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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Sheboygan, WI

Discover unique tidbits about this Midwestern region.

By Lindsey Hyde on May 9, 2023

Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

Located halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay, Sheboygan, Wisconsin — and its surrounding county — produces a relaxed, yet vibrant air that locals love. For times when they need a little peace and quiet, tranquility can be found walking the area’s countless trails or the beaches of beautiful Lake Michigan. However, when they’re feeling energized and ready to take on the town, the area’s amazing arts scene, fun festivals, exquisite cuisine, and plethora of shopping allow for a multitude of adventures. In other words, this region delivers — no matter the occasion.

These assets only scrape the surface of what makes the Sheboygan area a great place to live. In fact, much of its charm comes from its unique qualities. Ready to learn more? Here are eight things you didn’t know about the region.

1. The area is chock-full of nationally recognized amenities.

At first glance, one would never guess that this Midwest county is home to a list of well-known brands and venues. But, found in its nooks and crannies are renowned gems. 

For example, downtown Sheboygan is home to popular beauty product supplier Olivü 426. Known for its natural personal care lines, the supplier sells everything from shampoo to perfume to lip balm.

“They’ve been recognized in the news, (their products) were gifted at the MTV Movie Awards. Their chapstick is the best!” says Sheboygan resident Amanda Salazar.

Also widely known and frequently visited is Destination Kohler, the cream of the crop when it comes to golf, if you will. Located in the village of Kohler, the area is home to four of the top 100 courses in the U.S., including The River, Meadow Valleys, The Straits and The Irish — all designed by famed golf course architect Pete Dye.

While people from all over can hit the links at these locations, their greens have also been touched by some of the greats. Destination Kohler has hosted two U.S. Women’s Opens, a U.S. Senior Open, three PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup.

“For those who like golfing and outdoor recreation, I think Sheboygan County provides the best,” Salazar says.

When it comes to food, some of the best Italian cuisine is served right here in the Sheboygan area. At the helm of three popular restaurants and a market is Stefano Viglietti, a James Beard Award-nominated chef. This self-taught culinary artist operates Trattoria Stefano, Field to Fork, Il Ritrovo and Stefano’s Slo Food Market. In addition to his nomination, Viglietti has also been featured in The New York Times Magazine online, the Chicago Sun-Times, SAVEUR, Food & Wineand more.

“If I’m treating any guests that have come in from out of town, or really just myself, these are the restaurants I’d go to,” Salazar says.

Acuity in Sheboygan
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

2. It’s home to the nation’s tallest flagpole.

A Sheboygan novelty stands tall at Acuity Insurance’s headquarters. This 400-foot flagpole is taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs a whopping 420,000 pounds. At its base is a veterans memorial, which includes more than 750 inscribed pavers that honor Sheboygan County residents who have been killed in active duty. 

“It’s beautiful,” Salazar says. “You can’t miss it.”

Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

3. Literature comes to life here.

From May 1 to Oct. 31, people of all ages can experience Bookworm Gardens, a gorgeous botanical garden in Sheboygan that’s inspired by children’s literature.

“There’s nothing else like this,” says Salazar, Bookworm’s director of operations. “The gardens are all themed around a book, and we have 72 books here. … It has this magic. It just makes you happy.”

Waves in Sheboygan
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

4. Sheboygan is considered the Freshwater Surf Capital of the World.

While Lake Michigan is a great place to swim, bask in the sun and walk the beach when the weather is warm, it also becomes a surfer’s paradise in the winter. The combination of chilly air and warmer lake water creates some spectacular waves. It’s also called the “Malibu of the Midwest” for its unique surfing culture.

SEAS Sheboygan
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

5. Sailing reigns in Sheboygan.

Sailing is a popular pastime in Sheboygan, and there are plenty of resources to learn the ropes. The Sheboygan Youth Sailing Center provides youth and adult classes, and the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan also offers classes for the visually impaired and those with limited mobility.

Johnsonville Brats
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

6. The area is often called the “Bratwurst Capital of the World.”

No need to tinker with your glasses or wipe your eyes — you did read that correctly. Sheboygan is referred to as the “Bratwurst Capital of the World.”

Here’s the history behind it: In the 1970s, the title was still up for grabs, and the folks from Sheboygan and Bucyrus, Ohio, were adamant on securing it for their city. After some back and forth, Judge John Bolgert made the decision that it belonged to Sheboygan, and he barred others from using it.

While Bolgert’s declaration made it stick, Sheboygan’s title is quite fitting. Many residents of the region are of German heritage, and back in the 1940s and ’50s, roughly 50 neighborhood meat markets kept the community fed. While you won’t find this number here today, the area still produces a hefty sum of sausage.

Johnsonville is based here and its brats are readily found. But if you want a little throwback, check out Miesfeld’s Triangle Market, a family-owned meat market.

Now, before you start chowing down, it’s important to note that there’s a Sheboygan Brat Oath. Raise your right hand, and get ready to solemnly swear.  

7. The city’s nickname points to its history.

Oftentimes, people refer to Sheboygan by its moniker, “Chair City.” This nickname is a salute to the city’s past, as it used to be an area ripe with furniture manufactures. While this isn’t the case today, the area still celebrates its history by hosting the annual James Tellen Chair City Cookout, which features art, music, food and more.

Big Cheese Drop
Courtesy of Sheboygan County EDC

8. Sheboygan rings in the new year with big cheese.

While Wisconsin is known for its cheese, Plymouth in Sheboygan County — known as the Cheese Capital of the World — takes its love for this dairy product to a whole new level. Rather than dropping a ball on New Year’s Eve, this city lowers a large wedge of cheese produced by Satori, a family-owned cheese company with roots dating to 1939. 

This article was sponsored by the Sheboygan County EDC.

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