Kenosha, WI Lakefront: Things to Do
Since the beginning of the new millennium, Kenosha's downtown and Lake Michigan lakefront area has undergone a huge transformation from an abandoned industrial area to an aesthetically pleasing public space. The new Harbor Park combines residential housing with a marina, public museum, parks, and lots of open space. It is a wonderful destination for people of all ages, as there is something here for everyone. There are lots of daily activities as well as special events throughout the year.
Please note that all of the information in this article pertaining to specific events and locations is subject to change at any time without notice.
What can you do at the Kenosha lakefront?
Trails for walking, running, biking, and skating
Find a scenic spot to people watch
Feed the ducks
4th of July fireworks
Other lakefront events
Harbor Park is the center of Kenosha's lakefront.
HarborPark Sculpture Walk: Kenosha, WI
The Kenosha lakefront trails offer opportunities for:
- Dog Walking
Are you planning a longer outing? Check out the map link on the right to figure out how you can link up to the Kenosha lakefront from other trails in the area.
Scenic Spots to Relax and People Watch
One of the best aspects of the Kenosha lakefront is there are so many areas to hang out while you people watch, read, listen to music, and whatever else you enjoy doing to relax. All of it is in full view of gorgeous Lake Michigan. What's not to love?
There are a couple playground areas along the lakefront that are appropriate for children of a wide variety of ages. There is a variety of climbing equipment as well as swings and slides.
- Kenosha Parks | Parks & Nature | VisitKenosha.com
Discover all the parks in Kenosha, WI--whether you're looking to enjoy nature, do some hiking or let your dog loose for some fun, you'll find it here!
Wolfenbuttel Park / Garden Arbor
Wolfenbuttel Park, also known as the Garden Arbor, is an ideal spot for photography. Many people like to use this location for weddings, senior portraits, engagement photos, and more. It is also simply a nice area to sit and enjoy the scenery.
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The Navy Park is dedicated to Kenosha's Coast Guard and U.S. Marines. The location for the park is very fitting, as it provides a view of the Kenosha Lighthouse, Marina, and North Pierhead Light. The park includes a handful of maritime artifacts including a torpedo that is no longer activated and an anchor.
There are a number of picnic tables throughout the lakefront area. There are no provided grills, but you can bring your own. The lakefront offers lots of space to spread out for your picnic with blankets and chairs with lots of family and friends.
Many people from Chicago, Milwaukee, and many locations in between opt to boat in Kenosha, as it is not as crowded as either of the larger cities. Kenosha has two boat docks: Simmons Island Boat Harbor and Southport Marina. Simmons offers a fish cleaning station, fueling and pump-out, and both seasonal and temporary slip rentals with 24 hour security. Southport has 158 full-serve and 56 limited boat slips. Their facilities include laundry, showers, boater restrooms, winter storage, fuel and pump-out stations, and boat repair. Check out the boating website link for more information about both locations.
There are no beaches in Kenosha with lifeguards. However, there are still a number of areas that offer wide expanses of sand with shallow inclines that are great for swimming. If you're swimming with kids, just make sure that you take extra caution watching them.
Beaches can be a great locations for kite flying because of the strong, regular winds. The Kenosha lakefront is no exception. There are a handful of uninterrupted stretches of sand and grass that are perfect for launching your kite.
Feeding the Ducks
I don't know if there are always this many ducks at the Kenosha lakefront, but the last few times I have been there, the ducks were rampant. There are several ideal places to feed them as well as simply watch them swimming at the edge of the lake. Bring a bag of bread or buns and watch your fingers.
- Kenosha Public Museum. Free admission. Permanent collections of Wisconsin history including the Ice Age, mammoth digs and replicas, Native Americans, and coral reefs. Regular rotation of temporary exhibits.
- Civil War Museum. General admission: $7. Kenosha/Somers residents: $5. Children age 15 and under with adults and Friends of the Museum members get in for free. Rotating temporary exhibits including art and artifacts.
- Dinosaur Discovery Museum. Free admission. The Dinosaur Museum boasts more meat-eating dinosaurs in their displays than any other museum in the United States.
Check the museum web sites for current hours and special exhibits as well as upcoming events.
Lakefront Restaurants and Hotel
- Boat House Pub & Eatery. Award winning décor paired with daily specials, excellent sandwiches, and fish specialties. Try the smoked fish or BBQ ribs.
- Breakwater Bar & Grill. Check out the Happy Hour specials.
- Frank's Diner. This Kenosha institution is housed in an old train car and is worth the visit. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
- Harborside Common Grounds. Homemade sandwiches made to order, excellent coffee and tea selections. Enjoy the deck overlooking the lake.
- Trolley Dogs. Hot dogs and sandwiches. Ccombo specials.
- Wine Knot Bar & Bistro. In addition to white and red wines, enjoy appetizers, entrees, desserts, and live music.
- Best Western Harborside Inn & Kenosha Conference Center. Free breakfast, pool and hot tub, Wi-Fi, pets allowed.
4th of July Fireworks
One of the most well known and well attended Kenosha lakefront events is the annual 4th of July fireworks show. The fireworks are launched from the east end of Harbor Park and can be viewed from a wide range of areas along the lakefront. The fireworks start around 9:30 p.m. Arrive early to get a good spot with your blanket and chairs and consider hanging out afterward to avoid the worst crush of the traffic.
2011 Wisconsin Marathon
Other events at Harbor Park
- Art Fair in Library Park. The Kenosha Public Museum hosts an annual art fair in the nearby Library Park in mid-July.
- Grill Games. Late August. Free admission, great food, and live music.
- Jazz & Blues Festival.
- Kenosha HarborMarket. Outdoor market runs from mid-May through lake October at the lakefront. Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Taste of Wisconsin. Food, drink, and entertainment. What more do you need?
- Wisconsin Marathon and Half-Marathon. Take pride in your Wisconsin heritage and participate in one of the cheesiest races around. Participants can enjoy a free brat and beer after the race.
What else can you do in Kenosha?
- Bristol Renaissance Faire. Enjoy the fair from the weekend after the 4th of July through Labor Day.
- Jelly Belly Warehouse Tour. Take a tour at the Kenosha/Pleasant Prairie Jelly Belly Factory. All tours in include free jelly beans.
- Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets. This is a great shopping destination from Chicago, Milwaukee, or anywhere in between.
Wisconsin has so much to offer! Check it out.
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