10 of Our Favorite Places to Visit in Stoughton, Wisconsin
Stoughton will always hold a special place in our hearts. A small city in southern Wisconsin with a deep Norwegian history, Stoughton has a unique pull for creative spirits. It has been on the precipice of popularity for years, though its residents are keen on preserving the quiet life that the city possesses.
That’s why, when the opportunity arose for Cire’, Dune’s founder, to start her own shop filled with antique wares and vintage goods, she knew Stoughton would be the perfect place. After growing up in this idyllic city, Cire’ wanted to return and give it something that was interesting, fun, and funky.
Now, you can find Dune Gift + Home on Main Street in Stoughton, nestled among hidden gems and one-of-a-kind places that are just off the beaten path. If you’re making a trip to Stoughton soon (hint: you should be), these are the places that you need to add to your must-visit list.
10 Must-Visit Places in Stoughton, Wisconsin
Food + Drink
Wildwood Cafe was made for Instagram. Bold, textural design, comforting menu offerings, and damn good coffee make it a hot spot for anyone looking to have a distinctive experience (and document it for their followers!). After moving to Wisconsin from Seattle, Wildwood’s owners saw an opportunity to bring cafe culture to the small city of Stoughton. They opened in May 2018, after years of dreaming about owning their own local-focused coffee shop, drawing in customers from around the Madison area to check out their gorgeous interiors and inviting cuisine. Wildwood’s owners called the cafe their “love letter to Wisconsin” in a Madison Magazine feature, and we couldn’t agree more. This little shop epitomizes the organic, local-focused energy of small cities like Stoughton. Stop through on your way down Main Street for a cup of Wisconsin-brewed coffee, or make it your choice for a sit-down brunch before a day of adventure in Stoughton.
With some of the highest Yelp ratings of any restaurant in the area, Koffee Kup is a must-visit eatery in Stoughton, Wisconsin. This place is a generational staple, with many Stoughton locals becoming loyal customers after years of eating at the diner-like tables with their parents and grandparents. Head here if you’re craving comfort food, because this spot has every option available, from vegan and vegetarian offerings to good old fashioned burgers and fries, plus breakfast classics like eggs, bacon, and pancakes. No matter what time of day you decide to stop by, expect quick service, friendly employees, and delectable food that will fuel you for whatever adventure lies before you. Our advice: don’t skip dessert. The Koffee Kup’s brownies and pies are mouthwatering - and you don’t want to miss your chance to try them out!
If you’re looking for an innovative, contemporary restaurant, you’ll find just what you’re looking for in Stoughton. Wendigo, a restaurant named for a mythical man-eating creature that can be found in folklore native to the Great Lakes area, brings that local-focused ethos to life through its menu. Split into sections with names like “For Foragers” and “For the Ravenous”, it’s clear that Wendigo has something for everyone. When you’re eating at Wendigo, you know that you’re eating true Wisconsin food, as Wendigo’s owners are committed to working with local farmers and growers in order to source their ingredients. This is a local experience, one reflective of the geography and personality of Stoughton, and your trip to this city wouldn’t be complete without it.
Shopping + Gifts
It wouldn’t be an accurate list if we didn’t mention Dune Gift + Home, would it? Though we opened our doors in November 2018, we have quickly become a must-visit destination in Stoughton. Our home on Main Street makes our store the perfect place to pop into during a day spent shopping on the main drag - and we’ve heard that our window displays are quite the draw! When you’re at Dune, you can shop at your leisure, taking your time as you walk through the store, discovering tiny details among our vintage items, stopping to breathe deeply, taking in the incredible aromas of our locally-made candles. This isn’t your typical gift store, filled with screen printed souvenirs or cheaply made trinkets. Dune is a place where you can find that one perfect thing for a friend or family member, an item that was created by a talented local maker, or passed down through the years before ending up in your possession. We hope that the next time you’re in Stoughton, you’ll stop in and say hi.
When it comes to buying clothing, we are over going to the mall. The trend toward purchasing from small businesses has been a cornerstone of Stoughton for some time, and you can get in the spirit by checking out Stori Anne Co. This boutique on Main Street was started by two friends with a passion for fashion who wanted to bring the latest trends to this small Norwegian city at an affordable price. You won’t find anything ordinary in Stori Anne Co., and you can bet that if you decide to make a purchase it won’t be like anything else in your closet. This store is uniquely Stoughton, translating the latest runway looks into styles that fit our city’s vibe, but here’s how you know you need to stop in: Stori Anne Co. was voted one of the “Best of Madison” for women’s clothing stores!
Would this be a small town Wisconsin must-visit list if it didn’t include a cheese shop? Cheesers is a Stoughton mainstay, originally opened in 1995, and home to the highest quality cheeses produced both in Wisconsin and elsewhere. According to their website, there are about 140 varieties - and 75% of them are available for sampling.
Whet your appetite with unique cheeses from around the world, the walk away with a hand cut block, cheese curds, an artfully crafted cheese tray, or even a custom gift basket.
For those who are looking for an outdoor experience, Eugster’s Farm is the perfect excursion. Throughout the year, they host activities that give visitors a chance to explore nature, get away from their worries, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Though you can even visit during a Wisconsin winter, ask anyone and they’d tell you to come during sunflower season. Eugster’s Farm’s website gives you a general idea of when this will be each year depending on the weather, but it typically begins at the end of July and runs through the middle of August. You might be wondering - what’s so special about sunflower season? Well, you’ve never seen fields like this. Eugster’s Farm is home to over 500,000 sunflowers spread across 15 acres, an indescribable sight for any nature lover. Make it a point to bring your camera - this is a can’t-miss photo opp.
Stoughton is full of history and character, and one place where you can find it all in one package is the Stoughton Opera House. Located in the City Hall building, you won’t be able to miss this attraction if you tried. The structure is one of the most recognizable in the city, with an iconic clock tower that is a fixture of Stoughton’s downtown. Today, the Stoughton Opera House hosts musical and theatrical performances, with upcoming acts like Crystal Bowersox and The Steel Wheels. Buy a ticket and you won’t be disappointed - the interior of the Opera House has maintained its early 20th century aesthetic, making it a night of visual pleasure along with charming entertainment.
Looking to dive a little deeper into the history behind our beloved city of Stoughton? Look no further than Livsreise, the Norwegian Heritage Center, located off of Main Street. In a museum setting you have the opportunity to explore what it would have been like to travel from Norway to America, choosing a vocation, and even packing your trunk. Get up and close and personal with cultural items specific to Norway, from performing arts pieces to traditional customs and the Norwegian language. You’ll also get to know the stories behind the emigration movement to America, and why so many Norwegians decided to settle in Stoughton, Wisconsin. When a family-friendly attraction meets educational opportunity, it’s impossible to say no! Vi ser deg der!
Whether you’re seeking creative inspiration or an unusual date night, you’d make the right choice with Abel Contemporary Gallery. While they haven’t opened up shop in Stoughton just yet (mark your calendars for Spring 2019!), we already know that this gallery will make a splash in the artistic city of Stoughton. According to Abel’s website, once the new building in Stoughton is open, “Abel Contemporary will continue to host three concurrent exhibitions: a solo or two-person show, a group show and an exhibit in a space akin to the current Cooler.” As champions of makers and creators, we are incredibly excited for Abel Contemporary Gallery to maker their home here in Stoughton. Head here with an open mind, an excitement for novelty, an expectation of originality, and the possibility that you may just find your new favorite artist.