Midway between Milwaukee and Chicago, Kenosha is a vibrant city that is full of history, charm, and more than a few unexpected surprises. From vintage streetcars and Civil War history, to jousting knights and Wisconsin’s only velodrome – there’s nothing quite like Life on the Lakeside! Here are just a few of our favorite ways to enjoy the Kenosha area:
Vintage Electric Streetcars
Colorful vintage streetcars have become an iconic symbol of Kenosha’s lakeshore. Not only do they offer a fun, scenic way to get from place to place, but they also have their own unique personalities. The cars are painted in color schemes that represent different U.S. cities that would have had this type of streetcar.
With plenty of local vendors and artists, a walk through the Kenosha HarborMarket is a great way to spend a summer Saturday on the lakeshore.
A visit to one (or all) of Kenosha’s museums is a great option for science and history buffs, or anyone looking to learn something new. The Kenosha Public Museum covers natural history and fine arts, while the Civil War Museum focuses on the Civil War from the perspective of people from the Midwest. And at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, you can learn about the links between dinosaurs and birds.
Southport Light Station Museum
Visitors to this 1866 lighthouse can learn about and explore exhibits on Kenosha’s maritime history. After that, climb the 72 steps to the top of the lighthouse for a spectacular view of Kenosha’s lakeshore!
Peanut Butter and Jam
This weekly concert series is held on Thursday nights in the summer at Veterans Memorial Park. With great music, dancing and food vendors, it’s the perfect way to end a day on Kenosha’s lakeshore.
Just west of Kenosha, visitors can find 10 miles of professionally designed, single-track trails at Silver Lake County Park. Mountain bikers of all ages come here to enjoy nature, the woods, and trails geared toward a wide range of skill levels.
Washington Park Velodrome
Kenosha is home to the oldest operating velodrome in the country, and the only one in Wisconsin. It’s here where people can watch and participate in the Olympic sport of track cycling. Whether you’re looking to try a new sport, or just take in the excitement of a race night, it’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed!
Lake Michigan Charter Fishing / Boathouse Pub and Eatery
The Kenosha Charter Boat Association is a great option for those looking to get out on the water for some salmon and trout fishing. With experienced captains, comfortable boats and waters with the highest catch-rate-per-hour in Wisconsin, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. And after your trip, bring your catch to the Boathouse Pub and Eatery where they’ll take your fish and prepare a delicious, fresh “shore lunch.”
Mars Cheese Castle
This iconic Kenosha mainstay has long been a landmark for I-94 travelers and cheese lovers everywhere. In addition to cheese, they have beer and wine, a café, bakery, tavern and tons of souvenirs and gifts. It’s basically a one-stop shop for Wisconsin gifts and goodies!
House of Gerhard
This family-owned German-American restaurant has been in business for over 50 years in Kenosha. It’s an authentic German eatery meets traditional Wisconsin supper club and the fun, friendly atmosphere makes you feel like family. In addition to German specialties and prime rib, they’re famous for their mile-high ice cream drinks.
Elsie Mae’s Bakery and Cannery
When it’s time for dessert, this is where you need to be. It’s a HarborMarket super star, but Elsie Mae’s also has a storefront in downtown Kenosha, next to its sister-store Myrtle Mae’s Sugar Emporium. They’re famous for their mini pies, which are perfect for mixing and matching when you can’t decide on your favorite flavor!
Taste of Wisconsin
Held the last weekend in July at Harbor Park, the Taste of Wisconsin is a great time to enjoy the lakeshore and fill up on a variety of delicious local foods!
Jelly Belly Visitors Center
This place is basically a real-life version of Willy Wonka’s factory. Visitors can tour the Jelly Belly Warehouse by train, learning about the history and the making of this classic candy. Afterwards they can head to the Jelly Belly Sample Bar, or check out interactive games and exhibits at Jelly Belly Station.
There’s something about America’s favorite past time that’s always better in Wisconsin! As part of the Northwoods League, the Kenosha Kingfish play at historic Simmons Field. With great food and tons of games and activities for kids, it’s a fun time for the whole family.
Bristol Renaissance Faire
When you walk through the gates of the Bristol Renaissance Faire, you’re walking into another world where fantasy and history come alive. There are jousting knights, performing players, artists, dancers, pirates, and all the food and drink you could ever want. It’s something you’ve got to see to believe and costumes are highly encouraged!
Kenosha has plenty to offer visitors from near and far. What’s your favorite way to enjoy Kenosha?
Jessica Murphy is a producer for Discover Wisconsin. Stream Discover Wisconsin online at discoverwisconsin.com or tune in every Saturday morning at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin.