Between driving all over creation to pick up holiday gifts lately and recently traveling home for Thanksgiving, I’ve found myself behind the wheel a little more often than usual these days. While running errands, commuting to visit family, and traversing the region as I knot up loose ends before the end of the year, I’ve encountered a lot of different license plates on the road.
Beyond the standard Wisconsin plates and the occasional funny and/or odd personalized plate, I’ve also seen a few new—or new to me, at least—Wisconsin plate designs that have captured my attention. Of course, this sent me deep down a rabbit hole to see all the Wisconsin “special license plates” that are available to residents. Amazingly, there are more than SIXTY different special license plates to choose from!
Of course, some of them aren’t available to everyone. I’m talking about Disabled Parking plates, veteran-focused plates, plates for antique vehicles, and plates for firefighters and other emergency medical vehicles. However, there are also special license plates that any Wisconsin resident (with a valid driver’s license) can apply to purchase that display your in-state college’s name and logo, showcase your love for stuff like Harley-Davidson and amateur radio broadcasting, annoyingly tell people your pro life stance and your religious affiliation, acknowledge your Boy Scout or 4H past, or simply indicates that you enjoy golfing.
If your application is accepted and you have a little extra money to put towards something that differs from the standard issue piece of metal most of us affix to our vehicles, it’s safe to say there’s a Wisconsin special license plate that perfect for you. Though I’m not about to give the state extra cash annually just to show other motorist that I, like, attended UW-Oshkosh or whatever, I did take a little time to pick my favorite 15 State of Wisconsin special license plates and rank them. Tell me your favorite in the comments! (I won’t read the comments.)
Clean and basic, but I’m liking that red-on-teal color scheme.
14. Whitetails Unlimited
Oh deer! Beyond the huge buck, I like that the image takes up almost the entire plate.
13. Keeping The Lights On
We don’t think about Wisconsin’s utility workers enough. Well, at least I don’t. It’s legitimately cool the DOT wanted to honor these workers with a “Keeping The Lights On” plate. The picture ain’t half bad either.
The only thing that might be cooler than blood donation itself is the sunburst color on the nifty design of this Versiti plate.
11. Milwaukee Brewers (Ball & Glove)
Not bad, but the “Milwaukee Brewers” text is far too small to be seen by most fellow motorists and the presence of those (very small) words on the plate means the kind of cringeworthy “Brew Crew” had to be used at the bottom. It’s the second best Brewers plate available. Sorry!
10. Cure Childhood Cancer
Supports a great cause and has a nice design. Plus having “CC” after the other plate characters is sort of bad ass for some reason.
9. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Again, this plate has a great cause and a great color scheme. That white on light blue pairing is nice!
8. Milwaukee Brewers (State Outline)
Unlike the other Brewers plate, this one has a properly sized logo with “Milwaukee Brewers” written on the bottom as nature intended. The state outline is a worse logo than the ball and glove, but it makes for a better license plate component.
7. Musky Clubs Alliance
Look at that mighty muskellunge!
6. Endangered Resources (Eagle)
Look at that eagle!
5. Elkhart Lake’s Road America
The black background “goes hard,” as the youths say. I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to realize the shape on the left side was an overhead diagram of the Road America track.
4. Green Bay Packers
For the driver who wants to say “Go Pack Go” on the go.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
Let people know you like the Milwaukee Bucks, while also reminding people on the highway to be alert for deer.
2. Endangered Resources (Gray Wolf)
While the design with badger posed in front of a wildflower in a meadow is unfortunately not available anymore, this gray wolf design is still pretty awesome.
1. Ice Age Trail
Holy shit! This rules. Show me your favorite State of Wisconsin special license plates and I’ll show you a better one with a goddamn woolly mammoth on it. There’s no contest.