You'll find easily accessible public transportation available in Green Bay -- the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad runs from Green Bay to Ontonagon, Michigan and the Green Bay Metro offers several bus routes throughout the city and the suburbs. On game day, special routes are added that begin and end at Lambeau Field. If you prefer to drive, I-43, I-41, and Highway 172 encircle the city. Downtown Green Bay is pedestrian-friendly with wide sidewalks and ample crosswalks.
The charming downtown area is filled with locally-owned shops and restaurants. With its wide sidewalks and quaint storefronts, this is an ideal shopping destination. You'll find a variety of boutiques along Broadway Street downtown. And when you really want to shop-'til-you-drop, head to Military Avenue. For more of a mall setting, head to Bay Park Square Mall, home to Kohl's and Younkers. East Town Mall, located on the eastern side of the city, contains stores like Office Max, Hobby Lobby, and Bath & Body Works. It also features a six-screen movie theater.
If you need to furnish your new apartment, check out Interior Motives, an upscale consignment shop featuring a variety of home accessories, furniture, rugs, and artwork. If you don't find everything you need there, head to Josephine's Attic Gifts & Décor for a charming selection of accessories. And if you need a cheesehead or a jersey for your first Packers tailgate, head to Packers Pro Shop. If you are a really big football fan, you can find Packers items for your home, as well -- everything from glassware to toasters.
With Green Bay and the Fox River adorning the city, Green Bay offers some spectacular parks. Leicht Memorial Park, bordering the Fox River downtown, hosts many of the city's festivals and events, including the Tall Ships Festival. The linear park CityDeck is also downtown and features the Fox River Trail and public artwork. The Fox River State Recreational Trail is 20 miles long, leading from downtown to the county line. The trail is ideal for walking, jogging, bicycling, and rollerblading. The park also features a boardwalk/promenade along the river, a splash pad, and gorgeous views.
The Bay Beach Amusement Park, a completely different type of municipal park, is also along the Fox River. This park has roller coasters and other rides, ranging from kid-friendly boats on a pond to the Bay Beast, a vertical drop. There's the prerequisite Ferris wheel, bumper cars, a merry-go-round, and a giant slide, as well. The park's newest ride, the Zippin Pippin, is a roller coaster 2,500 feet in length.
The Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo is another great destination. The zoo covers 43 acres and includes attractions, shelters for parties, playground areas, and special events. The zoo's Adventure Park is adjacent to the zoo and includes zip lines, a climbing tower, and an aerial adventure course.
You'll find great food in Green Bay -- try a variety and you're sure to find some go-to favorites fairly quickly. Start at Black & Tan Grille, located downtown in the historic Bellin building. When you just want a great steak and a glass of wine, this is the spot. After dinner, enjoy spending some time in the lounge. Football fans will love Brett Favre's Steakhouse, which includes football memorabilia, some of it belonging to Favre himself. When nothing but fancy and French will do, head to Chateau de Pere, an award-winning hotel set in a 19th-century mill. The hotel features the Café Chanson, which offers award-winning French cuisine, and the Taverne, where you can sample tavern-style dishes while enjoying fine French and California wines.
No matter where you choose to have dinner, there's one place you'll want to go for dessert -- Cheese Cake Heaven. Enjoy a slice of decadent turtle cheesecake with a hot cup of cappuccino -- or head there for breakfast or lunch. Cheese Cake Heaven is also a café and deli, with offerings like lobster bisque, salads, and even burgers and hot dogs.
Green Bay's nightlife is probably more exciting than you'd think -- it is a college and football town, after all. When you aren't tailgating at Lambeau Field, you can spend time exploring the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. Head to the Stillmank Brewing Company and enjoy what has been called the "best tap room in Green Bay." If that gives you a taste for more, take a brewery or winery tour. And if you want to dance, listen to music, and get together with friends, Green Bay is home to more than 40 bars and nightclubs.
In the 1600s, French fur traders were experiencing some issues with the Native Americans in the northwestern region of New France, an area claimed by France that extended from Newfoundland south to the Gulf of Mexico and west from the Hudson Bay to the Rocky Mountains and including all of the Great lakes. At the time, France wasn't really interested in colonizing the region. Instead, they sent explorers to gather resources. They were also interested in finding a shorter trade route to China through Canada. Jean Nicolet was sent to New France to form an alliance with the Native American tribes around the Great Lakes region, and he arrived in 1634. He established a trading post, one of the earliest European settlements in the New World. Apparently, Nicolet wasn't all that impressed with the region -- he named it La Baie des Puants, French for "the stinking bay."
It wasn't until 1717 that a permanent settlement was established at La Baie, and the small town was incorporated in 1754. After the French and Indian War in 1761, the British took control of the area, and the French ceded all of the land east of the Mississippi River following their defeat. In 1765, Charles de Langlade settled in the area, earning him the nickname, "the father of Wisconsin." The British started calling La Baie "green bay" because in early spring, the water had a green tint to it. The French name was used less and less, and "Green Bay" became more common.
Here's a fun fact: Green Bay was once known as the "Toilet Paper Capital of the World" due to being the location of several paper companies, including Northern Paper Company. This innovative company developed the first splinter-free toilet paper in the 1930s (you can thank Green Bay for that).
Here's another fun fact: The Green Bay Packers are named for one of the many packing companies that used to populate the city. The Indian Packing Company operated here in the early 1900s, and the football team was founded and named by a shipping clerk by the name of Curly Lambeau. Curly was captain of the football team at Green Bay East High School, where he graduated in 1917. He went on to play football at the University of Notre Dame, but a severe case of tonsillitis forced him back home, and he went to work at the packing company. But football called to him, and he founded the football team with George Whitney Calhoun. In 1919, he was able to get the company's owner to pay for the new team's jerseys and to let them use the company's athletic field. Curly Lambeau became the first coach of the Packers, from 1919 to 1949.
If you want to learn more about your new home of Green Bay, be sure to visit the area's museums after finding your Green Bay apartment. Some great locations include the Heritage Hill State Historical Park, the National Railroad Museum, the Neville Public Museum, and the Walk of Legends (a walking tour exploring the history of the Green Bay Packers).
You'll get plenty of beautiful city for your buck in Green Bay -- even though it is located on the bay with fantastic views and a historic downtown (not to mention it's home of the Packers), it is fairly inexpensive when compared to the rest of Wisconsin. Apartments in Green Bay rent for about $640, and a house averages about $121,000 -- less than the state average of $163,000. The cost of living in Green Bay is about two percent below the national average, meaning your money will go a little further when living here.
While packing companies aren't as common as they once were, there are still a few in Green Bay, including JBS USA, a meat-packing company. Other major employers include Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Humana, Schneider National, Georgia-Pacific, and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.