Best of Rhinelander

Forward Rhinelander Announces “Best of Rhinelander” 2019 Winners!

After tallying hundreds of votes from people in our community, Forward Rhinelander is excited to announce 2019’s “Best of Rhinelander” winners! Many places, people, and experiences make Rhinelander a remarkable place to live, seek, and explore. In 33 different categories, ranging from the best fish fry to the best place for a first kiss, voters shared some of their favorites.

Best place for a walk in the woods?
Winner: Hanson Lake – Located near the Rhinelander – Oneida County Airport and the Rhinelander Soccer Complex, Hanson Lake provides a picturesque setting for a peaceful stroll through nature. A walk around the entire lake is about two miles long and is time well spent for an individual looking to get away, or for the whole family. Honorable Mention: Buck Lake/Almon Recreation Area and Holmboe Conifer State Natural Area

Best media personality?
Winner: Mike Michalak – Mike, also known as Double M, has been a fixture in the Rhinelander media market for many years. He is currently the morning host on Hodag Country WHDG and has previously worked for WJFW. He is also host of the 60 Second Angler and Emcee’s many local fundraisers. Honorable Mention: Ben Meyer and Geoff Weller from WJFW

Best place to listen to music?
Winner: ArtStart – With Lunchtime Music outside in the summer, an Evening Roots Series, and many special music performances, ArtStart is becoming a hub for local and regional musicians to display their talent. Honorable Mention: Nicolet College and WXPR

Best annual event?
Winner: Hodag Country Festival – In its 42nd year, Hodag brings some of the best country music acts in the nation to the local stage for four days of music and fun. Thousands of people spend a week or more camping on the fest grounds each July, and the combination of regular campground fun and amazing music is surely a sea of sights and sounds to behold. Honorable Mention: Fourth of July Celebration and Art Fair/Car Show/Bikes & Burgers event each June

Best place to share a dessert?
Winner: Briq’s Softserve at Jet’s Dairy Bar – A staple on the north end of Brown Street in downtown Rhinelander, Briq’s is known for its one-pound cones. You will never leave with an empty stomach as you relax on the outdoor seating on a beautiful Northwoods summer evening. The many places to take a seat only enhance the ice cold treat. Honorable Mention: Brown Street 151 and Culver’s

Best place to take out of towners?
Winner: CT’s Deli – Located in a historic building in downtown Rhinelander, CT’s serves up some of the finest sandwiches in the Northwoods. Chef Tom smokes his own meats and always has new and unique specials on a constantly changing menu, so each time there can seem like your first time! Honorable Mention: Brown Street 151 and the Hodag at the chamber.

Best activity for teens?
Winner: Rouman Cinema – A long time family-owned theater brings Rhinelander the newest movies, has a game room, and scrumptious snacks for all movie goers. Rouman Cinema also hosts a New Years Eve bash specifically designed for teenagers. Honorable Mention: YMCA of the Northwoods

Best fish fry?
Winners: Al Gen & The Beachcomber – The Al Gen is a long standing traditional Northwoods supper club that provides an all you can eat Friday Fish Fry served with family style salads. Beachcomber is a small restaurant and bar on Clear Lake that provides unique fish fry options including Cajun or Italian seasoned grilled fish. Don’t miss the Beachcomber’s homemade cheesecakes. Honorable Mention: Henkel’s Town Pump and The Brick

Best place to go boating/kayaking/canoeing?
Winner: Boom Lake & Wisconsin River – Boom Lake, a flowage formed from the dam at the Rhinelander Paper Mill, is located in the heart of Rhinelander. You can launch multiple places up river for a long trek into Boom Lake, or just paddle around for the day near the boat landing/Hodag Park. Honorable Mention: Pelican River and Crescent Lake

Best place to go pontooning/partyboating?
Winner: Boom Lake/Rhinelander Flowage – With acreage totaling 1,377 acres, you can cruise on the main lake, head up river, or get away to a smaller bay to swim. Boom Lake has multiple bars and restaurants you can dock right next to as you take a break from being on the water to having a drink and a meal while simply appreciating the beauty of it all. Honorable Mention: Lake George and Lake Tomahawk

Best place for a first kiss?
Winner: Hodag Park – On the shores of Boom Lake, Hodag Park is picturesque, which makes it a great place for a first kiss. Just make sure you’re not “parking” after hours or the RPD may witness your kiss! Honorable Mention: Back of a Ford (or Chevy) truck and Northwestern’s back booth

Best sporting event to attend?
Winner: RHS Football Games – Something is always special about “Friday Night Lights,” which makes RHS Football games at Mike Webster Stadium the favorite sporting event. Named in honor of RHS grad and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Webster, the scene at a Hodags home football game is something the whole family can enjoy. Hopefully the Hodags can take back the Bell in 2019! Honorable Mention: RHS Basketball Games at Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium and Hockey Games at Rhinelander Ice Arena

Best view of the Tiffany domed courthouse?
Winner: Davenport Street, Looking East – On the National Register of Historic Places, the Oneida County Courthouse and its Tiffany Dome is 110 years old. The views from Davenport Street are striking. Honorable Mention: Davenport Street Bridge

Best happy hour?
Winner: Rhinelander Cafe and Pub – Since 1911, the Rhinelander Cafe and Pub has been a fixture in Rhinelander for more than a century. Recently, the Cafe and Pub renovated adding a taproom with 24 craft beers on tap. Honorable Mention: CT’s Deli and Bucketheads

Best place to go for a bike ride?
Winner: Bearskin Trail – Located just west of Rhinelander, the Bearskin Trail stretches from Minocqua south to near Tomahawk. Pack a picnic lunch and stop for some scenic views to make a day out of it! Honorable Mention: Washburn Lake Trails and Hodag Park

Best place for outdoor winter fun?
Winner: Northwoods Golf Course – In the winter, the Golf Course becomes a winter recreation haven. There are nine miles of groomed cross country ski trails, and some special events that include fat tire biking and snowshoeing are also offered. Honorable Mention: Sarocka Park and Camp 10

Best day trip?
Winner: Bond Falls – A little more than an hour’s drive north of Rhinelander, Bond Falls is a series of waterfalls within the Ontonagon River. Many trails meander through the falls to provide some excellent sight seeing. Honorable Mention: Lake Superior and Minocqua

Best first sign of spring?
Winner: Robins – Many people think of spring at the first sight of robins in the Northwoods. You know the weather is really getting nice when the robins can pluck a worm from the thawed ground. Honorable Mention: Ice out on local lakes and the tulips blooming at the post office.

Best place to celebrate a special occasion?
Winner: Holiday Acres Three Coins Restaurant – Located at Holiday Acres, one of Rhinelander’s generational resorts, Three Coins Restaurant serves up some spectacular dishes for a delicious fine dining experience. Many weddings and other celebrations are also held here. Honorable Mention: Brown Street 151 and The Historic Davenport House.

Best Old Fashioned?
Winner: Rhinelander Cafe and Pub – As Wisconsin’s (un)official state cocktail, the Brandy Old Fashioned requires a talented bartender to muddle the proper mixture and the Cafe and Pub does it better than anyone. Honorable Mention: Beachcomber and Al Gen

Best place to people watch?
Winner: Walmart – No surprise here, as Walmart shoppers are one of the most entertaining groups of people to watch all over the country. However, stop in Walmart during Hodag Country Festival, and it will put you at an entirely different level of people watching. Honorable Mention: Hodag Country Festival and Downtown Rhinelander

Best place to meet someone for lunch?
Winner: CT’s Deli – Conducting a business meeting with a colleague, or have the day off and want to unwind, CT’s Deli can provide the atmosphere for almost any lunch occasion. Sandwiches, soups, and salads are great lunch foods, and enjoy a cocktail, specialty beer, or just a soda to quench your thirst. Honorable Mention: Crimson Cup and Northwestern

Best way to unwind?
Winner: Chill out at home – People need some time alone too, so relaxing at home was voted the best way to unwind. Honorable Mention: Fishing or other water activities, drinking, and working out at the YMCA of the Northwoods

Best Beach?
Winner: Buck Lake – With crystal clear water and soft sand, Buck Lake is the place to spend a hot summer day. Need a break from the beach? Buck Lake also offers hiking trails and a disc golf course. Honorable Mention: Sugar Camp Lake, Two Sisters Lake, and Hanson Lake

Best radio station?
Winner: WXPR – Offering a unique mix of music, news, and other radio programming, WXPR is a one-of-a-kind radio station located in the heart of Downtown Rhinelander. WXPR also hosts live music events throughout the year at various venues around the area. Honorable Mention: WHDG and 93.7 Coyote

Best family friendly event?
Winner: 4th of July Festivities – An all-day event, the parade runs downtown during late morning, followed by fireworks at dusk over Boom Lake, best viewed from Hodag Park. Thousands of people head to the park on the 4th of July for cookouts, boating, and other family fun. Honorable Mention: Oneida County Fair and Lights of the Northwoods

Best place to propose?
Winner: Hodag Park – Summer or winter, the park provides an element of romance that is great for a proposal. This past winter, there were numerous proposals during the Lights of the Northwoods event held at Hodag Park. Honorable Mention: The Hodag at the Chamber of Commerce

Best place to eat with kids?
Winner: Culver’s – Kids and adults alike enjoy the delicious frozen custard or other dessert concoctions that Culver’s has to offer, but with options for kids such as corn dogs, grilled cheese, or chicken tenders, Culver’s usually can offer even the pickiest child a great choice. Honorable Mention: Friendship House and Pizza Haven

Best park or rec area?
Winner: Hodag Park – Home to Rhinelander Little League, the Hodag Waterski Show, and many other events, Hodag Park has so much to offer for all types of park goers. Numerous pavilions, a fishing pier, a playground and a beach give endless hours of outdoor recreation opportunities. Honorable Mention: Pioneer Park and Buck Lake

Best place to buy a gift?
Winner: Lattitudes – Located in Downtown Rhinelander, Lattitudes is the perfect place to get a gift for the favorite gal in your life. With a wide selection of unique clothing and other gifts, you’re likely to find just the right item. Honorable Mention: Tricia’s Treasures, Mel’s Trading Post, and Joe’s Pasty Shop

Best Bloody Mary?
Winner: CT’s Deli – Come thirsty (and hungry) and try a Lunchbox Bloody Mary at CT’s. The Lunchbox includes smoked ribs and chicken, a sandwich, and more (16 total garnishes). If you don’t have anyone to share with, you can also get a regular bloody mary garnished up. Honorable Mention: Northwestern and Cross County Bar and Grill

Best Thing about Rhinelander?
Winner: The People – The term “Wisconsin Nice” is a real thing, and the people of Rhinelander fit the bill. All over the Northwoods you’ll find a group of friendly people willing to lend a helpful hand. Honorable Mention: The Hodag and the many local Non-Profit Groups

What do you wish was in Rhinelander?
Winner: Target – Not your traditional big box retailer, Target offers a wide range of quality products that many desire in the Northwoods. Rumors are floating around often about when (and where) Target will be coming to Rhinelander. Honorable Mention: Ethnic Restaurants

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