Grand Belle of Geneva at Altavista (Courtesy of
Grand Belle of Geneva (Courtesy of

People constantly rave about their summer getaways to places like The Hamptons, Nantucket, Cape Cod, etc. But if you are a Chicagoan, there is only one place to go – Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The charming town is located close to the Chicago and makes for the perfect weekend getaway. There are plenty of places to stay, but the best option is Geneva National. What was once Hugh Hefner’s first Playboy Resort has been transformed into one of Wisconsin’s best places for a wholesome family retreat! The Geneva National hosts multiple golf courses and restaurants along with a great spa. Lake Geneva also caters to those seeking a more cozy, romantic vibe. There is a delightful little spot known as the Geneva Inn. The intimate setting and stunning views cannot be beat.

Of course one cannot leave Lake Geneva without a peak at the amazing mansions that surround the fresh water lake. You can hop aboard the famous Lady of the Lake and listen to Captain Ken divulge fun historical facts while you drool over the spectacular homes. If boating is not your speed, the lake can be explored by foot. The Wrigley Mansion, Alta Vista and the House in the Woods should not be missed.

When it comes to the wine and dine scene, Lake Geneva has some interesting options. The “hot spot” these days is the new Pier 290. The décor is an interesting mix of Tory Burch meets Captain Hook with an outdoor beach. It is more of a sandbox than a beach but equally appealing. Aside from that, Lake Geneva is best done Old School. Popeye’s on the lake is a must. There are always pigs and chickens rotating straight from the outdoor spit to the plate. Sorry Vegetarians! You can go to the Cheese Box up the street and indulge in Wisconsin’s best known delicacy.

Mars is another spot locals turn to for BBQ. The ribs are good, the chicken is terrible and the same lady has been singing at the piano for no one knows how long. Beware: anyone who ventures out to Mars better do it at night. During the day it is unclear if you are on vacation or the lead in a horror film.

There is not much of a night life in Lake Geneva which might not be such a bad thing considering you are asking for a DUI – especially with Illinois plates! Passengers can check out Hogs and Kisses or Champs in town. If you are down with beers, shots and don’t mind a little WTP it will be a blast! The best hangover cure is Daddy Maxwell’s breakfast. The round room is worth the wait.