Popular Things to Do in Kenosha, Wisconsin
My first encounter with the state of Wisconsin was in Kenosha, the Southwestern shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. As soon as I saw Kenosha’s classic water tower, I knew that I would like it here. Kenosha is less than an hour from Milwaukee and 75 minutes from Chicago. It makes for a great road trip or weekend option. Here are the popular things to do in Kenosha that I found to be fun and noteworthy.
Eat Donuts from Mike’s Donuts and Chicken
I’m all about the donuts at Mike’s Donuts, though I’m sure the chicken (and everything else) is good, too. Pick up a few to sink your teeth into when the vacation sweet tooth comes calling (admire the pretty signature pink box, too). The donuts have tasty combinations and are sheer sugar overload. Choose from Chubby Hubby Cyclops (caramel, pretzel, and chocolate), Glazed Chocolate Cake, Maple Bacon, Oreo Cyclops, and my fave, Girl Scout Lemonade. Flavors change frequently but the most popular are offered daily.
Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites
The Hampton Inn & Suites is a stylish hotel with ultimate comfort minutes away from many points of interest in Kenosha. Rooms are spacious and tasteful decorated with white bed linens on the Cloud Nine pillow top mattress), a leather headboard, red chaise lounge, and contemporary table. The hotel lobby has homey touches and a welcoming fireplace.
Eat Breakfast at The Coffee Pot
This old-fashioned diner is where locals meet for a cup of coffee and visitors find amazing dishes listed on The Coffee Pot’s daily specials board. The Peach Melba Toast (with sweet peaches and raspberries) is one of the most bragged-on items. The antique porcelain neon sign, an original from the 1930’s, is cool to see at nighttime. This is definitely a Kenosha landmark.
During my visit to The Coffee Pot, I had a Reuben Omelet. I did not know that a Reuben Omelet existed, but the flavors of the sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, 1000 Island dressing, and corned beef, all rolled up in my three egg omelet, was scrumptious! My omelet was plated with The Coffee Pot’s signature bread. It is dense, buttery (but not greasy), and out-of-this-world!
Tour the Jelly Belly Visitor Center
This is the coolest, and maybe the tastiest, spot in Kenosha (Pleasant Prairie). The world’s most famous jellybeans can be tasted, purchased, and enjoyed at the Visitor Center, which also offers free train tours of the warehouse facility. During the 25 to 30 minute tour, you will see Jelly Belly fashions, mosaic bean art of famous people, a step-by-step exhibit of how the tasty beans are made, and more. Fingers crossed that you will see the adorable Jelly Belly mascot. The onsite store has plenty of sweet souvenirs, accessories, clothing, fudge, and a snack bar.
Fun Fact: Jelly Belly’s rocked to fame partially because of President Ronald Reagan. He was such a fan that he had Jelly Belly’s shipped to the White House while he was in office.
Ride the Electric Streetcar
A darling electric streetcar runs around a two-mile loop through downtown Kenosha along Lake Shore, running parallel with the harbor. The streetcars are fashioned from 1950’s retro trolley cars. It offers a quick, but a fun ride that children especially will love. There are stops along the way that you are free to hop off and enjoy, including most of Kenosha’s museums. The Electric Streetcar is $1 to ride.
Explore the Civil War Museum
The Civil War Museum in Kenosha is a pleasant surprise. Highly organized, informational, and interesting, the museum has interactive exhibits and a superb collection of war memorabilia, especially those from Midwest soldiers (totaling one million men!). Seeing the Elephant, a 10-minute high-tech movie using 360° technology, was my favorite part of the museum. It depicts three soldiers’ (an abolitionist, adventurous young boy, and patriotic family man) time from enlistment to combat and how they dealt with life after war.
Enjoy a Tasty Bowl of Chili in Kenosha
A noteworthy meal that I had was from a cool little neighborhood hot spot, Tg’s Restaurant & Pub. It is one of the oldest family-friendly eateries this side of the Rockies and a great place to enjoy the singing or listening to the local karaoke singers. The menu has typical American cuisine but I opted for a bowl of Chili and classic Grilled Cheese sandwich. The two paired perfectly together. It surprised me to find a sweet tea that far North.
Sample Ethnic Dishes at Sazzy B’s
Sazzy B’s is an upscale bistro with original dishes and eclectic flavor. I chose a most interesting dish that really wowed me; Vietnamese Chili Salmon. The dish is served over really light and flavorful coconut rice and the salmon was topped with a strawberry coulis and fresh basil. I had never had strawberries with salmon but let me tell you, it worked wonderfully! Sazzy B’s has a Caprese Chicken meal that was a close contender for my order. Mozzarella, cream cheese, tomato, and a basil cream sauce (oh heavenly day!) This seems to be “the” place to have dinner and cocktails in Kenosha.
Soak up the Scenery
The Lake Michigan shoreline is incredible and makes for wonderful photos. I loved the large collection of boulders that lined the overlook into the multi-colored waters. Their contrast against the blue sky and sandy beaches is excellent! I drove around Kenosha Harbor Park where one side shows off the sparkling waters and the other, stately mammoth homes. The houses offered the best views in town. I even happened upon a wild fox at Kenosha Harbor Park that added to the already great day.
Simmons Island Park is one of the most popular parks in Kenosha for beaches, a boardwalk, and two pretty lighthouses. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places, since 2003.
Kenosha is on the Rise
Kenosha is well on its way to being a city that tourists flock to on weekends or during the summer months to enjoy beautiful beaches with rugged, yet gorgeous rock walls, and fantastic views of Lake Michigan. I loved the juxtaposition of old taverns and classic eateries with new museums, shops, and trendy microbreweries. Have you visited Wisconsin yet?
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