Clean, Comfortable, Convenient, and Charming

Thank you for your interest in the Holiday Motel, the most unique place to stay and play in Door County!  Built in 1952, the Holiday is Door's first-ever motel.  Renovated in 2008 using environmentally-friendly building materials and practices, we offer our guests a clean, comfortable place to stay with retro charm and modern amenities.  Steps from the bay and the city's finest galleries, shops, restaurants, and night life, the Holiday is the place to stay in the heart of historic downtown Sturgeon Bay.  We take great pride in going the extra mile for our guests, and our competitive rates, fantastic location and exceptional attention to detail make the Holiday one of the peninsula's very best values.

One thing that everyone agrees on is how convenient everything is right from our front (or back) door!  The Holiday is a perfect launching point for day-trips throughout the county as well as a great place to just park your car and explore on foot!!! 

 Photo credit: Ty Helbach

What's there to do when I stay with you???

Art galleries abound in downtown Sturgeon Bay! Miller Art Museum, Popelka-Trenchard Glass, Margaret Lockwood Gallery, So-Mi Gallery, Two Bridges Studio and Gallery, Articipation, AMO Gallery, Artist Guild, SWY, Mona Lucy Gallery and more! 

Looking for a theater show? Third Avenue PlayWorks is also just a stone's throw from our front (or back) door! Be sure to check their website for performances! TAP is considered one of Wisconsin's crown jewels!

Downtown dinner dining on the east-side waterfront (only one block away) there's Crate, Trattoria dal Santo, Inn at Cedar Crossing, Door County Fire Company, and Stone Harbor Resort right on the waterfront (outdoor seating available in the summer), while Sonny's Pizzeria and Kitty O'Rileys are just across the old Steel Bridge. Want a spectacular view of the water and great food with just a 15-20 min drive? Donny's Glidden Lodge is one of our personal favorites.  Breakfast east-side walking distance: Papa B's Food Truck (May-October) is right on site in our parking lot to the north on 1st Ave with amAAAzing breakfast burritos, Kick Coffee, Gnoshery, 3rd Avenue Cafe, Morning Glory, Kimz Galley Cafe, 5&J Coffeehouse are all yummers. Breakfast west-side (longer walk or short drive): Get Real Cafe, Scaturo's, Glas Coffeehouse, Lawless Coffee (artisian coffee and bakery items). Lunch (east and west side in order of proximity): Papa B's Food Truck (May-October), Gnoshery, Stone Harbor Resort, Kick Coffee, Inn at Cedar Crossing, Door County Fire Company, Morning Glory, 5&J Coffeehouse, Sonny's Pizzeria, Greystone Castle, Glas Coffeehouse, Bluefront Cafe, Get Real CafeKitty O'Rileys, Scaturo's. **check with businesses for hours Grab and go on a picnic: Healthy Way Market (organic groceries and deli) or hit our weekly Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings to gather what you need for the day!

Cocktail hour calling?? There is certainly no shortage of local watering holes in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Park your car and walk to Poh's, Butch's, Red Room, Door County Fire Company and Brick Lot, all on the main drag downtown; cross the street to enjoy a waterfront view at Stone Harbor Resort or, in the summertime, pick up a lovely bottle of wine from Madison Avenue Market and some cheese and crackers to enjoy while watching the sun go down. Looking for bowling or a vintage video game arcade? Cherry Lanes Arcade Bar has that covered as well as offerings of craft beer and cocktails. If you feel like a walk across the bridge, there's Kitty O'Rileys and Greystone Castle all within a half mile of the motel.

Unique shopping experiences are also plentiful just one block east of the Holiday on 3rd Avenue or across the bridge on the Westside Waterfront. Within Things, The Pearl of Door County, Novel Bay Books, Door County Traders, The Marketplace, Dancing Bear, Peninsula Jewelers, OtherWorlds Books and Bayside Bargains, are just a few of our favorites within walking distance of the motel.

Need to just take a stroll or go for a jog? The "Bridge Loop" walking over Michigan Street Bridge to Oregon Street Bridge is approx. one mile and gives you a great view of our working waterfront. In the evening, just cross the street and watch the sun go down along the channel as the boats come and go and the large lake freighters rest in the dry docks. Even just strolling the neighborhood you'll discover gorgeous historic homes and churches. ** You can find an excellent Walking Map at the front desk to guide you to more places to explore on foot!

Want to learn more about our area? The Holiday is also less than five minutes by foot from both the Door County Maritime Museum (check out their new observation tower!) and the Door County Historical Museum, as well as the Door County Library which prides itself in making it quick and easy for tourists to borrow resources while they visit the area. 

Parks parks parks!!! While Sturgeon Bay is the "city-center" of Door County, we are blessed to coexist within a beautiful natural landscape mere steps from our door. Just a few blocks away there's Martin Park which features weekly live music on Wednesday nights in the summertime (Harmony By the Bay) and the central location for the Fine Arts Fair and Harvest Fest which are very popular annual attractions. We are also less than four minutes from Sunset Park, home of Little Lake, a great swimming beach, lighted tennis courts, pickle-ball court, a basketball court, an exercise course over a mile long with eleven stations, a two lane boat launch ramp and a transient docking pier, a half-mile trail for walking, jogging, and bicycling, and two playground areas for kids.  Sunset Park is a very popular place for shore fishing, and, as its name implies, a great place to catch the sunset or view the fireworks on the 4th of July! The Holiday is also a short walk from Otumba Park on the west-side, featuring sheltered picnic areas with restrooms, playground equipment, a newly redone handicap accessible beach, lighted tennis courts and a lighted basketball court, free parking, and a beautiful waterfront walkway with great view.  Big Hill Park is a somewhat secret hidden gem, tucked in the city center with its huge pine trees and mountain bike trails, it's also perfect in winter for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Crossroads Nature Preserve is a wonderful place for a stroll through its beautiful kept grounds at any time of year. Potowatomi State Park is also just a few minutes away and Cave Point and Whitefish Dunes are only a 15 minute drive.

Boating: There are also seven marinas in the Holiday's immediate vicinity, the furthest being five minutes away, and our large parking lot can accommodate boats of a reasonable size (please call in advance to arrange parking). There are many opportunities for private cruises, sailing excursions and fishing expeditions. (click on the visitors' center links below to learn more). visit for more info).

And these are all just some of the things in our immediate vicinity! There's still the rest of the Peninsula to Explore!

Did we leave anything out?  :) Destination Sturgeon Bay and Destination Door County are a great resource for finding what you're looking for!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! We want you to enjoy your time here in Door County!!!
Doing what we do is only fun for us if you are having fun, too! :)


A Commitment to Growing Community Through Art

Aside from serving as Sturgeon Bay's premier motel, the Holiday is also an integral fixture of the local music scene.  From our weekly open mic to our house concerts and songwriters' retreats, the Holiday often plays host to live performances by incredibly talented artists from around the world. Over 1500 songs have been written and recorded at the Holiday Music Motel!  The works of local fine artists are showcased on our walls, and our events utilize the arts as a medium by which we are able to connect visitors to and members of our community.  


The Holiday Motel was the first motel in Door County.  Built in the Cubist Modern (or Modern International) design, it opened its doors on Saturday, May 31, 1952.  The motel was designed and owned by William Paul, owner of the local supper club the Nautical Inn, and his business partner Myron Krueger.  According to newspaper reports of the time, the two emphasized the "modern" detail and amenities when listing such items as a ventilated phone booth just for the business traveler's calling convenience, the fire-proof and chip-proof Simmons furnishings, the glass-block windows, photo-mirrors, tile bathrooms, theatre-lit hallways and stairs, and white stucco and cement block construction - the newest methods of the day.  

The builder used the post Motor Court style popular at a time in American travel history when guest room views onto the on-site private parking was a major attraction to travelers.  In the early part of the twentieth century, there were few choices for travelers - most stayed at camp ground, cottage courts, or tourist homes.  Business was good, and a year later, the Holiday Diner was added to serve a full breakfast menu.  

Interestingly, the Holiday Inn chain (unaffiliated with the Holiday Motel) was launched only three months later in Memphis with the promise of properties that were standardized, clean, predictable, family-friendly, and readily accessible to road travelers.  Named jokingly by its architect in reference to the popular Bing Crosby movie, there were 50 Holiday Inns across the country by 1958.


Our sign is the motel's original sign.  Though the Sturgeon Bay's sign code typically does not allow neon, our sign was grandfathered in for its historic relevance.  The metal box neon sign was perfected during the 1950s and became the standard in roadside business advertising until the 1960s.  This period of dynamic, roadside flamboyance mirrored the exuberance of the postwar era.  Metal box signs were constructed with brightly-colored porcelain-enameled panels trimmed in neon tubing and often animated with moving parts for vivid, hard to ignore displays day or night.  


The Holiday Motel was purchased in May 2007 by Holiday Motel Management, LLC, a group of musicians and music enthusiasts.  This group came together while working on Steel Bridge Songfest (SBSF), an original music festival designed to celebrate and raise awareness for the preservation of the historic Michigan Street Bridge. Efforts were successful and the bridge was saved and re-opened for good in the summer of 2011. The motel sits at the bridge's approach.  

Singer/songwriter pat mAcdonald (co-founder of SBSF) organized a songwriting workshop in 2006 called The Construction Zone, which took place for the first time in conjunction with that year's festival.  The Holiday Motel (owned and operated at that time by fellow "bridge lovers" Pete and Marilyn DeVaney) was used as headquarters for the event.  Twenty-five songwriters were invited to stay at the motel and write songs in collaboration.  A recording studio was installed in one of the rooms, and some 60 original songs were written and recorded at the motel.  One of the current owners, Anna Sacks, was among those songwriters.  She was so inspired by the event, she commented to pat that she wished they could just buy a motel and continue the collaboration year-round.  pAt pointed out that the Holiday Motel was for sale.  

Friends began to tell friends, and soon a collection of like-minded people banded together to buy the motel.  One of the owners is noted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne, who has appeared for many years at the Steel Bridge Songfest and has performed two intimate house concerts right in the motel's on-site recording studio/concert space.

The second Construction Zone was held at the Holiday Motel from June 7th-16th, 2007, and another 60-some songs were composed and recorded.  A compilation CD from the first year's workshop was issued and debuted at the festival.  Subsequent songwriting events were scheduled for fall and winter 2007, but that was not to be.  

An electrical fire on August 5, 2007, did extensive damage to the motel and forced it to close for repairs for 22 months.  Seeming initially like a staggering blow to the fledgling venture, the blaze and subsequent reconstruction required that improvements originally planned for a phased development be made in an accelerated time frame.  The owners also opted to take the opportunity to invest in additional upgrades.  The renovation proceeded with three goals in mind:

  • Going green
  • Preserving the historic integrity and classic 50s decor of the building
  • Enhancing the motel's recording capabilities

The fire turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Now fully renovated, the motel features new wiring, brand new roof trusses, additional insulation between walls and floors (some noise is still inevitable as it is an older building), a new ultra-efficient HVAC heating and cooling system for the guest rooms and public spaces, lobby and reception area improvements, brand new carpeting and drapery, and more.  We were even able to clean and reinstall our original 1950s Simmons furniture, and restore much of our original tile.  Anything that could be saved was saved. The only major change was the removal of a wall in the lobby entryway which makes the space much more open and inviting.

Lastly, it should not be forgotten that The Holiday resumed as the song-writing headquarters for Steel Bridge Songfest in 2009 (Beach Harbor Resort graciously hosted the song-writing portion of the event in 2008). Other events have since sprung up as a result of the popularity of SBSF and The Holiday Music Motel now also plays host to two other events taking place around Halloween ('Dark Songs') and Valentine's Day ('Love On Holiday') in addition to their weekly live original open mic (WRiTERS NiGHT) and regularly scheduled house concerts.