Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

A Cultural Shoreline in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Bursting with history and culture, Kenosha, Wisconsin, offers meeting planners a wealth of interesting things to see and do, including museums, a Renaissance fair and outdoor sports.

Kenosha is nestled in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin beside Lake Michigan, and nearly 90 percent of the shoreline is open to the public. Enjoy the outdoors by skiing and snowboarding at Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort, fishing, hiking, biking, golfing and exploring one of the area’s many parks.

There is a lot of history in Kenosha, whose downtown is on the National Register of Historic Districts. Take a walking tour, ride in an electric streetcar to learn about the area, or explore the museums and other historic sites.

The Civil War Museum, the second largest of its kind in the country, features the region’s contributions to the war, although no battles were fought in the area, and offers genealogy workshops. The Kenosha Public Museum includes natural history and fine arts, and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum has the largest display of meat-eating dinosaur skeletons in the country. Kenosha History Center illustrates the history of the area, including its automaking industry. Southport Light Station Museum is a lighthouse at Simmons Island Park built in the late 19th century and offers a glimpse of the harbor’s history.

A colorful attraction is the Jelly Belly Visitor Center, which will satisfy a sweet tooth and offers free tours of the Jelly Belly beans production area. For something a little more savory, Meridith Jumisko, public relations manager at the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said to go local.

“There are incredible locally owned restaurants that go back three generations or more,” she said.

Diners and drive-ins are favorites, as are restaurants with lake views and fine dining.

For a fun boutique experience, stop by Forever Grateful Resale Boutique and Art Gallery, where artists and crafters contribute to a shop of eclectic items: Everything from jams to metal art to furniture can be found there, as well as a Christmas shop.

Other attractions offer a colorful variety of entertainment, from shopping at the Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets with designer and name-brand stores to visiting Kenosha HarborMarket, where more than 100 vendors in the summer and upward of 20 in the winter sell everything from art to food. The Bristol Renaissance Faire is a trip back in time to Elizabethan England with period dress, food and games, and was voted the “Country’s Best Renaissance Faire” by public vote for the third consecutive year in 2013.

Unique off-site meeting spaces include the Civil War Museum and Kenosha Public Museum, both of which offer catering. The Civil War Museum offers a view of Lake Michigan while meeting or dining on a spacious outdoor terrace. The RecPlex recreation center includes meeting space, as well as areas for stress relief such as ice skating rinks and an aquatic center.

The Kemper Center, on the grounds of a Kenosha County Park and an all-girls school for more than 100 years, includes a conference center, a chapel, the historic Victorian Durkee Mansion and the Anderson Arts Center art gallery. The site also boasts Griffin Observatory, a renovated 19th-century astronomy laboratory that now acts as a stargazing and recreation facility, where meeting groups can have cocktails in the chemistry lab for a special event experience.


Spotlight on Kenosha, Wisconsin

Primary meeting facilities: Kemper Center

Other meeting properties: Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Best Western Harborside Inn and Kenosha Conference Center

Largest meeting space: Kenosha Conference Center (10,000 square feet of meeting space)

Total hotel rooms: 1,000

CVB website: