: Downtown Oconomowoc is simply beautiful. It’s got that old downtown charm, but it’s a thriving town and filled with fun places to eat and shop. The downtown boutiques (our favorites are The Purple Giraffe and Snips and Giggles and FRAY) are all within walking distance to the area’s beautiful natural resources. Read more about businesses in our shop small/local guide. Stroll on through downtown to shop and grab a bite to eat with your family! At night, enjoy the tree-lit downtown streets. The Community Center offers a beautiful venue to host an event! The views are amazing.
- Fowler Lake Shoreline & the Village Green: These spaces are recently renovated and look simply amazing! Redevelopment to the shoreline included a new boardwalk, an improved stormwater system, upgraded parking lot, new boat launch, playground and fishing pier. The project was done at about the same time the city made improvements to Village Green, which the city hoped would improve access to the lake and make the lakefront more appealing. The pier has built in coves with seating and it overlooks the lake. What an amazing spot to sip coffee from Roots, enjoy a good book from Books & Company, or catch the 4th of July fireworks!
- Amples of Opportunity: While the downtown and Village Green have so much to offer, Oconomowoc is actually quite large in area! There are amples of opportunities for fun in other areas of Oconomowoc. Frozen custard anyone? If so, the Kiltie is a must do! It brings that nostalgic feeling along with delicious ice cream treats. What better way to experience summer than a drive-in and yummy treats? Lake Country Family Fun pick? Go with the Bonnie Banana 🙂 Need to burn off those sweet treats, try Burn Boot Camp on Brown Street in Oconomowoc. Saturday mornings are bustling in the summer with people at the farmer’s market. There is fresh produce, fresh flowers, artisans, and delectable food! The farmer’s market doesn’t end in the summer though. Oconomowoc has a winter farmer’s market at Oconomowoc High School, which has vendors from all around the area with produce, meat products, cheeses, baked goods and more. This is a wonderful indoor market sure to please the whole family! You can also shop year round at the Brown Street Emporium Artisan Mall.
- Parks that impress: Need a park for the kids to let their imaginations explore and create lasting memories? Take the family to Imagination Station, Oconomowoc’s fully accessible, community-built playground. Children of all abilities and needs can feel at home to play here and even with wheels can access the highest point in the play structure. There are many other local parks.
SO many reasons to love Oconomowoc. ESPECIALLY if you are raising a family here! Wow – what a great place to live. This post could be SO much longer with more details about Oconomowoc, but we’ll let you experience it all and this guide will help point you in the right direction.
What is your must see and do in Oconomowoc?