Looking for an easy road trip for a one-day getaway? Look no further than our lakshore neighbor to the south.
Racine has lots of fun stuff to do, a beautiful lakefront, a lovely little downtown with historic buildings, good food and more.
Here are some great ways to populate your day out in Racine with good times and good food.
Things to do & see
SC Johnson Headquarters
1525 Howe St., (262) 260-2154
While this world-class Frank Lloyd Wright complex has temporarily paused its on-site tours due to coronavirus, you can still see the stunning exterior of the main building and the research tower. Also on the campus and visible from the street is the Sir Norman Foster-designed Fortaleza Hall.
For now, if you want to see inside, check out this Urban Spelunking story.
33 E. 4 Mile Rd., (262) 681-3353
While you’re in the area, be sure to stop at Wingspread, another Wright designed stunner, which is currently offering tours by appointment only. To get a sense of what it looks like inside, here's a sneak peek via this soon-to-be-published Urban Spelunking article.
Wind Point Lighthouse
4725 Lighthouse Dr., (262) 639-3777
Built in 1880, the 108-foot Wind Point lighthouse is one of the tallest, but also one of the oldest still-active lights on the Great Lakes. This beautiful lighthouse – which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 – is open seasonally for regular tours, but groups can also arrange tours in the off-season. Details are at the lighthouse web site, or by calling (262) 639-3777. Read more about the lighthouse and its history in this Urban Spelunking story.
Racine Art Museum
441 Main St., (262) 638-8300
Located in the heart of downtown, the Racine Art Museum has a fine collection of contemporary art housed in a striking and equally contemporary building. Exhibits change a few times a year and right now you can check out the fun “Alien Invasion: (Un)Familiar Forms in Contemporary Art.”
2131 N. Main St., (262) 636-9189
Opened in 1923, the Racine Zoo is home to a wide variety of species in a parklike setting that makes for a nice walk, in addition to an exploration of the animal kingdom. Fun for the entire family.
If you geek out on cool old buildings like I do, pull up the article linked above on your phone and drive by five lovely 19th century cream city brick public schoolhouses
Where to eat
Of course, you need a Danish kringle and since you’re in Racine you probably ought to try one each from O&H (which has four Racine-area locations), Bendtsen’s, 3200 Washington Ave., and Larsen’s, 3311 Washington Ave. ... you know, in the interest of research. At latter, you can actually see into the kitchen where the kringle is made.
Lunch: Kewpee Lunch
520 Wisconsin Ave., (262) 634-9601
Racine has one of the last few locations of the Flint, Michigan-founded Kewpee Burgers chain and it’s a blast from the past, with amazing burgers. Check out Molly Snyder’s story about it here.
Dinner: The Hobnob
277 Sheridan Rd., (262) 552-8008
With a view of Lake Michigan, The Hobnob, founded in 1954, offers the classic Wisconsin supper club experience. It’s like being way up north, but is only slightly down south. Prime rib, steaks, seafood and a great Friday fish fry. Check out a full story about this dining landmark here.
Where to get a beer
214 3rd St., (262) 633-8239
Read my story about this long-in-the-works but only recently opened brewery in an old stables building in downtown. While you’re there, stop in at the awesome 1849 mill (now a pet and garden and essential oils store) across the street, also owned by the brewery’s Chris and Mark Flynn.
1 of Us Brewing
8100 Washington Ave., Mt. Pleasant, (262)
Located out toward I-94 in Mount Pleasant, 1 of Us Brewing opened earlier this year and is making some great beer.
Best Place for a Selfie
While I’d say a selfie in front of the research tower or Golden Rondelle at the SC Johnson HQ would make the perfect selfie, I also got a pro tip from Jessica Zalewski of the Racine Art Museum, who suggested, “with the Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln statute in the park in front of Gateway College at about 11th and Main Streets.” So, your choice: famous architecture or famous Americans ... or both!
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.