When you think of top winter destination cities in America, Waukesha’s typically not the first that comes to mind.
But Waukesha was featured as the No. 6 top winter destination city in the country by Livability.com. Lowell Park’s toboggan run, nearby ski resorts (Alpine Valley and Olympia), area sledding hills, ice skating and cross country skiing are among some of the reasons Waukesha’s on the list.
“Waukesha is a heartwarming small town American destination, whether you are moving, traveling or simply exploring interesting festivals or places to eat,” said Mayor Jeff Scrima.
In addition to outdoor activities, the website gave Waukesha a high rank because of its indoor activities:
Besides its many outdoor activities, the city's collection of cultural attractions, restaurants, bars and indoor recreation facilities make it a top destination for cold weather fun.
Restaurants, shops and cultural attractions fill historic buildings downtown and draw visitors to the district, which includes a river walk. People can warm up with a drink inside one of the many downtown bars and pubs, peruse paintings and other artwork at more than a dozen galleries, or get a history lesson at the Waukesha County Museum.
Indoor water slides, tube rides and whirlpools at The Springs Water Park make for a tropical break from all the cold and snow. Other spots for indoor recreation include Adventure Rock Indoor Climbing Gym; Brew City Paintball, which has a 44,000-square-foot arena with all turf playing fields; Laser Tag Adventure, where players stalk each other in jungle ruins; and the Center Court Sports Complex, which has basketball and volleyball courts.
The rankings were built on a variety of criteria, according to a news release from Livability.com:
To narrow down the list, editors started by identifying those cities with an average temperature below freezing and an average annual snowfall more than 25 inches. Next, they looked for cities that offer an ample number of outdoor recreation options – cities near ski slopes or frozen lakes, or with large open areas perfect for snowshoeing or snowmobiling. Finally, editors factored in the number and type of indoor activities offered, such as shopping, dining, concerts and theater.
Surprisingly, no cities in Colorado made the list. The top city is Anchorage, Alaska. But people in Waukesha are shocked that the city is considered a top winter destination city. They reacted to the news on Facebook with some people believing the news was a joke.
“Someone has lost their mind,” wrote Shannon Nodell Lobough.
“I think Waukesha would be the last place for a winter get away. Thers absolutely nothing here affiliated w winter lol” wrote Matt Gehrke.
“My favorite thing to do in waukesha for the winter? Leave,” said Eric Flitsch.
“Are we sure this wasn't an ‘Onion’ publication that someone thought was real so published it as such? Lol,” wrote Alex Robles.
But it wasn’t all bad:
“Maybe it's Waukesha's charm and little town feel...especially near downtown....,” wrote Jolene Abegglen.