Cambridge Do a Day of Play

Welcome to Cambridge, Wisconsin, and the Lake Ripley area where we invite you to “Do a Day of Play.” Whether your idea of play is a hike or bike ride on our CamRock trail system; a shopping stroll down our historic main street; or a stay in one of our welcoming B&Bs, there’s plenty to choose from in Cambridge. You’ll find our current events on the insert in this guide along with a map of the Cambridge and Lake Ripley area.

Founded with a flour and feed mill in 1847, Cambridge is brimming with historic charm. Visitors today enjoy quaint bricked buildings filled with modern shopping, artisan finds, pottery, boutiques and plenty of coffee, wine, beer and dining.

Stroll through Rowe Pottery, a Cambridge mainstay for over 40 years. Explore the shops at 214 Main, our former wagon factory, to discover Avid Gardener, Sprout Artisan Marketplace and Cambridge Furniture Traders. Step inside our 1851 stagecoach stop where Becky Taggart Redmond has been proprietor of The Voyagers Jewelry Design for over three decades.

Shop at The Garment Shop, Premiere Couture, A Box of Fluffys or Katy’s Corner. Visit Cambridge Winery for a wine tasting, rent a bike at CamRock Café, grab a bite at CCs Sandwiches, The Daily Grind, PLOW or any of our unique local eateries.

Visit to design your “Day of Play” in Cambridge and for details on current events. When you’re here, stop by the Chamber of Commerce welcome center at 102 W. Main St. for more information. And, if you fall in love with our thriving community, check out our “Make Cambridge Home” section for connections with local real estate agents, bankers and businesses.


Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce

Playing with our Past

Founded in 1847 with saw, feed and flour mills, Cambridge was legendarily named by one of our founding fathers, Alvin B. Carpenter, after the hometown of his sweetheart. Cambridge’s past is filled with bustling 19th century commerce, crop and tobacco farming and Lake Ripley recreation. Visitors today can tour the Cambridge 1906 Historic School to learn about our past with museum displays reflecting our interesting history.

Uniquely located on the Dane and Jefferson County line next to beautiful Lake Ripley, Cambridge remained an “inland” town, untouched by railroad development. Despite lacking local rail access, Cambridge thrived and even became a birthplace of innovation as Cambridge resident Ole Evinrude developed the outboard motor inspired by Lake Ripley. Arthur Davidson, founding partner in Harley-Davidson, was a Cambridge resident and personally delivered one of his new motorbikes to replace the mail delivery bicycle at our post office. NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth is a recent local celebrity and visitors can check out the Matt Kenseth Fan Club in downtown Cambridge featuring memorabilia and racing cars from his wins.

At a slower pace, the peaceful tides of Lake Ripley have long been a popular getaway for Chicago and Milwaukee vacationers and favorite relaxation spot for locals. Our parks, public beach and playgrounds give easy access to sparkling waters for swimming, boating, kayaking and canoeing. Lake Ripley Country Club, established in 1915 by Cambridge icon A.R. Amundson, is a local gem celebrating over a century of golf in our community.

From our roots in grist and grit, Cambridge has evolved into an artist’s hotspot. We’re a haven for potters, artisans and creatives of all types. We boast a healthy Cambridge Arts Council, hosting the annual Midwest Fire Fest each July, along with summertime concerts in our downtown Veteran’s Park (combined with an open-air market). Handcrafted artisan goods are available for shoppers any day of the week in our Main Street shops including Rowe Pottery, which has stood on the same Cambridge corner for over 40 years. Each piece of Rowe Pottery is one-of-a-kind, bearing the signature stamp of both the artisan and the decorator.

Since the 1990s, the development and expansion of the CamRock trail system has energized Cambridge into an active place to play. These trails continue to expand and connect for hikers and bikers. The trailhead for CamRock 1 is just steps outside the back door of CamRock Café for year-round adventure. Rent bikes, skis or bring your own for a trail adventure. And, when you’re done, we’ve got a spot to relax, refuel and reflect at any of our unique eateries.

So, why the umbrella? In 1938, local candy maker Arthur Melster led local businesspeople to brand Cambridge “the umbrella vacation spot” with our beautiful lake and bustling area amenities. Umbrellas were placed on our light poles downtown and Cambridge became known as the “Umbrella City.” Today, we like to think of the umbrella as a sign to slow down, enjoy and “Do a Day of Play.”

Things to Do in Cambridge

Things to Do in Cambridge

We love to play outside in Cambridge. The development and continued expansion of the CamRock trail system has energized Cambridge into an active place to experience nature. These trails continue to expand and connect for hikers and bikers, Fat Tire riders and cross country skiers. The trailhead for CamRock 1 is just steps outside the back door of CamRock Café for year-round adventure. Rent bikes, skis or bring your own for a trail experience. And, when you’re done, we’ve got a spot to relax, refuel and reflect at any of our unique eateries.

If you’re a lake lover, dip into Lake Ripley, a sparkling gem in Cambridge. This 420-acre lake has a maximum depth of 44 feet, loaded with fish including Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. Take Park Road east of downtown to locate Ripley Park with a public beach, playground and concessions. The park is open seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Enjoy two tennis courts, a basketball court, volleyball courts, disc golf and more. Three shelters are available for rent and visitors enjoy a new bath house facility. Whether your idea of active play involves tires and trails or waves and water, you’ll find plenty of ways to play outside in Cambridge.

Arts and Culture

Cambridge WI Arts and Culture

Cambridge is home to a variety of artists from potters and painters to textile artisans and our very own milliner (find her goods at The Garment Shop). The Cambridge Arts Council ( brings together artists, writers and musicians of all types to promote creative activities and support the arts in our area.

We offer year-round artistic fun. Each spring, The Clay Collective, a group of eight potters along with selected guest potters, open their studios and galleries so pottery lovers can interact with artists as they debut their newest works.

The annual Midwest Fire Fest bursts forth each July with an impressive reveal of a one-of-a kind sculpture surrounded by two days of celebrating “all things forged in fire.” Regular Wine and Art Nights and the Summer Concert Series in downtown Veteran’s Park keep our community creative juices flowing. The fall Earth, Wood & Fire tour offers a seasonal look at a wide variety of local artisans, many with interactive demonstrations.

You’ll find artists quietly at work every day in downtown Cambridge. Explore unique handcrafted jewelry at The Voyagers Jewelry Design. Artisans are at work daily carving molds, pouring precious metals and creating original art pieces for clients in the historic “Old Stone House.” At Rowe Pottery, craftspeople have their wheels moving daily creating earthy salt-glazed pottery that has stood the test of time for over 40 years.

A variety of creative finds abound at Sprout Artisan Marketplace and a changing selection of handcrafted furniture is available from Cambridge Furniture Traders.

We invite you to visit, be inspired and perhaps choose a piece of Cambridge culture to take home, reminding you of your “Day of Play.”

Family Playtime

Cambridge is the perfect place for family fun and playtime with kids. Check out Lake Ripley Park with play structures, family restrooms, our beautiful public beach and plenty of space to make memories.

We offer several family-friendly events throughout the year. Join us for our annual Memorial Day Parade and Fireman’s Breakfast. Come downtown for “Concert in the Park” nights, enjoy a winter skate at Westside Park or bring your sleds for fun at CamRock Park.

Make a scarecrow together at Fall Fest in September; visit Santa, sip hot cocoa and enjoy a horse drawn hayride during Cambridge Classic Christmas each December.

Visit the Matt Kenseth Fan Club to see cars and trophies from our local NASCAR favorite or get hands-on with Cambridge Community Activities Program’s “Touch-a-truck” each May.

If you’re in town for the season, check out the classes, activities and programs available for kids of all ages through our Community Activities Program at

Romantic Weddings

Cambridge is the perfect place to bring hearts together. We’re a popular elopement location where couples can enjoy a romantic stay in one of our many historic B&Bs or rental homes including The Victorian of Cambridge, Lake Ripley Lodge, Oscar H. Hanson House B&B and Cambridge House B&B..

Capture beautiful memories with JulieAnderson Photography and with other personalized wedding amenities in the area.

For those planning a more elaborate affair, wedding planner Stephanee Hughson can help you design the perfect day. Select an elegant bridal gown at Premiere Couture, shop Cambridge Jewelry or create a custom engagement and wedding band at The Voyagers Jewelry Design.

Delegate decorating details for your venue with professional event design from 1231 Decor.

Get pampered from head to toe with hair, makeup and mani/pedi services from Pure Hair Concepts, Elegance and Design Studio or A Box of Fluffys. The Cambridge Winery offers special event catering for parties up to 250 guests.

Not ready to get hitched? Simply design a relaxing getaway for two.

Play for Foodies

Cambridge WI Restaurants

Bring your appetite when you visit Cambridge! Tempt your taste buds with a fresh baked donut or scone and your favorite coffee kick at any of our cafes including The Daily Grind, CamRock Café, Cambridge Coffeehouse or The Family Restaurant.

Lunch and dinner options range from soup, sandwiches and salads at any of our downtown cafes to several Wisconsin Friday Fish Fry choices. Enjoy pub favorites at Keystone Grill, Kurt’s Place or Mink Farm Tavern. Try a lobster roll or brisket at CCs Sandwiches on Highway 18 next to the Cambridge Cooler.

Linger by the outdoor fire at PLOW located in our original grain mill while their chef prepares farm-to-table faire for a unique dinner experience. Find plenty of wine and beer offerings around town coupled with chef-created accompaniments at The Cambridge Winery (don’t miss their wine tasting experience). Be sure to stop in at Katy’s Corner for daily wine tastings in her store filled with Norwegian treats.

Playful Shopping

Cambridge was historically an “inland” town, untouched by rail access, so our downtown was bustling with shops filled with everything needed for self-sufficient 19th century living. Today, you’ll stroll through those same shops to find modern boutiques, artisan wares, pottery, jewelry and creative finds of all sorts. Whether boutique or bridal is your style, you’ll find plenty of playful options. Stop into The Garment Shop to see the latest fashion trends. A Box of Fluffys offers delectable lingerie and accessories to make your trip memorable. Katy’s Corner offers a wide array of imported treasures, wine and candy. Village Pharmacy and Gifts is the perfect spot to pick up a Cambridge souvenir or gift, or take home a piece of pottery from Rowe Pottery. The Shops at 214 Main (our former Wagon Factory) offer shopping delights from Cambridge Furniture Traders, Sprout Artisan Marketplace and Avid Gardener. Looking for a special gift or memento from your visit? Voyagers Jewelry has specialized jewelry for bike, lake and animal lovers.

Gather your girlfriends for special shopping hours and giveaways benefitting a local charity at our bi-annual “Girls Night Out” each April and October and catch all the deals at Maxwell Street Days each August. Whether you are shopping for yourself or selecting the perfect gift, you’ll find plenty to discover by strolling the streets of Cambridge.