If You Had $500 to Make Downtown Appleton a Better PLACE What Would You Do?

Get engaged in Downtown placemaking! 

What would you do?

Share your idea with Appleton Downtown Inc. by leaving a detailed comment on this page.

Leave your comment (link above or box below) and fill in your answer to: My $500 placemaking project idea is….

Please submit your idea by Sept 30!

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Mini Placemaking Grant Details

Share your mini Placemaking project idea and the ADI Creative Downtown Committee will review all submitted ideas for possible completion.  Please comment with your name and contact email address.

A winning project will be selected by October 8th. 

When we complete the project we will award you with a $50 Downtown Gift Certificate!

Other mini grants this year included:

    • corralFunding towards the bike corral in front of Harmony Cafe
    • Adirondack chairs in Houdini Plaza.

Grants can also be used to leverage additional fundraising to accomplish a larger community project.

More About Creative Placemaking

  • Creative Placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, creates jobs beyond the arts and brings diverse people together to celebrate, create, inspire and be inspired.
  • In creative Placemaking public, private, not-for-profit and community sectors partner to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, city or region, around arts and cultural activities.
  • Creative Placemaking is about getting artists and designers, community culture groups, arts research groups, cultural affairs offices and arts organizations out of their silos and into the neighborhoods and regions around them.
  • The nonprofit arts and cultural sector in Wisconsin generates $535 million in economic activity, $65 million in local and state revenue, $479 million in resident income, and employs nearly 50,000 full-time jobs among 12,000 businesses.  Creative development is evident and growing in every corner of the state.
  • Creative centers also tend to be places with thick labor markets that can fulfill the employment needs of members of the creative class, who, by and large, are not looking just for “a job” but for places that offer many employment opportunities.

Please share your favorite creative placemaking project ideas below. We welcome your contributions and community conversation.

Best Places to Work Remote in Downtown Appleton

by Jordan Kapellusch

Inside the open room, light conversation and laughter move back and forth between the handful of people in line and those standing to the side waiting. Professional and college students are among those seated in the spacious downtown shop.


Desiree has just picked up her drink and she sits down in front of her laptop at the small cafe table. Her phone rings.


“Hello,” she says.


There’s a pause and a smile, followed by


“Can I call you back in a few hours? I just got to work, and have a meeting first thing.”


She hangs up the phone, and smiles at the webcam. Desiree’s workday has begun.


Like many people in the connected world of 2014, Desiree has a job that allows her to work remote. Her office is anywhere she can get online to accomplish her assignments and communicate with coworkers.


A 2013 study by the Wall Street Journal shows that the number of workers who are logging on from their personal offices has increased by five million since 1997. It’s not just startups either, big companies like Mozilla and Upworthy have taken this model to its limit with a 100% distributed workforce.


Most businesses that allow remote work practice a hybrid model, where an office is also available for those workers who want a more focused, professional atmosphere.


For anybody else, however, either their home or an external location is the office of choice.


What does it take to work remote? Perhaps not as much as you might think. Here is the basic recipe:

  • Computer on which to work – This can also include a tablet, or smartphone.
  • Wifi (or other internet source)
  • A comfortable surrounding that meets your personal style of work.


Downtown Appleton’s business-friendly environment means there are quite a few of these professional nomads seeking a great place to get some work done. Rife with coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, there’s not a better spot to look than right downtown.


Depending on your individual style of work, Downtown Appleton has something for everyone.


For those who prefer peace and quiet to work:


Appleton Public Library


Appleton Public Library

Appleton Public Library

Just a block north of the busy downtown thoroughfare, Appleton’s Public Library provides a work environment that is a favorite of students and business people alike.


A reading garden on the first floor, and large open workspace on the second make the library a great place to go if your productivity depends on a low external noise factor.



  • In addition to the standard quiet factor for which libraries are famous, APL has dedicated study rooms which place an extra barrier between your work and any noise.
  • Being in a library, you are surrounded by reference materials, and the reading chairs on the second floor were imported from Heaven itself.



  • If your work requires any phone or video conferencing, the library will not work.
  • Being surrounded by an enormous collection of diverse magazines, literature and other content could prove to be a productivity downfall if you’re distraction-prone.


Jones Park


Maybe you work best when you can enjoy the fresh air, sunlight and hum of the outdoors. Most recently the site of some of the bigger concerts at the 2014 Mile of Music, Jones Park provides a beautiful and expansive outdoor location.


Jones Park

Jones Park

Without any Wifi of its own, working online at Jones Park will require a smartphone or internet hotspot that lets you create your own wireless internet signal. This article provides a step-by-step breakdown of how to use your smartphone this way.



  • You get to work in a park.
  • Being exposed to sunlight and natural environments is proven to increase creativity.
  • Also, you get to work in a park.
  • If for some reason the weather heads south, Jones Park has an open pavillion that can be used for shelter.
  • Did I mention that you get to work in a park?



  • Due to the climate of Wisconsin, this remote office location cannot be enjoyed year round.
  • If your phone has a limited data plan, using it as a wireless hotspot could quickly eat through your allowance (especially for data-intensive tasks like photo downloads or videoconferencing).


For those who prefer the subtle ambience of a coffee shop:


Copper Rock Coffee Company


With an award-winning menu and two dining areas, Copper Rock Coffee has been one of the best meeting and work spaces in the valley since it’s founding in 2002. The locally-created art on display and understated interior color palette make it one of the best places I’ve found to blast through a stuffed task list.


Copper Rock

Copper Rock

And the menu…don’t get me started on the menu. Boasting soups, salads, sandwiches, and enough baked goods to throw Betty Crocker, Sara Lee and Marie Calendar all into a fit of desert envy, would be more than substantial for a coffee shop. Copper Rock, however, takes it to the next level by offering a great selection of delicious gelato as well. Yum!



  • Winner of X Golden Fork awards, Copper Rock has a wide menu that should satisfy any food craving.
  • The window area up front has luxurious furniture that will make work feel like a vacation.
  • If you need to catch up on work, Copper Rock is open seven days a week, until 10 PM Monday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday.



  • “The Ol’ 9-5” can quickly turn into the 5-9. The five to nine pounds per week that it would be possible to tack on with their menu that is.


Aspen Coffee & Tea


Formerly Brewed Awakenings, Aspen has been a fixture downtown since they moved into their location in 2010. They provide a full lunch menu which includes soups, sandwiches, and have gained notoriety in the Fox Valley for their vegetarian and gluten free menu and bakery items.

Aspen Collage

Aspen Coffee and Tea


In addition to a patio out back, Aspen has a well-designed interior and generous seating. Their window seats put you front and center for all of the action on college ave, yet within just a few feet of electrical outlets if your computer or tablet is running low on juice.



  • Fast internet, great coffee and homemade baked goods top the list for this regional franchise’s downtown location.
  • For those who might be looking for a quieter coffee shop, Aspen fits the bill without ever appearing empty.
  • Their lunch menu is delicious and offers a good variety if you have unique dietary needs.



  • Aspen’s cozy, homey atmosphere may make it hard to leave when the friendly employees are ready to get going.
  • Also, scientific research shows that if you have even one of Aspen’s homemade Omega cookies, you will not be able to stop.


For those who need the life of the city around them:


The Bar


Historically, bars have held the distinction of being after-work destinations. But the prevalence of remote workplaces has given rise to people arriving six to eight hours early. The Bar’s downtown location on College Ave is no exception.


The Bar

The Bar

One of the Fox Valley’s most popular destinations for Packers, Brewers and, recently, World Cup soccer games, The Bar has a gigantic menu that even includes breakfast. If you are somebody who thrives working in electric social environments, this is a place you need to check out.



  • If you’re meeting people from work after you punch out, you don’t have to go anywhere.
  • The menu is huge and the food is great! I mean we’re talking about a bar that serves breakfast here. Bar. Breakfast. Still having trouble with that one.



  • Your level of focus will need to be next level with the multiple HDTVs lining the walls, and wide view of the Avenue.
  • You may be the source of envy for friends and family when you tell them that The Bar is your office.


City Center Plaza


Surround yourself with Appleton by working in the City Center Plaza. You find both free wifi and a variety of dining options (including Mexican, comfort food, and smoothies) in this surprisingly-professional environment.


City Center

City Center

The businesses that make their offices in the City Center Plaza often have employees working in the center atrium. If being right in the middle of Appleton’s city life is an impetus to your productivity, you will not find more business and more busy-ness than the City Center Plaza.



  • Abundant dining options, convenient parking in the Washington Street garage, and a wide-open indoor space make the City Center Plaza a cannot-miss location for the social remote worker.
  • Like the name implies, the City Center Plaza is nestled in the heart of downtown, so any lunch meetings either East or West of the galleria are a short walk away.



  • The City Center Plaza has public restrooms but they are on the third floor, in the basement and in a break area near the East Wing.
  • The number of businesses present in the mall means that the fantastic restaurants present often develop queues around lunch time.
  • With a large shoe store, photo shop and stationery outlet, you may find your work day quickly becoming a shopping trip.


Whether you’re looking for pubs, coffee shops or parks, downtown Appleton is uncontested as the best place to spend a day or two remote. The fun and creative spirit meets the driven, professional world of business in a grand way downtown. Your next office is waiting!

Jordan Kapellusch is a content writer at Optimal Digital Marketing. Optimal is a disruptive digital marketing company located at 103 W College Ave that combines online marketing and great looking web design. 

Mile of Music Grand Thank You Concert this Saturday

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We want to say thank you to the Fox Cities community for helping make Mile 2 a success!

Presented by Mile of Music, Willems Marketing, Appleton Downtown, Inc. and Post-Crescent Media, New York-based folk rockers and festival favorites Swear and Shake, along with another festival standout, singer-songwriter Jordin Baas, serving as opening act, will play a free appreciation concert this Saturday, September 13 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in Downtown Appleton.

The concert is open to the public and to all ages. Admission is free and on a first-come, first-served basis as capacity allows. The music starts at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

The Mile of Music Team


This is Appleton: Video from Lawrence University


Appleton, Wisconsin: It may sound small and quaint, but Appleton is no sleepy, remote burg.

Appleton and the Fox Cities is the safe, vibrant community in which Lawrence professors have chosen to raise their families.  It is also home to 1,167 Lawrence alumni and Lawrentians from around the world.

This is our city.  Share your stories with #TIA.

Downtown Events and Specials for September


Thursday Afternoon @ the Movies @ The Library Sept. 4, 4-6pm:

Featuring Very Young Girls. This film is intended for mature audiences. Optional discussion following the screening. Refreshments served. Free admission.


Papyrus: Paper’s Ancestor @ Paper Discovery Center Sept. 5, 10am-4pm:

Explore the history of ancient Egypt through papyrus. Get a closer look at papyrus samples, write in hieroglyphics, and more. ($3-12)

Teen/Tween Art Night @ Miativity Room Sept. 5, 6-8pm:

In-depth exploration of art taught by local artists tweens and teens can relate to. Create with your very own product or masterpiece. ($12)

Open Studio Hours @ Miativity Room Sept. 6, 9am-1pm:

$15 per person includes one canvas and access to all materials in studio. All ages and experience levels welcome.

Grandparents Weekend @ Trout Museum of Art Sept. 6-7:

* Grandchildren (under 18 years old) are FREE with paid grandparent admission

* Self-guided tour and gallery activity for kids

* Guided docent tour Saturday 11am-Noon

* Grandparent-led story stations inside the gallery

Downtown Appleton Farm Market  
on College Avenue Sept. 6, 8am-12:30pm: 

150+ vendors selling produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, baked goods, specialty foods and handcrafted items along with live music! Plus Special Features & food vendors in Houdini Plaza.  


Gulfstream Free Day @ Building for Kids Children’s Museum Sept. 7, 12-5pm:

Learn more about aviation, the Gulfstream company & enter to win a model jet airplane. Crafts, interactive aeronautic activities, and exhibit exploration are all free!


Creative Journey @ The Library Sept. 9, 10am-noon:

Today’s topic: “Got Magnets?”-Make magnets from your favorite images. Supplies provided. Suitable for teens-adults. Free.


Suess Stories @ Trout Museum of Art Sept. 9, 11am-noon:

Fun hour in the museum, Suess Story, and an art activity. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Free with Museum Admission. Today: Gertrude McFuzz, 9/23 Bartholomew & the Oobleck, 10/7 The Shape of Me & Other Stuff and 10/21 TBA

Suess in the Studio Classes: Who-ville Creations @ Trout Museum of Art Sept. 9-25, 4-5:30pm:

Studio classes for ages 7-11. Class meets Tues. & Thurs. Create an imaginative Suess-style house & mug while learning the basics of hand-building with clay. Space is limited. ($65-$75) Register online.


Prevent Suicide Fundraiser @ Bad Badger Sports Bar Sept. 9, 5:30pm:

60% of the profits from that evening donated to Prevent Suicide Fox Cities. Plus Raffle & food sales. Donations also accepted. You must be 21 years old or over.