Tips from a townie: The wonders of Wisconsin Avenue

Walter Mongin

It might be frigid right now, but there will come a day when Appleton is filled with sunshine and Lawrentians are filled with wanderlust. However, most of us will merely creep down College Avenue a ways before we sneak back onto campus, frightened by the frantic pace of urban life in Appleton.

Well, this townie has a message for all of you: There is another street in Appleton! And it actually has interesting businesses and fun places to check out! Exciting, right?

This street is known as “Wisconsin Avenue,” and it is about 12 blocks north of and parallel to College. In many ways it is like College Ave’s older brother with bad facial hair, interesting stories and a passion for Kurt Cobain.

If that analogy was really only intelligible to myself, I apologize, and will make my meaning clearer; Wisconsin may run parallel to College, but it is home to much more than bars, cafés and restaurants. If you like CDs, vintage video games or audio equipment in general, you should check out Music & Sports Collectors World, at 1037 W. Wisconsin Ave.

As the sign proudly states outside it: “All CDs $5!” And they have many CDs. But if you brought your N64, SNES or — gasp — Sega Genesis to school and are looking to expand your game collection, Music & Sports Collectors World will probably have something cool in store for you.

But perhaps old electronic equipment and video games are not your thing? Maybe The Free Market — 1000 W. Wisconsin Avenue — might have something that will interest you. This holy grail of healthy eating has a fantastic selection of different foods and wonderful customer service. It is also probably the only place in Appleton where one can acquire a durian, not that one should. In fact, one should probably not.

“Whatever,” I can hear you sighing, “I am interested in neither old audio equipment nor organic food. I am however a passionate fan of Magic: The Gathering and other associated games. When will my unique needs and desires be met?”

Dear reader, they are being met right now, at Chimera Hobby Shop — 808 W. Wisconsin Avenue! This place is a wonderland for people like you.

I… am not, so I can’t personally comment on the quality of their merchandise or the coolness of their programming, but on the several occasions I have entered the store my mind has been blown by how many games there seem to be in the world.

Now that you have a small introduction into the quirkiness that is Wisconsin Ave, I’m going to drop a few names and let you seek these establishments out yourself: the 10th Frame bowling alley; Shenandoah Books; Wilmar Chocolates, present for lover; Pasty Koop, lunch for good boyfriend; Simple Simon Bakery, desert for good boyfriend; and Oriental Video & Food, action movies! Good adventuring!