Explore Downtown Dells: Guide to Activities, Food and Fun

Downtown Dells serves as the center of entertainment in Wisconsin Dells. Home to dozens of local attractions, those vacationing in the Dells won’t want to miss all the fun things to do. This historic downtown district also features original buildings with a main strip for cars, as well as pedestrian-friendly streets. However, there is more than tourists here.

“Downtown Wisconsin Dells is a fun place to visit for both families and friends,” says Joel Paschen, a Wisconsin Dells native. “With the restaurants, shops, attractions and free entertainment in the summer months, I am always sure to bring my out-of-town friends to downtown Wisconsin Dells. There’s so much to see — even just strolling up and down Broadway and looking in shop windows!”

Why wait? Learn how to spend a day — or a week — hanging out in downtown Dells.

Vacation Guide to Downtown Dells in Wisconsin

downtown dells vacation guide itrip

Enjoy the Outdoors

One of the top places guests gather is Dells Scenic River Walk, a quarter-mile paved walking path through the downtown’s natural scenery. Families can walk, bike or run the River Walk, and play a friendly game at the game tables.

Nature lovers visiting downtown can spend time boating, fishing, riding horses and mining for gemstones. Other top outdoor activities range from championship golf and sporting events to ziplining. Two must-see spots are JustAGame Fieldhouse, with 57,000 square feet of space for sports fans, and Vertical Illusions, home to kayaking, rock and ice climbing, downhill skiing, and zipline adventure tours, to name a few.

Play All Day

Wisconsin Dells is known for recreation options and waterparks, but its downtown houses other family-friendly attractions as well. Those into history and the supernatural will find haunted attractions, such as the Ghost Boat Tour, Ghost-Out Post Haunted House and Haunted Mansion. Other adventurous activities range from indoor maze games to Wizard Quest, an interactive gaming experience for the family. Visitors also have an amusement park, plenty of mini-golf, a wildlife park and paintball.

Downtown Dells houses several traditional and unusual museums. H.H. Bennett Studio showcases 6,000 feet of interactive exhibits that tell the story of “the man who made Wisconsin Dells famous.” Another top museum in the Dells is Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum, home to bizarre exhibits that entertain all ages.

Shop Til You Drop

With more than 60 retailers located in downtown Dells, it’s easy to spend a full day browsing. Visitors will find specialty stores selling everything from apparel and handmade crafts to souvenirs. The area also has several discount and outlet shops, providing an opportunity to bargain hunt. Families also love trying the dessert shops, picking out souvenirs and taking pottery classes from professionals.

downtown dells restaurants vacation

Photo: Steven Depolo

Try New Foods

Downtown Dells features 40-plus restaurants, including locally owned spots and popular chains. For a quick bite, try fast-food chains such as Arby’s and Subway. However, the area’s sit-down restaurants shouldn’t be missed. Looking for Mexican? What about pizza or ribs and barbecue? Families will find this and more, all offering different atmospheres and menus.

Those looking for late-night spots in the Dells have nearly a dozens places to kick back or party with a group. Many offer live music, outdoor seating and drink specials. A few top-rated nightlife spots include: River Walk Pub, Showboat Saloon, High Rock Cafe and Mama’s Night Club, the only place with a beach in downtown Dells.

Attend an Event

A downtown with this much going on year-round has no shortage of annual events and festivals. Spring and summer bring cars, food and fireworks to downtown, with events such as the Automotion Festival, Taste of Wisconsin Dells and the Forth of July Fireworks Extravaganza.

When temperatures cool off, downtown Dells kicks off the fall season with two fall festivals and haunted boat tours celebrating the Dells’ haunting past. Those visiting during the holiday season can enjoy Black Friday and Small Business Saturday as well as festive holiday events.

Looking for more fun things to do? Read how to tour Wisconsin Dells.

Special thanks to our friends at Dells.com for helping share what’s special about downtown Wisconsin Dells.