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Kenosha, WI Lakefront: Things to Do

Updated on September 26, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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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
Playgrounds
Navy Park
Picnic
Boating
Swimming
Kite flying
Feed the ducks
Museums
4th of July fireworks
Other lakefront events
Lakefront restaurants
A markerHarbor Park, Kenosha, WI -
Harbor Park, 206 55th St, Kenosha, WI 53140, USA
get directions

Harbor Park is the center of Kenosha's lakefront.

HarborPark Sculpture Walk: Kenosha, WI

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Trails

The Kenosha lakefront trails offer opportunities for:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Dog Walking
  • Skating

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.

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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?

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Playgrounds

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.

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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.


Tips For Outdoor Photography With Portrait And Camera Lighting Techniques

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Navy Park

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.

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Picnic

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.

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Boating

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.

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Swimming

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.

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Kite Flying

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.

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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.

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Museums

  • 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.

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Lakefront Restaurants and Hotel

Restaurants

  • Boat House Pub & Eatery. Award winning d├ęcor 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.

Hotel

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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

2012 Bristol Renaissance Fair
2012 Bristol Renaissance Fair | Source

What else can you do in Kenosha?

show route and directions
A markerBristol Renaissance Faire -
12550 120th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53142, USA
get directions

B markerPleasant Prairie Premium Outlets -
11211 120th Ave, Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158, USA
get directions

C markerJelly Belly Factory -
10100 Jelly Belly Ln, Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158, USA
get directions

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Kenosha , Wisconsin has brought back some memories. Many years ago when my first husband was in school and we were very poor..we drove up to play at a golf course there with one set of clubs. Those were good days. It was a lovely city...and your photos are marvelous. Voted UP.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I'd be all about that Rose! Sounds like a perfect place to enjoy taking the girls! I'd love to go boating and fishing and hiking...that's totally my style:). Awesome!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's awesome, Carol. :) My in-laws live in Kenosha, and my husband and I spent a lot of time there when we were first dating, so we also have a lot of early memories in the area. I'm glad that you enjoyed this.

      Kelly, this would be a great place to go with your girls!

    • leahlefler profile image

      leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      The harbor in Kenosha is so beautiful - I want to take a stroll and look at all the boats! I love serene, lakeside settings. My kids would really love the dinosaur museum there!

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      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Wow this place looks amazing. My boys would love to fly kites and visit the Dino museum for sure! Voted up, useful, and I love the pics! Kelley

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Leah and Kelley, you'll have to plan a trip out there sometime so your boys can check out the Dinosaur museum and you can visit the boats. :)

    • ercramer36 profile image

      Eric Cramer 4 years ago from Chicagoland

      Beautiful hub with great pictures! I have been to Kenosha a few times, but never knew that they had cleaned up the lake front area so nice. I will have to go back for a vist.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, ercramer! Yes, they have completely transformed it over the past ten years. I hope that you get back to visit sometime.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very pretty area! Thanks for the tour, Rose!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Bill! My pleasure. :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for these great ideas.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! I'm glad that you enjoyed them.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      So beautiful, you really do it justice. Thanks.

    • BusinessTime profile image

      Sarah Kolb-Williams 4 years ago from Twin Cities

      I grew up near Kenosha -- great hub, makes me homesick!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Jackie!

      BusinessTime, neat!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      A very beautiful all-in-one recreation place.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Yes, for sure!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Beautiful! Thanks for the tour. The photos are awesome. Great hub! Thanks for sharing.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Thelma! I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      This sounds like an awesome place to hang out! If I'm ever up in the Michigan area, I'll take a look at this. :) It sounds great!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 4 years ago from New York

      Kenosha's done a tremendous job transforming its lakefront into a scenic area that's great for walking. They deserve lots of credit. Nice hub!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Cyndi, it's Wisconsin, not Michigan, but Kenosha still has a beautiful Lake Michigan waterfront.

      tipstoretireearly, yes, for sure! Thanks.

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