2023 COMMUNITY & VISITOR’S GUIDE
PORTAGE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | PORTAGEWI.COM
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104 West Cook St., Ste. A Portage, WI 53901 (608) 742-6242 or (800) 474-2525
Cover Photograph: Brooke and Falynne share a laugh while enjoying a sunny day in downtown Portage.
Photographs: Provided by Portage Chamber of Commerce unless otherwise noted.
Additional Photographs: City of Portage, Madison College.
©2023 Portage Chamber of Commerce. Any reproduction or reprint of this guide, or portion there of, without written permission from Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is prohibited.
portagewi.com | 3 4 Welcome to Portage 5 Mayor’s Welcome 6 Chamber Involvement 8 History of Portage 9 Location & Transportation 10 Residential Living 11 Hotels 12 Recreation 14 Campgrounds 15 Arts & Entertainment
Portage Area Biking
Points of Interest
Shopping & Dining
Information is subject to change without notification. Please call published telephone numbers to confirm details. Restaurants
Portage Area Education
Portage Area Healthcare
Portage Area Government
Places of Worship CONTENT
WELCOME TO Portage
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce proudly welcomes you to Historic Portage: a wonderful tourist destination, a great place to raise your family and the right location to grow your business.
Our significant historical heritage, small-town charm and seasonal recreational opportunities create a desirable setting in which to live, work and play. Portage is the ideal destination for you.
A wealth of reliable employment, great neighborhoods, stable industries, educational opportunities, outdoor recreational resources and excellent healthcare facilities makes Portage an attractive choice.
With a population just over 10,000 and a regional population exceeding 55,000, Portage, the county seat for Columbia County, has a vibrant downtown, lively arts center and many museums providing living lessons in history.
Home to two Pulitzer Prize winners, historian Frederick Jackson Turner and novelist Zona Gale, Portage builds on their legacy by supporting and promoting the arts. Portage Center for the Arts (PCA), with its Drury Gallery and Zona Gale Theatre, showcases local artists’ works and offers stellar performing arts programming throughout the year. Along with the PCA in the downtown, visitors can revel in the district’s renaissance with the addition of Columbia County administration offices along the canal and a variety of new shops. The downtown district features a billiard hall, wine bar, craft mall, coffee shop, DIY shops and many beauty salons and spas to help you with a little personal rejuvenation. Tourists will enjoy vast historical experiences at the Historic Indian Agency House, Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters, Museum at the Portage, American Legion State Headquarters & Museum, Women’s Civic League and refurbished section of the Portage Canal. Outdoor enthusiasts will take pleasure in the recreation provided by the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers and Cascade Mountain, the Midwest’s largest ski resort, offering great skiing, tubing and snowboarding.
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Whether you’re interested in visiting our community or you’re looking to relocate and make Portage your home, we invite you to explore all that we have to offer!
Welcome to Historic Portage!
As the state’s third oldest settlement there is plenty to explore and enjoy in all the seasons. During the summer, canoe or kayak the Wisconsin River, the Portage Canal or the Fox River.
Take a stroll or ride a bike on the Wisconsin River Levee. Enjoy biking, hiking, golfing, disc-golfing and the city’s 15 beautiful parks. Take a dip in beautiful, spring-fed Silver Lake. Make sure to stop at Goodyear Park, the location of the Skateboard Park and Splash Pad.
Visit the Historic Indian Agency House and Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters. Stop by and view the city’s history at the Museum at the Portage. Take the historic guided walking tour of downtown and see some of the most historic houses in Portage.
Don’t forget about the city’s Festival Foods Fireworks!
During the winter months enjoy skiing and tubing at award-winning Cascade Mountain. Ice skate on the pond at beautiful Pauquette Park or snowshoe at Collipp-Worden Park.
Portage has deep roots in curling and is very fortunate to have a curling club. Back in the day when Portage first started curling, it was done on the Portage Canal!
Come enjoy the Christmas parade with Santa lighting the city Christmas tree at Commerce Plaza. Get a family picture with the live reindeer.
Portage has lots to offer. Visit all the unique shopping in downtown. Portage has plenty of fine dining to satisfy everyone. Come relax and discover all the wonders of Portage. It’s a great place to visit and live.
115 West Pleasant St. Portage, WI 53901
Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm
Mayor Mitch Craig
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CITY OF PORTAGE MUNICIPAL BUILDING
Mitch Craig, Mayor
The Wisconsin River provides great recreation as it flows alongside the City of Portage.
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization of the business community providing leadership for building a healthy economy and a high quality of life in our area. Consisting of businesses, organizations and individuals working as one voice, the Chamber solves critical issues and partners in economic development with a goal to expand existing businesses while attracting new businesses.
The Portage Chamber promotes members by touting their products and services while helping members obtain valuable leads through networking opportunities, such as our Chamber Business Luncheons. We showcase community pride through our events, such as Concerts in the Park, Taste of Portage and many holiday events.
We provide resources and information, such as this guide, to our tourists and potential residents. We have a great group of businesses and individuals who generously give their time and talents to help support our goals. We are committed to the success and growth of the community with the help of leaders who work in collaboration to provide the best for all involved.
For more information, contact us at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce, (800) 474-2525.
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Canoes on Parade will return in 2023.
The Portage Chamber is helping to grow the Portage community.
• The Chamber helped the Portage Service Club Association raise $190,000 for a matching Wisconsin DNR grant to construct a pavilion, paved trail and upgrades at Pauquette Park. A previous collaboration brought a Splash Pad to Goodyear Park.
• With the Portage Tourism Commission, bringing Canoes on Parade, a public art display of fiberglass canoes painted by local artists, to various locations around Portage. Tourists and residents are encouraged to take their photos in front of the upright canoes to look like they are portaging, or carrying, their canoes.
• Taking advantage of the beautiful countryside, we helped bring a system of scenic bike routes to cycling enthusiasts.
• We continue to partner with city government to encourage revitalizing properties that need investment.
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We continually strive to complement the assets Portage possesses to make the city even better:
HISTORY OF Portage
The historical distinction of Portage lies in its unique geographical location between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. Here, the two rivers, one flowing north to the St. Lawrence, the other south to the Mississippi, are separated by a narrow neck of land over which, for two centuries, Indians, missionaries, trappers, traders, adventurers and settlers traveling the waterway had to portage their canoes and heavy packs from one stream to another. The settlement, which grew here because of the resulting traffic, was first known as “Wau-wau-onah,” Winnebago for “carry on the shoulder.” During the French occupation, it was simply “le portage” (from porter: to carry) and was eventually anglicized to Portage.
So far as we know, the first white men to visit Portage were the explorers Fr. Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, who portaged here on June 14, 1673, en route to exploring and mapping the upper Mississippi. The two men were followed by a slew of others, including Lauant Barth, who arrived in 1792 and built a trading post carrying on the first transport activity. He was the original permanent settler.
With the American occupation of the Northwest Territory, the government began to protect its interests by building a string of forts along the now
famous Fox-Wisconsin water route. Indian resentment over invasion of their lead mine regions and the exorbitant tolls levied on transport goods resulted in the establishment of Fort Winnebago in 1828 to ensure peace and fair business practices.
With the end of the Blackhawk War, European immigration brought to Wisconsin a flood of settlers eager for cheap land. The portage point continued in importance for trade and transportation, and Portage itself grew rapidly as a thriving farm community. The lumber industry brought a tide of hardy woodsmen and rivermen to Portage during its heyday. Agriculture and industry soon took over the lumbering days. Today, the city is a progressive community eager and willing to share the story of its treasured past with visitors and guests. While visiting Portage, you’ll find that many of our historic sites have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. A selfguided tour of downtown Portage, which includes a map and building description, is available at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce office. Guided downtown walking tours are scheduled during the summer tourist season. Call the Portage Chamber at (608) 742-6242 for specific dates and times.
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Portions of article by Ina Curtis, author and historian.
Welcome to Portage.
Open for tours May-Oct, make your vacation plans now to visit Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters.
LOCATION & TRANSPORTATION
Asecond Amtrak passenger train that will run a daily round-trip route from the Twin Cities to Chicago, with a stop in Portage, is expected to begin service in 2024.
Portage is conveniently located 35 minutes from Madison, 90 minutes from Milwaukee, 3 hours from Chicago and 4 hours from the Twin Cities. Interstate 90/94 and Interstate 39 intersect just three miles south of Portage. Travelers from Milwaukee, Chicago and Rockford can continue west on I-90/94 to the Twin Cities or head north along I-39 to Stevens Point and Wausau. State Highways 16 and 51 intersect State Highway 33 in our downtown.
Portage has various transportation options for commuters. The Portage Cab Company runs seven days a week, 5:00am until Midnight. Van Pool exists for commuters to Madison and the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Columbia County provides transportation for seniors who are over 60 years of age and the disabled for a nominal charge.
More unique forms of travel are available to visitors as well. More than 10,000 rail passengers a year use the Amtrak depot in Portage to ride the popular cross country Empire Builder Route as the Canadian Pacific Rail runs freight service through Portage. Megabus operates bus service to and from Portage seven days a week. The Portage Municipal Airport is a public-use facility featuring two asphalt runways, a pilot’s lounge and fuel available 24/7 with restaurants and convenience stores within walking distance. The Dane County Regional Airport, located just 35 minutes from Portage, provides commercial air service.
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The Portage Municipal Airport.
Portage Cab runs seven days a week.
Amtrak Depot in Portage.
The quality of life found in Portage attracts new residents from all stages in life – from first-time home buyers and growing families to empty nesters and retirees. Residents benefit from an outstanding school system, great healthcare providers, year-round recreational opportunities and a rich arts community.
Portage offers an affordable and diverse range of options for all home buyers. Newer homes situated along tree-lined streets in well-maintained subdivisions mix well with the stately historic homes nestled within the Society Hill Historic District.
Spacious lots for new home construction are currently available in the Rolling Hills Country Estates subdivision on the north side, with another development of more than 90 lots, the Rolling Prairie Subdivision, plus an additional subdivision near Mud Lake and ongoing residential development near the airport. Portage will be ready for growth
The Portage area is a community that values its senior population, offering many options for independent and assisted living, enabling residents to maintain relationships and stay active in the community without the challenges or responsibilities of home ownership.
Enhancing the quality of life for our residents in Portage are two foundations to assist community needs and projects: Positively Portage and the Portage Area Community Foundation. The people behind these organizations are dedicated to giving back and care deeply about our city and its residents.
The Free Summer Lunch program, free to kids 18 and under, is available at five locations Monday through Friday during the summer months. Also, the community is currently working to bring a Boys & Girls Club to our community that will be located right near the already popular Splash Pad and Skateboard Park at Goodyear Park.
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Portage offers a paved 2.8 mile path, called the Levee, along the Wisconsin River for you to enjoy all year.
With accommodations to meet every traveler’s needs, Portage is a great place to stay overnight.
The Best Western Hotel & Conference Center has more than 90 rooms, conference meeting space, fitness center, pool and Suzy’s Steak & Seafood House nearby.
The Ridge Hotel has 100 rooms, a pool, meeting space and workout center and is conveniently attached to Dino’s Restaurant.
The Sunset Motel has 17 rooms with close parking and quick access to great food options.
Ho-Chunk Gaming in Baraboo offers a resort-inspired atmosphere with luxury hotel entertainment, meeting space, gaming, food and fun.
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Vacation is calling… there’s a seat reserved for you at the Best Western Resort Hotel and Conference Center.
the history and
has to offer.
attractions the city
The Portage Park and Recreation Department does an outstanding job of maintaining the beautification of our city parks. The department also provides year-round activities an entire family can enjoy.
Also located at Goodyear Park, the Portage Family Skate Park, where construction on the third and final phase was completed and is now ready for skaters and scooters.
Having fun on the water is a favorite year-round pastime for residents and visitors. Boaters hit the waters of the Wisconsin River and swimmers enjoy a day at Silver Lake Beach, a wide sandy beach with wading, swimming and diving fun.
An indoor pool located at the former Rusch Elementary (and future home of the Boys and Girls Club), 117 West Franklin St., and a nearby outdoor Splash Pad at the Gary O’Hearn Recreation Complex at Goodyear Park keep youngsters cool.
Biking enthusiasts will really enjoy the Columbia County Bike Loops. Portage is home to four of the routes. See page 23 for more information.
Golfers can try their skill at the 18-hole course at Portage Country Club or the adjacent 9-hole Saddle Ridge Golf Course with its all new clubhouse.
Take aim at good times, pizza and the pins at J & J Fireball Lanes, featuring daily food specials.
The Portage Rod & Gun Club offers members full use of its outdoor pistol and rifle ranges, archery range, four trap stations, skeet station and 120 acres of hunting land.
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Get in the swing at Portage Country Club or Saddle Ridge Golf Course this summer.
Sharks wanted at The Ball Room in Portage.
Kids are ready to enjoy the all new expanded Skateboard Park.
The Baraboo Hills Heritage Trail Chapter of the National Ice Age Trail runs along another newly completed segment of the Portage Canal, giving residents and visitors the ability to walk, hike or ride their bike on a paved path in the heart of downtown. Watch for more improvements in 2023 as the area opens to outdoor adventurists who want to launch a canoe and/or kayak.
When winter arrives, skiers and boarders in Portage are lucky to have the highly rated Cascade Mountain nearby. A recent expansion added two lifts, eight trails, increased snowmaking, an expanded main lodge, paved parking and several base area improvements. Some of Cascade’s trails are steep and challenging to any skier, while others are more than a mile long and fun for beginners. Kids 12 and under ski free when accompanied by a paid adult.
Ice skating is enjoyed on Bridal Pond in Pauquette Park, and for those who crave horsepower to get over snow, snowmobile trails run alongside Portage, connecting with other trails throughout Columbia County and Wisconsin. Snowmobile maps are available at the Chamber office.
The Scottish game of curling is played on a level sheet of ice inside the Portage Curling Club, where players try to throw the stone closest to the center of the house target. As a stone travels down the ice, teammates sweep the ice, guiding the stone to a desired position, sometimes bumping or blocking opponents’ stones as necessary.
For more information, contact us at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce, (800) 474-2525.
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The Splash Pad is the right place to bring your kids to cool off.
Curling stones lined up ready for play.
Camping is a popular way to enjoy the beautiful Wisconsin landscapes in summer. Several high-quality campgrounds are available for those wishing to experience the great outdoors. Campers can spend their days relaxing, grilling, boating, fishing and swimming in lakes or heated pools; walking along nature trails; and enjoying the playgrounds, game rooms and, of course, telling stories around a campfire while making s’mores.
Duck Creek Campground
W6560 County Rd. G, Pardeeville
(608) 429-2425 • duckcreekcampground.com
Glacier Valley Campground
N8129 Larson Rd., Cambria (920) 348-5488 • glaciervalleycampground.com
Indian Trails Campground
W6445 Haynes Rd., Pardeeville (608) 429-3244 • indiantrailscampground.com
Pride Of America Camping Resort
W7520 West Bush Rd., Pardeeville
(800) 236-6395 (ask about our variety of rentals) • camppoa.com
Sky High Camping Resort
N5740 Sky High Dr., Portage
(608) 742-2572 (open year-round) • skyhighcampingresort.com
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FULL HOOKUP WATER/ELECTRIC CABINS/COTTAGES DUMP STATION PLAY AREA/MINI GOLF SWIMMING POOL/POND/BEACH PLANNED ACTIVITIES GAME ROOM SNACK BAR/STORE
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Plan a family camping trip at one of our local campgrounds.
Camping is s'more fun!
ARTS AND Entertainment
Over 35 years ago, a small group of community members in Portage recognized how vital the arts can be to a community, and embarked on a vision: to create an arts center in this small, rural community. On a shoestring budget and with nothing but the passion of a handful of volunteers, Portage Center for the Arts (PCA), as it is now known, was born! Each year, they work hard to cultivate the founding members’ vision: bringing together music, theatre, poetry, visual arts and arts education opportunities all under one roof. Visit free monthly art exhibits in the Drury Gallery, enjoy live theatrical performances and workshops for the young and young at heart, experience live music in an intimate venue and more! For more information, visit portagecenterforthearts.com.
The Portage Area Community Theatre has been bringing live theatrical performances to our community since 1971. Theatrical projects take place at many times throughout the year, helping to enhance the quality of life of residents. This group is working to make sure that everyone is touched by the performing arts. They welcome both individuals and businesses as members and sponsors. Full details of membership, sponsor opportunities and forthcoming productions may be found by visiting pacttheatre.org.
The Portage Community School District also supports the arts by offering theatrical and musical performances from its talented students. Portage Theatres, with its comfortable recliners, shows Hollywood blockbuster movies in Dolby Digital 3-D along with the area’s sharpest, brightest picture and best digital surround sound on seven screens. Enjoy a cold beverage in their lounge after the show.
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Visitors are invited to view a different exhibit each month inside the Drury Gallery at Portage Center for the Arts.
Whether you’re looking for a historical educational experience or a family-friendly event, there are many exciting things to do when visiting Portage.
Festivals and fairs are really a treat in Portage. The Taste of Portage Market Fair draws thousands of visitors each year. The event features great food, craft vendors, live music and car show. The Columbia County Fair brings a week of fun carnival games, exhibits and rides. Other highlights include St. Mary’s Best Fest, Festival Foods Fireworks and Concerts in the Park.
When winter takes hold, Cascade Mountain awaits. Recognized as the Midwest’s top-rated ski and snowboard destination, Cascade Mountain provides downhill fun for experts through beginners, and kids 12 and under ski for free with paid adult.
Snowmobiling is another popular winter activity. The Portage area is linked to trails within Columbia County and throughout the state. Portage is home to the Winnebago Ridge Runners, a volunteer group ensuring the trails are groomed and ready for you each season.
During the holiday months, Portage offers so much to enjoy for your family. The holidays begin in Portage when the Downtown Holiday Parade steps off the Friday after Thanksgiving. Afterward, Santa welcomes everyone by lighting the tree at Commerce Plaza.
The joy continues into the weeks leading up to Christmas when you can take photos with Santa and his reindeer, have breakfast with him or get the kids together and enjoy visiting the businesses in Portage while collecting cookies on the Cookie Walk.
You can find a complete listing of community events at portagewi.com.
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The Columbia County Fair, located in Portage, is one of July’s highlights.
Pure joy and a blue tongue, no napkins needed.
PORTAGE AREA Biking
Portage attracts cyclists from all over to ride the Columbia County Bike Loop routes. A total of 13 routes plus 3 connecting routes take you to every corner of the county and interesting places in between.
Located in downtown and next to the Wisconsin River, Riverside Park in Portage is a great place to start your journey. Three of the routes begin at Riverside Park, which has plenty of parking and is a nice rest area to come back to. And there are many good places to eat nearby with nice places to stay overnight in Portage.
Experience the natural views of wetlands, waterways, wildlife areas and so much more along challenging hills and downhill slopes once you are on the routes beyond our city. The routes can be found at portagewi.com.
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Portage is home to four Columbia County Bike Loop routes.
Taking a break along the journey.
Biking in downtown Portage.
POINTS OF Interest
There’s much to see and do while in the Portage area. Historic sites and museums are accompanied by various cultural outlets and a calendar year full of events, leaving just one question:
WHAT TO DO FIRST?
Cascade Mountain is a top-rated ski and snowboard destination for experts through beginners. Find hours of fun on the 900-foot-long tubing hill. Kids 12 and under ski for free with a paid adult. (608) 742-5588.
FORT WINNEBAGO SURGEONS QUARTERS
The only remaining building of historic Fort Winnebago, the Surgeons Quarters was built in 1828 by the U.S. Army and is one of the oldest log houses in Wisconsin still standing on its original foundation. The log house is fully refurbished as a home of the army occupation days with authentic artifacts from the fort. (608) 742-2949.
CREEK BED COUNTRY FARMACY
AMERICAN LEGION STATE HEADQUARTERS & MUSEUM
The American Legion State Headquarters & Museum houses such historical relics as statues, uniforms, medals, photographs and documents from the history of Wisconsin’s American Legion as well as war-era memorabilia. (608) 745-1090. wilegion.org
Family fun starts with hayrides to the pumpkin patch, huge corn mazes and endless activities. Enjoy fresh air, amazing views and family fun. Located just south of Portage. (608) 635-8798.
HISTORIC INDIAN AGENCY HOUSE
The Historic Indian Agency House, built in 1832, is one of Wisconsin’s earliest houses still in existence. It was constructed as a residence for John Kinzie, the Indian agent to the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), and his wife, Juliette Kinzie. After 100 years of varied use, the house was restored to its 1832 frontier grandeur and officially reopened in 1932. (608) 742-6362. agencyhouse.org
Located to the northeast and east of Portage is a fairly large Amish community. The Amish are well known for their beautiful handmade quilts, baskets, furniture and many other items. The Amish businesses in this region include bakeries, furniture and cabinetmaking shops, greenhouses, quilt shops and general stores.
DOWNTOWN RETAIL DISTRICT
As a trade center for central Wisconsin, the Downtown Retail District thrived with activity as early as the 1860s. Many of the buildings are preserved in their original Victorian architecture, providing a colorful background for the busy retail area today.
We invite you to explore Portage and our wide range of outdoor recreation for every season, museums and history, the arts and so much more.
SO MUCH TO DO!
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MUSEUM AT THE PORTAGE
The William L. and Zona Gale Breese home was donated to the City of Portage in 1946 and housed the Portage Public Library until 1994. In 1996, the Museum at the Portage was established to showcase displays relevant to the history of the city. Within the Museum, visitors will find Zona Gale’s study preserved and a permanent collection of photographs and artifacts depicting historical events that occurred in the city. (608) 742-6682. portagemuseum.org
PORTAGE CURLING CLUB
The Portage Curling Club was established in 1850. The club operates a four-sheet facility from late October until March each year. Leagues are offered for men, women and mixed rinks, as well as a junior curling program.(608) 742-3237. portagecurling.com
ZONA GALE HOME/ WOMEN’S CIVIC LEAGUE
After the successful publication of her first novel in 1906, Zona Gale built a home for her parents on the bank of the Wisconsin River. Its classical Greek Revival exterior is in contrast to its rustic Craftsman interior. Gale’s 1920 bestselling novel, Miss Lulu Bett, won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, and her home was given to the Women’s Civic League in 1932. (608) 742-7744. womenscivicleagueofportage.com
PORTAGE IS A CITY STEEPED IN HISTORY.
The Portage Canal connected the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. Located in downtown, you can walk, hike, bike or canoe the newly refurbished canal and path while visiting Portage.
PORTAGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Portage Center for the Arts supports a fine tradition of culture in our community with theatrical performances, art displays and a performing arts series. (608) 742-5655. portagecenterforthearts.com
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Portage, where the North and your adventures begin.
SHOPPING & Dining
The Portage area is home to a wide variety of restaurants that are sure to please any appetite. You will find quaint cafes, buzzing bar and grills, casual family restaurants, fine dining and fast food diners all around. The menu selection is as varied, with restaurants serving up everything from American classics and rich home-style cooking to prime steaks, fresh seafood, flatbread pizzas, gourmet burgers, delicious hand-battered cheese curds, sub sandwiches and sweet treats.
When it comes to shopping, you can find what you’re looking for with a
variety of local shops and national department stores.
The historic downtown district serves as a charming backdrop for today’s shoppers. Catch up with a friend over a nice glass of wine at Neil’s Wine House. Shopping has a nice ring to it at Forever Yours Jewelry. Make your own bracelet at Prairie Flower Beads. DW Sports Center should be on the sights of every hunter and fisherman. Find a comfy recliner at Portage Furniture
Store and a variety of crafts for sale at the Portage Craft Mall. The Mercantile offers a wonderful selection of cheese, gifts, antiques, jewelry, clothing, pottery, kid’s games and more.
At Commerce Plaza, handcrafted items, fresh flowers and plants, baked goods and homegrown produce are all ripe for picking at the Farmer’s Market every Thursday afternoon from May through October.
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Who needs a fork?
2800 New Pinery Rd. (608) 566-1276
A healthy cafe with a juice bar offering smoothies, energizing teas and iced protein coffee
ARBY’S PORTAGE #8827
2921 New Pinery Rd. (608) 745-0810
Try our Famous Roast Beef Sandwiches & more
B&B HITCHING POST
2503 West Wisconsin St. (608) 742-8208
Family-style restaurant bar & grill
220 West Cook St. (608) 745-1144
Friendly neighborhood tavern
2830 New Pinery Rd. (608) 683-2003
A trendy sandwich shop with a little something for everyone
COTTONWOOD BAR & GRILL
312 DeWitt St. (608) 742-5917
Daily drink & food specials. DJ Thursday – Sunday. Authentic gyros
2733 New Pinery Rd. (608) 742-7982
Butterburgers, custard, quick service, made to order
2900 New Pinery Rd. (608) 742-4111
Breakfast, daily lunch/dinner & drink specials, full-service bar & banquet room
DOUGLAS’ BIG DOG SALOON
218 West Cook St. (608) 742-3644
Enjoy friends, great food & good times in historic downtown Portage
2950 New Pinery Rd. (608) 745-5700
World’s leading baked goods & coffee chain with dozens of coffee & donut choices
J & J FIREBALL LANES
817 East Wisconsin St. (608) 742-6638
Weekly and daily food specials, including a Friday fish fry
KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN
2990 New Pinery Rd. (608) 616-4700
Featuring “Finger-Licking-Good” chicken, catered to any size group
2756 New Pinery Rd. (608) 745-6776
Authentic Mexican Cuisine for the whole family. Friendly atmosphere and fast service
NEIL’S WINE HOUSE
235 West Pleasant St. (608) 617-8463
Diverse beer and wine selections, cocktails & delicious appetizers
2936 New Pinery Rd. (608) 745-4200
Take and Bake Pizza
PIZZA HUT OF PORTAGE
401 East Wisconsin St. (608) 742-8829
Carryout, delivery, dine in, Wing Street menu, Explore Flavor menu
2905 New Pinery Rd. (608) 566-1750
Buffet featuring chicken, pizza, salad bar, soup, dessert, pies & ice cream
PORTAGE CAFÉ LLC
111 West Cook St. (608) 566-7194
Breakfast & lunch café
1152 East Wisconsin St.
Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, full senior citizen menu & daily specials
100 Saddle Ridge
(3 miles east of Portage)
Open for lunch & dinner, Overlooking the Saddle Ridge Golf Course
SUZY’S STEAK & SEAFOOD HOUSE
2711 County Rd. CX (608) 742-8400
Top-quality steaks, fresh seafood, fine wines & classic cocktails
412 East Wisconsin St. (608) 742-6424
Tenderloin and fresh Angus beef burgers, bar & grill, carryout, cocktails & pizza
W7245 Country Club Rd. (608) 742-3553
(3 miles east of Portage)
Friday fish fry, Saturday prime rib, steaks, pastas, sandwiches & outdoor seating
WILZ HOMETOWN PHARMACY
140 East Cook St.
Old-fashioned soda fountain offering delicious sandwiches & refreshing beverages
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PORTAGE AREA Education
Students and families in Portage will find an outstanding education system in place to foster lifelong learning. With public, private, alternative and higher education options all available, it’s easy for each individual student to find the best education to suit their needs.
The Family Resource Center provides excellent service to all families who have children ages up to five. Services include play groups, field trips, workshops, home visiting, parenting classes, toy and resource lending library and more. Visit them online at renewalunlimited.net for more information.
The Portage Community School District (Committed to the growth of ALL: Students, Families, Community) is building a premier learning community focused on authentic relationships. We will cultivate globally minded, resilient and courageous students who are ready to excel in higher learning, career, and life. The curriculum includes advanced classes, innovative technologies and classes to meet the students’ interests complemented by a wide variety of extracurricular offerings and activities.
The district includes four-yearold kindergarten programs, four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one alternative high school. The district appreciates the support of families along with community and business partners who, together with staff and board of education members, are committed to the success of every student.
For more information, please check out the district website at portage.k12.wi.us or see what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter and lnstagram @PortageCSD.
Two elementary-level parochial schools are a great way for parents to ensure that their children receive faith-based education along with their traditional education. St. Mary Parish & School and St. John’s Lutheran Ministries are K-8 schools that not only offer outstanding classes within the core curriculum but also focus on spiritual education with an emphasis in family involvement and positive daily practices.
After graduation, students wishing to continue their education, along with adults looking to go back to school, can find several higher-learning institutions both within Portage and nearby.
Madison College-Portage is a community-based, post-secondary institution serving the educational and training needs of Columbia and Marquette Counties. Associate degree-level programs and certificate courses are available in various fields including nursing assistant, EMT, and welding. On campus support services for advising, tutoring and testing, just to name a few, are also available. Area businesses contract with them to provide customized training to their employees and utilize the advanced manufacturing lab. The campus also provides Adult Continuing Education and Adult Basic Education and ESL classes throughout the year.
The University of Wisconsin–Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, just 20 minutes from Portage, provides academic courses in a rural campus setting. The University of Wisconsin–Madison is only 45 minutes away and is the cornerstone of the statewide University of Wisconsin System. A proud member of the Big Ten, it’s recognized worldwide for its teaching and research facilities. Madison is also the home of the main campus for Madison College and Edgewood College.
The Portage Public Library encourages lifelong learning through free internet access, great programming for ages toddler through adult, an annual book sale and much more. For more information, visit portagelibrary.us.
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Kindergarten class at St. John’s School hard at work.
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Madison College Skilled Trades Open House.
Portage continues to make positive strides in economic development. The north side of the city has seen the recent addition of WCCU Credit Union. Growth is expected to continue with a new housing development breaking ground this year.
Easy access to Interstate 39 makes our industrial park an attractive location for new industries looking to make Portage home, joining our other longtime industries such as plastics, batteries, glass, and food processing. In fact, many of those businesses located in the industrial park have undergone physical plant expansions while also adding employment.
Portage is combating the skilled labor shortage plaguing industries and employers nationwide. The Portage Enterprise Center offers workforce training with Madison College - Portage, which also offers a Skilled Trades Open House for the opportunity to learn more about careers and training in the trades. The local CESA 5 Youth Apprentice program offers students paid employment and up to two years related instruction.
Portage is the place to grow your business. The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is here to help.
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WCCU Credit Union opened up their new Portage branch last year.
A brand new development taking shape on the north side of Portage offers much needed single family and multi-family housing.
portagewi.com | 25 Visit us online at portagewi.com for additional information pertaining to community development.
Lance Brisky Celebrating 27 years of excellent care, education, and service in the Portage Community! We focus on your entire lifestyle, because there is nothing more precious and finite than our time on this beautiful earth. The Mercantile and Portage Craft Mall have many vendors located inside that offer a wide selection of unique gifts. Portage is the new home of Belco Vehicle Solutions LLC.
PORTAGE AREA Healthcare
Aspirus Divine Savior Hospital & Clinics has been dedicated to providing the highest level of care to Portage and the surrounding communities for over 100 years.
High-quality services and programs are provided by experienced, compassionate physicians, nurses, and staff to ensure availability of comprehensive medical services.
Aspirus Divine Savior is home to 24/7 Emergency Care, Urgent Care, Surgery, Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, Orthopedics, Family Medicine Physicians, Cardiology, Dialysis, Diagnostic Imaging, Laboratory, OB/GYN, Birthing Center, Aspirus Tivoli Community assisted living, The Wellness Center, Aspirus La Vita Fitness Center, Aspirus MedEvac ambulance service and more for all of a family's needs. For more information, visit aspirus.org.
UW Health is the academic medical center and health system of the University of Wisconsin, caring for more than 650,000
patients each year in the upper Midwest and beyond with 1,785 employed physicians and 21,000 employees at seven hospitals and 77 clinic locations. Governed by UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority, they partner with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and are dedicated to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service.
UW Health operates a number of community-based clinics in the region, including in Portage. The clinic is conveniently located and offers allergy, cardiovascular, gastroenterology, hematology, medical oncology, rheumatology, urology and vascular surgery services. This clinic also provides laboratory and radiology services.
UW Health has expanded Med Flight services to Portage, reducing response times as onboard physicians and nurses tend to patients with life-threatening trauma and medical conditions faster. The UW Health Med Flight base is
located on the campus of Aspirus Divine Savior Hospital & Clinics.
SSM Health operates three facilities in Portage: SSM Health Davis Duehr Dean Eye Care – a comprehensive eye clinic, SSM Health Dean Medical Group and SSM Health Dean Medical Group Specialty Services. SSM Health’s medical group location in Portage offers comprehensive family healthcare services, health assessments and physicals, preventive medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, minor surgery, foot care and on-site laboratory and x-ray services. In addition, the second floor houses a specialtyservices clinic and also offers oncall nursing services. Among the specialties provided are oncology, urology, neurology, endocrinology, cardiology, rheumatology and dermatology.
Portage residents are well taken care of with other quality healthcare services, including dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists and counseling services.
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The Portage community is in good care with providers, such as Aspirus Divine Savior Hospital & Clinics.
Meet Nikki, your local pharmacist at Wilz Hometown Pharmacy, where you’ll find an old fashioned soda fountain!
portagewi.com | 27 Agrace.org (608) 276-4660 For me and my family Better begins with caring for one another. Better begins at Aspirus Health. All good things start by reaching out to each other with real care and compassion. At Aspirus Health, this is how health and healing begin. Find an Aspirus provider. call 800.847.4707 visit aspirus.org
PORTAGE AREA Government
The City of Portage, the seat for Columbia County, is a full-service municipality providing a range of excellent public services, such as street maintenance, refuse and recycling, library, water, public safety and recreation. Municipal government for the City of Portage consists of the Mayor, City Administrator, Business Development & Planning Director and nine elected alderpersons.
Portage City Hall, 115 West Pleasant St., is the home to all municipal services, including police and fire
seniors meet and work together to enhance their quality of life and ensure their needs are met in the community. Seniors also meet for a catered lunch Monday through Friday at the senior dining center inside the Aging and Disability Resource Center in the new Columbia County Administration Building.
Citizens have further access to information regarding city projects, green initiatives, city services and programs, meeting minutes, community events and much more by visiting the City of Portage online at
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The Columbia County Administration buildings are located along the Portage Canal.
The Portage Police Department is committed to serving the community.
CITY OF PORTAGE CONTACT INFORMATION
115 West Pleasant St. (608) 742-2176
COLUMBIA COUNTY HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
111 East Mullett St. (608) 742-9233
400 DeWitt St. (608) 742-2191
COLUMBIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
112 East Edgewater St. (608) 742-9801
COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
711 East Cook St. (608) 742-4166
PARK, RECREATION & FORESTRY DEPARTMENT
701 West Slifer St. (608) 742-2178
PORTAGE FIRE DEPARTMENT
119 West Pleasant St. (608) 742-2172
1011 Silver Lake Dr. (608) 742-3300
PORTAGE POLICE DEPARTMENT
117 West Pleasant St. (608) 742-2174
PORTAGE PUBLIC LIBRARY
253 West Edgewater St. (608) 742-4959
135 Northridge Dr. (608) 742-4727
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PLACES OF Worship
St. Mary Parish recently completed an $8 million renovation to better serve its parishioners and provide for the future.
Several faith communities are represented in the more than 15 churches in Portage, available to help residents meet their spiritual needs. Local churches are collaboratively working with the residents to create places of worship and offer faith-based educational opportunities to enrich the lives of Portage residents.
Local faith organizations belong to and support the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce. These organizations elevate the quality of life in the Portage area through education, charity benefits, programs and outreach.
The community is invited to share in their social gatherings, often centered around friendly card games, luncheons, healthy cooking classes, trivia contests and craft and bake sales.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
W8267 State Highway 33 East (608) 742-8502
Cross of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
585 East Slifer St., 608-742-5609
CrossPoint Assembly of God 2727 County Rd. CX, (608) 742-2221
Durward’s Glen Education & Retreat Center
W11876 McLeisch Rd., Baraboo (608) 356-8113
Freedom in Christ Assembly Church 409 Fourth St., Baraboo, (608) 434-0348
Portage Presbyterian Church 120 West Pleasant St., (608) 742-6006
Portage Seventh-day Adventist Church 2100 East State Rd. 33, (608) 742-4695
Portage United Methodist Church 1804 New Pinery Rd., (608) 742-2107
St. John’s Lutheran Ministries
850 Armstrong St., (608) 742-9000
St. Mary Parish and School
309 West Cook St., (608) 742-6998
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