Racine is a city of 77,000 people (2019) in Southeast Wisconsin along Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Root River. It is the county seat of Racine County.
Coach USA Airport Express service is available to O'Hare International Airport and Milwaukee from the Petro Station/Iron Skillet on I-94 and Hwy. 20. There are fourteen runs to O'Hare and Midway airports 365 days a year. Limited weekday connections are available using Belle Urban System route 20 leaving the Racine Transit Center on the 1400 block of State Street at 6:20AM, 7:10AM, 4:10PM, and 5:10PM. Coach USA Airport Express tickets can be purchased from the bus driver or a local travel agent.
There is 1 Amtrak train service between Milwaukee and Chicago in Sturtevant at the Amtrak station on Cty. H, (Wisconsin Street). This service can be met using bus route 27 on weekdays and route 7 on Saturdays.
Racine has a bus system with fares from $0-2 depending on age and time of day. Exact change is required. Day passes can be purchased for about $4. Routes with times and up-to-date fares can be found on the City of Racine's website.
Most parking on the main streets, especially in the downtown area, are metered. In the event you do not have spare change or need more than 2 hours of parking time, Racine has a phone app to pay the meter fare that even has a handy alarm notification when you are approaching the end of your time. All the information you need for the app is found on the meter itself. Metered parking becomes free parking before 8am and after 6pm, or anytime if you have a handicap license plate or tag on display.
From December 1 to April 1, alternate side parking is in effect for non-metered roadside parking between 2AM and 6AM. Vehicles must park on the even-numbered address side of the street on an even-numbered calendar day; and on the odd-numbered side of the street on an odd-numbered day. You will get ticketed if you don't observe the rules. Racine police have been known to wait beside a parked car at 1:55AM to slap a ticket on it once 2AM rolls around.
- 1 Johnson Wax Headquarters, 1525 Howe St. Tours are offered on Fridays only and reservations are requested. Tours last about 40 min. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
- 2 Racine Art Museum (RAM), 441 Main St. Tuesday to Saturday 10AM-5PM, Sunday noon-5PM. An art museum that features local artists and traveling exhibitions. The building was designed to be accessible for all persons, including those with special mobility needs. $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, free for children under 12. Free admission on the first Friday of every month.
- 3 Racine Zoological Gardens, 2131 N Main St. Opens at 9AM, closing time varies by season. Check website for hours. A 32-acre zoo on Lake Michigan. Often has seasonal special events. $8 for adults, $6 for children. Prices roughly half off during winter months.
- 4 Reefpoint Marina and Festival Hall, 2 Christopher Columbus Causeway. Riverwalk with beautiful shoreline views. During the summer months, many festivals with music and fireworks on weekends.
- 5 Wind Point Lighthouse, 4725 Lighthouse Dr. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available, check their website for the seasonal hours.
- Wustum Art Museum, 2519 Northwestern Avenue.
Lighthouse Run, pro volleyball tournament, dragonboat races, many lakefront activities during the summer months.
- First Fridays, 100 Monument Square. 4PM to 9PM on the first Friday of the month, April to December. Local businesses in the downtown area host an event on the first Friday of the month. The main road through downtown is blocked off and turned into a pedestrian zone. In addition to the shop's sidewalk sales, there is live music in Monument Square and often stores will have a musician or band playing in front of them. You can gain free admission to the downtown's museums. Food trucks and the nearby restaurants have specials or promotions. Visit their website to see the band line-up, specials, and whether any special activities or demonstrations have been scheduled.
- 1 Nest Playspace, 505 6th ST., ☏ . Monday to Friday 9AM to 4PM, Saturday 9AM to 1PM. Sunday open by reservation only. Even when the weather doesn't cooperate, you can let your child blow off a little steam between traveling and visiting adult oriented attractions. This is an indoor play facility designed for ages 0-6 years (older children are welcome as well, they just have to play gently around the smaller children). There are several themed areas for children to use their imagination for play: a camping area, a dress-up area with capes and masks, a kitchen, a market, a laundry room, and a dollhouse. Each area is colorful and well maintained (nothing broken, everything clean). This facility is not a daycare, you'll need to remain in the building while your offspring play. Make sure you bring your own socks: the entire facility is a shoe-free zone for both children and adults. Parking on the street is metered. $6-10 per child for unlimited playtime that day. Pricing is based on age, and admission discounts are given for siblings.
- 2 Seven Keys to Escape, 606 College Ave., ☏ . 11AM - 9PM with reservation. An escape room with rotating themes. Check the website to see the current theme as the room's scenarios and puzzles change fairly regularly. You'll be part of a group of 7 to figure out the room's puzzles and escape. Recommended for ages 13 and up to get the full experience. Booking at least a day in advance is required and can be done via their website or by phone. Takes about 60 minutes. $29 per person.
- 3 [dead link] SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center (The Aquatic Center), 2800 Ohio St. Opens June to September, check website for opening and closing days. Will close during inclement weather. YMCA members 8AM to 7PM. Daily pass holders 1PM to 7PM. Consists of a wading pool, play structure, a climbing wall, water slides, and a lap pool. Youth may be required to take a swim test to gain access to certain pools. For non-Racine residents daily passes can be purchased: adults & seniors $12, youth under 18 years $3, family pass (2 adults & up to 5 children) $18.
Most chain shopping can be found on Highway 31, between Durand and 21st street. Of note, there is a Barnes & Noble, a TJ Maxx, and a Best Buy. More interesting are the shops found in Racine's downtown, on Main street.
- 1 Dimples Fine Imports, 416 Main St. Offers an eclectic mix of fashion and décor from around the world.
- Copacetic, 409 Main St. A hat and accessory store. Often has hard-to-find, high quality items.
- 2 Funky Hannah's, 324 Main St. A bead and jewelry store.
- 3 Hot Shop Glass. Saturday 10AM to 4PM. Gallery sells glass works from local artists ranging from beautiful ornaments to sculptures and vases. You can also watch as people make glass creations. Offers introductory glass workshops for beginners priced around $65. Classes fill quickly and may need a reservation months in advance.
- [dead link] Red Moon (Sweet Flame), 334 Main St.. 10AM to 5PM. Specializes in opal jewelry, honey from around the world, and hand-crafted candles. Also carries a selection of gourmet food to accompany the honey.
If you don't want to go outside your comfort zone, there are several chain restaurants in the area of the Regency Mall such as Applebee's & Taco Bell (2521 S Green Bay Rd), Red Lobster (2800 S Green Bay Rd), and Texas Roadhouse (6228 Durand Ave). Most of Racine's best restaurants are located in downtown Racine or in the seedier parts of town. The majority of these restaurants have some kind of metered parking, so bring change or be prepared to use the city's parking mobile app.
- 1 911 Tacos (Nine Juan Juan Tacos), 817 Main St. An itty bitty taqueria nestled beside a convenience store on Main Street. The owner often comes out for a chat and the rest of the staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming. The menu is limited: there are a few selections of meat, you decide if you want it American or Authentic style, and whether it will be a taco, burrito, or chimichanga. Occasionally there are tamales available in limited quantities. The salsa and chips are made to order. $8.
- Asiana, 423 6th St. Korean fusion food. Service can be very slow. There's usually only two people working: a waitress and a chef (usually the owner). Expect to spend at least a half hour waiting for food. It is absolutely worth the wait, however.
- 2 Blue Bear, 2920 Taylor Ave. 7AM - 2PM, excluding holidays. Everything on the menu is made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients. There is a selection of gluten-free items that actually taste good. The interior is tiny with very little seating.
- 3 The Dish, 1220 N Ohio St A, ☏ . Sunday through Thursday 7AM to 8PM, Friday & Saturday 7AM to 9PM. A non-franchise fast casual restaurant/café that serves south-east Wisconsin comfort food such as soups, pasta, pizza, and sandwiches. In addition to the large dining area, there is outdoor seating and an enclosed patio that they open the windows to during warm weather.
- 4 Hobnob Restaurant, 277 Sheridan Rd. An upscale supper club that features a long wine list. It has been open since 1954 and is situated right on Lake Michigan. It's best known for steak and seafood.
- 5 Jose's Blue Sombrero, 6430 Washington Ave. M-Sa 11AM - 10PM, closed Sundays. Serves Mexican food with an American hipster twist. They serve great margaritas. This place is always very busy. There are no reservations, but you can call ahead to reserve your place in line. If you aren't there when they call your name, someone else will get your table.
- 6 Kabab and Grill, 1327 Washington Ave. Tiny and cramped, this small place serves Pakistani style dishes. The mutton is fantastic. It's best to order takeout. Only bar seating available. Food is served cafeteria style: you approach the counter and then point at the food you would like to eat. Combinations are offered of various meats and side dishes. Very friendly staff will assist in providing a sample of any dish you would like to try before you eat.
- 7 Kewpee Sandwich Shop, 520 Wisconsin Ave. A burger joint that has been in business since the 1920s. The interior is decorated with kewpee dolls from across the decades and the dining area has a retro feel. Everything is cash only. There is limited unmetered parking, so bring change.
- Olde Madrid, 418 6th St. Serves lunch on weekdays except Monday 11AM-2PM; Dinner 4:30PM to 9PM Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; Dinner 4:30PM to 10PM Friday and Saturday. Serves Spanish tapas and has a bar. The dishes are slightly smaller than sharing size but you are encouraged to purchase several so everyone gets a taste. The interior isn't quite "date worthy": it's a bit old and seems unkempt, the walls are a bright orange, and there's a large piece of cloth that covers the front of the restaurant to prevent the draft from seeping in. The food is really delicious and has combinations of flavors that would be quite unusual for palates accustomed to American fare. $9 for a dish, but you'll want to purchase more than one. Typical meal (2 tapas) for an adult with drink would be $25.
- 8 Out of the Pan, 550 State St, ☏ . Sunday 9AM to 2PM. Monday to Friday 11AM to 2PM, and Friday 5PM to 9PM. Breakfast, brunch, and lunch place that serves from scratch dishes made with locally sourced and in-season ingredients. Has an industrial chic décor style consisting of tall ceilings, with exposed beams and fixtures, and brick walls covered in art from local artists. Seating space is limited. Wait times can be quite long but you can call ahead and reserve a table.
- 9 [dead link] Salute, 314 Main St. A casual Italian restaurant the serves pizza and pasta. The atmosphere is welcoming. This place has been in business for many years and is very consistent in the quality of their menu items.
- 10 Sticky Rice, 203 6th St. M-Sa 11AM-2PM and 5-9PM, closed Sundays. This Thai restaurant has an excellent lunch menu. Their quick service makes them popular around lunch time for business folk. The hot Thai green tea is fantastic on a cold winter's day. The Volcano chicken and green curry are two dishes popular with the locals. Spiciness of meals can be adjusted according to taste. Please note that the spiciness seems to be increased on an exponential and not linear scale like most restaurant's star systems work. They have a cozy, clean, café inspired atmosphere. All parking is metered, so remember to bring change.
- 11 Taqueria Arandas (Arandas), 1501 Prospect St. Located in a rougher part of town and in a very worn building, this taqueria serves some of the very best and authentic Mexican food. There is limited parking on the side of the building but most people park on the street.
- 12 Wells Bros. Italian Restaurant, 2148 Mead Street. Offers some of the best Midwestern-style thin crust pizza in southeastern Wisconsin. Wells Bros. was named one of the top ten pizzerias in the United States in a book written by two food critics. It is also the oldest standing pizzeria in Racine.
Racine is famous for its Danish pastry called Kringle. There are several bakeries that offer this flaky, sweet delight but the most notable (and perhaps most authentic) is O&H Danish Bakery.
- 13 Bendtsen's Bakery, 3200 Washington Ave.
- 14 Larsen's Bakery, 3311 Washington Ave.
- 15 O&H Danish Bakery, 1841 Douglas Ave.
- 16 Racine Danish Kringles, 2529 Golf Ave.
- Henry and Wanda's, 501 Sixth Street. Offers potent, creative cocktails and a rotating selection of food in a clean, relaxed atmosphere.
- 1 Christmas House Bed & Breakfast, 116 10th St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. This bed & breakfast is run out of a historical colonial style house. Free Wi-Fi, minifridges, tea and coffeemakers, and TVs in all rooms. Some rooms have whirlpool tubs and dining areas. There's one 3-bedroom unit that has a living room and a kitchen. Hot breakfast is provided. The shared spaces include a living room, dining room, a porch, and a library. No pets permitted as the owners have their dogs on site. Let the staff know if you will be bringing children. $165 to $325 per night.
- 2 [formerly dead link] Lochnaiar Inn, 1121 Lake Ave, ☏ . This Tudor style house was built in 1915 and has 6 rooms. Lochnaiar means "on the water" in Gaelic and the building sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Free WIFI and breakfast included. Pets permitted with an upcharge. $165 to $357 per night.
There are several neighborhoods in the east and north-east areas of Racine that are run-down or depressed and have a high violent crime rate. Most of the crime is local-on-local or gang-on-gang related so you are unlikely to be a target. You don't need to fear driving through these parts of town, but stick to the main streets and don't dawdle after sundown. Racine crime obeys invisible barriers certain streets create. A "safe" street could be a block away from an "unsafe" area. Anywhere west of West Boulevard, the downtown area while businesses are open, and two blocks from the lake's shore is ok. Anywhere west of Lathrop is sketchy but probably safe. Parks and neighborhoods near the root river should be avoided. Use common sense. If the area looks sketchy it probably isn't a place you should be and probably doesn't have anything a tourist would be interested in anyway.
- Milwaukee - a city known for motorcycles, beer, and festivals.
- Kenosha - a suburban city south of Racine filled with mom & pop restaurants, shopping, and lakefront activities.
- Chicago - a large city filled with diverse culture, museums, pizza, skyscrapers, shopping, and more.
|Routes through Racine|
|Milwaukee ← West Allis ←||N S||→ Kenosha → Chicago|
|Madison ← Milwaukee ←||W E||→ Kenosha → Chicago|
|Appleton ← West Allis ←||N S||→ Kenosha → Chicago|
|Janesville ← Elkhorn ←||W E||→ END|
|Milwaukee ←||N S||→ Glenview → Chicago|