Oshkosh is in east-central Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Winnebago. Its unusual name has travelled far as the name of "Oshkosh b'gosh" clothing, and as a synonym for EAA Airventure, one of the world's great celebrations of aviation, held at the Wittman Regional Airport here.
1 Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH) can support any private aircraft that wish to land. If you plan to fly in here during Airventure, you will find yourself among tens of thousands of other aircraft doing the same thing. You absolutely must get the Airventure NOTAM from the Airventure website and follow it carefully.
The airport isn't served by any commercial airline. Commercial air service for Oshkosh is provided by Appleton International Airport (ATW) which is 20 minutes north.
Oshkosh is approximately 45 minutes south of Green Bay, 20 minutes south of Appleton, and 1.5 hours north of Milwaukee. The main north-south route is Interstate 41 and the main east-west route into Oshkosh is State highway 21.
- Greyhound Bus Lines, 525 W 20th Ave (in front of the terminal at Wittman Regional Airport), ☏ . Greyhound offers service into Oshkosh from many cities in the region. The stop at the airport terminal is a couple of kilometers south of downtown. $42 one-way from Chicago (example).
- Kobussen Buses, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fox Valley Shuttle, 2005 West 9th Avenue (picks up at a Perkin's Restaurant, at the Intersection of Washburn and 9th Ave., just west of Hwy 41), ☏ . Runs about 8 scheduled trips between Milwaukee airport, Oshkosh, and other cities. Allow 2 hours to get to MKE. Picks up here only if they have a paid reservation here. Discount for booking online. $41.40 to MKE (example).
- GO Transit, 926 Dempsey Trail (Transit Center is at Pearl Ave and Market St.), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 6:15AM-6:15PM, (no service on nights, Sundays, and some holidays). The local bus operates 11 routes out of the Transit Center. Each route has two departures per hour. The web site has a route map. $1.50 (adult).
- Oshkosh City Cab Co. +1 920 235-7000
- Yellow Cab Co. +1 920 235-1950
- EAA Shuttle, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 6:20AM-8:40PM (during AirVenture only). During AirVenture there is a special shuttle that runs twice per hour from the Transit Center at 110 Pearl Ave, to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh on Osceola Street opposite Gruenhagen Hall, to the bus drop area near the AirVenture main gate, to the Wittman Regional Airport terminal building, looping back to the Transit Center. The unlimited pass also lets you ride for free on any OTS route during AirVenture. If you are staying at UWosh housing for AirVenture, you can buy the bus pass when you check in. $3/round trip, $20 for an unlimited AirVenture week pass.
The AirVenture grounds stretch for kilometers, literally. You will walk a lot. There are helpful trams that run north and south parallel to the flight line, and stop near many of the main attractions. The AirVenture map lists the routes. Cars aren't allowed on the AirVenture grounds, except by certain staff.
If you can bring a bicycle, it will make travelling around much easier. There is a bike corral about 200 m from Theatre in the Woods in the direction of Camp Scholler. However, there aren't other bike corrals. This means that you may not be able to lock your bicycle in other places; you'll need to keep it with you as you explore.
For people who have a hard time walking, electric carts are available for rent from near the main gate.
- 1 Paine Art Center and Arboretum, 1410 Algoma Blvd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Su 11AM-4PM. The local art museum housed in the former mansion of a lumber baron. Contains alternating exhibits and a collection of local art. $7 Adult, $6 seniors (65+), $5 students, $4 children (under 5 free), $18 family.
- 2 [formerly dead link] EAA Aviation Museum, 3000 Poberezny Road, ☏ . Daily 10AM-5PM. Aviation museum with a collection of over 200 aircraft. Free EAA members, $12.50 adult (18+), $10.50 seniors (62+), $9.50 students (6-17), free children (5 and under), $31 family.
- 3 Oshkosh Public Museum, 1331 Algoma Blvd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM - 4:30PM, Su 1PM-4PM. A good overview of the history of the town and area from pre-settlement days to the present. The Apostle's Clock is undergoing restoration. $4 adult, $3 children (under 6 free).
- OTS Route 1 (East Loop), 110 Pearl Avenue (Transit Center is at Pearl Ave and Market St.), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-S 6:15AM-6:15PM, every 30 min (no service on nights, Sundays, and some holidays). The local bus route 1 (East Loop) follows a scenic route south along the waterfront, and for only a dollar it's very cheap. $1.00 (adult).
- Air show every day at 3:30PM-5PM. Features a mix of world-class aerobatic performers, military aircraft demonstrations, and other rare and notable aviation demonstrations. The performers are all volunteers; AirVenture is to airshow performers as Carnegie Hall is to musicians. The schedule of performers is different every day. See the AirVenture Today newspaper for details. Just before the airshow at 2:30PM, there is a showcase of various classic aircraft flying by.
- Boeing Square, on a direct line from the main gate to the flight line, has an assortment of particularly notable military, historic, or record-making aircraft. For instance, in 2007 AeroShell square was filled by a huge C-5 Galaxy cargo plane, a slender glider which carried Steve Fossett to the world glider altitude record, a B-24 Liberator bomber, and a dozen more. In the past, Concorde and SpaceShip One both were here. Several of the planes allow walk-throughs.
- Warbirds in the north end of the show area. Hundreds of aircraft from the 1930s to the 1970s. P-51's, L-39's, DC-3's, a huge smorgasbord.
- Homebuilt aircraft park just behind the flight line from the control tower south to AeroShell square. This area is also a great place to watch the air show.
- Vintage aircraft, a way to the south of AeroShell Square, feature hundreds of aircraft from the early 1900s through 1970.
- AirVenture is so large, it's pretty much impossible to see and participate everything there in the week available. Read the schedule, look for what interests you, or just stroll around and make discoveries. But don't fret about what you miss.
- Evening presentations at Theatre in the Woods feature historical or famous aviation figures.
- Fly-in Theatre features a different aviation-themed film each night at 8:30PM, projected on giant outdoor screen, located just north of Camp Scholler. Frequently an aviation celebrity introduces the film. Film and popcorn both free.
- 4 Menominee Nation Arena (Oshkosh Arena), 1212 South Main St.. Small arena that is home to the NBA G League team the Wisconsin Herd.
- Sawdust Days. July 4 and nearest weekend. The annual celebration of Independence Day and the cities logging history. Includes amusement park rides, Native American encampment, fireworks and more.
- Art Walk, Downtown (Park across from library or behind True Value Hardware). Monthly display of local artists in a variety of galleries and boutiques. Food and drink offered in most stores. Dirst Saturday of the month 6PM-9PM, Free.
- Festival of Lights, Menominee Park, December. A large assortment of Christmas light displays. Christmas music is broadcast and sleigh rides are offered. Fee, reduced with non-perishable food donation.
- CountryUSA. Annual Country music festival.
- Lifest. Annual Christian Rock festival.
- Battle on Bago. The Midwest’s largest ice fishing tournament, created in 2007 by a group of five Oshkosh Southwest Rotarians in order to support area youth and conservation efforts throughout the state of Wisconsin. Beneficiaries receiving funds from Battle on Bago embody the mission statement of the event "For Kids & Conservation". Battle on Bago has generated net proceeds of nearly $500,000. With over $275,000 in prizes and the structure of how you can win a prize, everyone has a chance to go home a winner. Battle on Bago is an event supported by the community and returned directly back to the community. If you don’t feel like fishing, you are more then welcome to come to the tent (free admission) for great food & drinks, live music and tons of awesome raffle prizes.
EAA AirVenture, last Monday in July through Sunday. Sometimes known simply as "Oshkosh", it is one of the world's great aviation gatherings. A week-long aviation event offering seminars, product demonstrations, aircraft tours and daily airshows. One of the largest airshows in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people drive in, tens of thousands of aircraft fly in. A tent city sprouts under the wings of parked aircraft and beyond. Be on the alert for closed roads all around Wittman airport and Highway 41 during the festival. Hotels can be filled for tens of miles around, but local universities open their dorm rooms, and private homes their spare bedrooms, to the visitor. See the AirVenture and Chamber of Commerce websites for leads on housing. If you plan to fly into Wittman airport during AirVenture, you must absolutely get the AirVenture NOTAM and follow it carefully. Flights originating from international destinations must stop at either Appleton International Airport (KATW) or General Mitchell International Airport (KMKE) to clear customs before continuing onto Oshkosh.
Volunteering at AirVenture is a great way to experience the event at a whole different level. Flight Line Operations volunteers, clad in fetching orange vests, direct incoming and departing aircraft as they taxi between runway and parking. It's an exciting way to be close to a huge variety of noisy, smelly machines. Protect Our Planes volunteers walk among the planes on display, reminding visitors not to touch and perhaps damage the planes, or smoke near them. It's a way to help the festival while getting a good look at planes you wanted to see anyhow. And there are many other possibilities, too. AirVenture's Volunteering web page [dead link] lists what you can do and how to register. Or, come to the Volunteer Information Center on the grounds and offer your services.
Forums are a held in a dozen open-walled lecture rooms to the north of AeroShell square. Experts and enthusiasts volunteer to deliver hundreds of talks on every conceivable aviation topic. Frequently the audience contains experts every bit as authoritative as the presenters. The AirVenture Today newspaper contains the full forum schedule for each day.
- Hangars A, B, C, D are filled with hundreds of vendors offering everything from T-shirts to turbochargers. The major aviation retail vendors and equipment makers tend to be here. There are usually excellent show special prices on the latest and coolest gadgets.
- Fly Market, between AeroShell Square and the Forums area, have small booths with vendors of parts, junk, memorabilia, and dozens of other products. Look for especially good deals in the last day or two of the festival, as vendors try to move merchandise so they don't have to cart it home.
- Aircraft vendors have elaborate booths along the road from the main gate to AeroShell Square, and spilling north and south along the festival area. It's not an exaggeration to say that every significant manufacturer of general aviation aircraft for North America are present here. They may feature their latest, coolest craft which were just announced at AirVenture.
- 1 Ardy & Ed's Drive In, 2413 S Main St, ☏ . Traditional drive-in experience.
- Bangkok Thai, 80 Wisconsin St, ☏ . Good Thai food.
- Becket's Restaurant, 2 Jackson St, Oshkosh, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Modern American dining specializing in locally-sourced ingredients.
- 2 Brooklyn Grill, 607 South Main St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Th 11AM–9PM, F 11AM–9:30PM, Sa 11AM–9PM. Bar and grill.
- 3 The Chalice, 1741 N. Main Street, ☏ . Good food in a traditional Wisconsin supper club environment.
- Cranky Pat's, 100 N Main St, ☏ . Thin-crust pizza in a kid-friendly environment.
- 4 Friar Tuck's, 1651 W South Park Ave, ☏ . Daily 11AM. Generous American fare at a fair price.
- 5 Gardinia's Wine Bar and Cafe, 448 N Main St, ☏ . M–W 11AM–midnight, Th–Sa 11AM–2AM, Su 2PM–midnight. Gourmet cuisine.
- 6 Jansen's, 344 Bowen St, ☏ . Lunch 11:30AM-2PM, dinner from 5PM. A wide variety of steaks, seafood and sandwiches. Considered by many to be the best tavern food in town. Lunch $5-10, dinner $10-20.
- 7 Manila Resto, 107 Algoma Boulevard, ☏ . M–W 11AM–2:30PM, 5PM–9PM; Th–Sa 11AM–2:30PM, 5PM–closing. Filipino cuisine and sushi bar.
- 8 New Moon Cafe, 401 N Main St. M 6:30AM–8PM, Tu–Th 6:30AM–9PM, F 6:30AM–10PM, Sa 7AM–10PM, Su 8AM–5PM. Coffee shop with light fare.
- 9 Papa John's, 150 Wisconsin St (at Campus Place, opposite UW's Scott Hall), ☏ . 10AM-11:45PM. Eat there at a few barren tables, or take out, or have them deliver. You can order from their web site. Within 100m of this restaurant are a dozen other places to eat and drink. Small pizza $5.99-10.99, large pizza $10.50-17.99, soda $1.59, plus tax..
- 10 Ruby Owl Tap Room, 421 N Main St, ☏ . Daily 11AM–midnight. Comfort food and extensive beer selection.
- 11 Sakura Japanese Steakhouse, 330 North Koeller St, ☏ . Japanese cuisine. Sushi and hibachi.
- 12 West End Pizza, 1414 W 20th Ave, ☏ . M–Th 4PM–10PM, F Sa 4PM–11:30PM, Su 4PM–9PM.
Food courts are scattered at a dozen locations throughout the grounds. They can be broken into the "Brats and Burgers" and "Cafe" groups, each of which have similar menus. Prices are a bit inflated; a full lunch will be $8-10. All vendors operate out of stalls, and you eat on nearby picnic tables.
Vegetarian food and healthy food is hard to find at AirVenture. "Park Cafe", "Warbirds Cafe", and "Classic Cafe" offer a vegetarian wrap which is reasonably tasty at $8, but their "Chef's Salad" sadly has a stratum of ham. Pizza vendors usually have a cheese pizza option: see for example the pizza counters on the northeast corner of Hangar B and the southwest corner of Hangar A.
There are no bars or nightlife on the AirVenture grounds, except perhaps for private parties at various campsites.
- 1 Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center, 1 N Main Street. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
- 2 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Oshkosh, 2251 Westowne Ave, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Quaint hotel near UW Oshkosh, Prime Outlet Mall and EAA Museum. Free express breakfast, high speed internet, indoor pool, whirlpool and fitness center.
- Comfort Suites Oshkosh, 400 S Koeller Street, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Hotel with free breakfast, fitness center, indoor heated pool, free popcorn machine, and an arcade.
- [dead link] Camp Scholler. Check-in: 7AM during AirVenture, check-out: anytime during AirVenture. Camp with 40,000 other aviation enthusiasts on a 20'x20' lot. Walk to bathrooms and Wi-Fi access points. At least one person in the group must be an EAA member. No reservations, but there's always plenty of room in Camp Scholler. $27/day; $65/day for a campsite with electricity and water.
- [dead link] Airplane camping. If you fly in to AirVenture, there is a certain amount of space to park your plane and pitch a tent under your wing. Walk to bathrooms and wi-fi access points. At least one person in the group must be an EAA member. $27/day.
|Routes through Oshkosh|
|Green Bay ← Appleton ←||N S||→ Fond du Lac → Milwaukee|
|Wittenberg ← New London ← Jct W E ←||N S||→ Fond du Lac → Milwaukee|
|Coloma ← Wautoma ←||W E||→ END|
|END ←||N S||→ Waupun → Johnson Creek|