Racine is a city in Wisconsin that is quickly becoming a popular travel hotspot. So where is Racine, Wisconsin? It is only 30 minutes away from Chicago and sits on the shore of Lake Michigan.
It is the largest city in Racine County and has a population of over 75,000 people. It is home to many great attractions that draw in millions of visitors every year. There are many fun things to do in Racine, Wisconsin.
Racine county destinations allow you to enjoy views of Lake Michigan, as well as easy access to Chicago.
If you need to find things to do during your trip, you can consider one of the many activities and attractions listed below. Don’t forget to make note of ideal hotel stays in the city.
Fun & Best Things to do in Racine, Wisconsin
1. Visit the Racine Zoo
One of the best things to do regardless of your age is to visit the Racine Zoo. The zoo features 75 different species and around 300 animals for you to see and learn about.
The Racine Zoo has mammals, amphibians, birds, and other animals. Some of the animals you can see are African Lions, Llamas, Meerkats, Sheep, Orangutans, and more.
Besides viewing the habitats that house the animals, you can listen to different talks where zookeepers teach you all about the animals.
There are also live shows that are great when you need a break from walking around.
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2. Tour the Racine Art Museum
The Racine Art Museum (RAM) is a beautiful art museum in town. The RAM houses the most extensive contemporary art collection in North America. The museum has a reputation for stunning artwork and fantastic architecture that makes the building stand out amongst the others in town.
The museum features permanent exhibits and some that change about two or three times a year.
Some current exhibits you can appreciate include Component Parts, art made from several elements, Playful/Pensive, contemporary artists and contemporary issues, and so much more.
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3. Watch an Airshow
The military has been doing flyovers in Racine for various events and holidays for over ten years. The most famous airshow they do in Racine is for the Fourth of July. If you happen to be in town for this holiday, you won’t want to miss the show.
You can make your way to North Beach to watch. Whether you plan on spending a day at the beach and then watching the show or heading down there just for the show, you’ll love watching military professionals flying through the air.
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4. Learn About Racine at the Racine Heritage Museum
There’s nothing like learning more about a place you’re visiting for the first time. The best place to do so is at the Racine Heritage Museum. The museum has been in business for over 150 years and showcases the town and county’s interesting history.
The museum shows how Racine came to be, and one of their most fascinating exhibits is their one on the Underground Railroad. This exhibit helps you understand the town’s part in the Civil War. Before you leave, you can check the gift shop for souvenirs and books on the area’s history.
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5. Spend a Day on Lake Michigan
Since Racine is on the shores of Lake Michigan, there’s nothing better than spending a day on the lake. The beaches are covered with locals and tourists soaking up the sun during the summer and cooling off in the water. Some of the best beaches include:
- North Beach
- Zoo Beach
- Samuel Myers Park
Another great way to spend your time on Lake Michigan is to rent a boat and go fishing.
Silver King Charters offers fishing boats if you want to fish on this great lake. Whether you prefer to lounge in the sand or spend the day on the water or fishing, you’ll love hanging out at one of the best Racine County destinations.
6. Visit Wind Point Lighthouse
If you want to see one of the oldest and most active lighthouses on the Great Lakes, then Wind Point Lighthouse is something you need to add to your itinerary. Wind Point Lighthouse is a historic site in Racine that’s around 108 feet tall.
You can wander the grounds, taking in the beautiful scenery. The groundskeepers are bringing back climbing the tower. You can’t do it all the time, though. They have one climb a month, and you can see the schedule on their website.
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7. Go on a Walking Tour of Racine
If you want to learn more about Racine but don’t want to go to the museum or want another history-filled activity, you can take a walking tour of Racine. The tour is provided by the museum and is about a mile in length, taking no more than two hours.
Volunteers for the museum lead the tour, and they’ll take you through downtown and along Lake Michigan.
You’ll learn all about the town’s historical significance in industry and agriculture while enjoying the fresh air. The best part is how passionate the tour guides are about their town.
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8. Admire Lake Michigan from the Racine Overlook
For some of the best views Lake Michigan has to offer, the Racine Overlook is perfect. This scenic overlook provides you views of Lake Michigan the boats coming into the marina and is the ideal place for photos to remember your trip by.
You can sit on the benches for as long as you want, take in the view, walk around the marina, and then grab a bite to eat at one of the several fantastic restaurants near the marina. It’s one of the best Racine, Wisconsin, tourism spots.
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9. Attend the Starving Artist Fair
One of the best Racine festivals is the Starving Artist Fair. It’s a free event that’s held at the end of summer annually. You can walk through the fair listening to live music and admiring all the artwork showcased there.
There are over 100 exhibitors, free activities for children, and booths with food and drinks to enjoy while you walk around. You can even apply to have your art featured at the festival if you’re an artist.
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10. Take Yoga Class at Yoga Roots Racine Roots Racine
People love that they offer Vinyasa flow, gentle chair yoga, pilates, core fusion, basics, and more. You’ll want to sign up online before your class, but it’s simple.
They also have more intense workshops. You can do aerial yoga, restorative yoga, and guided meditation workshops.
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11: Sample Local Beer at Littleport Brewing Company
Wisconsin is known for fantastic craft beer, and even the tiny town of Racine has excellent breweries to visit. One of the best options in Racine is Littleport Brewing Company. The brewery is downtown, near the main marina in town.
Littleport Brewing Company has 21 great beers for you to try. They have everything from IPAs to porters to lagers and everything in between. The best thing you can do is order a flight of four beers. This way, you can sample several, and maybe you’ll even find your new favorite.
12. Attend the Racine Symphony Orchestra
The Racine Symphony Orchestra is the perfect thing to do for music lovers. This orchestra is one of the oldest in the state. Frederick Schulte established the orchestra in 1932, and it’s been a prime activity in Racine ever since. The current name wasn’t established until 1935, though.
They’ve performed over 400 performances since 1932 in various venues. Along with their performances, they offer classes. Everyone from children to seniors can take classes here to connect with music. If you’re looking for the perfect evening event, this is one of the best in Racine.
13. Go to Craft Beer Week
Speaking of craft beer, did you know that Racine has a festival dedicated to beer? Craft Beer Week is a famous festival in town because all the local breweries get together to offer great specials at their establishments.
The week is centered around celebrating craft beer, the brewers, and the people who enjoy a cold one every now and again.
The week changes every year, but it’s usually in February. Breweries will offer free tastings, buy one get one deal on beer and food, and so much more.
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14. Take a Glass Blowing Class at Hot Shop Glass
You might not know this, but Raine has a long history of glass blowing. If you’re interested in learning more about glass blowing, there’s no better place than at Hot Shop Glass. Even if you’re not interested in taking a class, you can view their blown glass gallery.
Hot Shop Glass offers glass fusing classes where you’ll learn how to make mosaics and welding classes. The instructors are passionate about this art style and are more than willing to teach you and help you as you create art of your own. You can make earrings, garden stakes, nightlights, tile, and more.
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This live community-based theater has been around since 1938. It is a source of vibrant entertainment and creative education in the area.
A regular season contains eight stage plays and musicals for your delight. Choose from drama, comedy, mystery theatre, children’s theatre, musicals, and concerts.
Go beyond watching the talent and get in on the action behind the scenes. Adults and kids can attend classes in dance and acting.
16. Tour the Eco-Justice Center
In 2004, the Eco-Justice Center opened in Racine. The Eco-Justice Center is an environmental education center that aims to teach people the importance of recycling, how gardening can be beneficial, and how to care for farm animals. They also focus on preserving farm buildings from 1875.
The best way to see the Eco-Justice Center is to take a tour of the property. They’ll show you every inch of the center, including their garden, old farm buildings, and the alpacas, chickens, and other farm animals that live there.
It’s a fun way to spend a few hours, and you might leave inspired to reduce your carbon footprint.
17. Grab Some Kringles at O&H Bakery
Wisconsin’s state pastry is the kringle! Originally from Denmark, a kringle is similar to a pretzel, but instead of being topped with sea salt, you fill it with sweet fillings and top it with whatever you want.
You can even make it savory. If you’ve never tried one before, the best place to do so in Racine is at O&H Bakery.
This Danish bakery is a staple in Racine and opened in 1949. It’s a family-owned business that treats every customer like a family.
They have several kringle recipes to try, and it’ll be hard not to try them all. You can try some of their flavors: Wisconsin kringle, raspberry, cream cheesecake, and birthday kringle.
18. Kayak the Root River
Kayaking on the Root River is a great way to spend time outdoors when Racine has great weather.
The Root River Environmental Education Recreation Center (REC) is the perfect place to rent kayaks or canoes for your excursion. They’re only open for the summer, starting in June through October.
Rentals are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so on the weekends, you’ll want to get there early.
There are single and tandem kayaks for you to rent, and they come with life vests and everything else you need for a safe and fun outing. You can kayak for as long or as little as you want, as long as you have the equipment back to them before closing.
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Best Hotels in Racine, Wisconsin
As you search for things to do in Racine, you will need a lovely and comfortable place to stay. Here are three of the best choices for accommodations in the area:
Doubletree by Hilton comes with rooms that may have a view of the harbor or marina. Enjoy the perks of free wi-fi and an onsite pub for convenient happy hours. Cool off in the pool and indulge in room service.
Rooms in this cozy bed & breakfast contain kitchenettes for your added comfort. Take advantage of free parking and stretch your legs on a scenic five-minute walk to Lake Michigan. This place has excellent reviews and makes a lovely home away from home.
You can quickly access Racine’s downtown area and local attractions from this hotel.
A short 30-minute drive to the “windy city”, Chicago, is a simple feat during your stay here. The hotel comes with a gym, laundry, on-site pool, and conference room.