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7 Historic Event Venues in Wisconsin
Dinner on the terrace at Taliesin Preservation in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Credit: Larry Chua Photo
Historic venues always make for crowd-pleasing offsite locations for special events like receptions, awards ceremonies or even corporate meetings. In the Midwest, Wisconsin has a varied history that has produced a host of venues across the state that tell unique stories about its past.
From a lesson in Milwaukee’s brewing origins to the home of one of America’s most famous architects, make sure these seven venues are on your radar for your next meeting in Wisconsin.
Best Place at Historic Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee
One of Milwaukee’s biggest claims to fame is beer—its professional baseball team is even named the Milwaukee Brewers. Brew City, as it’s colloquially known, has been home to iconic beer brands like Old Milwaukee, Miller Brewing Company and Pabst Brewing Company throughout the years.
Events can harness this storied past by hosting attendees at Best Place at Historic Pabst Brewery, located in Pabst Brewery District at the former complex of Pabst Brewing Company when it was headquartered in Milwaukee. Rentals include the Blue Ribbon Hall, Great Hall and the Captain's Corner for indoor events. Outdoors, there are two scenic courtyards where statues of Captain Pabst watch over visitors. In conjunction with an event, guests can participate in beer-in-hand tours and even stay in the former Pabst brewhouse-turned-hotel, The Brewhouse Inn & Suites.
Related, the nearby Pabst Mansion is another popular historic venue for events in Milwaukee. The home was originally built in 1890 for the president of Pabst Brewing Company, Captain Frederick Pabst, and his wife, Maria. The couple hosted many Pabst family celebrations at the grand home. More than a century later, the mansion can be rented for special events.
Corporate celebrations, receptions and dinners are some of the popular events that take place onsite, where attendees can enjoy Gilded Age architecture and Victorian decor on each of the mansion’s three floors and outside on its spacious front yard. Performers can be arranged to play period music to round out the historic experience at the mansion.
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee
A Mediterranean-style villa, in Wisconsin? Inspired by a family trip to Italy, A.O. Smith Corporation President Lloyd Raymond Smith and his wife Agnes, a great admirer of architecture and design, commissioned renowned architect and Milwaukee native David Adler to build the Smith family’s mansion in 1923 in Milwaukee.
Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Villa Terrance now serves as a decorative arts museum and a stunning backdrop for meetings and events that will transport your attendees from the Midwest to Northern Italy. Two floors of space are available for gatherings, including the art and gallery spaces or the Great Hall with terrace access.
The Mercury Courtyard and Renaissance Garden are impressive outdoor spaces as well, with lush greenery, marble statues and a grand staircase leading toward Lake Michigan.
Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Home to the Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field is the oldest continually operating NFL stadium and a bucket list stadium visit for many football fans. The field can host private events, in addition to Titletown across the street, which includes nearly 50 acres of mixed-use real estate with offices, restaurants residential and park space.
In total, the two combined can offer 20-plus exclusive event spaces and can accommodate group sizes of five to 1,000 people (separate from game days where nearly 81,000 fans show up to cheer on The Pack).
Highlights at Lambeau include the Legends Club Room, an event space with access to an MVP Box offering views of the field; the Atrium Floor for events up to 400; and indoor/outdoor North Loft rooftop deck with 6th Floor Clubs.
On non-game days, groups can even take advantage of the Johnsonville Tailgate Village for more than 300 guests, offering a full kitchen and catering services, floor-to-ceiling windows and overhead doors that open to a 4,300-square-foot deck.
Groups can pair their event with walking stadium tours or a visit to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, which features a reproduction of Vince Lombardi’s office, Lombardi trophies and more. The Hall of Fame can also be reserved for private events after hours.
Across the street at Titletown, a variety of meeting rooms and outdoor spaces can be utilized for events as well, including the TitletownTech Rooftop, offering views of Titletown and Lambeau Field and equipped with outdoor fireplaces, furniture and TVs for game viewing. The space can host up to 200.
Taliesin Preservation, Spring Green
Considered one of America’s greatest architects, Frank Lloyd Wright’s career spanned seven decades, pioneering residential home design and leaving lasting legacies through buildings like Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Wright was born in rural Wisconsin and built his estate, Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin, which is now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Historic Landmark.
Today, private events can be held on the site of his estate at Taliesin Preservation. The site is easily accessible from the state capital, Madison, less than an hour’s drive by car. The 800-acre estate includes Taliesin, the name of Wright’s 1911 home, as well as seven buildings that serve as examples of nearly every decade of his career from the 1890s to the 1950s.
Receptions, cocktail parties, dinners, symposiums, staff retreats and small conferences are all possible on the estate. Rentals include Taliesin, Wright’s home and studio for up to 100 reception-style; Hillside Assembly Hall or Hillside Theatre, which can each host up to 80; and Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center for up to 120; among others. Private group tour options can be added on to events to learn more about Wright’s former home and his work’s impact on modern architecture.
Wisconsin Historical Society Headquarters, Madison
In the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus, bordering the Library Mall and across the street from the iconic Memorial Union is the headquarters of Wisconsin Historical Society, housed in a building circa 1900.
Within the building are the Society’s library and archives, and with them librarians and archivists on hand to assist visitors who are seeking information within the society’s expansive collection of published and unpublished works detailing Wisconsin and North American history.
These spaces will have history buffs swooning at special events. The library, lobby area and auditorium are all available for private event rental. Outdoors, the East Terrace can also be used for events and is capable of hosting up to 200 seated, 300 standing.
Capitol Theater at Overture Center for the Arts, Madison
In 1928, the Capitol Theater opened its doors to the public in Wisconsin’s capital city and stands today as an example of the opulent movie houses built for the silent film age. At the time, the theater was considered state-of-the-art and housed a Grand Barton theater organ, which still sits in the venue today.
After a period of decline, the Capitol Theater was restored to its original splendor, complete with glittering chandeliers and ornate wall sconces. The 1,089-seat theater can now host events, including a special dinner on the stage, giving attendees a unique view of the historic interior. Planners can work with the venue to have the Grand Barton Organ, which is still working, play at their event.
The Capitol Theater lobby—equally as lavish as the theater space itself—can also be used for pre-show events.
Historic Courthouse 1893, Waukesha
In Southern Wisconsin, about 18 miles outside of Milwaukee and conveniently located off I-94—a major highway that runs through Wisconsin—you’ll find equally impressive meeting options outside the big city of Milwaukee.
Romanesque architecture dazzles at Waukesha’s courthouse-turned-event venue, Historic Courthouse 1893. Two levels totaling 11,000 square feet of event space are available and can accommodate up to 300 people.
Fundraisers, award functions and corporate parties are popular options here, in addition to receptions.
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