The city was founded in 1835 under the name of Pike. The town underwent growth and its name changed to Southport in 1837. In 1850 the name was changed again and this time it stuck: Kenosha. Even though it's been over a hundred years, you'll see many businesses use the Southport moniker in their branding. Kenosha owes much to the numerous waves of immigrants that chose to settle here. The Italians especially made an impact, along with the Germans, Irish, and others.
Kenosha was heavily involved in the auto industry from the early 1900s to the late 1980s with Rambler, Nash, AMC, and others having factories in town. Kenosha became a sleepy suburb with not much in the way of "culture" once the factories left. Kenosha was hit hard by the loss of auto industry jobs like many cities in the rust belt. The downtown area is undergoing renovations to become more attractive with efforts that include: the removal of the previous dingy, abandoned warehouses with posh condos; the opening of three public museums; a recreation of the historical streetcar line; and several new art galleries. Land along the I-94 corridor has undergone extensive development, with warehouses and new factories moving in. Kenosha has chain retailers and restaurants, especially on the western side of town.
Like the rings of a tree, the history of the city's growth is marked by the location and type of attractions in Kenosha. The downtown area has historic, brick buildings; the center of Kenosha is sleepy 1960s suburban with large, shady lawns; and the western edge is filled with McMansions and businesses. Influence from the students of the two universities, UW Parkside and Carthage, is reflected in the variety of trendy restaurants and bars in close proximity to the universities (northern Kenosha and near the lake). Kenosha's location between two major cities and along a highway means that there is plenty of shopping clustered around I94 and Green Bay Rd. The established, family owned restaurants and businesses are found in the more suburban center of the city.
It is possible to bike from Chicago to Kenosha by following the Robert McClory bike path (roughly 56 miles of biking from the start of the trail into Kenosha). The trailhead starts in Highland park on Green Bay Trail at Laurel Ave. and St. Johns Ave./Sheridan Rd. It follows North Lakeshore drive and is clearly marked if you wish to start your journey further north. The path is mostly concrete, asphalt, or tightly packed limestone gravel. The trail follows the path of an old railroad. It is often tree lined and passes through some very pretty neighborhoods (and a few not-so-pretty ones as well). This is a dedicated bike path that only briefly goes onto streets around the Lake Forest area. It ends at the south side of Kenosha, by Anderson park. Give about 6 hours for travel, including rest stops. This is most likely a half-day event, minimum: ensure you find a good map of your route and pack enough supplies.
- Airport Express (Subsidiary of Coach USA, operated by Wisconsin Coach Lines), (bus stop) Brat Stop at I-94 & Hwy 50 (at the I-94/Hwy 50 interchange (exit #344 off of I-94) at 12304 75th Street). Service from several places in Milwaukee including Mitchell Airport and from Chicago O'Hare. Connections to Greyhound & other bus companies in Milwaukee and Chicago. Arrival and departures are on the east side of the Brat Stop near the volleyball courts. Please look for the sign and waiting area.
- Wisconsin Coach Lines (Subsidiary of Coach USA), (bus stop) 63rd St on 20th Ave in Uptown. Service from Milwaukee and Racine. Additional local stops are Kenosha Transit Center, Metra Train Station, Sheridan & Washington; and Carthage College. Check schedules.
- If coming from the north or south, I-94 acts as a border to the western edge of Kenosha. If you are coming from Chicago or Milwaukee on I94, there are three main exits into the city: 344, 342, and 340. Exit 344 turns onto 75th street, the main artery of Kenosha.
- If coming from the west, Highway 50 continues east all the way into Kenosha. It cuts through Lake Geneva, turns into highway 83 for a short stint before Paddock Lake, and then becomes Highway 50 again.
- 1 Kenosha Regional Airport, 9900 52nd St, ☏ . This airport does not have scheduled passenger services. It is possible to land your personal aircraft here; check up-to-date FAA information using the FAA identifier: KENW. The runway can accommodate up to a 30-passenger corporate aircraft. Several businesses operate out of this airport and you might be able to schedule a private flight into or out of Kenosha through them.
- Stein's Aircraft Services, ☏ . Offers limited ability to charter flights.
- 2 Metra, 5414 13th Ave. From Chicago's Ogilvie Transportation Center, you can take Metra's Union Pacific North Line into downtown Kenosha. There is paid parking near the train station if you wish to sleep in Kenosha and commute via train to Chicago during the day. This is the last stop on the line so departure and arrival times are limited. Ensure you check their most current schedule (found on the website) and plan your trip accordingly. Regular one-way fare from downtown Chicago for one adult is $7.50; an unlimited ride weekend pass only costs $7..
Most of Kenosha is suburbia. With the exception of the downtown area, attractions in Kenosha are spaced out with enough distance between them that walking or biking sometimes isn't an option unless you are very fit and have the extra time. You'll want to have some form of motorized transport to get around, unless you are staying near the lake and the attractions near the interstate or middle part of town don't interest you.
Many of the streets are being redone to include bike lanes. Bike culture has not yet kept up with these new lanes and occasionally you will find cars driving in or overtaking from the dedicated lanes. Their connection to one another is sporadic because the lanes are added as streets are repaired.
There are several local bike shops that sell supplies and do bike repairs. If you've made bicycle your main mode of transport and are in need of their services, the below all have very good reputations and have been in business for many years:
- 1 Ski & Sports Chalet, 5039 6th Ave, ☏ . This location dedicates more floor space to bikes than ski equipment. They have friendly, accommodating staff and passionate repair people. The have a moderate selection of bike accessories. They also offer bike rentals.
- 2 Southport Rigging Inc. (The bike shop), 2926 75th St. Most locals just call this place the bike shop. They specialize in Trek bikes, sell bike accessories, and perform repairs.
- 3 Total Cyclery, 2900 52nd St, ☏ . A very small shop that has knowledgeable staff and good repair people. While they sell bike accessories, the stock is limited. Repair turn-around time can vary greatly depending on season and their staffing, but they advertise most repairs taking less than 24 hours.
- Kenosha Transit, ☏ . M-F 6AM-7:30PM, Sa 9AM-4PM, no service on Sunday. Kenosha Transit operates the local bus system and the Kenosha Streetcar. Bus fare is $1.75. A monthly pass is $50. Unlimited Saturday transfer pass is $3.75.
There are some things to keep in mind when navigating or receiving directions on Kenosha roads. Kenosha is a planned city: roads are laid out in a grid. Streets run east-west, avenues run north-south. Any road that deviates from these directions will be called a road, place, or circle; these are often named. All roads are numbered and the number increases the further south and west you travel. Addresses are created by taking the road's number that cuts across the road you are on (to the north if on an avenue and to the east if on a street) and appending the two digit house number.
Odd numbered addresses are on the east side of avenues and south side of streets. This would be called the "odd" side of the road and the opposite side would be called the "even" side, to use the local parlance. Knowing your odds from your evens is important: there is alternate side parking city-wide from December 1st to April 1st, between 1AM and 6AM. If the day's date is an odd number you park on the "odd" side of the street and on the "even" side if the date is even. Alternate side parking is rigorously enforced. You will get ticketed if you park on the wrong side of the street during the winter months.
Most locals omit the street or avenue designation of the road when giving directions, if they are referring to a main artery of the city. Of note is 75th (street), 60th (street) and 22nd (avenue) but this is by no means an exhaustive list. 75th and 50 (the street's highway designation) are often used interchangeably. Three roads are never referred to by their number designation: Pershing, Roosevelt, and Sheridan.
The majority of car rental services are located on or very near 75th street.
- Enterprise Rent-a-Car, 7600 75th Street, Suite 104, ☏ .
- Ace Rent a Car, 7519 60th Ave, ☏ .
- Hertz Rent a Car, 5506 75th, ☏ .
- Mayfair Rent-A-Car, 7519 60th Ave, ☏ .
Taxi services in Kenosha are not nearly as useful as they are in larger cities. They often quote pick-up times of over a half hour, show up late, or don't show up at all. The situation is especially bad on the weekend. If you are drinking in Kenosha (a traditional and time-honored pastime), ensure you have a designated driver and do not rely on the taxi services. It is more recommended to use a ride-hailing app, such as Uber, if you do not have or are not renting a car.
- The Kenosha Streetcar is a two-mile streetcar loop serving downtown Kenosha, passing by the Metra station, Harbor Park, the Kenosha Public Museum, and other sites. The fare for the street car is $1 for an adult and 50 cents for children. The street car has different schedules depending on the season and day of the week. Between January third to February 28, the streetcar only runs on Weekends. On all weekends throughout the year, the street car runs between 10:05AM and 5:35PM. In March, the street car runs M-F 10:05AM-2:05PM. From April-January 2, the street car runs 11:05AM-6:35PM. There is no service on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
- 1 Anderson Arts Center, 6603 3rd Ave. Located on the southern end of the Kemper Center campus, this art museum displays the work of local and regional artists. The building was finished in 1931 and its architecture is an example of the French Renaissance Revival style.
- Civil War Museum, 5400 First Avenue, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Despite Wisconsin's distance from the battlefields of the Civil War, Kenosha has a museum dedicated to it. The exhibits here focus on the experiences of Midwestern veterans of the Civil War. $7 adults, free for youth 15 and under if accompanied by a paying adult.
- 2 Dinosaur Discovery Museum, 5608 Tenth Avenue, ☏ . Tu-Su noon-5PM. Dinosaur museum which also houses the Carthage Institute of Paleontology. Free.
- 3 Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 First Avenue, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Kenosha's natural sciences and fine arts museum. The lower level houses a large mammoth skeleton, small gift shop, and children's educational room. The upper level houses a taxidermy menagerie and an art gallery. Free.
- 4 Kemper Center, 6501 3rd Ave, ☏ . Built in 1861, this historic mansion sits on the shore of Lake Michigan. Guided tours are offered year round, call the number listed to get the most current times and prices. Seasonal events, such as a haunted house and Christmas concerts, are hosted here.
- 5 University of Wisconsin - Parkside (UWP), 900 Wood Rd, ☏ . Parkside is nestled inside of Petrifying Springs Park. Of interest to the traveler are the two student art galleries, seasonal events, and the theatre where student concerts and plays occur, all of which are open to the public. Check the website for the play line-up and list of seasonal events. The university's theatre program is surprisingly good and the performances they put on are a great way to get your culture fix without breaking the bank. There is metered visitor parking and on event nights there is often free parking.
- Wendy's & the Kenosha Car Club, 3811 75th St, 4420 52nd St, & 5210 Sheridan Rd. Tuesdays during nice weather from June until September. Why, you ask, is a fast food chain listed as something you'd want to see in Kenosha? Kenosha has a phenomenon that has endured for several decades. Every Tuesday, weather permitting, car enthusiasts from the Kenosha Car Club bring their classic cars to Wendy's locations throughout the city. The owners of the cars are incredibly friendly and very, very willing to chat about their car, show you under the hood, and give a (sometimes not so) brief history lesson. Also Wednesdays at Culver's (8124 Sheridan Rd) starting at 4PM.
Kenosha is a city filled with trees. Nearly every street is lined with old growth oak and maple trees. From around mid September to early November, Kenosha is painted with strokes of red, yellow, purple and orange as the leaves change colors. It's an excellent time of year walk around the suburbs or down by the lake to take pictures and enjoy the fall colors. Visiting Petrifying Springs Park is a popular event on fall weekends for families to take pictures with a scenic background.
- 1 America's Action Territory, 12345 75th St. Check their website for hours as they change depending on the season. This event filled location has three mini-golf courses, laser tag, go-karts, bumper boats, paintball, and an arcade. It's common to see children (and teens) host birthday parties here. Some of the go-karts are faster than others; always pick the karts near the back of the line and to the far side of the track (winners get to take a victory lap, hence these prime karts being at the back). During the winter, the outdoor attractions close but there is still a decent amount available to entertain your offspring. Pricing is dependent on participant's height. You can purchase an unlimited pass for $27 to $32 or puchase attractions al la carte. See website for al la carte pricing.
- 2 Monkey Joe's, 4237 Green Bay Rd, ☏ . An indoor playground and arcade for children. Features giant inflatables to bounce on.
- 3 Petrifying Springs Park (Pets Park). This park consists of hiking trails that are both paved and unpaved, cross-country ski trails, a golf course, and several large playgrounds. Many of the hiking trails wind up, down and around the pike river and a few of its tributaries. There is also a dog park.
- 4 Anderson Park Pool, 8730 22nd ave. This water park has two pools: a children's pool that has a small water slide and the regular pool that has two slides and a diving board. Entry fees are cash only. Entry: $4 (ages 3-17), $5 (adults), $3 (seniors over 60).
- 5 Dream Playground (Petzke Park), 3100 14th Ave. 8AM to 10PM. A playground designed for children of all ages and physical abilities. There are two sections, one for children under 5 and another for older children. The park is designed to be wheel chair accessible and caters to children of all abilities. There is a wheel chair swing, swings with high backs, and a wheel chair accessible merry-go-round. The ground is a soft rubber material and there are ramps to the various play areas. free.
- 6 Washington Park Velodrome, Washington Rd & 22nd Avenue. This is the oldest operating velodrome in the United States. Bike events are scheduled frequently; check the website for the most up-to-date events. There are minimal fees to participate on race nights. Mondays are set aside for stock bike racing (must be older than 3 years. You do not need to be a member, own a special bike or have a bike license), while Tuesday nights have (very slightly) more stringent entry requirements (must be licensed, older than 9, and riding a fixed speed bike).
- 7 Washington Park Pool, 1821 Washington Rd. This water park is open to the public. There are two large slides and a diving board. One portion of the pool is wading level and offers interactive water features, such as fountains. Entry fees are cash only. Lockers are available for $0.50. Entry: $4 (ages 3-17), $5 (adults), $3 (seniors over 60).
- Sledding. Kenosha is a fairly flat city but several parks have large, man-made hills created with the leftover dirt from when the nearby houses were built. Local youth all have favorite places to sled and it can be an excellent way for your offspring to make friends during your visit (or at least tire your child out while you sit in the warmth of your car). Ingram Park (5726 93rd St) has a very large hill with two different slopes of varying steepness. Across from Bradford Highschool (3030 39th Ave), there is a large hill. One side is very steep and goes into a lake, but the other side is a slightly less steep but still decently high slope. Petrifying Springs Park has multiple, natural hills to sled on but the best is the dedicated sledding hill. From Highway 31 (Green Bay Rd), enter the park via Highway JR, just west of UW-Parkside. The sledding hill is on one of the holes of the golf course. It is easiest to use the entrance on JR to get to the sledding area.
Chain retail shopping can be found near exit 344 on I94, down the entire stretch of 75th, and clustered around the intersection of 75th and Green Bay road. The more established, mom-and-pop shopping locations are found sporadically throughout the city and in the downtown area.
- 1 Andrea's, 2401 60th Street, ☏ . Andrea's has been open since 1911. They offer a wide selection of cigars and loose tobacco in addition to boutique shopping. There is also an old-fashioned soda fountain in one part of the store that serves milkshakes and ice-cream concoctions.
- Chiappetta Shoes, 6821 39th Ave. This store has been open and family operated since 1912. Shopping here is like a step back in time service-wise. Most of the shoes are not fashionable models since the store specializes primarily in comfort and foot health. They also do custom fittings and orthotics. The shoes can be expensive, but they are high quality and should last many years.
- 2 Kenosha Harbor Market, Oct-May: 514 56th Street; May-Oct: 2nd avenue, near the lakeside museums. Saturday 9AM – 1PM. The outdoor portion of the farmer's market has grown significantly in the past few years. During this time, the market takes up the entirety of 2nd avenue, near the museums, and the park adjacent to it. There are crafts for sale, in addition to the normal seasonal fruit and vegetables. Live music is played and it is a dog friendly event. Check the website to get the most up-to-date information on whether the event is taking place as there are sometimes closures due to holidays or inclement weather.
- 3 Mars Cheese Castle, 2800 West Frontage Rd. (take exit 340 off of I94, turn west onto Burlington road; turn south onto Frontage road and look for the entrance on the left). The hours are all over the place depending on the season, but it's usually 9AM - 7PM. No-one knows what Mars has to do with cheese or why it's in a castle. The vast selection of Wisconsin's finest and most famous dairy product prevents us from asking too many questions. In addition to an ungodly amount of cheese, the castle has imported chocolates, wine, local and imported beers, a deli, and touristy kitsch. Even if you don't buy anything, it's a nice place to stop, stretch your legs, and take a picture in front of the big sign.
- 4 Prime Outlets, 11211 120th Ave (take exit 347 off of I94; if arriving from the south, the off ramp has an off ramp that goes into a rest stop; stick to the middle lane and aim for the stop lights). This is an outdoor strip mall that has designer brand stores and outlets. Sales tax in Wisconsin is significantly cheaper than Illinois and the location near the interstate and state border means that this mall is frequently very busy. People from Illinois often shop here, so expect navigating the parking lot to be frustrating.
- 5 Rustic Dairyland Antique Mall, 12009 53rd Pl (take exit 342 off of I94; you'll need to navigate to 120th Ave and head south to find the entrance to the parking lot). From the outside it looks like a barn that might be abandoned, but inside is filled to the brim with local antiques. Attached is a cheese shop that sells a variety of cheeses, meats, and imported food stuffs.
- 6 Uke's Harley-Davidson, Inc., 5995 120th Ave. It's not expected that you'd buy a motorcycle during your stay, but Uke's has a massive collection of riding boots, leather goods, and branded apparel from this Wisconsin institution. If you can't get further north to Milwaukee to buy your Harely-Davidson souvenir, visit Uke's.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
If you're not interested in expanding your palate with local food, rest assured that the city has the usual chain restaurants, including Applebees, Chili's, Red Robin, and Culvers. A heavy concentration of chain restaurants can be found on 75th street, about a two miles to the east of I94 (between 104th avenue and Green Bay road). Just drive up and down 75th until you see something you like.
The best way of enjoying your stay in Kenosha is to try one of the local, family owned restaurants. Kenosha was founded by successive waves of English, German, Scandinavian, Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants. Thus, its culinary institutions are quite diverse. There is also a high saturation of bars in Kenosha and many of these serve food far above the usual bar-pizza food. There is a smoking ordinance in effect which prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars unless they have a completely segregated smoking room with separate ventilation. You'll have difficulty finding a restaurant or bar that has spent the extra space to accommodate a separate smoking section, however.
- 1 Big Star, 1500 Washington Rd. This is a drive-in that has been open since 1954. The burgers are excellent but very small. They are only open from March 1st to Labor Day.
- 2 The Coffee Pot, 4914 7th Avenue. They are only open for breakfast and lunch. There is often a wait during the weekend.
- Frank's Diner, 508 - 58th Street. Located in a historic 1920s "diner car" it has been featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives." Waits can be long, especially on the weekends. However, all of the food is home made, so the wait is worth it. Expect big portions at reasonable prices. Open only for breakfast and lunch.
- Hillcrest Family Restaurant, 6000 75th St. This place has been in business for years and is extra popular with senior citizens. This is a "Greek" style restaurant (which means that they serve everything and have gyros available). The food here is mediocre, but it's clean and cheap. The portion sizes are average and the coffee is acceptable.
- Home Run, 7839 Sheridan Road. This restaurant offers diner-style breakfasts. The chefs here are very proud of their copious usage of butter. If you order eggs, you will get one-plus the number you ordered. This includes omelets, so plan your order accordingly as it is easy to order too much food on accident. The coffee is terrible. The staff are incredibly friendly and almost always will help you construct an order so it is the cheapest it can be by utilizing all manner of specials and combos voodoo.
- 3 Marina Gardens, 5001 7th Avenue. Open 24 hr, offers very cheap, greasy food and awful coffee. This is an excellent place to nurse an impending hang-over. Most bar-hopping locals that end their night in this area will congregate here after the bars close at 2AM. The staff does not care about you; remember that you are not here for them, you are here because the food is cheap, they are always open, and you need to sober up before your day-job or flight in a few hours.
- 4 Brat Stop, 12304 75th St. One part restaurant, one part concert venue, one part bar, and one part cheese mart. You can definitely get your fill of Wisconsin without travelling far from I94. The restaurant food isn't anything special but it's a good place to try local delicacies such as brats and cheese curds. The beer selection is extensive. Check the website for the most current listings of which musicians are playing and for any special events.
- 5 Captain Mike's, 5118 6th Avenue. M-F 11AM - 2AM, Sa Su 8AM - 2AM. This a bar and burger joint that has a nautical theme. The burgers on the menu have unique combinations of toppings and the mac 'n' cheese is excellent. If you order bacon on your burger, adding a bit of peanut butter is highly recommended. The beer selection is decent and there is a large selection of whiskey. There is very limited seating and sharing a table with a party of strangers is common. If you see an opening at a table that will fit your party, simply ask those already seated if you can sit there. There is no waitstaff here: you fill out an order sheet and befriend one of the bartenders or chefs to get food and drink. Parking is difficult. There is a parking lot to the north, across the street. You can park on the side road and there is more street parking on the road behind the building. Persons under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or a spouse over 21.
- 6 Grab's Burger Bar, 2324 18th St. This place is commonly frequented by college students from the near-by Gateway, Carthage and Parkside campuses. The atmosphere is very casual. There are unique burger combinations and the fries are very good.
- 7 La Fogata Mexican Grill, 3300 Sheridan Rd. This place serves Americanized Mexican food. The margaritas are a specialty. This restaurant has an excellent atmosphere with dimmer lighting and is diagonally across the street from a beach. Outdoor seating is available in the summer.
- 8 La Michoacana/Chicken Palace, 3907 52nd St. Chicken Palaces serves chicken, tacos, burgers and more. In the same building is La Michoacana, which offers desserts. Everything has a Mexican twist and the majority of the menus are in Spanish with English subtitles. The paletas (a frozen popsicle, which here are either water or milk based and filled with fruit) are absolutely fantastic and refreshing on a hot day.
- 9 Mike's Chicken and Doughnuts, 707 56th St, ☏ . The chicken is very good but the doughnuts definitely overshadow the chicken. If you are here for the doughnuts arrive early because some flavors, such as maple bacon, sell out quickly. The beer selection is fairly extensive. This location isn't as well managed as the other Mike's bars. The seating arrangement can be confusing: there are two sections and they have different menus from one another; the primary section is very busy and you have to find your own seat; and none of this is indicated anywhere. Some doughnut flavors are worth a long trip to try, but if there's no space to sit or the flavors are picked over you might be disappointed so set expectations accordingly.
- 10 Los Compadres, 3935 52nd St. This is an authentic Mexican eatery. The interior has minimal decorations and cafeteria type seating. There is delicious soup and chips served with every meal. The tamales are fantastic.
- 11 Pimmy's Authentic Thai Cuisine, 5901 75th St, ☏ . Pimmy's serves food authentic to Bangkok and parts of Issarn provinces in Thailand. This place has a cozy, café atmosphere and not much seating. There are lunch specials on curries. Take-out is available.
- 12 Saigon Panda, 3105 80th St. M-F 11AM to 9:30PM, Sa Su 11AM to 10:30PM. Serves Americanized Chinese and authentic Vietnamese food. From the Vietnamese menu, the Phở is phenomenal. From the Chinese menu, the fried rice and Mongolian beef are recommended. Dinner portions easily feed two people. Try some Vietnamese style bubble/boba tea during your visit (the best flavors are taro and mango). The interior is set up in a café style with light colors and an atmosphere that invites staying a while. Take-out is available. $12.
- 13 Soon's Sushi Cafe, 2100 54th St. This is one of the best sushi places in south-east Wisconsin. They also offer Japanese fusion dishes and authentic Korean food (the owner is a native of South Korea). The interior décor is terrible and only cafeteria style tables and seating are available. It's better to order take-out as the wait times inside can be quite long and the service is slow (but very, very kind and friendly). The neighborhood is a little "rough", so ensure you lock your car doors and keep valuables out of sight.
- 14 The Spot, 2117 75th St, ☏ . 11AM to 3AM. This is a drive-in that has been in business since 1945. They are open year round. The food is typical American fast fare with burgers, fries, and root beer whirls. They make their own root beer and you can purchase it by the gallon. The Spot is cash-only. There is an ATM at the side of the building, though it is sometimes out of order.
- 15 Waterfront Warehouse, 3322 Sheridan Rd. 11AM - midnight. Warehouse themed décor and interior architecture. They serve nicer versions of typical bar food such as wings, burgers, and flatbread pizzas. Their specialty are fries which have a variety of different toppings and sauces drizzled over them. The sweet potato fries are particularly good. The beer selection seems to favor the big name local/Wisconsin brews and domestic beers. Flat screen TVs playing sports channels are scattered around. They are family friendly. $12.
- 16 Ashling by the Lough, 125 56th St. M–Th 5–9PM, F 5–10PM, Sa 11AM–10PM, Su 11AM–9PM. This is an Irish restaurant and pub. The food is nearly authentic and they serve Guinness the way it should be. There are sometimes trivia events and live music on the weekend. Their Sunday brunch is excellent.
- 17 House of Gerhard, 3927 75th St, ☏ . Among locals, this place has a reputation of being "fancy". They serve prime rib and authentic German food. Reservations and dressy clothes are recommended, especially around Valentine's and Mother's Day.
Kenosha is spoiled with its selection of pizzerias. Common Kenosha pizza is made with a thin, cracker-like crust and served in squares, in contrast to the deep-dish style Chicago is known for. Most locations also offer thicker crusts (commonly referred to as "double dough") and deep dish. Don't ask the locals what the best pizza place is since you will get a different answer each time. Every Kenoshan has a favorite and will fiercely defend it when it's time to order. It's better to ask what isn't a good place for pizza; the answer will be more consistent and have fewer entries.
- Kaiser's Pizza and Pub, 510 57th St, ☏ . Pizzas made here feature generous toppings. Cornmeal is used to prevent the crust from sticking to the bottom of the pan, which adds a nice texture and crunch. It is more expensive compared to other pizza locations. Take-out and eat-in is offered.
- Infusino's Restaurant, 6800 39th Ave, ☏ . They offer Calabrese-style Italian dishes and steaks. At least that's what they say they offer: most locals just order the pizza, which has a flavorful sauce and a crust that is the perfect thickness. Dine-in and carry-out is offered.
- Luigi's Pizza Kitchen, 7531 39th Ave, ☏ . Tu-Sa 4:30-10PM, Su 11:30AM-10PM. This restaurant has been in business for several decades. Within the past five years there have been suspicions that the sauce recipe has changed, resulting in a less delicious pie. They also offer other Italian dishes, such as home-made ravioli and lasagna. Take-out and eat-in is available. They are closed on Mondays and for an entire month in the fall, during which the owners visit family in Italy.
Kenosha has many bars. There is usually one on the corner roughly every couple of blocks or so. Most of these are hole-in-wall places that you'd only step foot in if you lived in the area or went with someone who was a regular.
There are locations listed in the Eat section that legally are bars but their food is a main attraction. This includes the Brat Stop, Captain Mike's, Mike's Chicken and Doughnuts, and Ashling by the Lough, among others. Below are bars that don't serve food or where food is not the main attraction.
- 1 [formerly dead link] 8 Bit, 5301 22nd Ave. A nerdy-cool "barcade". The exterior and interior are covered in video game homage murals. The drinks are named after Mortal Kombat finishing moves. This bar also has a few hookahs. The arcade cabinets are free and feature a wide variety of classics. Pool and darts must be paid for. This bar has some interesting hours of business. Sometimes they close for a night, just because (this is rare, but frequent enough to warrant a heads-up). Make sure you have secondary plans lined up and do a "drive-by" to make sure they are open the night you want to visit.
- 2 Club Icon, 6305 120th Ave. This is a gay bar, but it's the only place in town that has a dance floor so folks from all points of the spectrum congregate here. Among the locals, it has a slight reputation of being trashy. They do events, theme nights, and often have a live DJ.
- 3 Coins Sports Bar, 1714 52nd St. This bar has a bit of a reputation for attracting "Bros". It gets quite busy.
- 4 Rendez'vous Tiki Lounge, 1700 52nd St. This place has a fun tiki bar theme and is recommended if you like fruity drinks. Several of the bartenders are heavy handed.
- 5 Rivals Sports Pub & Grill, 6325 120th Ave. This is a clean, friendly sports bar next to I94. During the summer they have cook-outs and sports events, like volleyball tournaments. There is a grill menu available.
- 6 Ron's Place, 3301 52nd St. The atmosphere here is homey with décor that features dark wood, stained glass windows and tiffany style light fixtures. The lighting is dark, there are booths in one section, and the stools for the bar are actually comfy. This place is known for its variety of Long Island iced teas. They also offer decent burgers and other grilled or fried food. There is limited parking in the back of the building and an additional parking lot to the west of the building, on 34th avenue.
- 7 Rustic Road Brewing Company, 510 56th St. Tu-Th 4-10PM, F 3:30PM-1AM, Sa noon-1AM, Su noon-6PM. Industrial-chic bar carries small-batch beer brewed on-site. Occasionally there is live music. Also hosts an annual homebrew competition and several seasonal events.
- 8 [formerly dead link] Uncle Mike's Pub, 6611 120th Ave. 8AM to 2AM. This is a pretty standard, casual, clean American pub. There is a very large beer menu with dozens of beers on tap. The food here isn't as good as other Mike's locations, but it's better than most bar food in Kenosha. There are sometimes summer events like volleyball.
A high concentration of chain hotels and motels can be found near I94, specifically near exit 344. These accommodations are pretty "vanilla" and budget to mid-range.
- Best Western Executive Inn, 7220 122nd Avenue, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- Wyndham Garden Harborside Inn & Kenosha Conference Center, 5125 6th Avenue, ☏ , fax: . The hotel is considered quite nice by local standards. It has a beautiful view of the harbor and Lake Michigan. It's located in the middle of the downtown area and within a ten minute or less walk to most of the downtown restaurants and museums listed here. It's close enough to the train station that it would be feasible to stay here, be entertained and fed, and visit Chicago without needing a car (this is all something that can't be said for many other locations in the city). Other than that, it's just ok, a stay here isn't going to wow you. The rooms are mildly dated but clean. It has a pool and a gym. Some rooms allow pets. All rooms are non-smoking.
You are unlikely to become the target of a crime, as most crime is locally focused. While nowhere near south Chicago levels, certain areas near the train tracks in the inner-east part of Kenosha are rather rough. You won't need to make sure your car doors are locked when approaching a stop sign or roll through red lights at night, but don't dawdle around the area after sundown.
Kenosha's downtown has been cleaned up in the past decade, but portions of it beyond the main strip should be avoided after night. Also, the downtown area has a high homeless population. They ride the trains from Chicago, and Kenosha is the last stop on the line. They are mostly harmless.
Avoid staying in motels on Sheridan road on the north side of Kenosha. In addition to being very run down and shady, there is frequent drug-related crime, car break-ins, and the occasional prostitution bust. It isn't an incredibly rough area, especially compared to the inner-east part of Kenosha, but the area has a large number of motels within 1,000 feet of the lakeshore that offer very cheap prices and so could, at a glance, seem like a good place to stay.
You are more likely to get into a car accident than become the target of crime. You shouldn't speed, but local Kenoshians have a tendency to drive at least 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, even in the city, due to its proximity to Chicago and I94's driving habits. They consider it a speed minimum limit, not a maximum limit. If you do the speed limit on the main north-south roads, you might have some road rage directed at you. Just remain calm and stay in the rightmost lane. Most cops won't pull you over even when you are speeding next to them if you're keeping up with traffic and your license plate is from Wisconsin. Just outside of Kenosha County, there are often speed traps on I94, Green Bay Road, and Sheridan. You should especially not speed at night since Kenosha has a drunk driving problem and the traffic lights switch to flashing mode late at night which seems to mean "green light" instead of "stop sign" and "yield sign" to the idiots even when your direction has right-of-way.
- Football in Wisconsin is a big deal. Kenosha lays directly on the border of "Bear" country. This city holds a significantly higher percentage of Bears fans in an otherwise Packer saturated state. If you want to make (and keep) friends, approach all topics of football in a lighthearted and jovial manner. Light ribbing and taunting is expected between fans of these two rival teams, so don't take it personally. If you are a Vikings fan, keep it to yourself.
- Avoid a common faux pas: if you eat at one of the drive-ins in Kenosha, turn your lights off when you pull in. Turn your lights back on when you are ready to leave and want the server to bring your bill. The arrangement of the parking lots also means that your lights might be shining into someone else's car while they are trying to eat or into a neighbor's window. The locals will know you are a drive-in newbie if you leave your lights on while you eat. The staff are too polite to tell you this, it's something locals have learned from their parents and their grandparents.
There are no internet cafes in Kenosha. If you need internet, most restaurants have free Wi-Fi and only some require a purchase be made.
Kenosha has its own newspaper: The Kenosha News. It can be a good source of finding information about special events or festivals occurring during your stay. Newspaper dispensers can be found at most gas stations, grocery stores, and in front of fast food restaurants.
Happenings magazine (which is free) can be found in the entryway of most non-chain restaurants in the city. This small pamphlet like magazine focuses on local festivals, seasonal special events, and various gossip. It's still worth a look even if you aren't interested in the gossip because it gives a calendar of events in each issue and is a good additional resource to find things to see and do that might not be annual occurrences that can be listed here.
If you are in need of emergency medical services, call 911. For medical care, Kenosha has three main facilities:
- 4 Aurora Medical Center (Aurora), 10400 75th St.
- 5 St. Catherine's Medical Center (St. Kat's), 9555 76th St.
- 6 United Hospital System Kenosha Medical Center (Kenosha Hospital), 6308 8th Ave.
Places of worship
Kenosha has many churches, several synagogues, and a mosque. Several of Kenosha's older churches are housed in historic buildings and may be worth a visit for the architecture alone. The below list is not complete but rather a selection of the largest or most well-known of each type of place of worship:
- American Albanian Islamic Center of Wisconsin, 6001 88th Ave. Serves as a mosque and welcomes all Muslims and non-Muslims.
- Beth Hillel Temple (Beth Hillel Synagogue), 6050 8th Ave.
- 7 Bradford Community Unitarian Universalist, 5810 8th Ave, ☏ . In a 100-year-old building in the historic Library Park District.
- Living Light Christian Church, 6102 39th Ave.
- Immanuel Baptist Church, 6009 Pershing Blvd.
- Journey Church, 10700 75th St. Split from Assemblies of God. Has a children's and youth program.
- Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 7333 Green Bay Rd.
- St. Mary Catholic Church, 7307 40th Ave.
- 8 St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 5900 7th Ave. added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and religious significance in 1979.
- Racine - a large city to the north of Kenosha that has a decent shopping and downtown area.
- Lake Geneva (Wisconsin) - a touristy resort town with quaint boutique shopping and summer events.
- Milwaukee - a city known for motorcycles, beer, and festivals.
- Chicago - a large city filled with diverse culture, museums, pizza, skyscrapers, and shopping.
|Routes through Kenosha|
|Milwaukee ← Racine ←||W/N E/S||→ Gurnee → Chicago|
|Delavan ← Lake Geneva ←||W E||→ END|
|END ←||N S||→ Waukegan → Chicago|