I am back from my trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It was a three-day trip in total because of stopping in Illinois on the way back to go to a Botanical Garden. I definitely want to go back to Chicago, Illinois for my birthday. Hopefully that will happen, fingers crossed. I am going to talk about where to stay, what to eat, review the castles and my final thoughts/ recommendation for Wisconsin Ice Castles.
Where To Stay
Geneva National Resort- Just steps from the Ice Castles; you will see them from your room. Online, you can purchase Ice Castle tickets bundled with your hotel room. This package is $300+ a night. There are complimentary on-site winter wonderland activities including ice skating, candlelight snowshoeing and sledding. Add on an igloo rental or ice princess brunch for a fully frozen experience. No continental breakfast included.
Hampton Inn Elkorn Lake Geneva- This is where I stayed. It is very affordable, especially if you do not want to stay at the resort right by the Ice Castles, which is very pricy. They have free breakfast, an exercise room, pool and hot tub. Everything was very clean too.
The French Country Inn- A historic Inn, on the quiet side of Lake Geneva. The guesthouse and portions of the main house including the solid oak hand, carved staircase and inlaid parquet floors were built in Denmark in the 1880’s and then transported by boat to Chicago as the Danish Pavilion for the famed 1893 Columbian Exposition. Officially named the Columbian Exposition the fair celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. After the fair the buildings were purchased and transported by rail to its current location on shores of Lake Como just minutes from Geneva Lake and the city of Lake Geneva. All of the rooms face the water and have a balcony, so you can walk out and enjoy the lake views any time. Continental breakfast included, and very reasonably priced.
What To Eat
Turf Smokehouse- Savor tempting hickory-tinged aromas, picturesque course views, and saucy menu of salads, smoked-out sandwiches, tangy tacos, and mixed BBQ platters in this year-round Clubhouse restaurant and bar. Offering to-go meats, meals and sides, including sweet mini cornbread loaves and a decadent custard-based apple pie bread pudding, turf is a smokehouse on fire. Just steps from the Ice Castles. You will see gorgeous views of the lake as well while you eat. 4.3/5 stars and very fairly priced, nothing too pricy.
Culver's- There is literally one at every exit. In 1984, Craig and Lea Culver, along with Craig's parents George and Ruth, opened the very first Culver's in the family's beloved hometown of Sauk City, Wisconsin, and began serving Butter Burgers and Frozen Custard. You got to have Culver's in Wisconsin, where it was originally built.
Tuscan Tavern & Grill- Tuscan Tavern and Grill is located right in historic Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. They offer top quality steaks, fresh seafood, Italian classics and brick oven pizzas as well as many gluten free menu options and a staff trained to assist you with any allergy concerns or special requirements. You can also relax and enjoy their comfortable bar with its full liquor list, wonderful wine menu and specialty cocktails. 4/3/5 stars and a little pricy; however, a great atmosphere and you will have a wonderful experience.
Review On Ice Castles
Activities- I would recommend walking around all of the Ice Castles first to just take it all in. See where you want to pose by for pictures and take the pictures asap because you will get cold fast. There are slides you can slide down, and cute water fountains. There are also views of the lake from the castles too.
Very Crowded- It was so hard to take pictures and videos without getting people in the background. I really wish they had a set limit on the amount of people per time slot, otherwise what is the point of the time slot? Mine was 11:30a.m, and it did not really make a difference getting an early slot because people were constantly coming in the Ice Castles.
You Cannot Go In & Out- The check in worker said you cannot go in the ice castles, go out to your car to warm out and come back. There was no stamp or wristband to show you already checked in, to go out and come back with, and that was really annoying. All they had was tiny fake fires to help warm you up, which really did not do anything. I did not see the castles light up at night because I was there for over 3 hours and was too cold to stay any longer.
Concessions- You can purchase hot cocoa, coffee, cinnamon rolls, popcorn, etc. The hot cocoa helped warm me up for a little bit. It was $5 for one, so be prepared to pay double the price compared to like a Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts.
Weather- Freezing, obviously. It was so cold I had to wear sunglasses because my eyes were dripping from the cold wind and temperatures, but it was well worth it for the pictures and experience.
Clothing- Now, I have seen tons of influencers wear big prom dress gowns like they are in the movie Frozen. I am glad I wore a sweater dress and earmuffs; I feel like it matched the ice scene a lot better than a big ball gown. When I took off my coat for photos it was already very cold, so I can only imagine if I wore a fancy strapless dress. If you do not want to freeze at all, I would wear a puffy coat, hat gloves and a scarf. I also saw people wearing snow pants for the slides and sledding. Also, wear heavy duty winter boots. Not Ugg's that can get wet and stain from the slush.
All in all, even though it was very cold, with lots of people, it still is a must-see experience. I recommend going here at least once in your lifetime because it really is so cool to see. The ice castles are up to 20 feet tall. They are made from scratch at the hands from the team of people working there. You really feel like you are in the movie Frozen. If you do not like being in cold temperatures or have an issue with it, I do not recommend going here. If you do not mind, you will be fine because this experience is once in a lifetime.