1. Take a Tour around CERN

One of the coolest things to do in Geneva is to take a walk around the largest particle physics lab in the world. Whether or not you’re a fan of physics, CERN, the headquarters for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is a truly fascinating place to visit! 

The best way to see the lab is on a tour. Suitable for people of all ages and levels, these organized visits will help you understand the mind-boggling research and experiments that are being carried out in simpler terms. You can arrange a guided tour directly with CERN when you arrive. 

CERN’s museum exhibitions are also definitely worth a visit. Microcosm lets you peek behind the scenes to see exactly what CERN is doing. It tells you about the Large Hadron Collider and what it’s being used for today. Universe of Particles invites you to discover the big physics questions CERN is currently attempting to answer and why.

The best part? Both museum exhibitions are free!

How to get around Geneva

When arriving at the airport in Geneva, the first thing you need to do is to get your free public transport ticket. The machine is located right after the luggage collection zone, next to the train ticket machine. All you need to do is press the button and you get an 80-minute free ticket for all Geneva. The train ride takes about 10-15 minutes to the central railway station in the city, which leaves you with pretty much an hour left to get to your accommodation free of charge!

*Pro tip: If you are planning to stay a bit longer than one day in Geneva, maybe at least one night, this is for you. I know I always suggest you book an AirBnb when staying somewhere, but this is the first time I am going to advise you against it. According to local regulations, when you stay at a hotel, a youth hostel or a campsite, you receive a Free Geneva Transport Card, which allows you to use the entire transport network within the city for the whole length of your stay – buses, trams, trains, and even taxi-boats. 

However, if you aren’t spending the night here, you can always purchase the Geneva Transport Card at any ticket machine, at any bus/tram stop. A day pass for unlimited use would cost you 10 CHF.

Things to do in Geneva – overview:

We ranked the main Geneva attractions in such a way that all the must-sees are on top. All the places on this list are really nice to see, of course, but unless you have a week in Geneva, there is no way to visit them all. So you’ll have to choose what suits your interests best.

To help you with the planning, we also included a map indicating all the main Geneva attractions.

Geneva has so much to offer that you could easily spend several days in the city. However, if you are like most visitors, you are probably just visiting Geneva for one day. So, in order to help you get the most of your time in Geneva, we also have some suggestions on how to best spend one day in Geneva. You can find these suggestions at the bottom of the article.

But if you do have the time, definitely stay in Geneva for at least 2-3 days. There’s plenty to see and do in the city and nearby! At the bottom of this article, you’ll find our tips for places to see near the city and also suggestions on where to stay.

TIP: If you are planning to visit several attractions in Geneva, consider getting the Geneva Pass that includes all the main attractions, public transport, and much more… It’s the best way to see the city and explore the lake at your own pace. It offers really good value, especially if you are in the city for a few days.

In order to help you plan your time in Geneva, I created this map indicating all the main Geneva attractions.

These are the top attractions and the best things to do in Geneva:

Things To Do In Lake Geneva

If you’re looking for what to do in Lake Geneva, Big Foot Beach State Park should be on your list!

The beautiful natural location provides numerous options for different activities.

In addition, it is wheelchair-friendly on most trails and is pet-friendly for your on-leash furry friends!

Big Foot Beach State Park is situated on Lake Geneva’s shores.

Naturally, this means it provides opportunities for swimming at the beach.

There are also family campgrounds, which are part of a hundred wooded campsites complete with pit toilets and showers.

For those who wish to explore, 5 miles of hiking trails stretch throughout the area, interspersed with picnic areas and playgrounds.

Here in the winter?

Try some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing!

Address: 1550 S Lake Shore Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Geneva Lake Museum was created in 1983, but its structure dates back farther than that.

Situated in Lake Geneva’s downtown area, the museum rests inside what was once the Wisconsin Power and Light building in 1929.

It spans an impressive 2.5-acre expanse of land, which allows for the impressive Main Street Historic District.

This district contains over 700 buildings that have been carefully restored to showcase authentic late 19th- and early 20th-century life.

At Geneva Lake Museum, you’ll have lots of fun looking at various different artifacts.

You’ll see real ice-cutting tools, arrowheads, and horseshoeing tools, for example.

But getting to walk into real old buildings truly takes the cake!

Each one of these tourist attractions feels like stepping back in time.

There’s a schoolroom from the 1890s, a fire engine house from 1890 complete with a hose wagon, and a dental workstation from the 1920s.

Don’t forget to look at the train and car models!

Docents can lead you on educational tours.

Address: 255 Mill St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Baker House, once called Redwood Cottage, can be found on the shoreline of Lake Geneva.

It was originally a summer home for Robert H. Baker and his family.

Finished in 1885, it is an absolutely stunning Queen Anne-style mansion that contains 17,000 square feet of space.

It is packed with 13 different originally-tiled fireplaces, inlaid hardwood floors, and numerous ornate, detailed carvings.

Sadly, the Baker House was not actually finished in time before Baker himself passed away.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that a trip to the Baker House is one of the best things to do in Lake Geneva!

Though the buildings of the estate were slowly sold, the main home was eventually repurchased.

It now operates as a restaurant and boutique hotel with a mix of modern amenities and beautiful, original antique furnishings!

Address: 327 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Lake Geneva Shore Path is one of the top Lake Geneva attractions as well as one of the best vacation spots, providing a chance for you to walk around this lovely Southern Wisconsin trail.

Spanning 26 miles, it’s the “backyard” path to numerous buildings and mansions of history and can provide a tranquil, enjoyable walk.

A walk along the Lake Geneva Shore Path is one of the free things to do locally.

The scenic views are to die for and the calmness of the hike is unmatched.

You can bring a pet with you too, as long as you clean up after them!

Address: Unnamed Road, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Safari Lake Geneva is one of the most fun places to visit in Wisconsin for animal lovers.

Located five miles from the downtown area, it contains a whopping 75 acres of wild, untamed habitats, packed with over 50 exotic animals from across the globe.

Each animal is able to live free in a habitat similar to that which it would naturally exist in.

Among the animals you can see at the safari are Brahman cattle, miniature zebu, scimitar-horned oryx, Ankole-Watusi cattle, and blackbuck antelope.

You may also see domestic yak, miniature horses, nilgai antelope, American bison, llamas, alpacas, and camels.

You’ll also get to see some native fauna to the local forests, like painted turtles, white-tailed deer, and muskrats.

Each tour of the safari takes about an hour, with feeding opportunities for animals that approach you!

Address: W1612 Litchfield Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Maxwell Mansion, a part of Maxwell Estate, was Lake Geneva’s first-ever constructed mansion.

Built in 1856, it has become a site of accommodation, not just a historic attraction.

It is thoroughly surrounded by gorgeous century-old oak trees, stunning gardens, and a lovely outside pool.

A mix of modern amenities and genuine antique goodness makes this one of the more unique points of interest in town.

The mansion was made for Dr. Philip Maxwell, who was both a real estate prospector and a surgeon from Chicago.

At the time, the property was named The Oaks after its already ancient trees.

It was made with elaborate furnishings, decor, and accents.

Grand staircases, huge marble fireplaces, large entrances and windows, and ornamental moldings of wood added to the opulence.

For years, Maxwell Mansion served wealthy industrialists as a summer residence.

It was almost demolished in the 1970s but was saved at the last moment.

It was turned into a bed and breakfast for over 20 years following that.

A few ownership changes later in 2012, the home was renovated entirely to include modern amenities.

Yet another change later, it was then turned into the lovely and lavish Maxwell Mansion!

You don’t need to book one of the rooms at Maxwell Mansion to enjoy its wonder!

But if you do choose to, you’ll have six different traditional room variations to choose from.

It’s a nice way to add a touch of luxury to your Wisconsin trip, and it’s widely regarded as one of the city’s premier accommodation options.

Address: 304 S Wells St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Dancing Horses Theatre is a beautiful spectacle of true equestrian brilliance and artistry.

The awe-inspiring live show features a delightful performance of numerous horses of different breeds and their trainers.

They’ll perform incredible tricks alongside mind-boggling human acrobats, showing off their skills that will drop your jaw!

The Dancing Horses Theatre was created by Dana Montana, who wished to share the talents and beauty of her Arabian horses with the world.

The result is this wonderfully unique showcase in an intimate but modern 300-seat setting.

Watching a show this weekend will be among the most fun things to do in Lake Geneva!

Address: 5065 WI-50, Delavan, WI 53115, United States

For history buffs, Black Point Manor is among the best places to see on the banks of Geneva Lake and one of the best places to go in the US.

And, of course, so are the Black Point Estate and Gardens!

The majestic and elegant estate has quite a long history to it!

Its tale begins with the purchasing of half of Warwick Park in 1885 by G.B. Shaw and O.D. Wetherell.

The other half was purchased by Conrad Seipp, who named his home Black Point Estate after the Black Lagoon that ran through it.

Eventually, Shaw and Wetherell would sell Seipp their properties, giving him all of the park to himself.

Seipp’s children loved the beauty of the Black Lagoon and often played in it with their steamers.

The large grassy expanses also served as their playgrounds.

But as the years passed, Seipp would pass away and the estate would change.

Draw bridges were taken away, the lagoon was closed off, and six lots of the estate were sectioned off for modern development.

In 1999, Black Point Manor was built upon these lots.

The 11,000-square-foot house was built to mimic the many other historic houses along the lake.

It grew to become the most recognizable house in the lake’s area, taking up 5 acres on the front of Black Point Lagoon.

The architectural masterpiece is nothing short of breathtaking!

Meanwhile, Black Point Estate and Gardens remain, a few properties to the manor’s west.

In order to get there, you have to take a boat.

It is managed by the Wisconsin Historical Society, which has preserved it and made it a delightful museum.

The Queen Anne-style, 20-room home is surrounded by 8 acres of lovely grounds and 620 feet of untamed, wild shore.

Inside, you’ll see antique decor and furnishings.

This is one of the finest examples of Queen Anne design in the region!

Address: W4270 Southland Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is a highly popular venue of entertainment.

Its shows might be the most fun things to see in this part of Wisconsin!

In just an hour this weekend, you’ll be delighted and mind-blown by tons of tricks and stunts!

With regular guest magicians and various acts, there’s always something interesting to watch.

Situated on Edwards Boulevard, Tristan Crist Magic Theatre seats 175 audience members and mixes illusion, magic, and comedy into one exciting bundle.

Popular tricks by the titular Tristan Crist include his transformation into a motorcycle and his ability to talk through mirrors – all with so many eyes on him!

He regularly switches up his routine and makes sure that each year comes with new tricks, so his shows are entertaining even if you’ve seen them before.

Address: 100 N Edwards Blvd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Lake Geneva Pie Co is a charming, family-owned bakery store that sells a wide variety of savory and sweet pies.

It has won multiple awards in its time, earning a reputation for serving some of the best places to go in this part of Wisconsin for such treats.

The shop opened up in 2001, inspired to serve true homemade apple pie, and has evolved to offer many more baked goods since then.

They also donate over a hundred pies annually to various organizations for fundraising use!

Each goodie at this great bakery is made with fresh ingredients, baked in an old-fashioned way!

Naturally, the classic apple crumble and apple pies are a must-try.

But there are also loads of other flavors, such as berry cherry crumb, coconut cream, lemon meringue, chocolate pecan, banana cream, and more.

Crust choices are up to you!

These pies are also sold frozen so you can warm them up at home as desired.

The pie company also sells other treats, including quiches and pot pies.

Beef, chicken, and chicken and broccoli make for delicious and savory pot pie choices.

Meanwhile, options include wonders like Asparagus, Tomato and Mozzarella or Sausage, Onion, and Chipotle, and many more that are perfect for breakfast.

Seasonal cookies, mushrooms, snack bread, brownies, and bars are also sold!

Last but not least, the cafe section of the bakery offers chicken, meat, and veggie dishes.

Address: 150 E Geneva Square, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Exploring other parts of Wisconsin? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Green Bay?

Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy is located near Lake Geneva, in Williams Bay.

It spans a whopping 231 acres and boasts an impressive and diverse combination of various ecosystems.

4 miles of raised boardwalks and trails bring you through the teeming wildlife, flora, and fauna of the conservancy.

Since 1990, Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy has been one of Southeast Wisconsin’s most closely kept natural secrets.

Outdoor enthusiasts wondering what to do will fall head over heels in love with the numerous different ecosystems that exist within these grounds.

There are wetlands, deciduous forests, oak woods, beach stretches, an expansive prairie, meadows, and numerous bodies of water.

If you like plants, you’ll love the verdancy all around you!

Mayapples, tall meadow rue, wild geranium, angelica, and jack-in-the-pulpit plants await discovery.

The same goes for tons of different species of hardwood trees, sedges, and grasses!

If you’re more of an animal lover, you’ll have fun spotting deer, raccoons, foxes, opossums, and coyotes.

Don’t forget to stop by the pavilion to rest, or to see if there’s an ongoing event!

Address: 251 Elkhorn Rd, Williams Bay, WI 53191, United States

Yerkes Observatory has a long, storied past.

It all began as the 1800s drew to a close.

The University of Southern California was undertaking an expensive and historic endeavor.

They wished to build the biggest telescope in the world.

To do so, they commissioned a glassmaking company in Paris to cast two blank disks measuring 42 inches.

But in 1890, the university couldn’t afford the project anymore, and the disks were left with the glassmakers.

Then, along came George Ellery Hale, then just a young astronomer.

He appealed to the University of Chicago, where he hailed from, to buy the disks.

He asked the university to build a new observatory for the large telescope.

He was supported by wealthy electric railway tycoon and entrepreneur Charles T. Yerkes.

Yerks was dealing with multiple criminal charges related to embezzlement, fraud, and bribery, and he hoped the observatory would help his reputation.

He contributed $300,000 to the project, and Yerkes Observatory was completed in 1897.

Of course, the important part of the observatory was the world’s biggest telescope.

Upon completion, it rested on a 43-foot-tall mount with a 60-foot-long tube and weighed six tons.

Until today, the refractor of the Yerkes telescope remains the world’s biggest of its kind!

It also symbolizes the end of an era in telescopic technology, using lenses as the world began to move to mirrors.

Yerkes Observatory has since earned a reputation as modern astrophysics’ birthplace.

It’s one of the country’s first examples of so-called Big Science and was used in crucial research.

It is here that carbon dioxide was detected on Mars and some moons of planets in the solar system were found.

Today, the observatory has its sights set on studying near-Earth asteroids and comets, the interstellar medium, and globular cluster formation.

The building and grounds of Yerkes Observatory are also quite interesting, and it sits on 53 acres of land.

Each building displays mythological ornamentation.

You’ll see motifs of Moon phases, Zodiac signs, and university president caricatures.

If you visit, you may be able to see the Moon, Mars, and Saturn, clear as day!

This is truly among the best tourist attractions for space enthusiasts in Wisconsin.

Address: 373 W Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191, United States

If you’re looking for more fun things to do, here are some of the best things to do in Wisconsin!

Lake Geneva Scooter Tours & Rentals is a great way to get some sightseeing done in this Wisconsin City!

With its gorgeous lakeside paths, scenic winding roads, and numerous lofty hills, scooters are a perfect form of transportation for the area.

Those seeking fun things to do in Lake Geneva will love the services that this company provides!

Since its opening in 2009, the group has offered guided tours that bring you throughout Williams Bay, Edgewater Park, Fontana Beach, and more.

The company provides helmets, scooter rentals, and maps as required for those who want to go it alone.

You’ll need a valid driving license to use the scooters, whether you’re following a tour or not, so keep that in mind!

Address: 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Gary Gygax Memorial is one of the top historic Lake Geneva attractions in Wisconsin!

As its name suggests, it is a memorial dedicated to the creator of Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax.

Since its first edition’s publication in 1976, the game is nothing short of iconic and remains immensely popular today.

Gygax’s contribution to the world of tabletop role-playing games simply can’t be overlooked!

The Gary Gygax Memorial is situated near the Riviera Fountain, close to the Riviera Center’s entrance.

Legend says that D&D players can have their dice “blessed” at the memorial.

All you have to do is roll your dice on the stone of the memorial.

So if you have a few dice sitting in dice jail, you may want to bring them along to bless them towards Natural 20s!

Address: 812 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Studio Winery + Geneva Lake Distilling is one of the most fun places to visit for couples, friends, families, and adult singles alike!

A mix of an artist studio and working winery, this urban warehouse structure is a world away from typical, snobby tasting rooms.

Owned by an artist couple, the establishment produces all sorts of wines with Midwest and West Coast-grown grapes.

Studio Winery + Geneva Lake Distilling offers daily tastings in their lovely patio or tasting room.

The atmosphere is vibrant and welcoming, with art by the owners decorating each wall.

You can take part in numerous art classes and workshops as you sip on your drink!

Aside from wine, drinks include all sorts of spirits, such as bourbon, moonshine, and gin.

The lighthearted, relaxing atmosphere of Studio Winery + Geneva Lake Distilling makes it a friendly option for those intimidated by typical wineries.

Wisconsin is known for its drink, after all, so you’ll definitely want to stop by this weekend!

In addition to all of that, it has a music studio, too, with occasional live concerts and music performances!

Address: 401 E Sheridan Springs Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Any good Wisconsin visit involves a good amount of drinking!

That’s why a fair few dive bars are among the most loved points of interest in Lake Geneva.

Here are some of the best ones!

Fat Cats is an immensely popular bar with a relaxed, dark ambiance and a true serving of genuine local flavor and character.

Your old favorite orders will be faithfully and comfortably recreated here and the local on-tap brews are delicious!

Hogs & Kisses is a great nightlife spot.

It’s an ideal spot for those who want to go dancing and aren’t just in it for the good food and drinks!

On Wednesdays, they host a Glenn Davis Blues Jam night, and on Tuesdays, there’s Quizmaster Trivia.

For cheaper drinks, you’ll want to go from Thursday to Saturday night, where promotions are offered.

Owl Tavern is a highly recommended location specializing in beer and barbecue.

The historic smokehouse was built back in 1908 and offers yummy pub foods.

It also has a decently expansive drink list to sample, like the Deschutes Black Butte Porter and the seasonal Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

Finally, Champs Sports Bar & Grill is the to-go for sports fans.

It boasts an award-winning beer garden, great booze, and good bar food.

Various live events are also hosted at the establishment, typically involving exciting live music from well-liked musical acts!

Winter in Wisconsin can be pretty brutal, but Lake Geneva’s Winterfest takes some of the edge off!

For three decades, this nine-day event has been one of the top things to do in Lake Geneva, drawing visitors from across the country.

All sorts of winter activities take place here, including bonfires and s’more roasting on the beach and a fire & ice bar.

You’ll also get to go on a cocoa crawl or take a hovercraft ride!

Most importantly, Winterfest is host to the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship.

15 teams spend three days working as hard as they can to create impressive sculptures out of snow.

Each masterpiece is grandiose, highly detailed, and a showcase of incredible talent and skill!

The competition has no admission cost for audience members, so it’s one of the awesome free things to do in the area during the winter season!

These sculptures will remain shown until they melt away.

Address: Lake Geneva, WI, United States

At Geneva National Resort and Club, you’ll find one of the most unique and magical places to go: the Ice Castles installation.

There are only about five of these in the country, and this lucky Wisconsin city is home to one of them!

The amazing castle is made with a whopping 25 million pounds of ice and is decorated with an additional 12,000 icicles, each one formed daily.

Inside the Ice Castles installations, you’ll have fun crawling through tunnels, sitting on thrones, and enjoying a stunning light show.

There are slides, crawl spaces, fountains, cave chambers, and more to explore!

Address: 1221 Geneva National Ave S, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Looking for more thrill? How about visiting Door County and Madison? If you do plan the trip, here are some top things to do in Door County and some cool things to do in Madison, WI!

The Lake Geneva Balloon Company was founded in 2002, created by John Trione.

Trione’s first hot air balloon ride in 1997 immediately spurred a fiery passion for the sport within him.

He spent 18 months training to fly balloons and receive a pilot’s certificate from the FAA.

After spending some time on the racing circuit, earning a commercial piloting certificate, and working in the field, he opened up his own company!

The Lake Geneva Balloon Company offers an incredible way to take to the skies of Wisconsin.

There are so many things to see from high up above the ground.

Worried about safety?

The company boasts a perfect safety record and has provided incredible tours for years with knowledgeable pilots!

The company also hosts a number of events every now and then that are fascinating to take part in.

Address: N3241 Co Rd H, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Looking for some fun stuff to do as an outdoor enthusiast?

Check out Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures for some great activities!

The expanse of the company’s property runs for an impressive 100 acres, providing plenty of space to enjoy the so-called jungle gym of the skies.

Adrenaline junkies and nature-lovers alike are sure to appreciate this great Wisconsin attraction!

There are two different zipline tours offered by Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures.

The full-source zipline tour brings you across all 9 of the property’s ziplines.

This also includes the chance to walk across 5 sky bridges and climb 3 spiral staircases.

There’s also the short course 4 zip line tour for those short on time or funds.

After that, be sure to check out the high ropes course, with 16 elevated obstacles such as a 35-foot tower, rope wall, and swinging skywalk.

Address: N3232 Co Rd H, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Avant Cycle Cafe is situated in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

It’s the best local hotspot for bikers and peckish travelers alike!

It offers a great stopping point for bikers wondering what to do for a quick drink.

Lattes, iced coffees, cappuccinos, and more are all made from locally-roasted beans.

Many signature coffees here are named after well-known cycling trails.

Of course, Avant Cycle Cafe is also a full-service bike shop.

It’s at a nice, convenient location that’s ideal for cyclers that need a rest or a pick-me-up to start their trip with.

You don’t need to own a bike to stop here, but it’s definitely convenient to be able to rent one right at the cafe!

You can also pick up trail maps or avail of the expert work of the resident mechanic, who’ll change tubes in minutes!

Address: 234 Broad St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Riviera Beach can be found in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Its name is thanks to its location beside the iconic and historic Riviera building on 812 Wrigley Drive.

In a city like this, some of the most delightful tourist attractions can be found along the lakefront, and this beach is one of them!

With 600 feet of sandy shoreline to its name, Riviera Beach offers a fun way to have some time in the sand and sun.

A mix of annual and seasonal passes are available.

On-duty lifeguards are available during most of the beach’s open times for safer swims.

Be sure to follow the rules!

Address: 812 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Lake Geneva Cruise Line is the ideal way to get a relaxing, lavish tour of the beautiful Wisconsin lake!

The touring company offers narrated tours of all sorts, teaching you a variety of tidbits of trivia surrounding the area’s history.

You’ll see gorgeous estates and magnificent mansions situated all along the shoreline.

The Lake Geneva Cruise Line has a number of options available for eager tourists.

Public tours of the lake include the educational Geneva Bay Tour and the two-hour extensive Full Lake Tour.

For a more in-depth experience, you may want the 3.5-hour Black Point Estate tour, which includes a tour of the titular estate in question.

You can also enjoy the 1.5-hour limited Expanded Bay Tour or add a Lake Walk to the end of your cruise.

By far the most popular cruise offered by this company is the US Mailboat Tour.

With so few places in America that still take their mail by boat, this is a one-of-a-kind experience.

You’ll go on the mail route that delivers parcels, packages, and letters to 75 houses around the lake from June to September!

It’s one of the most excellent things to do in Lake Geneva!

There are also numerous tours related to food and drink.

There’s a Supper Club Dinner Cruise with live Sinatra-inspired entertainment and a delightful narrated Luncheon Tour.

You can also partake in the Ice Cream Social Tour, the Sunday Brunch Buffet Cruise, or the Cocktail Cruise.

Music lovers looking for nightlife will enjoy the Jazz Dinner Cruise, too.

Finally, don’t forget to check out special seasonal tour offerings, like the Santa Cruise or Fireworks Tour!

Address: 812 Wrigley Drive Summer Harbor, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

One of Lake Geneva’s most loved accommodation locations is the Grand Geneva Resort.

As a premier tourist destination, it makes sense that it would have some cool Lake Geneva attractions itself.

Two of those fun attractions come in the form of 18-hole golf courses, namely The Highlands and The Brute!

The Brute is the more famous course of the two.

The impressive and majestic span of over 7,000 yards presents one of the most renowned courses in Wisconsin.

It’s commonly known to also have the Midwest’s most challenging layouts.

It is fitted with rolling greens, 68 bunkers, and immaculately manicured maintenance.

Expect prominent water features and huge sand traps!

The par-72 course is quick and challenging with difficult two-putt situations and tough downhill putts.

The Highlands is a Scottish-style, links-type golf course created by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus.

It has been updated twice, once in 1996 and again in 2006.

Expect lighting-quick greens and spacious, expansive, open fairways here!

You’ll also get to enjoy the stunning foliage, landscaping, and creeks that run throughout the course.

With challenging short par 4s, it’s a great choice for strategic golfers and shot-makers who love a tight course.

No matter your experience with golfing, you can enjoy both of the Grand Geneva Resort Golf Courses!

Lessons are even available, and each course has four sets of tees to try depending on your skill level.

This makes it welcoming to all who wish to partake in these activities!

Address: 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Dan Patch Stables is among the ideal places to visit if you love equestrian sports – or if you’re coming with kids!

The year-round establishment is situated in Lake Geneva’s Grand Geneva Resort Spa.

It offers exciting trail rides, led by knowledgeable guides and with gentle, well-trained horses.

Each 45-minute trail ride tour from Dan Patch Stables will give you the chance to witness the beauty of the countryside of Wisconsin.

Dan Patch Stables also offers various other activities.

There’s a petting farm, pony rides, and carriage rides.

If you’re here at the right time, you can also enjoy seasonal delights like hayrides, sleigh rides, and haunted hay barn experiences.

As a family-owned establishment, you can expect a great time and a welcoming experience here!

Address: Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Geneva Lake Arts Foundation Gallery 223 is a unique gallery.

It features the works of various artists from Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

It was founded in 1947 and has dedicated itself to the encouragement of artistic exploration, creativity, excellence, and growth.

The Geneva Lake Arts Foundation Gallery 223 hosts a total of six exhibits in Lake Geneva each year.

It also provides numerous classes, shows, lectures, programs, workshops, and demonstrations on a regular basis.

This includes the renowned Art in the Park art show, which is even juried!

This volunteer-run gallery is undoubtedly one of the coolest points of interest for art aficionados!

Address: 223 Broad St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

If you have more time, why not check out Milwaukee and Wisconsin Dells? If you do plan the trip, here are some fun things to do in Milwaukee and what to do in Wisconsin Dells!

The Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum is among the most fun things to do in Lake Geneva for TTRPG fanatics!

It is situated in the original location of Tactical Studies Rules, or TSR.

Founded in 1976, TSR was created by Gary Gygax to produce the now extremely popular role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

A mix of gaming space, hobby store, and historic museum, the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum is nothing short of impressive.

Here, you’ll see all sorts of memorabilia for D&D dating back to before the 1980s and a fair number of rare collectibles.

The museum also hosts some events hosted by well-known Dungeon Masters!

For a great taste of the local role-playing community, stop by the museum while you’re in Wisconsin.

Address: 723 Williams St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Best Day Trips from Geneva

WHAT IS IT: One of my favorite towns in Switzerland, this lakeside gem that is home to the Montreux Jazz Fest each year is worth a visit no matter the time of year. 

Whether you visit at the height of summer activity or in the peacefulness of winter, Montreux’s lakeside setting surrounded by a ring of snow-capped mountains (no matter the time of year) is unbeatable. 

WHAT TO DO: The town itself is gorgeous and home to several points of interest, the most obvious of which is Chateau de Chillon (Chillon Castle) a beautiful medieval castle that sits as a little island right on the bank of Lac Leman. 

It’s one of those places that I’m sure you’ve seen a million times on the internet. It’s one of the most famous Swiss castles, and in a country known for its beautiful castles, that’s truly saying something. 

Besides the Chateau, which is well worth the day trip from Geneva just to see, you can also walk along the Montreux lakeside promenade.

Another great thing to do is check out the museum dedicated to Queen, which is in the studio where Freddie Mercury and the rest of his bandmates recorded several albums), or visit the nearby Chaplin’s World museum dedicated to Charlie Chaplin (another famous Montreux ex-resident) in Corsier-sur-Vevey. 

HOW TO GET THERE: The train will take you from Geneva to Montreux quite easily in about an hour and fifteen minutes. 

There are also guided tours which include Montreux and other nearby sights as well, so you can tick a few things off your Swiss bucket list simultaneously.

Book your Montreux + Lavaux vineyards tour here, or your Montreux + glacier tour here!

WHAT IS IT: One of the larger cities flanking Lac Leman (excepting Geneva, obviously), Lausanne is a must-visit city tour for fans of impressive architecture and well-curated museums. 

It’s also one of the easiest cities to visit on a day trip from Geneva due to frequent steamboat connections on the lake.

WHAT TO DO: Built on three steep hills, walking around Lausanne requires a decent bit of fitness (it offers stiff competition to San Francisco and Lisbon), but it’s well worth it!

This city is beautiful everywhere you look. One of its most famous buildings is the Chateau d’Ouchy, a gorgeous multi-turreted, red-roofed castle in the heart of town. 

For fans of museums, Lausanne won’t let you down. Perhaps the strangest museum in all of Switzerland, you shouldn’t miss the Collection de L’art Brut, which features art created by societal outcasts – prisoners, psychiatric patients, and the like – as the collector, Jean Dubuffet, became fascinated with the connection with madness and genius. 

Somewhat patronizingly, he called this work “art brut” (naïve art). The collection numbers more than 50,000 pieces spread across four floors, and it’s undoubtedly a fascinating place to while away a few hours. If you’re a fan of weird travel: this is for you. 

For people looking for a more typical museum, you won’t want to miss the world-famous Olympic Museum which has not only modern artifacts from recent Olympics but even pieces dating back to the original ancient games. 

It’s also really interactive, making it a great place to bring children (the Collection de L’art Brut, maybe not so much!).

You’ll also want to do a wander to the other side of town, on the other side of the train tracks, to see the beautiful Place de la Palud, the heart of Lausanne’s Old Town. 

Here, you’ll see buildings like the city hall, the Instagrammable wooden Escaliers du Marché, the lovely Palais de Rumine (which hosts 5 museums in one building), and other historic towns.

HOW TO GET THERE: It’s just 45 minutes by train from Geneva! 

While it seems like the ferry would be a good option, it takes almost 4 hours each way – so it’s  hardly day trip material.

If you do want to take a boat ride one way from Lausanne, I suggest doing a combined bus and ferry tour like this one, which drops you off in Lausanne by bus, gives you some time to explore the city, and then ferries you back to Geneva on a scenic 4-hour boat cruise.

Book your bus + cruise day trip to Lausanne here!

WHAT IS IT: If there’s one thing I learned from my weeks in Switzerland, it’s that Swiss wine is freaking delicious and it’s really a shame that more of it doesn’t get exported. Only some 5% of the wine ever makes it out of the country! 

So while you’re in Switzerland, you may as well take advantage of the ease with which you can find these delicious wines. 

After all, who knows the next time you’ll see Swiss wine at your local wine shop or on a restaurant’s wine list? 

Many of the best Swiss wines come from the area around Lake Geneva, particularly in the area of Lavaux – a region so famous and beloved for its wine that it’s quite literally a UNESCO World Heritage Site! 

The vines present date all the way back to the 11th century and were tended by monasteries (both Benedictine and Cistercian) which historically controlled the land around this area. 

The Lavaux area covers 30 kilometers of land around Lake Geneva and produces some fabulous wines, so it’s time to get tasting!

WHAT TO DO: Go wine-tasting, obviously! I don’t recommend driving yourself from vineyard to vineyard for obvious reasons, so I’d suggest going on an organized wine tour of the region such as this one

The tour lasts 4 hours and involves a wine tasting, but you’d have to get yourself to Montreux (1 hour by train) in order to do this excursion.

HOW TO GET THERE: Since I don’t recommend going by car unless you have a designated driver (and even then – call the wineries you want ahead of time as most don’t have tasting rooms open all the time), I’d suggest a wine tour like this one offered on Viator

Alternately, you can pair it with a visit to Montreux and Vevey as part of a multi-stop tour like on this one (itinerary and details here).

Book your panoramic wine tasting tour in Lavaux or your tour of Montreux, Vevey, + Lavaux here.

WHAT IS IT: Switzerland is famed for its scenic railways and one of the best railways in the Geneva area is up to the viewpoint at Rochers de Naye! 

At an elevation of just over 2,000 meters, you’ll get sweeping lake views and incredible hiking trails.

WHAT TO DO: The area around Rochers de Naye is mostly known for its aerial views and its hiking trails. 

You may see lots of different kinds of flowers, depending on the season obviously, and you’re likely to see some of the adorable marmot colonies who call this mountaintop home. 

There is also a panoramic restaurant, Plein Roc, where you can eat with an incredible view!

HOW TO GET THERE: There is a cogwheel railway which runs from Montreux through to Glion and then to Caux to reach the summit. 

The whole ride takes just about one hour from Montreux downtown, and you can buy tickets at the Montreux railway station.

WHAT IS IT: An underrated town on the Swiss Riviera, a visit to Vevey is a great idea if you want to skip the crowds of Montreux or Lausanne, both of which are a little more popular with tourists. 

While it doesn’t have the same major attractions as either of the aforementioned cities, it is well worth a visit for its quaint charm and lakeside beauty.

WHAT TO DO:  The most obvious answer is Chaplin’s World, the Charlie Chaplin museum in his former home. It’s the most famous attraction that Vevey claims, but it’s a tiny bit out of town (though still easily walkable). 

Other than that, there’s a well-regarded photography museum, an odd food-themed museum called Alimentarium (in front, you’ll see a puzzling fork statue stuck into the waters of Lac Leman). 

There is also supposedly a Musée de l’Absurde, which I’m sure is exactly what it sounds like! 

You can also walk a bit to Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier which is a minimalist-style house built by the famous Swiss architect in sync with the gorgeous lake surroundings.

HOW TO GET THERE: Located between Lausanne and Montreux, Vevey is an easy train ride away from Geneva, taking just about one hour. 

If you want to see several of the places on this Geneva day trips guide in one go – Vevey, Montreux, and the vineyards of Lavaux, there are full-day tours of the Swiss Riviera that cover all three beautiful destinations in an easy, relaxed day trip. 

Check out 3-in-1 guided tours of the Swiss Riviera here.

WHAT IS IT: If you’re going to leave Switzerland for any day trip to France, I highly recommend it be Annecy and its canals and houses straight out of a fairy tale! Nicknamed “Venice of the Alps”, its charming canals are a photographer’s dream.

There’s enough to do in the lakeside town of Annecy to give it a few days, but if you just have time to visit it on a day trip from Geneva, some planning (or guidance) can make your time well worth it.

WHAT TO DO: A few of the obvious things are to stroll around the Old Town (Vieille Ville) and admire the houses, getting those gorgeous photos of Annecy that everyone wants to leave with – especially the Palais de l’Isle, the quintessential Annecy snap. 

There’s also the Chateau d’Annecy which was a castle back in the 12th century and is part of the medieval town center, but it is now a museum welcoming tourists. 

Finally, the English gardens of Jardins de l’Europe on the banks of the lake also merit a stroll or even a picnic.

HOW TO GET THERE: To DIY it, you can get there by Flixbus from Geneva’s Gare Routière Station. 

Alternately, there are plenty of inexpensive day tours from Geneva which offer a little more structure if you prefer to have some context and guidance on your day trip. 

This affordable option is only a half-day tour so you can explore Annecy and still get back to Geneva in time to rest up and have a lovely dinner and walk on the lake at night. 

Check out prices and availability here.

WHAT IS IT: Want to say you’ve seen Europe’s highest mountain — well, west of Russia’s Mount Elbrus? It’s Mont Blanc in the French Alps.

It’s the 11th highest in the world and while Switzerland’s Matterhorn may have more instant recognizability, Mont Blanc is nearly a thousand feet taller (though it would take nearly a century more for the Matterhorn to be ascended, due to its technical difficulty).

While of course, climbing Mont Blanc itself is out of the question as a day trip from Geneva, you can visit the quaint ski resort town of Chamonix and admire Mont Blanc from there.

It’s a perfect day trip, whether you visit in winter or in summer!

WHAT TO DO: Assuming you’re just visiting on a day trip, a few suggestions would be to see the beautiful glacier Mer de Glace, the third-largest glacier in the Alps.

It is accessible via the Chemin de Fer du Montenvers railway just a 20-minute ride from Chamonix’s center. Alternately, the cable car ride to Aiguille du Midi has incredible views over all of Chamonix.

You can also stroll the pedestrian pathway, Rue du Docteur Paccard, and sit in a café with gorgeous mountain views gorging on coffee and pastries. 

Hikers can make the trip to the photo-perfect Lac Blanc at 2,352 meters above sea level, which can be reached after a strenuous 90-minute walk from the cable car at Flegere.

HOW TO GET THERE: It’s quite easy to get to Chamonix via a Flixbus from Geneva’s Gare Routière if you want to tour Chamonix independently. It takes about one hour to get between the two cities. 

Alternately, you could go on a guided day trip which covers the cable car, the Montenvers railway, the glacier, and more with transfer included. 

Check out this Chamonix + Mont Blanc + glacier tour or do this combined Annecy + Chamonix day trip!

WHAT IS IT: If you’re a big fan of cheese, making a pilgrimage to Gruyères – the namesake of one of the world’s most delicious cheeses – is in order.

I mean, is there anything more prominent on any cheese-lovers bucket list?

WHAT TO DO: Besides overdose on lactose? Sights include the 13th-century Gruyères Castle, the medieval village architecture, the gorgeous Catholic Église Saint-Théodule, and the HR Giger Museum which is an art museum inside the castle.

If you go as part of a guided chocolate and cheese-themed tour to Gruyères, you can take the lovely Golden Train to make your commute part of the journey. 

You’ll get to visit a proper chocolate factory, learn to prepare Swiss fondue with the sound of real Swiss cowbells jangling behind you, and explore the sights of Gruyères village. 

HOW TO GET THERE: The most indulgent way is definitely on the Gold Tour with chocolate and cheese tastings! 

You can do the tour accompanied by a travel guide, either with the Gold train included (prices and availability here) or you can save a bit of money by swapping the luxe train for a bus ride (prices here). There are also private group tours.

Alternately, you can DIY a trip to Gruyères by going by public transportation, which takes 2 hours and involves taking two trains and then a bus. 

However, if you do that, you won’t have the option to do the chocolate factory visit or cheese tasting experience. You can visit Maison Cailler independently (learn more on their website here) but it’d be a bit tougher to time and manage.

For that reason, if budget is a concern, I’d recommend against DIYing it and picking a different Geneva day trip instead – there are plenty to choose from!

WHAT IS IT: Yes – this is the town of the famous Évian water! 

it’s famous for its mineral water springs (hence the “bains” in its name, which is French for “baths”) and gorgeous lake setting on the other side of Lac Leman from Switzerland, a 35-minute ferry from Lausanne.

THINGS TO DO: Besides sampling the water from the local springs, there’s a surprising amount of beauty to find around Évian! 

Check out the art nouveau gorgeousness of the Cachat Pump Room, take the fin-de-siecle-era funicular up to the luxe Hotel Royal Evian, visit the Palais Lumiere, or check out the beautiful town hall.

HOW TO GET THERE: While you’d think you could easily go by train, the French and Swiss train connections really aren’t so good. This is why Flixbus dominates the connections between Geneva and Annecy as well as Geneva and Chamonix and Mont Blanc.

Therefore, it’s best to go Lausanne by train first (1 hour) and then get a ferry over, which takes about 35 minutes, about 2 hours total. 

There’s also a private group tour that also includes scenic Yvoire, which is a good deal for a group of 4 people or more, but it would be quite expensive for solo travelers or couples. 

Check prices & availability of the group tour here!

WHAT IS IT: The nearest glacier to Geneva. 

If you only are visiting Geneva on your trip to Switzerland don’t have time to make it to more impressive glaciers like Titlis and Gorner, make it this one! It’s especially great for kids as it has a lot of activities to enjoy.

WHAT TO DO: A trip to the impressive Glacier 3000 is one of the most popular day trips from Geneva and is best done as part of a tour. 

The trip starts with a transfer from Geneva, then takes you to the cute mountain village of Les Diablerets. From there, you can take a cable car up to a glacier. 

At the glacier, there is a cool suspension bridge that connects two mountains, giving you impressive views of 20+ peaks over 4,000 meters — including the Matterhorn on a clear day! 

Kids will love adding on various activities like a snow bus ride, Alpine coaster, and Peak Walk. As a bonus, you can tack on a visit to Montreux at the end of the trip.

HOW TO GET HERE: There are two tour options at different price points. For a budget-friendly way with fewer inclusions, check out this bus tour to the glacier. 

For a more exciting, all-inclusive trip, check out the Gold Tour which has more inclusions such as the snow bus ride, the cable car, etc.

Book the glacier tour by bus or the Gold Tour with all the extras!

WHAT IS IT: The capital of Switzerland is also a downright beautiful place to visit, with the scenic Aare River running right through it in brilliant shades of turquoise.

Check out Bern to see the heart of Switzerland and how this country like no other merges the beauty of nature in with its cityscapes in a way that is hard to replicate elsewhere.

WHAT TO DO: Bern is a vibrant city with plenty to do! The most famous landmark in Bern is the Zytglogge, a medieval clock dating back to the 13th century which shows the centuries-old Swiss fascination with keeping time.

There also fantastic museums in Bern, such as the Einstein Museum and the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts), and a scenic Old Town to explore.

HOW TO GET HERE: This is an easy day trip to DIY, with frequent trains connecting Geneva with the Swiss capital. The train takes about 2 hours and involves no connections.

WHAT IS IT: The largest city in Switzerland, Zürich is also Switzerland’s most multicultural city. 

While Bern is the technical capital of Switzerland, Zürich is the county’s cultural capital, and it feels the most contemporary and vibrant.

WHAT TO DO: There’s so much to do in Zürich that it’s worthy of a few days in and of itself, so if you were to visit on a day trip from Geneva, you’d have to make some serious decisions about what to prioritize and what to cut!

Whether it’s window-shopping on the Banhofstrasse, checking out the medieval churches of the 11th and 12th centuries like Grossmünster and Fraumünster, or visiting the Swiss National Museum, you’ll get lots of culture on a day trip to Zürich.

HOW TO GET HERE: Geneva and Zürich handle most of the flight traffic into Switzerland, and as a result, there are several direct trains between the two cities. The train takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes and is very scenic. 

Due to the long train ride, it’s not the first day trip I’d suggest, but it is quite doable!

Things To Do In Lake Geneva

If you’re looking for what to do in Lake Geneva, Big Foot Beach State Park should be on your list!

The beautiful natural location provides numerous options for different activities.

In addition, it is wheelchair-friendly on most trails and is pet-friendly for your on-leash furry friends!

Big Foot Beach State Park is situated on Lake Geneva’s shores.

Naturally, this means it provides opportunities for swimming at the beach.

There are also family campgrounds, which are part of a hundred wooded campsites complete with pit toilets and showers.

For those who wish to explore, 5 miles of hiking trails stretch throughout the area, interspersed with picnic areas and playgrounds.

Here in the winter?

Try some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing!

Address: 1550 S Lake Shore Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Geneva Lake Museum was created in 1983, but its structure dates back farther than that.

Situated in Lake Geneva’s downtown area, the museum rests inside what was once the Wisconsin Power and Light building in 1929.

It spans an impressive 2.5-acre expanse of land, which allows for the impressive Main Street Historic District.

This district contains over 700 buildings that have been carefully restored to showcase authentic late 19th- and early 20th-century life.

At Geneva Lake Museum, you’ll have lots of fun looking at various different artifacts.

You’ll see real ice-cutting tools, arrowheads, and horseshoeing tools, for example.

But getting to walk into real old buildings truly takes the cake!

Each one of these tourist attractions feels like stepping back in time.

There’s a schoolroom from the 1890s, a fire engine house from 1890 complete with a hose wagon, and a dental workstation from the 1920s.

Don’t forget to look at the train and car models!

Docents can lead you on educational tours.

Address: 255 Mill St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Baker House, once called Redwood Cottage, can be found on the shoreline of Lake Geneva.

It was originally a summer home for Robert H. Baker and his family.

Finished in 1885, it is an absolutely stunning Queen Anne-style mansion that contains 17,000 square feet of space.

It is packed with 13 different originally-tiled fireplaces, inlaid hardwood floors, and numerous ornate, detailed carvings.

Sadly, the Baker House was not actually finished in time before Baker himself passed away.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that a trip to the Baker House is one of the best things to do in Lake Geneva!

Though the buildings of the estate were slowly sold, the main home was eventually repurchased.

It now operates as a restaurant and boutique hotel with a mix of modern amenities and beautiful, original antique furnishings!

Address: 327 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Lake Geneva Shore Path is one of the top Lake Geneva attractions as well as one of the best vacation spots, providing a chance for you to walk around this lovely Southern Wisconsin trail.

Spanning 26 miles, it’s the “backyard” path to numerous buildings and mansions of history and can provide a tranquil, enjoyable walk.

A walk along the Lake Geneva Shore Path is one of the free things to do locally.

The scenic views are to die for and the calmness of the hike is unmatched.

You can bring a pet with you too, as long as you clean up after them!

Address: Unnamed Road, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Safari Lake Geneva is one of the most fun places to visit in Wisconsin for animal lovers.

Located five miles from the downtown area, it contains a whopping 75 acres of wild, untamed habitats, packed with over 50 exotic animals from across the globe.

Each animal is able to live free in a habitat similar to that which it would naturally exist in.

Among the animals you can see at the safari are Brahman cattle, miniature zebu, scimitar-horned oryx, Ankole-Watusi cattle, and blackbuck antelope.

You may also see domestic yak, miniature horses, nilgai antelope, American bison, llamas, alpacas, and camels.

You’ll also get to see some native fauna to the local forests, like painted turtles, white-tailed deer, and muskrats.

Each tour of the safari takes about an hour, with feeding opportunities for animals that approach you!

Address: W1612 Litchfield Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Maxwell Mansion, a part of Maxwell Estate, was Lake Geneva’s first-ever constructed mansion.

Built in 1856, it has become a site of accommodation, not just a historic attraction.

It is thoroughly surrounded by gorgeous century-old oak trees, stunning gardens, and a lovely outside pool.

A mix of modern amenities and genuine antique goodness makes this one of the more unique points of interest in town.

The mansion was made for Dr. Philip Maxwell, who was both a real estate prospector and a surgeon from Chicago.

At the time, the property was named The Oaks after its already ancient trees.

It was made with elaborate furnishings, decor, and accents.

Grand staircases, huge marble fireplaces, large entrances and windows, and ornamental moldings of wood added to the opulence.

For years, Maxwell Mansion served wealthy industrialists as a summer residence.

It was almost demolished in the 1970s but was saved at the last moment.

It was turned into a bed and breakfast for over 20 years following that.

A few ownership changes later in 2012, the home was renovated entirely to include modern amenities.

Yet another change later, it was then turned into the lovely and lavish Maxwell Mansion!

You don’t need to book one of the rooms at Maxwell Mansion to enjoy its wonder!

But if you do choose to, you’ll have six different traditional room variations to choose from.

It’s a nice way to add a touch of luxury to your Wisconsin trip, and it’s widely regarded as one of the city’s premier accommodation options.

Address: 304 S Wells St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Dancing Horses Theatre is a beautiful spectacle of true equestrian brilliance and artistry.

The awe-inspiring live show features a delightful performance of numerous horses of different breeds and their trainers.

They’ll perform incredible tricks alongside mind-boggling human acrobats, showing off their skills that will drop your jaw!

The Dancing Horses Theatre was created by Dana Montana, who wished to share the talents and beauty of her Arabian horses with the world.

The result is this wonderfully unique showcase in an intimate but modern 300-seat setting.

Watching a show this weekend will be among the most fun things to do in Lake Geneva!

Address: 5065 WI-50, Delavan, WI 53115, United States

For history buffs, Black Point Manor is among the best places to see on the banks of Geneva Lake and one of the best places to go in the US.

And, of course, so are the Black Point Estate and Gardens!

The majestic and elegant estate has quite a long history to it!

Its tale begins with the purchasing of half of Warwick Park in 1885 by G.B. Shaw and O.D. Wetherell.

The other half was purchased by Conrad Seipp, who named his home Black Point Estate after the Black Lagoon that ran through it.

Eventually, Shaw and Wetherell would sell Seipp their properties, giving him all of the park to himself.

Seipp’s children loved the beauty of the Black Lagoon and often played in it with their steamers.

The large grassy expanses also served as their playgrounds.

But as the years passed, Seipp would pass away and the estate would change.

Draw bridges were taken away, the lagoon was closed off, and six lots of the estate were sectioned off for modern development.

In 1999, Black Point Manor was built upon these lots.

The 11,000-square-foot house was built to mimic the many other historic houses along the lake.

It grew to become the most recognizable house in the lake’s area, taking up 5 acres on the front of Black Point Lagoon.

The architectural masterpiece is nothing short of breathtaking!

Meanwhile, Black Point Estate and Gardens remain, a few properties to the manor’s west.

In order to get there, you have to take a boat.

It is managed by the Wisconsin Historical Society, which has preserved it and made it a delightful museum.

The Queen Anne-style, 20-room home is surrounded by 8 acres of lovely grounds and 620 feet of untamed, wild shore.

Inside, you’ll see antique decor and furnishings.

This is one of the finest examples of Queen Anne design in the region!

Address: W4270 Southland Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is a highly popular venue of entertainment.

Its shows might be the most fun things to see in this part of Wisconsin!

In just an hour this weekend, you’ll be delighted and mind-blown by tons of tricks and stunts!

With regular guest magicians and various acts, there’s always something interesting to watch.

Situated on Edwards Boulevard, Tristan Crist Magic Theatre seats 175 audience members and mixes illusion, magic, and comedy into one exciting bundle.

Popular tricks by the titular Tristan Crist include his transformation into a motorcycle and his ability to talk through mirrors – all with so many eyes on him!

He regularly switches up his routine and makes sure that each year comes with new tricks, so his shows are entertaining even if you’ve seen them before.

Address: 100 N Edwards Blvd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Lake Geneva Pie Co is a charming, family-owned bakery store that sells a wide variety of savory and sweet pies.

It has won multiple awards in its time, earning a reputation for serving some of the best places to go in this part of Wisconsin for such treats.

The shop opened up in 2001, inspired to serve true homemade apple pie, and has evolved to offer many more baked goods since then.

They also donate over a hundred pies annually to various organizations for fundraising use!

Each goodie at this great bakery is made with fresh ingredients, baked in an old-fashioned way!

Naturally, the classic apple crumble and apple pies are a must-try.

But there are also loads of other flavors, such as berry cherry crumb, coconut cream, lemon meringue, chocolate pecan, banana cream, and more.

Crust choices are up to you!

These pies are also sold frozen so you can warm them up at home as desired.

The pie company also sells other treats, including quiches and pot pies.

Beef, chicken, and chicken and broccoli make for delicious and savory pot pie choices.

Meanwhile, options include wonders like Asparagus, Tomato and Mozzarella or Sausage, Onion, and Chipotle, and many more that are perfect for breakfast.

Seasonal cookies, mushrooms, snack bread, brownies, and bars are also sold!

Last but not least, the cafe section of the bakery offers chicken, meat, and veggie dishes.

Address: 150 E Geneva Square, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Exploring other parts of Wisconsin? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Green Bay?

Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy is located near Lake Geneva, in Williams Bay.

It spans a whopping 231 acres and boasts an impressive and diverse combination of various ecosystems.

4 miles of raised boardwalks and trails bring you through the teeming wildlife, flora, and fauna of the conservancy.

Since 1990, Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy has been one of Southeast Wisconsin’s most closely kept natural secrets.

Outdoor enthusiasts wondering what to do will fall head over heels in love with the numerous different ecosystems that exist within these grounds.

There are wetlands, deciduous forests, oak woods, beach stretches, an expansive prairie, meadows, and numerous bodies of water.

If you like plants, you’ll love the verdancy all around you!

Mayapples, tall meadow rue, wild geranium, angelica, and jack-in-the-pulpit plants await discovery.

The same goes for tons of different species of hardwood trees, sedges, and grasses!

If you’re more of an animal lover, you’ll have fun spotting deer, raccoons, foxes, opossums, and coyotes.

Don’t forget to stop by the pavilion to rest, or to see if there’s an ongoing event!

Address: 251 Elkhorn Rd, Williams Bay, WI 53191, United States

Yerkes Observatory has a long, storied past.

It all began as the 1800s drew to a close.

The University of Southern California was undertaking an expensive and historic endeavor.

They wished to build the biggest telescope in the world.

To do so, they commissioned a glassmaking company in Paris to cast two blank disks measuring 42 inches.

But in 1890, the university couldn’t afford the project anymore, and the disks were left with the glassmakers.

Then, along came George Ellery Hale, then just a young astronomer.

He appealed to the University of Chicago, where he hailed from, to buy the disks.

He asked the university to build a new observatory for the large telescope.

He was supported by wealthy electric railway tycoon and entrepreneur Charles T. Yerkes.

Yerks was dealing with multiple criminal charges related to embezzlement, fraud, and bribery, and he hoped the observatory would help his reputation.

He contributed $300,000 to the project, and Yerkes Observatory was completed in 1897.

Of course, the important part of the observatory was the world’s biggest telescope.

Upon completion, it rested on a 43-foot-tall mount with a 60-foot-long tube and weighed six tons.

Until today, the refractor of the Yerkes telescope remains the world’s biggest of its kind!

It also symbolizes the end of an era in telescopic technology, using lenses as the world began to move to mirrors.

Yerkes Observatory has since earned a reputation as modern astrophysics’ birthplace.

It’s one of the country’s first examples of so-called Big Science and was used in crucial research.

It is here that carbon dioxide was detected on Mars and some moons of planets in the solar system were found.

Today, the observatory has its sights set on studying near-Earth asteroids and comets, the interstellar medium, and globular cluster formation.

The building and grounds of Yerkes Observatory are also quite interesting, and it sits on 53 acres of land.

Each building displays mythological ornamentation.

You’ll see motifs of Moon phases, Zodiac signs, and university president caricatures.

If you visit, you may be able to see the Moon, Mars, and Saturn, clear as day!

This is truly among the best tourist attractions for space enthusiasts in Wisconsin.

Address: 373 W Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191, United States

If you’re looking for more fun things to do, here are some of the best things to do in Wisconsin!

Lake Geneva Scooter Tours & Rentals is a great way to get some sightseeing done in this Wisconsin City!

With its gorgeous lakeside paths, scenic winding roads, and numerous lofty hills, scooters are a perfect form of transportation for the area.

Those seeking fun things to do in Lake Geneva will love the services that this company provides!

Since its opening in 2009, the group has offered guided tours that bring you throughout Williams Bay, Edgewater Park, Fontana Beach, and more.

The company provides helmets, scooter rentals, and maps as required for those who want to go it alone.

You’ll need a valid driving license to use the scooters, whether you’re following a tour or not, so keep that in mind!

Address: 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Gary Gygax Memorial is one of the top historic Lake Geneva attractions in Wisconsin!

As its name suggests, it is a memorial dedicated to the creator of Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax.

Since its first edition’s publication in 1976, the game is nothing short of iconic and remains immensely popular today.

Gygax’s contribution to the world of tabletop role-playing games simply can’t be overlooked!

The Gary Gygax Memorial is situated near the Riviera Fountain, close to the Riviera Center’s entrance.

Legend says that D&D players can have their dice “blessed” at the memorial.

All you have to do is roll your dice on the stone of the memorial.

So if you have a few dice sitting in dice jail, you may want to bring them along to bless them towards Natural 20s!

Address: 812 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Studio Winery + Geneva Lake Distilling is one of the most fun places to visit for couples, friends, families, and adult singles alike!

A mix of an artist studio and working winery, this urban warehouse structure is a world away from typical, snobby tasting rooms.

Owned by an artist couple, the establishment produces all sorts of wines with Midwest and West Coast-grown grapes.

Studio Winery + Geneva Lake Distilling offers daily tastings in their lovely patio or tasting room.

The atmosphere is vibrant and welcoming, with art by the owners decorating each wall.

You can take part in numerous art classes and workshops as you sip on your drink!

Aside from wine, drinks include all sorts of spirits, such as bourbon, moonshine, and gin.

The lighthearted, relaxing atmosphere of Studio Winery + Geneva Lake Distilling makes it a friendly option for those intimidated by typical wineries.

Wisconsin is known for its drink, after all, so you’ll definitely want to stop by this weekend!

In addition to all of that, it has a music studio, too, with occasional live concerts and music performances!

Address: 401 E Sheridan Springs Rd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Any good Wisconsin visit involves a good amount of drinking!

That’s why a fair few dive bars are among the most loved points of interest in Lake Geneva.

Here are some of the best ones!

Fat Cats is an immensely popular bar with a relaxed, dark ambiance and a true serving of genuine local flavor and character.

Your old favorite orders will be faithfully and comfortably recreated here and the local on-tap brews are delicious!

Hogs & Kisses is a great nightlife spot.

It’s an ideal spot for those who want to go dancing and aren’t just in it for the good food and drinks!

On Wednesdays, they host a Glenn Davis Blues Jam night, and on Tuesdays, there’s Quizmaster Trivia.

For cheaper drinks, you’ll want to go from Thursday to Saturday night, where promotions are offered.

Owl Tavern is a highly recommended location specializing in beer and barbecue.

The historic smokehouse was built back in 1908 and offers yummy pub foods.

It also has a decently expansive drink list to sample, like the Deschutes Black Butte Porter and the seasonal Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

Finally, Champs Sports Bar & Grill is the to-go for sports fans.

It boasts an award-winning beer garden, great booze, and good bar food.

Various live events are also hosted at the establishment, typically involving exciting live music from well-liked musical acts!

Winter in Wisconsin can be pretty brutal, but Lake Geneva’s Winterfest takes some of the edge off!

For three decades, this nine-day event has been one of the top things to do in Lake Geneva, drawing visitors from across the country.

All sorts of winter activities take place here, including bonfires and s’more roasting on the beach and a fire & ice bar.

You’ll also get to go on a cocoa crawl or take a hovercraft ride!

Most importantly, Winterfest is host to the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship.

15 teams spend three days working as hard as they can to create impressive sculptures out of snow.

Each masterpiece is grandiose, highly detailed, and a showcase of incredible talent and skill!

The competition has no admission cost for audience members, so it’s one of the awesome free things to do in the area during the winter season!

These sculptures will remain shown until they melt away.

Address: Lake Geneva, WI, United States

At Geneva National Resort and Club, you’ll find one of the most unique and magical places to go: the Ice Castles installation.

There are only about five of these in the country, and this lucky Wisconsin city is home to one of them!

The amazing castle is made with a whopping 25 million pounds of ice and is decorated with an additional 12,000 icicles, each one formed daily.

Inside the Ice Castles installations, you’ll have fun crawling through tunnels, sitting on thrones, and enjoying a stunning light show.

There are slides, crawl spaces, fountains, cave chambers, and more to explore!

Address: 1221 Geneva National Ave S, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Looking for more thrill? How about visiting Door County and Madison? If you do plan the trip, here are some top things to do in Door County and some cool things to do in Madison, WI!

The Lake Geneva Balloon Company was founded in 2002, created by John Trione.

Trione’s first hot air balloon ride in 1997 immediately spurred a fiery passion for the sport within him.

He spent 18 months training to fly balloons and receive a pilot’s certificate from the FAA.

After spending some time on the racing circuit, earning a commercial piloting certificate, and working in the field, he opened up his own company!

The Lake Geneva Balloon Company offers an incredible way to take to the skies of Wisconsin.

There are so many things to see from high up above the ground.

Worried about safety?

The company boasts a perfect safety record and has provided incredible tours for years with knowledgeable pilots!

The company also hosts a number of events every now and then that are fascinating to take part in.

Address: N3241 Co Rd H, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Looking for some fun stuff to do as an outdoor enthusiast?

Check out Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures for some great activities!

The expanse of the company’s property runs for an impressive 100 acres, providing plenty of space to enjoy the so-called jungle gym of the skies.

Adrenaline junkies and nature-lovers alike are sure to appreciate this great Wisconsin attraction!

There are two different zipline tours offered by Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures.

The full-source zipline tour brings you across all 9 of the property’s ziplines.

This also includes the chance to walk across 5 sky bridges and climb 3 spiral staircases.

There’s also the short course 4 zip line tour for those short on time or funds.

After that, be sure to check out the high ropes course, with 16 elevated obstacles such as a 35-foot tower, rope wall, and swinging skywalk.

Address: N3232 Co Rd H, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Avant Cycle Cafe is situated in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

It’s the best local hotspot for bikers and peckish travelers alike!

It offers a great stopping point for bikers wondering what to do for a quick drink.

Lattes, iced coffees, cappuccinos, and more are all made from locally-roasted beans.

Many signature coffees here are named after well-known cycling trails.

Of course, Avant Cycle Cafe is also a full-service bike shop.

It’s at a nice, convenient location that’s ideal for cyclers that need a rest or a pick-me-up to start their trip with.

You don’t need to own a bike to stop here, but it’s definitely convenient to be able to rent one right at the cafe!

You can also pick up trail maps or avail of the expert work of the resident mechanic, who’ll change tubes in minutes!

Address: 234 Broad St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Riviera Beach can be found in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Its name is thanks to its location beside the iconic and historic Riviera building on 812 Wrigley Drive.

In a city like this, some of the most delightful tourist attractions can be found along the lakefront, and this beach is one of them!

With 600 feet of sandy shoreline to its name, Riviera Beach offers a fun way to have some time in the sand and sun.

A mix of annual and seasonal passes are available.

On-duty lifeguards are available during most of the beach’s open times for safer swims.

Be sure to follow the rules!

Address: 812 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Lake Geneva Cruise Line is the ideal way to get a relaxing, lavish tour of the beautiful Wisconsin lake!

The touring company offers narrated tours of all sorts, teaching you a variety of tidbits of trivia surrounding the area’s history.

You’ll see gorgeous estates and magnificent mansions situated all along the shoreline.

The Lake Geneva Cruise Line has a number of options available for eager tourists.

Public tours of the lake include the educational Geneva Bay Tour and the two-hour extensive Full Lake Tour.

For a more in-depth experience, you may want the 3.5-hour Black Point Estate tour, which includes a tour of the titular estate in question.

You can also enjoy the 1.5-hour limited Expanded Bay Tour or add a Lake Walk to the end of your cruise.

By far the most popular cruise offered by this company is the US Mailboat Tour.

With so few places in America that still take their mail by boat, this is a one-of-a-kind experience.

You’ll go on the mail route that delivers parcels, packages, and letters to 75 houses around the lake from June to September!

It’s one of the most excellent things to do in Lake Geneva!

There are also numerous tours related to food and drink.

There’s a Supper Club Dinner Cruise with live Sinatra-inspired entertainment and a delightful narrated Luncheon Tour.

You can also partake in the Ice Cream Social Tour, the Sunday Brunch Buffet Cruise, or the Cocktail Cruise.

Music lovers looking for nightlife will enjoy the Jazz Dinner Cruise, too.

Finally, don’t forget to check out special seasonal tour offerings, like the Santa Cruise or Fireworks Tour!

Address: 812 Wrigley Drive Summer Harbor, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

One of Lake Geneva’s most loved accommodation locations is the Grand Geneva Resort.

As a premier tourist destination, it makes sense that it would have some cool Lake Geneva attractions itself.

Two of those fun attractions come in the form of 18-hole golf courses, namely The Highlands and The Brute!

The Brute is the more famous course of the two.

The impressive and majestic span of over 7,000 yards presents one of the most renowned courses in Wisconsin.

It’s commonly known to also have the Midwest’s most challenging layouts.

It is fitted with rolling greens, 68 bunkers, and immaculately manicured maintenance.

Expect prominent water features and huge sand traps!

The par-72 course is quick and challenging with difficult two-putt situations and tough downhill putts.

The Highlands is a Scottish-style, links-type golf course created by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus.

It has been updated twice, once in 1996 and again in 2006.

Expect lighting-quick greens and spacious, expansive, open fairways here!

You’ll also get to enjoy the stunning foliage, landscaping, and creeks that run throughout the course.

With challenging short par 4s, it’s a great choice for strategic golfers and shot-makers who love a tight course.

No matter your experience with golfing, you can enjoy both of the Grand Geneva Resort Golf Courses!

Lessons are even available, and each course has four sets of tees to try depending on your skill level.

This makes it welcoming to all who wish to partake in these activities!

Address: 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Dan Patch Stables is among the ideal places to visit if you love equestrian sports – or if you’re coming with kids!

The year-round establishment is situated in Lake Geneva’s Grand Geneva Resort Spa.

It offers exciting trail rides, led by knowledgeable guides and with gentle, well-trained horses.

Each 45-minute trail ride tour from Dan Patch Stables will give you the chance to witness the beauty of the countryside of Wisconsin.

Dan Patch Stables also offers various other activities.

There’s a petting farm, pony rides, and carriage rides.

If you’re here at the right time, you can also enjoy seasonal delights like hayrides, sleigh rides, and haunted hay barn experiences.

As a family-owned establishment, you can expect a great time and a welcoming experience here!

Address: Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

The Geneva Lake Arts Foundation Gallery 223 is a unique gallery.

It features the works of various artists from Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

It was founded in 1947 and has dedicated itself to the encouragement of artistic exploration, creativity, excellence, and growth.

The Geneva Lake Arts Foundation Gallery 223 hosts a total of six exhibits in Lake Geneva each year.

It also provides numerous classes, shows, lectures, programs, workshops, and demonstrations on a regular basis.

This includes the renowned Art in the Park art show, which is even juried!

This volunteer-run gallery is undoubtedly one of the coolest points of interest for art aficionados!

Address: 223 Broad St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

If you have more time, why not check out Milwaukee and Wisconsin Dells? If you do plan the trip, here are some fun things to do in Milwaukee and what to do in Wisconsin Dells!

The Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum is among the most fun things to do in Lake Geneva for TTRPG fanatics!

It is situated in the original location of Tactical Studies Rules, or TSR.

Founded in 1976, TSR was created by Gary Gygax to produce the now extremely popular role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

A mix of gaming space, hobby store, and historic museum, the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum is nothing short of impressive.

Here, you’ll see all sorts of memorabilia for D&D dating back to before the 1980s and a fair number of rare collectibles.

The museum also hosts some events hosted by well-known Dungeon Masters!

For a great taste of the local role-playing community, stop by the museum while you’re in Wisconsin.

Address: 723 Williams St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

Useful Info for Visiting Geneva 

Geneva Airport (GVA) is located 4 km (2.5 miles) from the city center. Direct flights connect to cities across continental Europe and the Middle East. Upon arrival, you can hop on the train which only takes 7 minutes to reach downtown Geneva.

At the airport, you can pick up a complimentary UNIRESO ticket which permits 80 minutes of free travel in the city. Alternatively, you can hop in one of the taxis outside the terminal or hail an Uber from your smartphone.

If you would rather travel to Geneva by train then the main station, Gare de Genève, is conveniently situated in the central district of Cornavin. You can check journey times and book train tickets from other Swiss or European cities online at Omio.

If you are visiting Geneva as part of a Switzerland road trip, then you can look forward to a scenic drive from neighboring cities such as Bern, Zermatt, or Zurich

Geneva is a charming city to visit whatever time of year you visit. However, for the purpose of this one day Geneva itinerary I would encourage planning your trip in mid-spring to late summer or autumn.

These are when the city benefits from the most agreeable weather conditions, sitting around 21–24°C (70–73.4°F) in June and September, and there are fewer tourists than at peak season. 

During the winter months, the temperatures drop to -1°C (30°F) so you may want to spend more time indoors, checking out museums and cafes. While it doesn’t snow in the city itself, the surrounding Alps will receive a dusting of snow that enhances the beauty of the scenery.  

If you do choose to visit during the peak summer months of July and August, temperatures will reach 26°C (78.8°F) and the lake will be optimal for swimming. But you will need to plan ahead to ensure you have accommodation in place.

A walkable center and superb public transport system make seeing Geneva in a day perfectly attainable. Much of the attractions specified on this Geneva itinerary are within walking distance. When you need to cover further distances, you can get around using the Geneva Public Transport, UNIRESO.

If you didn’t pick up a UNIRESO card at the airport you can do so once in the city. This system encompasses trams, buses (TPG), mouettes (yellow shuttle boats), and commuter trains. Taxis are widely available but using Uber will save some valuable spending money.

If you’re planning to use public transport quite often during your one day in Geneva, it’s worth taking a look at the 24 Hour Geneva City Pass. This pass includes free public transport, as well as free entry to a bunch of museums and other attractions, and grants you discounts on various activities.

Of course, whether the pass is worth purchasing or not, highly depends on what you want to do on your one day Geneva itinerary. But it’s certainly worth considering it!

If you are spending 24 hours in Geneva then I recommend staying as centrally as your budget allows as it will maximize your time exploring. The Cornavin neighborhood features a high number of hotels that are affordable and very handy for public transport.

If you do want to stay further out of town then the super public transport system makes getting downtown a doddle. These are my top picks for where to stay in Geneva for different budgets. 

LUXURY – N’vY Manotel

Wonderfully positioned in the bohemian neighborhood of Paquis, this hotel is within walking distance of all the attractions on this one day in Geneva itinerary and equally convenient for transit. Suites feature lakeview terraces and there is an excellent spread of restaurants and bars on-site to browse. 

MID-RANGE – Hotel Bernina Geneva

Located opposite Geneva’s main railway station, this hotel is perfectly positioned for accessing the city via public transit and is within walking distance to all the major sights on this itinerary. Contemporary rooms are artistically styled and many feature lake views. 

BUDGET – Hotel des Tourelles

Situated in the central St Gervais Quarter, this historic hotel is equipped with modern guest rooms furnished with free WiFi, en-suite bathrooms, and huge windows that flood the space with natural light. The best rooms offer lake views and come with balconies. 

PLAN YOUR TRIP

What to do in Geneva for a day? A lot! See how you can make the most of even the shortest trip to this great city.

1. What’s the best time to visit Geneva
2. A few facts about Geneva
3. One Day in Geneva Itinerary
3.1. Don’t Be Afraid to Squeeze in More Attractions Than Usual
3.2. Visit Lake Geneva To Start the Day
3.3. Take Some Photos at the Geneva Water Fountain or Jet d’Eau
3.4. Take a Short 10-Minute Walk to See the Flower Clock
3.5. Explore the Old Town
3.6. Set Aside an Hour or Two for Lunch
3.7. Move on to Bourg-de-Four Square After Lunch
3.8. Visit the Natural History Museum
3.9. Take a Walk to Promenade des Bastions
4.0. Explore the Promenade des Bastions & Reformation Wall
4.1. Take the Tram to Parc de I’Ariana
4.2. Conclude Your One Day in Geneva with a Nice Dinner
4.3. Return Downtown for a Couple of Drinks
5. Where to stay in Geneva?
6. Day trips from Geneva
7. Extra tips for visiting Geneva

How to Get to Geneva, NY

Want to experience all the very best Geneva NY attractions but aren’t 110% sure how to get to one of the best small towns in New York?

If so then don’t worry because there are a couple of different ways for you to get to and enjoy all of the top things to do in Geneva NY.

You could:

Pro Tip: Like with most places in New York, you’ll definitely need a car to experience all of the best things to do in Geneva NY. So, if you don’t have your own car, be sure to rent one upon arrival in major cities like Binghamton and Rochester.

Best Day Trips from Geneva

WHAT IS IT: One of my favorite towns in Switzerland, this lakeside gem that is home to the Montreux Jazz Fest each year is worth a visit no matter the time of year. 

Whether you visit at the height of summer activity or in the peacefulness of winter, Montreux’s lakeside setting surrounded by a ring of snow-capped mountains (no matter the time of year) is unbeatable. 

WHAT TO DO: The town itself is gorgeous and home to several points of interest, the most obvious of which is Chateau de Chillon (Chillon Castle) a beautiful medieval castle that sits as a little island right on the bank of Lac Leman. 

It’s one of those places that I’m sure you’ve seen a million times on the internet. It’s one of the most famous Swiss castles, and in a country known for its beautiful castles, that’s truly saying something. 

Besides the Chateau, which is well worth the day trip from Geneva just to see, you can also walk along the Montreux lakeside promenade.

Another great thing to do is check out the museum dedicated to Queen, which is in the studio where Freddie Mercury and the rest of his bandmates recorded several albums), or visit the nearby Chaplin’s World museum dedicated to Charlie Chaplin (another famous Montreux ex-resident) in Corsier-sur-Vevey. 

HOW TO GET THERE: The train will take you from Geneva to Montreux quite easily in about an hour and fifteen minutes. 

There are also guided tours which include Montreux and other nearby sights as well, so you can tick a few things off your Swiss bucket list simultaneously.

Book your Montreux + Lavaux vineyards tour here, or your Montreux + glacier tour here!

WHAT IS IT: One of the larger cities flanking Lac Leman (excepting Geneva, obviously), Lausanne is a must-visit city tour for fans of impressive architecture and well-curated museums. 

It’s also one of the easiest cities to visit on a day trip from Geneva due to frequent steamboat connections on the lake.

WHAT TO DO: Built on three steep hills, walking around Lausanne requires a decent bit of fitness (it offers stiff competition to San Francisco and Lisbon), but it’s well worth it!

This city is beautiful everywhere you look. One of its most famous buildings is the Chateau d’Ouchy, a gorgeous multi-turreted, red-roofed castle in the heart of town. 

For fans of museums, Lausanne won’t let you down. Perhaps the strangest museum in all of Switzerland, you shouldn’t miss the Collection de L’art Brut, which features art created by societal outcasts – prisoners, psychiatric patients, and the like – as the collector, Jean Dubuffet, became fascinated with the connection with madness and genius. 

Somewhat patronizingly, he called this work “art brut” (naïve art). The collection numbers more than 50,000 pieces spread across four floors, and it’s undoubtedly a fascinating place to while away a few hours. If you’re a fan of weird travel: this is for you. 

For people looking for a more typical museum, you won’t want to miss the world-famous Olympic Museum which has not only modern artifacts from recent Olympics but even pieces dating back to the original ancient games. 

It’s also really interactive, making it a great place to bring children (the Collection de L’art Brut, maybe not so much!).

You’ll also want to do a wander to the other side of town, on the other side of the train tracks, to see the beautiful Place de la Palud, the heart of Lausanne’s Old Town. 

Here, you’ll see buildings like the city hall, the Instagrammable wooden Escaliers du Marché, the lovely Palais de Rumine (which hosts 5 museums in one building), and other historic towns.

HOW TO GET THERE: It’s just 45 minutes by train from Geneva! 

While it seems like the ferry would be a good option, it takes almost 4 hours each way – so it’s  hardly day trip material.

If you do want to take a boat ride one way from Lausanne, I suggest doing a combined bus and ferry tour like this one, which drops you off in Lausanne by bus, gives you some time to explore the city, and then ferries you back to Geneva on a scenic 4-hour boat cruise.

Book your bus + cruise day trip to Lausanne here!

WHAT IS IT: If there’s one thing I learned from my weeks in Switzerland, it’s that Swiss wine is freaking delicious and it’s really a shame that more of it doesn’t get exported. Only some 5% of the wine ever makes it out of the country! 

So while you’re in Switzerland, you may as well take advantage of the ease with which you can find these delicious wines. 

After all, who knows the next time you’ll see Swiss wine at your local wine shop or on a restaurant’s wine list? 

Many of the best Swiss wines come from the area around Lake Geneva, particularly in the area of Lavaux – a region so famous and beloved for its wine that it’s quite literally a UNESCO World Heritage Site! 

The vines present date all the way back to the 11th century and were tended by monasteries (both Benedictine and Cistercian) which historically controlled the land around this area. 

The Lavaux area covers 30 kilometers of land around Lake Geneva and produces some fabulous wines, so it’s time to get tasting!

WHAT TO DO: Go wine-tasting, obviously! I don’t recommend driving yourself from vineyard to vineyard for obvious reasons, so I’d suggest going on an organized wine tour of the region such as this one

The tour lasts 4 hours and involves a wine tasting, but you’d have to get yourself to Montreux (1 hour by train) in order to do this excursion.

HOW TO GET THERE: Since I don’t recommend going by car unless you have a designated driver (and even then – call the wineries you want ahead of time as most don’t have tasting rooms open all the time), I’d suggest a wine tour like this one offered on Viator

Alternately, you can pair it with a visit to Montreux and Vevey as part of a multi-stop tour like on this one (itinerary and details here).

Book your panoramic wine tasting tour in Lavaux or your tour of Montreux, Vevey, + Lavaux here.

WHAT IS IT: Switzerland is famed for its scenic railways and one of the best railways in the Geneva area is up to the viewpoint at Rochers de Naye! 

At an elevation of just over 2,000 meters, you’ll get sweeping lake views and incredible hiking trails.

WHAT TO DO: The area around Rochers de Naye is mostly known for its aerial views and its hiking trails. 

You may see lots of different kinds of flowers, depending on the season obviously, and you’re likely to see some of the adorable marmot colonies who call this mountaintop home. 

There is also a panoramic restaurant, Plein Roc, where you can eat with an incredible view!

HOW TO GET THERE: There is a cogwheel railway which runs from Montreux through to Glion and then to Caux to reach the summit. 

The whole ride takes just about one hour from Montreux downtown, and you can buy tickets at the Montreux railway station.

WHAT IS IT: An underrated town on the Swiss Riviera, a visit to Vevey is a great idea if you want to skip the crowds of Montreux or Lausanne, both of which are a little more popular with tourists. 

While it doesn’t have the same major attractions as either of the aforementioned cities, it is well worth a visit for its quaint charm and lakeside beauty.

WHAT TO DO:  The most obvious answer is Chaplin’s World, the Charlie Chaplin museum in his former home. It’s the most famous attraction that Vevey claims, but it’s a tiny bit out of town (though still easily walkable). 

Other than that, there’s a well-regarded photography museum, an odd food-themed museum called Alimentarium (in front, you’ll see a puzzling fork statue stuck into the waters of Lac Leman). 

There is also supposedly a Musée de l’Absurde, which I’m sure is exactly what it sounds like! 

You can also walk a bit to Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier which is a minimalist-style house built by the famous Swiss architect in sync with the gorgeous lake surroundings.

HOW TO GET THERE: Located between Lausanne and Montreux, Vevey is an easy train ride away from Geneva, taking just about one hour. 

If you want to see several of the places on this Geneva day trips guide in one go – Vevey, Montreux, and the vineyards of Lavaux, there are full-day tours of the Swiss Riviera that cover all three beautiful destinations in an easy, relaxed day trip. 

Check out 3-in-1 guided tours of the Swiss Riviera here.

WHAT IS IT: If you’re going to leave Switzerland for any day trip to France, I highly recommend it be Annecy and its canals and houses straight out of a fairy tale! Nicknamed “Venice of the Alps”, its charming canals are a photographer’s dream.

There’s enough to do in the lakeside town of Annecy to give it a few days, but if you just have time to visit it on a day trip from Geneva, some planning (or guidance) can make your time well worth it.

WHAT TO DO: A few of the obvious things are to stroll around the Old Town (Vieille Ville) and admire the houses, getting those gorgeous photos of Annecy that everyone wants to leave with – especially the Palais de l’Isle, the quintessential Annecy snap. 

There’s also the Chateau d’Annecy which was a castle back in the 12th century and is part of the medieval town center, but it is now a museum welcoming tourists. 

Finally, the English gardens of Jardins de l’Europe on the banks of the lake also merit a stroll or even a picnic.

HOW TO GET THERE: To DIY it, you can get there by Flixbus from Geneva’s Gare Routière Station. 

Alternately, there are plenty of inexpensive day tours from Geneva which offer a little more structure if you prefer to have some context and guidance on your day trip. 

This affordable option is only a half-day tour so you can explore Annecy and still get back to Geneva in time to rest up and have a lovely dinner and walk on the lake at night. 

Check out prices and availability here.

WHAT IS IT: Want to say you’ve seen Europe’s highest mountain — well, west of Russia’s Mount Elbrus? It’s Mont Blanc in the French Alps.

It’s the 11th highest in the world and while Switzerland’s Matterhorn may have more instant recognizability, Mont Blanc is nearly a thousand feet taller (though it would take nearly a century more for the Matterhorn to be ascended, due to its technical difficulty).

While of course, climbing Mont Blanc itself is out of the question as a day trip from Geneva, you can visit the quaint ski resort town of Chamonix and admire Mont Blanc from there.

It’s a perfect day trip, whether you visit in winter or in summer!

WHAT TO DO: Assuming you’re just visiting on a day trip, a few suggestions would be to see the beautiful glacier Mer de Glace, the third-largest glacier in the Alps.

It is accessible via the Chemin de Fer du Montenvers railway just a 20-minute ride from Chamonix’s center. Alternately, the cable car ride to Aiguille du Midi has incredible views over all of Chamonix.

You can also stroll the pedestrian pathway, Rue du Docteur Paccard, and sit in a café with gorgeous mountain views gorging on coffee and pastries. 

Hikers can make the trip to the photo-perfect Lac Blanc at 2,352 meters above sea level, which can be reached after a strenuous 90-minute walk from the cable car at Flegere.

HOW TO GET THERE: It’s quite easy to get to Chamonix via a Flixbus from Geneva’s Gare Routière if you want to tour Chamonix independently. It takes about one hour to get between the two cities. 

Alternately, you could go on a guided day trip which covers the cable car, the Montenvers railway, the glacier, and more with transfer included. 

Check out this Chamonix + Mont Blanc + glacier tour or do this combined Annecy + Chamonix day trip!

WHAT IS IT: If you’re a big fan of cheese, making a pilgrimage to Gruyères – the namesake of one of the world’s most delicious cheeses – is in order.

I mean, is there anything more prominent on any cheese-lovers bucket list?

WHAT TO DO: Besides overdose on lactose? Sights include the 13th-century Gruyères Castle, the medieval village architecture, the gorgeous Catholic Église Saint-Théodule, and the HR Giger Museum which is an art museum inside the castle.

If you go as part of a guided chocolate and cheese-themed tour to Gruyères, you can take the lovely Golden Train to make your commute part of the journey. 

You’ll get to visit a proper chocolate factory, learn to prepare Swiss fondue with the sound of real Swiss cowbells jangling behind you, and explore the sights of Gruyères village. 

HOW TO GET THERE: The most indulgent way is definitely on the Gold Tour with chocolate and cheese tastings! 

You can do the tour accompanied by a travel guide, either with the Gold train included (prices and availability here) or you can save a bit of money by swapping the luxe train for a bus ride (prices here). There are also private group tours.

Alternately, you can DIY a trip to Gruyères by going by public transportation, which takes 2 hours and involves taking two trains and then a bus. 

However, if you do that, you won’t have the option to do the chocolate factory visit or cheese tasting experience. You can visit Maison Cailler independently (learn more on their website here) but it’d be a bit tougher to time and manage.

For that reason, if budget is a concern, I’d recommend against DIYing it and picking a different Geneva day trip instead – there are plenty to choose from!

WHAT IS IT: Yes – this is the town of the famous Évian water! 

it’s famous for its mineral water springs (hence the “bains” in its name, which is French for “baths”) and gorgeous lake setting on the other side of Lac Leman from Switzerland, a 35-minute ferry from Lausanne.

THINGS TO DO: Besides sampling the water from the local springs, there’s a surprising amount of beauty to find around Évian! 

Check out the art nouveau gorgeousness of the Cachat Pump Room, take the fin-de-siecle-era funicular up to the luxe Hotel Royal Evian, visit the Palais Lumiere, or check out the beautiful town hall.

HOW TO GET THERE: While you’d think you could easily go by train, the French and Swiss train connections really aren’t so good. This is why Flixbus dominates the connections between Geneva and Annecy as well as Geneva and Chamonix and Mont Blanc.

Therefore, it’s best to go Lausanne by train first (1 hour) and then get a ferry over, which takes about 35 minutes, about 2 hours total. 

There’s also a private group tour that also includes scenic Yvoire, which is a good deal for a group of 4 people or more, but it would be quite expensive for solo travelers or couples. 

Check prices & availability of the group tour here!

WHAT IS IT: The nearest glacier to Geneva. 

If you only are visiting Geneva on your trip to Switzerland don’t have time to make it to more impressive glaciers like Titlis and Gorner, make it this one! It’s especially great for kids as it has a lot of activities to enjoy.

WHAT TO DO: A trip to the impressive Glacier 3000 is one of the most popular day trips from Geneva and is best done as part of a tour. 

The trip starts with a transfer from Geneva, then takes you to the cute mountain village of Les Diablerets. From there, you can take a cable car up to a glacier. 

At the glacier, there is a cool suspension bridge that connects two mountains, giving you impressive views of 20+ peaks over 4,000 meters — including the Matterhorn on a clear day! 

Kids will love adding on various activities like a snow bus ride, Alpine coaster, and Peak Walk. As a bonus, you can tack on a visit to Montreux at the end of the trip.

HOW TO GET HERE: There are two tour options at different price points. For a budget-friendly way with fewer inclusions, check out this bus tour to the glacier. 

For a more exciting, all-inclusive trip, check out the Gold Tour which has more inclusions such as the snow bus ride, the cable car, etc.

Book the glacier tour by bus or the Gold Tour with all the extras!

WHAT IS IT: The capital of Switzerland is also a downright beautiful place to visit, with the scenic Aare River running right through it in brilliant shades of turquoise.

Check out Bern to see the heart of Switzerland and how this country like no other merges the beauty of nature in with its cityscapes in a way that is hard to replicate elsewhere.

WHAT TO DO: Bern is a vibrant city with plenty to do! The most famous landmark in Bern is the Zytglogge, a medieval clock dating back to the 13th century which shows the centuries-old Swiss fascination with keeping time.

There also fantastic museums in Bern, such as the Einstein Museum and the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts), and a scenic Old Town to explore.

HOW TO GET HERE: This is an easy day trip to DIY, with frequent trains connecting Geneva with the Swiss capital. The train takes about 2 hours and involves no connections.

WHAT IS IT: The largest city in Switzerland, Zürich is also Switzerland’s most multicultural city. 

While Bern is the technical capital of Switzerland, Zürich is the county’s cultural capital, and it feels the most contemporary and vibrant.

WHAT TO DO: There’s so much to do in Zürich that it’s worthy of a few days in and of itself, so if you were to visit on a day trip from Geneva, you’d have to make some serious decisions about what to prioritize and what to cut!

Whether it’s window-shopping on the Banhofstrasse, checking out the medieval churches of the 11th and 12th centuries like Grossmünster and Fraumünster, or visiting the Swiss National Museum, you’ll get lots of culture on a day trip to Zürich.

HOW TO GET HERE: Geneva and Zürich handle most of the flight traffic into Switzerland, and as a result, there are several direct trains between the two cities. The train takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes and is very scenic. 

Due to the long train ride, it’s not the first day trip I’d suggest, but it is quite doable!

A QUICK CITY GUIDE TO GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Geneva

I recently had an amazing opportunity in July to visit Geneva, Switzerland with the Geneva Tourism Board. Switzerland has always been on my bucket list for many years, so I was really excited to explore it! Geneva is a city that lies at the southern tip of Lake Geneva, surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains. From Geneva, you can see Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Here’s a quick city guide to Geneva, Switzerland!

Hotel President Wilson is a luxury contemporary hotel with views of the lake and Mont Blanc. Read about my experience here

Explore Geneva’s Old Town – Geneva’s old town has a lot of charm and history. Wander around the cobblestone streets, get lost and visit Saint Peters Cathedral for panoramic views of the city. There are no elevators so be prepared to walk up 157 stairs but the views are worth it!

Genvea

Genvea

Food Tour & Explore Carouge – There are so many restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream shops and chocolate shops so the best way to try everything is doing a food tour or feel free to wander on your own into the local shops. We had a mini chocolate tour at Chocolaterie Philippe Pascoët.

Genvea

River Rafting – A fun summer activity in Geneva is going river rafting!! It’s quite an experience if you haven’t done it. The water is quite cold so try not to fall in. I didn’t expect to have so much fun but we had a blast!

Geneva

Geneva

Fishing on Lake Geneva – Lake Geneva is known for their fresh fish caught in the lake so of course, we went fishing! Perch is a fish that is mostly caught from the lake. This was my first time fishing and we caught plenty of Perch but also this large fish!

Geneva

Geneva

Picnic in the park – Immerse yourself and feel like a local by having a picnic at the du Parc des Eaux-Vives. With views of the lake, have a relaxing evening at the park. During the summer they have Music in Summer which is a concert that takes place around Geneva.

Geneva

Geneva

Explore the International District – Explore the UN building, the broken chair, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

Geneva

Countryside Bike Tour – Take a bike tour with an electric bike along the beautiful countryside

Geneva

Geneva

Day trip to Yvoire – Geneva borders France so a day trip to Yvoire is a must! It’s situated on the lake and takes less than 1.5 hours to arrive by boat. Yvoire is a small medieval town and one not to be missed. Stop by Les Jardins du Leman for lunch with views of the castle.

Geneva

Geneva

Day trip to Mont Blanc – Take a day trip to visit the highest mountain in the Alps. It’s a popular mountain resort of Chamonix where you can ride the cable car to Aiguille du Midi for panoramic views.

Day trip to Montreux – Montreaux is a little over an hour by train or car. Offshore is a stunning medieval island castle, Château de Chillon.

La Perle Du Lac – What to order: Fish of the day and save room for the dessert cart!

La Perle Du Lac

Alma Restaurant – What to order: Cocktails are amazing! Guacamole is addicting, empanadas, cheese sticks, everything was delicious!

Alma Restaurant

I truly loved Geneva and would love to re-visit as soon as possible! If you have plans to visit Switzerland I highly suggest spending 4-5 days in Geneva to see everything it has to offer!

 

I was invited to Geneva by the Geneva Tourism Board.
As always, all honest opinions are my own.

Geneva looks lovely, with so many things to do! Of course, I’d be eating chocolate all day lol but honestly I’d be happy just exploring the Old Town!

The old town and chocolate is the perfect way to spend your day in Geneva!

I totally want to visit Geneva JUST for the chocolate! ? Love that they offer free public transportation! That is amazing for us travelers.

Yes you will love it! Geneva is amazing!

Such a great guide. I’m not all that familiar with Geneva but would love to explore now. ? Those macarons…nom. River rafting, that was a shocker. Loved all of your pictures and the picnic looks super fun.

Thanks Melody! You will have fun if you visit!

Free public transportstion?! I’m in.

I’m a big foodie so be prepared to see mouth watering photos of what I eat! =)

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