Sheboygan know-how.

Where is Sheboygan?

WI icon-01The City of Sheboygan rests on the Lake Michigan Shores about half way along the Wisconsin’s eastern seaboard on Interstate I43. Sheboygan is just 55 miles north of Milwaukee, 60 miles south of Green Bay, 110 miles northeast of Madison, 140 miles north of Chicago and 340 miles from Minneapolis.

What does Sheboygan mean?

postcardThere are many theories as to how Sheboygan got its name, but the one most likely indicates Sheboygan was a Chippewa Indian word meaning “passage” or “waterway between the lakes.”

The local legend is still the best: an Indian chief who had many sons, wanted a daughter desperately. Every time another son was born, he would say “Ugh! She-boy-again.”

What is a brat (and where can I get one)?

bratA bratwurst (or “brat”) is a sausage usually composed of veal, pork or beef. The name is derived from Old High German Brätwurst, from brät-, which is finely chopped meat and Wurst, or sausage. Bratwurst is usually grilled or fried, and sometimes (or always) cooked in broth or beer. It is “the meat that made Sheboygan famous.”

View our list of brat-loving restaurants here!

Can you really surf in Sheboygan?

box_surf1Yes! Sheboygan has been a surf destination for over 50 years. Because of its location and geography, it has some of the best waves on the Great Lakes. Being a lake surfer is an adventure; getting up at dawn to drive hours to search out spots and camping out to wait for the best surf. We are grateful to have pristine beaches and surf breaks that would make you think you’re at the ocean!

What is Sheboygan known for?

Chairs: In the late 1800s, with sawmills on the river, an abundance of timber and large ship yards, Sheboygan saw the beginnings of the furniture industry. Between 1865 and 1980 Sheboygan was home to over 12 furniture companies which lead to the name “Chair City.”

Cheese: The art of cheese making was brought to Sheboygan by New England settlers. The dairy industry grew out of agricultural societies and the stocking of livestock. Some of the biggest names in the cheese industry are here in Sheboygan County.

Brats: When German immigrants settled in Sheboygan, they brought along two of their favorite things: brats and beer. When it comes to the manufacture, preparation and ingestion of brats, we are in first place.

Basketball: The Sheboygan Red Skins were a National Basketball League, National Basketball Association, National Professional Basketball League and professional independent team based in Sheboygan.


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Bratwurst Capital of the World


In 1970, Sheboygan battled Bucyrus, Ohio for the title of Bratwurst Capital of the World. After a grueling duel, the Sheboygan Press reported on August 14, 1970, that Judge John Bolgert had rendered an official decision bestowing the title upon Sheboygan and barring all other claimers from using it.

The landmark decision noted “…that based upon the findings of fact herein above stated that the citizens of Sheboygan through their sausage makers, bakers and backyard chefs have established their right to the herein litigated title not only by virtue of claim but also by virtue of performance.” Judge Bolgert concluded, “It is the judgment of this court that Sheboygan is and of right ought to be Bratwurst Capital of the World.” …and so it is.

In Sheboygan, we take our brats seriously.

First, we fry them on a grill. And no, we absolutely do not grill brats on a grill; wefry them–period. Many a visitor and transplant to Sheboygan has been confused by the well-known phrase, “fry brats.” But know for certain that we are not utilizing the word “fry” incorrectly, nor are we spelling it incorrectly when we write, “I fryed brats,” in reference to how one spent a weekend. That is just simply how it is done in Sheboygan. We fry brats, and having fryed them to perfection, we dress them on a round (not oblong) Sheboygan hard roll and sprinkle with onion and brown mustard. There you have it! The Sheboygan brat, fryed and dressed, that earned the titleBratwurst Capital of the World.