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5 Things to Do in Kenosha During Your Next Visit!

As suggested by a local Carthage College student

September 24, 2019

I’m excited to launch a new series called “Day in the Life” where I have a local recommend 5 locations in their hometown/city and show off what makes their community great! If you know anything about me, you know I live in Milwaukee and absolutely love the city. I want to see that same passion from others for their home.

My first feature takes me to Kenosha with a local resident, Janna Hollingsworth (Instagram: @JHolli18), who loves her home so much that she chose to stay local and attend Carthage College as an undergrad. I briefly coordinated with her in advance and mentioned what I wanted from this series and told her to pick 5 locations that she thought represented Kenosha well (with a request that one of those suggestions include brunch).

This past Saturday (September 21, 2019) we took over @MyCarthage’s story on Instagram to show our adventure in real-time (check it out the highlighted story here).

the Coffee Pot (Kenosha)
The only location I knew about in advance was our 10 am brunch spot, the Coffee Pot. According to their website, “the diner originally opened in the early 1930’s” and has had various names over the years but appears to be under its current ownership since 2004.

Now, I’m not normally a coffee drinker (shocker, I'm sure), but I had to make an exception (coffee is literally in their name), couldn't limit myself to just one and had several refills (needless to say, I was wired). For the food, I ordered “The ‘shroom” with their homemade bread; I almost made the mistake of not getting their bread – I’m sorry, I didn’t know, but now I do and will get that every time I go.

One thing to note about the Coffee Pot is that they’re a cash-only establishment (yes, they have an ATM) – but it's good to know before you get there (*cough cough, Janna* - kidding, she did a great job). You'll enjoy that nostalgic feeling with their classic diner look, which fits nicely with the neighborhood (there’s a retro feeling pharmacy next door called Modern Apothecary, not officially on the list). They also have a patio section which I’m sure is great on a warm summer morning.

Kenosha HarborMarket
Next up, we hit the Kenosha HarborMarket which to my surprise is a year-round market. Their Summer months are outside in their downtown Kenosha location along the harbor and relocates indoors during the many colder months of Wisconsin.

This felt like you pretty straight-forward farmer’s market but there were a lot more vendors than I expected. An unusual thing was the trolley that runs through one end of the market. Legit, at first glance, I thought the trolley was going rogue and just driving on the grass. Thankfully, that thought was short-lived because Janna pointed out the tracks (duh - *facepalm*).

​​Kenosha Lighthouse Studio
As long as we were at the market, the harbor itself made for a great third stop (Kenosha HarborPark). This is a spot that Janna remembers visiting frequently as a kid with her family and continuing to hang out at as she grew up. From the splash pad to the many sculptures, it has a lot to see and do.

We walked along Lake Michigan to the Kenosha North Pier Light (which is a sibling to the Milwaukee Pierhead Light – I knew it looked familiar!). I was curious and had to ask the @MyCarthage story, does anyone live in the lighthouse? I heard there was an Artist residence program.

Well, it is currently known as the Kenosha Lighthouse Studio and features artists from southeastern Wisconsin to display their work in this unique art gallery, giving them a (temporary) residency for their art.

Carthage College Football
On to Stop number 4, you probably guessed that Carthage College would make an appearance and you’d be right. It’s a private college that has quite a history with Kenosha having been founded and chartered in 1847. Possibly the coolest fact I heard about was the that Abraham Lincoln briefly served on the Board of Trustees (1860-1861).

During my visit to their campus, they had a football game against Carroll University (Carthage was triumphant with a score of 36-7). Due to a rain/lightning delay, we couldn’t stay for the end of the game, but it gave us an excuse to explore their campus (dorms, academic halls, and other facilities).

Scoops Kenosha
For the last stop, Janna gave me a choice of activity or sweet treat and you can’t tempt me with ice cream and not actually take me for some! Off to Scoops Ice Cream & Candy we went (which has been a Best of Kenosha winner in past years), they were dishing out Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream along with a variety of other candy and sweets.

Every city needs a family-friendly local ice cream shop! During our visit, we saw a few kids excitedly getting the most colorful ice cream option (bright blue - I think it was the Superman or something) and they couldn't have looked happier with their choice!

Alpaca Art
Bonus stop, Alpaca Art, a spot where you select pottery and paint it, then come back a week later to pick up your piece. I felt like this trip to Kenosha needed some sort of non-food/beverage related activity and it was a great recommendation by Janna. It rained for most of this visit, so this activity was perfect to dry out and still have some fun.

One spot that was up for debate was Franks Diner for brunch but ultimately decided it may be quicker to save that one for a different visit when we weren’t trying to fit so many stops in one day. I guess that just means I have I'll have to keep this on my list for a future brunch/breakfast spot during my next visit to Kenosha!

So, to recap, our 5 Things to Do in Kenosha included the following:

1. The Coffee Pot

2. Kenosha HarborMarket

3. Kenosha HarborPark/Kenosha Lighthouse Studio

4. Carthage College

5. Scoops Ice Cream & Candy

*Bonus* Alpaca Art

*Honorable Mention* Franks Diner

What do you think of this list and what should have been included? Let me know on social media at @JMattMke (same handle on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok)! Also, where should I take my “Day in the Life” series next and who wants to show me around?