Although it is home to the mythical Hodag monster, you won’t find somewhere more welcoming or charming than this small city in Wisconsin. 

Rhinelander is a vacation destination in the Midwest known for ice fishing and antique shopping. The county seat of Oneida County lies in north Wisconsin and is surrounded by picturesque lakes.

Rhinelander is affectionately known as “Home of the Hodag.” In 1893, local prankster Eugene Shepard reported capturing and killing a fearsome green monster covered in white spikes. After Shepard was said to have captured a second creature, which he called a Hodag, the sensation grew. It wasn’t until scientists from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. expressed interest in inspecting the beast that Shepard admitted it was all a hoax. Today, the mythical Hodag is a mascot of the city. As you pass the Chamber of Commerce, look for the statue of the legendary creature.

Discover other aspects of Rhinelander’s past at Pioneer Park Historical Complex. This open-air museum has recreations of log cabins from the fur trade era and shops from the late 19th century. Explore the old schoolhouse museum and learn about Rhinelander’s long logging history. The museum includes several exhibits devoted to the Hodag.

Fishing is a favorite leisure activity in Rhineland, often referred to as the “Ice Fishing Capital of the World.” The surrounding area is full of lakes and streams that are teeming with musky, bass and other fish. Purchase all the equipment you need at local bait shops.

Explore antique stores and boutique shops in downtown Rhineland. Sip coffee in cafés or indulge in three-course meals at restaurants. Enjoy a show at Tommy O’s Playhouse or see local artists’ work at ArtStart, a community-supported gallery located in the old Federal Building.

Rhinelander has mild summers and very cold winters with heavy snowfall. Bring high quality cold-weather clothing for ice fishing and cross-country skiing in winter.

Rhinelander is in north Wisconsin, a 4-hour drive west of Minneapolis. Green Bay is a 2.5-hour trip by car. Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport offers flights to the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan area. Rhinelander’s isolated location in the lake region of Wisconsin only adds to the city’s charm.

Top Hotels in Rhinelander

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
The Waters Of Minocqua
The Waters Of Minocqua
3 out of 5
8116 Highway 51 South, P.O. Box 1053, Minocqua, WI
$89
per night
Nov 24 - Nov 25

This family-friendly Minocqua hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Campanile Center for the Arts and Bearskin State Trail. Island City Antique Market is 2.6 mi (4.1 ...

4.2/5Very Good! (594 reviews)

"Homey, unique, felt safe. Clean. A beautiful environment to visit and build family memories. Everything we needed, and more, was in our room."…"

Reviewed on Nov 19, 2019

The Waters Of Minocqua
The Pointe Hotel and Suites
The Pointe Hotel and Suites
2.5 out of 5
8269 Hwy 51 South, Minocqua, WI
$105
per night
Nov 22 - Nov 23

Situated in Minocqua, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Campanile Center for the Arts and Bearskin State Trail. Island City Antique Market and Dr. Kate ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (239 reviews)

"We booked this room on a spur of the moment decision and were pleasantly surprised with it!"…"

Reviewed on Nov 4, 2019

The Pointe Hotel and Suites
Best Western Derby Inn
Best Western Derby Inn
2.5 out of 5
Us Highway 45 N, Eagle River, WI
$116
per night
Nov 22 - Nov 23

Situated in Eagle River, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of World Snowmobile Headquarters and Amsoil Eagle River Derby Track. Eagle River Golf Course and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (184 reviews)

"The hotel is new and very clean. The pool is open 24 hours. I have stayed there twice so far. I was disappointed with the suite because I paid extra for a suite so that I could eat in my room but the suite did not have a kitchenette, it had the same small refrigerator and microwave that are in standard ..."…"

Reviewed on Nov 5, 2019

Best Western Derby Inn

Popular things to do in Rhinelander

Wildwood Wildlife Park and Nature Center
Image for Wildwood Wildlife Park and Nature Center
trover photo by Jen Nausin

Wildwood Wildlife Park and Nature Center

4.5/5(11 reviews)

Explore the great outdoors at Wildwood Wildlife Park and Nature Center, a lovely green space in Minocqua. Amble within the forests or visit the waterparks in this family-friendly area.

Reviews of Rhinelander

4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
22
5 - Excellent 25.88235294117647%
4 - Good
48
4 - Good 56.470588235294116%
3 - Okay
12
3 - Okay 14.117647058823529%
2 - Disappointing
3
2 - Disappointing 3.5294117647058822%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Oct 18, 2019

Friendship house restaurant was good

4/5 - Good

Ann

Aug 24, 2019

Very quiet town for a weekend in August. Friendly people. Some good restaurants and businesses. Nice area.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Aug 17, 2019

Road construction

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Aug 12, 2019

Rhinelander is a great small town

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Aug 11, 2019

I had an eye appointment at the eye center.

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveler

Aug 7, 2019

It is close to the airport, but a lot of construction and not an attractive area.

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