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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin: A Lakefront Landscape

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin at a Glance

Location: East central Wisconsin on the southern end of Lake Winnebago

Access: Interstate 41 and Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

Major Meeting Spaces: Hotel Retlaw, Radisson Hotel and Conference Center

Hotel Rooms: 12,000

Off-Site Venues: The Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, LaClare Family Goat Farm, Kelley Country Creamery, Road America, Ziegler Winery

Contact Info:

Destination Lake Winnebago Region

At the southern foot of Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago is cozy and picturesque Fond du Lac, a lakefront town of nearly 50,000 residents set in the rolling landscape of the Niagara Escarpment. Its small-town charm and plenty of big venues make this approachable community a tempting place for meeting planners. It’s also accessible, within an hour of both the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport and the Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport.

In many ways, Fond du Lac’s relationship to the lake and surrounding natural areas defines it.

“We have this massive body of water, we have a beautiful rolling landscape, the Horicon Marsh and the Kettle Moraine forest — it’s just a beautiful area to live in,” said Craig Molitor, executive director for Destination Lake Winnebago Region. The town is laced with parks and trails. Two blocks from downtown, 400-acre Lakeside Park is considered by many the community’s crown jewel, with a lighthouse, walking and biking paths, and boat rentals.

“Anyone remotely interested in the outdoors or an active lifestyle is going to be in hog heaven,” Molitor said. “All of our natural assets are a four-, five- or 10-minute drive. It’s a very compact community and very easy to navigate around.”

A recently renovated and walkable downtown is home to one-of-a-kind restaurants. With the suave and superbly restored Hotel Retlaw as their headquarters, groups can enjoy local breweries and distilleries and dine at restaurants like the Cellar District, housed in a former church.

“Fond du Lac is very diverse and very safe. It’s a small Wisconsin town with some really nice, charming, even big-city assets,” Moliter said, ticking off the art museum, solid shopping options and exciting nightlife. Without a chain restaurant in sight, attendees can dig in at local spots like the Brick House, Theo’s 24 and Copper Cock Tavern.

Major Meeting Spaces

The Hotel Retlaw stands in the vibrant downtown. Its $30 million renovation restored it to its Roaring ‘20s glory, and today, this elegant luxury hotel is the pride of the town. The 121-room property has 10,000 square feet of meeting space and a full-service restaurant. Using meeting space across the street at the local art museum, the THELMA, adds another 10,000 square feet.

Another option in Fond du Lac’s conference district, the 300-room Radisson Hotel and Conference Center has  24,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 7,000-square-foot conference center.


Anchoring the arts and entertainment district is a destination with dual appeal for planners. The Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts — locals call it THELMA — is a center for music, film, classes and of course, art, along with light-bathed event spaces. Groups can book any of THELMA’s five meeting areas, which seat from 75 to 250 people. THELMA also has a bar on every floor, live entertainment and, in the summertime, street music on Thursdays.

Race to Team Build

Planners, start your engines. Located east of town in the Kettle Moraine forest is one of top motorsport tracks in the world: Road America. Many of the best racers in recent memory have burned rubber on its four miles of winding track. That’s good news for planners looking for entertainment and team-building opportunities. Groups of all sizes can head out to Road America’s nearly 650 acres to watch the races or try Road America Adventure Programs like karting, geocaching, off-roading and driving.

Dairy Offers Something Different

Agritourism is bountiful in America’s Dairyland, and that’s certainly true in Fond du Lac. Groups can  see ice cream being produced at Kelley Country Creamery, a 163-year-old, fourth-generation working dairy farm. If the name seems familiar, it may be because the creamery was featured on “Good Morning America,” where it was crowned America’s Favorite Ice Cream Parlor. On Lake Winnebago’s eastern shore, LaClare Family Creamery and Goat Farm is also a popular off-site adventure. This thoroughly modern facility makes award-winning goat cheese and offers a meeting space, a restaurant and a shop, but goat yoga, goat petting and seeing baby goats get the most accolades from groups.