Offsite event venues throughout the east central region of Wisconsin offer memorable surroundings for visiting groups.

Among the options are a modern farmhouse situated on an idyllic 30-acre property, a gallery of classic cars, a picturesque lakefront venue and a botanical garden that’s in bloom with flowers and butterflies.

The following six offsite venues also appeal to groups for various reasons beyond their scenic settings, including tech-savvy meeting spaces, onsite team-bonding activities and outdoor networking areas that make social distancing easy.

Northern Haus, Sister Bay

Northern Haus is Door County’s newest luxury event venue.

Conveniently located two minutes from downtown Sister Bay, this modern farmhouse with industrial finishes is situated on a 30-acre property.

According to owner Sara Anderson, corporate groups of two to 300 people are welcome here for meetings, receptions, retreats, fundraisers and more.

“Our venue is designed with multiple cohesive spaces,” she said. “More intimate groups of 50 fit nicely at Northern Haus, as well as larger groups, due to the design and layout of our venue.” 

Northern Haus accommodates both indoor and outdoor events in spaces including the Gambrel Room, which features 36-foot-tall exposed beam ceilings, three chandeliers and a dance floor; and the Northern Wing, which features a 24-foot bar and a stage.

The covered patio, with scenic meadow views, is the perfect space for cocktails, Anderson added, and the outdoor forest retreat is ideal for dining and mingling under the stars.

Add-on group experiences include mixology classes, wine tasting, culinary events and outdoor teambuilding activities.

The Automobile Gallery & Event Center, Green Bay

Planners needn’t concern themselves with added decor when planning an event at the Green Bay-based Automobile Gallery & Event Center, where “the automobile is the art.”

The Automobile Gallery & Event Center, Green Bay
Photo: The Automobile Gallery & Event Center, Green Bay

“It’s more than just a slogan, it is a commitment we have made,” said executive director Darrel Burnett. “Being surrounded by more than a century of the finest collectible automobiles in the U.S. provides a backdrop like no other in the Upper Midwest.”

The 45,000-square-foot facility’s technologically advanced event spaces include a boardroom that overlooks the main display area and accommodates up to 20 people, and the event center, which welcomes seated groups of up to 200 people.

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Burnett added full facility “events that flow” can be arranged for up to 1,000 people.

Groups interested in adding a team-bonding activity to the event can arrange a scavenger hunt using onsite vehicles or a trivia contest.

The Waters, Oshkosh

The Waters is a private waterfront event facility in Oshkosh where groups can hold business events and special occasions for 10 to 300 people.

The Waters, Oshkosh
Photo: The Waters, Oshkosh

Updated historic features, ample parking, tenured staff and an amazing view of Lake Winnebago make The Waters a memorable place to celebrate, according to Kate Wyman, marketing and community relations manager.

The venue has two floors that accommodate presentations, luncheons, dinners and breakout sessions, including the Winnebago Room, which has a fireplace for chillier days. 

The upstairs banquet hall, which features Italian chandeliers, original hardwood floors from the early 1900s and a balcony with lake views, seats up to 200 people for meal functions.

“The Waters also has a screened-in porch that’s great for a smaller group of up to 30 people,” Wyman said. “The first floor is home to a historic wraparound bar and has space that is excellent for networking and cocktail parties.”

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Groups meeting at The Waters are free to roam the full building and grounds, which during summertime offers views of privately owned sailboats in the harbor.

Nourish Farms, Sheboygan Falls

Nourish Farms is a wonderful place for meetings, receptions, presentations and teambuilding activities in rural Sheboygan Falls, which is about five miles from Sheboygan.

Nourish Farms, Sheboygan Falls
Photo: Nourish Farms, Sheboygan Falls

According to operations manager Nicole Hansen, Nourish offers a variety of group packages for everything from small conferences to large year-end celebrations.

Facilities include a recently renovated barn featuring an upstairs loft that overlooks the 13-acre farmstead and seats up to 200 people at wooden farm tables. 

“The simple elegance of our renovated barn allows for minimal decor and can be treated as a blank slate for any promotional needs,” Hansen said.

Although the facility is rustic, it offers modern amenities including audiovisual equipment and a commercial/demonstration kitchen that’s expected to open this fall. 

Teambuilding activities can be arranged for groups as well, including small group cooking classes in the new kitchen, and educational presentations about topics such as bee-keeping or seasonal nutrition.

Green Bay Botanical Garden, Green Bay 

An outdoor celebration accompanied by live music, a small meeting including a butterfly house experience and a catered lunch on the patio are some of the group gatherings that can be arranged at Green Bay Botanical Garden.

Green Bay Bontanical Garden light show Credit: John Oates Photography
Photo: Green Bay Bontanical Garden light show Credit: John Oates Photography

“The ‘wow’ feature is the garden itself,” said Eileen Metzler, director of sales and events. “More than 65,000 flowers and plants are blooming nonstop from May through mid-October, and our light show offers a way to enjoy the Wisconsin winter during the holiday season.”

Green Bay Botanical Garden hosts both small and large groups and has customizable indoor and outdoor spaces for everything from business workshops to picnics.

Among the event spaces are the popular indoor Cornerstone Foundation Hall and the outdoor Schneider Family Grand Garden.

“This beautiful, expansive space is where we hold our summer concert series and its spectacular view of native flowers and plants is perfect for a large event with a lot of guests,” Metzler said. “Plus, people get to enjoy being out in nature underneath the sun or stars.”

Visiting groups may also book a signature experience such as the Herbal Adventure, where they explore the garden, learn about herbs and make an herb-infused item to take home.

Whistler’s Knoll, Hortonville 

Whistler’s Knoll, an operating vineyard that grows and sells grapes in the Fox Cities region, accommodates corporate meetings, fundraisers, year-end banquets and various other functions for 12 to 300 attendees.

“Clients have a difficult time deciding which event space to choose because they are equally impressive,” said owner Holly Boettcher.

Options include:

  • a late-1800s event barn called The Loft, a rustic chic option with a Wi-Fi, projector and screen for up to 50 people
  • the Grapevine Pavilion, which overlooks the vineyard and seats up to 200 people
  • the Garden Patio, featuring corn crib gazebos, bistro tables with umbrellas and a gas fireplace. 

Interested groups can arrange a fun teambuilding activity, including a scavenger hunt.

“In mid-September it’s harvest time and all of our picking is done by volunteers,” Boettcher added. “We also need help in August when we net our grapes so the birds don’t devour them before harvest time. What a fun time being out in the vineyard with our flock of heirloom chickens!”

Wisconsin’s Newest Event Facility

At publication time, Resch Expo was on track to open in Green Bay in January 2021.

Wisconsin’s newest event facility, with 125,000 square feet of column-free event space, and indoor and outdoor prefunction spaces, is attractive to planners who are paying special attention to social distancing during the pandemic.

“Resch Expo is a new option for planners who are adapting to space-appropriate setups and event-friendly open spaces,” said Beth Ulatowski, director of sales for the Greater Green Bay CVB. “The building allows for custom event design with its ample indoor and outdoor event spaces.”

Located next to Lambeau Field and attached to the 10,000-seat Resch Center arena, Resch Expo’s features include a networking/cocktail bar for private parties, natural light in prefunction and networking spaces, expandable breakout rooms and state-of-the-art kitchen facilities.

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