Where is Kenosha?

Where is Kenosha?

Kenosha are the names of a county in Wisconsin and of a city within that county. So, there’s the city of Kenosha that’s located in Kenosha County in Wisconsin.

On a map, you can find Kenosha County at the far southeast corner of the state of Wisconsin. The city of Kenosha is at the eastern part of the county, right by the shores of Lake Michigan.

In addition to the city, Kenosha County is also comprised of 11 villages and towns. These are the towns of Brighton, Paris, Randall, Wheatland, the town/village of Somers, and the villages of Bristol, Genoa City, Paddock Lake, Pleasant Prairie, Salem Lakes and Twin Lakes. 

The name came from Kenozia, a Native American word that means “place of the pike,” which is a type of fish. In 1836, it was renamed Pike Creek and then again in 1837 to Southport. Finally, in 1850, it took on the name Kenosha as a modernized version of the Indigenous name. However, Kenoshans love to call their hometown Keno or K-Town.

Getting To and Around Kenosha 

Kenosha is about 40 miles (64 km) from Milwaukee to the north and around 66 miles (106 km) from Chicago to the south via I-94 E. 

If you’re flying in, Kenosha has its own airport, the Kenosha Regional Airport, but it is also accessible through three other airports, namely Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee as well as O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport in Chicago. After you’ve landed in either Milwaukee or Chicago, you can get on the Airport Express from Mitchell International Airport or O’Hare International Airport to Kenosha.

If you’re commuting, you can take a bus from the Wisconsin Coach Lines. It operates buses daily from Milwaukee through Racine and Kenosha and vice versa. There’s also the Metra Commuter Rail system from Chicago to Kenosha.

To take you on a spin around the city, hop on either the electric streetcars or the lakefront trolley. The streetcars run along a 2-mile loop of downtown, the historic districts, HarborPark, the Sculpture Walk and the shores of Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, the trolley runs through downtown between the Kemper Center and University of Wisconsin-Parkside from June to August. 

What is Kenosha Known for

Kenosha is famous for many things, such as being home to Mark Ruffalo, popular athletes, inventors and other famous people and many other things besides. Here are some of them.

Manufacturing town

For over a hundred years, Kenosha has been the hub of automotive manufacturers and other companies. It’s been home to American Motors and DaimlerChrysler Corporation as well as to Simmons Bedding Company, American Brass, Bain Wagon and many other companies. Today, Kenosha is the global headquarters for Jockey International, Inc. and Snap-on Incorporated. Amazon also has warehouses there. 

Historical sites

Kenosha is filled to the brim with history, but its story is especially etched in the four districts (Library Park Historic District, the Pearl Street Historic District, Third Avenue Historic District and the Civic Center Historic District) and 21 locations that are on the National Register of Historic Places. 

It is also the venue of the oldest operating velodrome in the country, the Washington Park Velodrome, which has hosted bicycle races since 1927, as well as the oldest continuously operating lunch car diner, Franks Diner, and its gargantuan Garbage Plate meal. 

Being a harbor town, Kenosha also features two lighthouses. The North Pier Lighthouse is privately owned, but you can still take pictures with it in the background if you’re near enough to the landmark. On the other hand, the Southport lighthouse and its keeper’s house are part of the Southport Light Station Museum. It is open to the public at designated hours, so you can schedule a visit to climb the 72 steps that lead to its lighthouse tower for beautiful views.

Of course, don’t forget to visit Kenosha’s other museums. See life-sized exhibits of meat-eating theropods at The Dinosaur Discovery Museum and the largest collection of Woolly Mammoth bones ever discovered at the Kenosha Public Museum. The Civil War Museum, with its 360-degree film experience, is just next door too. Meanwhile, the Kenosha History Center takes visitors deep into the past through three exhibit galleries. A fourth gallery focuses on maritime history and is located at the Southport Light Station.

Downtown discoveries

There’s more to Kenosha than just lighthouses and museums, though. Downtown is where you want to head for history, shops, food and entertainment. There are tons of restaurants, pubs and breweries in downtown, but if you prefer fresh food, head to the farmers market at Kenosha’s Original HarborMarket and the Kenosha Public Market on Saturdays. 

Downtown is also the venue of many special events. 

  • In May, Kenosha hosts “The Cheesiest Marathon,” where runners from across the country and the globe join donning their cheesiest apparel to win a big cheese medal. 

  • Summertime is marked by free outdoor concerts and car shows and cruise-in nights, as the spirit of the early auto manufacturing days fill the summer air. Pop up during these events to see thousands of classic cars from Wisconsin and other states. There’s also the Kenosha Homecoming Car Show, the world’s largest AMC car show, which is held every three years. 

  • Lightin’ Up occurs the day after Thanksgiving each year. It begins with a tree lighting ceremony at Fountain Plaza. The Christmas tree, which is donated by a local, is decked up in 1,200 colored bulbs. The celebration continues with live entertainment and family activities. 

  • In winter, there’s the Snow Daze Festival, which features ice sculptures displayed in front of storefronts.

Once you’ve had your fill of delicious food and fun events, you can stop and savor the views of Lake Michigan. Don’t forget to snag some Kenosha swag or other vintage or handmade items from its boutique stores as a souvenir of your visit to the city.

Lake Michigan 

Lake Michigan is a major tourist draw for Kenosha. Nearly 90% of the county has access to the lake through beaches, marinas, parks and bike paths. 

Aside from downtown, the HarborPark neighborhood is another good place to enjoy Lake Michigan. HarborPark used to be a factory town, but today its 69 acres offers plenty of public activities, including biking, fishing and rollerblading along the harbor. Or, simply take a stroll down the promenade.  

If you want to get into the cool lake waters, head to any of the five public beaches or Simmons Island. Or, you can kayak, canoe, paddle, or fish on the lake. For even more fun, try the duck-themed pedal boats at Kenosha Community Sailing Center.

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