About Kenosha

The Kenosha Area encompasses a number of communities in Southeast Wisconsin. Midway between Milwaukee and Chicago, and bordering Lake Michigan, it’s a year-round destination suited for most any taste or budget, and is known for its friendly people and one-of-a-kind places.


About Kenosha, Wisconsin

Our Lake Michigan shoreline is one of our most popular features, with nearly 90 percent publicly accessible via parks, beaches, festival places and a miles-long promenade. The lakeshore also boasts five one-of-a-kind museums, an authentic electric streetcar system, two historic lighthouses, and the popular Kenosha HarborMarket. A vibrant Downtown district full of shopping, dining and the arts is ideally located just steps from the lakeshore and makes for a truly special visit.

Away from the shoreline, the Kenosha Area is teeming with opportunities for fun! Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets and Bristol Renaissance Faire are visitor favorites that you’ll want to build into your itinerary. If it’s the great outdoors you seek, Kenosha’s western region delivers beautifully. Pristine golf courses, tranquil inland lakes, hiking and biking trails, a ski and snowboard area, and so much more await you year-round.

There’s an old saying that you can’t please everyone ... but we’re not so sure that applies to Kenosha, Wisconsin! There really is something here for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly getaway with the kids, a relaxing nature-inspired retreat, or an action-packed weekend with friends, we’ll help you put together an itinerary that’s sure to please!



Kenosha, Wisconsin History

An early group of Native Americans originally named Kenosha, Wisconsin Kenozia which means "place of the Pike".  In 1836, after more settlers arrived and the first post office was established, it was renamed to Pike Creek. In the ensuing years, the area became an important Great Lakes shipping port and the village was once again renamed — to Southport. In 1850, one last change gave Kenosha its current title, a modernized version of the early Kenozia, and the name for which the county is also named.

The transportation industry developed much of the area's great economic resources. Kenosha has been the home to many well-known automotive industry leaders such as Nash Motor Company, American Motors Company and DaimlerChrysler Corporation. Other industry giants that make the Kenosha Area their home today include Amazon, Jockey International, Ocean Spray, Snap-on, and Uline.

The Kenosha Area is filled with interesting and unique historical places, including the United States' oldest operating velodrome (bicycle racing track). Weekly races are still held there in the summer months, drawing crowds from near and far. Kenosha is also one of only three Wisconsin cities to have more than one National Register Historic District. Visit Kenosha's four historic districts — including the Civic Center Historic District, Library Park Historic District, Third Avenue Historic District and the Pearl Street Historic District — as well as two historic lighthouses.  Kenosha’s rich history is preserved and proudly displayed at our various museums, including the home of the Kenosha County Historical Society – the Kenosha History Center.

The Kenosha Area also boasts a number of famous names and faces who are from our community. What do The Odd Couple, Happy Days and On.Cor frozen dinner commercials have in common? Well, Al Molinaro of course! The late actor was from Kenosha. Two-time Emmy winner Daniel J. Travanti of Hill Street Blues fame and movie actor Mark Ruffalo ("The Hulk") also once called Kenosha home. Cocoon's Don Ameche and War of the Worlds radio broadcast creator Orson Welles also lived in Kenosha at one time or another. Professional athletes Trae Waynes, Melvin Gordon III, and Alan Ameche are from Kenosha. Kenosha is also the hometown of Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  I want to make Kenosha a stop on my Midwest road trip. Are there any historic/scenic automobile routes in Kenosha?
A:  Yes. Highway 32 in Kenosha is part of The Yellowstone Trail and the Lake Michigan Circle Tour. Kenosha is also a Wisconsin Harbor Town, and part of two multi-state water trails: Lake Michigan Water Trail and Fox River Water Trail.

Q:  Can I take the Metra train to Kenosha?
A:  Yes. The Metra Commuter Rail system services Chicago to Kenosha and back along its Union Pacific North Line.

Q:  Can I take a bus or train from Milwaukee to Kenosha or visa-versa?
A:  Yes.  Wisconsin Coach Lines operates daily shuttles between Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee, as well as Airport Express service to and from Mitchell International Airport (Milwaukee) and O’Hare International Airport (Chicago).

Q:  How far (in miles/time) is Kenosha from Milwaukee/Chicago?
A:  Kenosha is 38 miles south of Milwaukee (approximately 45-minute drive time) and 58 miles north of Chicago (approximately 80-minute drive time).

Q:  How do I reach Downtown Kenosha and its museums and other attractions from the Interstate?
A:  Exit I-94/41 from either the north or south at Highway 158 (Exit 342) and drive east approximately 7 miles.  Highway 158 (also known as 52nd Street) will end at Kenosha’s Lake Michigan Harbor as it intersects with 6th Avenue.  This is the central point of Downtown Kenosha.

Q:  Can you climb the lighthouse in Kenosha?
A:  Kenosha has two lighthouses, the North Pier Lighthouse and the Southport Lighthouse. You can climb the Southport Lighthouse seasonally.

Q:  Where can I buy Wisconsin Cheese in Kenosha?
A:  We recommend Brat Stop, Tenuta’s Delicatessen, and Mars Cheese Castle for great selections of Wisconsin cheese and other specialties.

Q:  Where can I find information about working and living in Kenosha County?
A:  A new website called Life Balanced Kenosha County captures the essence of living in Kenosha County and serves as an online resource for anyone considering making Kenosha their home. Details about local housing, jobs, schools, and more combine to help residents find a successful balance as they live, work, play and learn here.