Travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin!
Timeless Beauty in Kenosha!
The Potawatomi people called the area Kenozia, “place of the pike”. The Ojibwa people, also known as the Chippewa, referred to it as Masu-kinoja, describing a place where pike gathered to spawn. When Europeans settled the area, it became known as Pike Creek, and though the name was changed briefly to Southport, the pike that flood the area each breeding season are once more represented in its current name, Kenosha.
History is important in Kenosha. From those that made the area home over 14 thousand years ago, to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the country whole when civil war threatened to divide it, to those who made history producing some of the first automobiles, the residents of Kenosha’s past are remembered still by its residents today. When you walk the streets of Kenosha you can feel the palpable history of the place. The past is blended seamlessly into its present with an eye for making the city just that little bit more beautiful for the sake of generations to come. When you walk the streets of Kenosha, you get a sense that you’re in a place of many times.
Top Things to do and See in Kenosha
- Walk to North Pierhead Light
- Tour the Kenosha History Center, and its Southport Light Station Museum
- Visit the Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum and Kenosha Public Museum
- Slay a dragon or two at the Bristol Renaissance Fair
- Do a little bit of everything at Petrifying Springs Park
- Appreciate art, local to national, at Anderson Arts Center
- Stroll surrounded by scenery on the Kenosha Sculpture Walk
- Sun, sand and surf await at Simmons Island Beach
- Get it while it’s fresh at Kenosha Harbor Market
- And ride the Street Cars, of course
Learn from the Past
In a town brimming with history, the hardest choice may be where to begin. Hop on a streetcar for the sheer nostalgia of it and take your pick from five beautifully curated attractions.
You could start your tour in the Southport Light Station Museum and shine a light on Lake Michigan’s maritime history while taking in its majesty from the tower above. Fully restored in 2013 to an authentic 1908 appearance by the Kenosha History Center, this dedication to light keepers as well as those in the fishing and shipping trades was once the first light seen by those ships traveling up the Wisconsin coast from Chicago. Afterwards, tour the Kenosha History Center exhibits in the building next door, featuring a look into Kenosha’s pioneering automotive history, its historic shops, and its settlement.
If cannon fire and battle strategy is more what draws your eye, start off by paying your respects at the Civil War Museum and get a unique experience of the war from the perspective of those who lived in the upper mid-west during its course. Get an intimate account of the war from those individuals who lived through its tumult and turmoil and examine the artifacts that they left behind.
Perhaps you’d like to start back a bit further in history. Say, the early Jurassic? Visit the Dinosaur Discovery Museum and learn how dinosaurs made the evolutionary journey into birds. Get answers from a dinosaur FAQ and check out the weather report from the Mesozoic era, or take a gander at Little Clint, a 3-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex, and follow his journey from hatchling to fossil.
For a look at what we now call Wisconsin through the years (and I mean all the years), start your exploration at the Kenosha Public Museum. Here, mammoth bones dug up in Wisconsin are featured, scored with tool marks belonging to some of America’s first settlers, and human curiosity and artistry are always on display.
Make the Most of the Present
Bridging the gap between history and fantasy, but never skimping on fun, is ye olde renaissance faire, and Kenosha hosts an amazing one. Unleash your maiden fair or knight victorious, (or hey, your fat friar if that’s what makes you happy), then feast and game till ye be merry and contented. With attractions like an acrobat rat and a ride called Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, it’s impossible not to have a good time.
And there’s plenty of fun to be had on the lakeshore, too. Assuming you’re not tired of coastal views yet, be sure to walk the breakwater to North Pierhead Light. If you spend the day at Simmons Island Beach (which you should), this could provide just the break you need from all that relaxation and lounging about, not to mention a chance for a panoramic view of Lake Michigan’s beautiful waters. Then, if you’re up for more after all that, you can always stroll on down the Kenosha Sculpture Walk and take in some art while you take in the rest of the scenery.
Hungry from all that walking? Kenosha Harbor Market is close at hand. An open-air mixed market with over 150 vendors, you can find everything from croissants to carrots to candles there, and that’s only the things that start with C. Stop in and look around when you have some time to explore.
Speaking of exploration, a trip to Petrifying Springs Park will fulfill your need for golf, barbecue, chess, hiking, and pretty much any other outdoor activity you can think up. It gets its name from Native American lore; a story is told of a young woman who was turned to stone by a spell from a jilted lover while bathing in the park. The water in the park is also full of minerals, which create a coating over sticks and acorns making them look petrified over time. It’s a great place to spend some time, no matter what your idea of a good time entails.
Anderson Arts Center is another solid option for a good time if you’re a fan of art and culture. With galleries located in a 9,000 square foot mansion that host more than 25 art exhibitions through the year, there’s always something fresh to take in.
One thing is sure, whether you wish to ponder the mysteries of the past or embrace the spontaneity of the present, Kenosha will provide. With so much to do, you may just make plans to follow the example of the pike that inspired the city’s name and make a return journey next year.
For more travel information about Kenosha, Wisconsin, please contact this tourism resource:
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Kenosha, WI 53140-3735