There might not be as many things to do in Racine WI as there are in bigger Wisconsin cities like Milwaukee and Madison, but it can still lead you on lots of memorable adventures. Like Milwaukee, Racine is located along the waters of Lake Michigan, with plenty of beautiful sights. Racine is the most eventful during the summer, but some activities will be enjoyable year-round. So, what can you experience when visiting Racine?
#1 – Racine Zoo
The Racine Zoo might not be the largest zoo in Wisconsin, but it has some of the most beautiful sights. It’s a non-profit organization that takes up 28 acres. The zoo sits along Lake Michigan, with sandy shores and lots of animals to see. It was first created in 1923, and it’s currently home to over 100 different species. It’s a popular location for field trips, and behind the scenes tours run frequently. It even has a playground and a train to cater to young children. Like most quality zoos, there’s something for everyone.
#2 – Wind Point Lighthouse
The Wind Point Lighthouse is a historical structure in the village of Wind Point, which is just north of Racine. It’s one of the best things to do in Racine WI because lighthouses are charming and a quick visit, so everyone should see it at least once. It was built in 1880 along Lake Michigan with a fog horn that could be heard ten miles into the lake. One certain days, the lighthouse is open for tours, and the building beside it can be rented for private events. It has a memorial path around it and it’s situated near a golf course.
#3 – Racine Art Museum
Admiring art is always a peaceful way to pass the time. And the Racine Art Museum doesn’t disappoint. It’s a 12-acre property that was built in 1938. This museum is said to hold the largest and most significant contemporary craft collection in all of North America. It currently showcases 9,500 different artworks from artists all over the world. The number of pieces has expanded so much since its initial opening that it even relocated to a larger space. The original art museum building is now being used as an education center.
#4 – River Bend Nature Center
On a warm summer day, the River Bend Nature Center is one of the best things to do in Racine WI. This 78-acre center is the ideal family-friendly activity because it has so many outdoor adventures to enjoy. It has hiking trails, ponds, rivers, and woodlands. It also has buildings that can be rented out for special events, along with a summer camp for when kids are out of school. You can also rent equipment for canoeing and kayaking. Some classes are available too, such as woodworking, archery, and kayaking. In the winter, you can still enjoy snow hikes, especially with snowshoes or skis.
#5 – Hot Shop Glass
Glass blowing is an important part of Racine’s history. The Hot Shop Glass studio started as a part of the Prairie School art department in 1969. But as glass blowing become more popular, the shop eventually became a studio and gallery by 2005. Today, this attraction offers tours and lessons for both groups and individuals. In less than two hours, you could learn how to make your own paperweight or ornament out of glass. They also have seasonal classes, such as hearts for Valentine’s Day and pumpkins for Halloween. It’s a great hands-on activity for those feeling creative.
#6 – Racine Heritage Museum
The Racine Heritage Museum is a historical museum that was once a Carnegie library. It has many permanent exhibits related to Racine’s history. Some exhibits include information about factories that started in Racine, the Underground Railroad, and Frank Lloyd Wright. This museum is dedicated to preserving culture and sharing stories about the achievements of the people who lived in Racine. It’s free to enter, but donations are recommended. So, it’s worth checking out, especially since you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank.
#7 – Reefpoint Marina
The Reefpoint Marina is a beautiful place to walk around and explore, located right along Lake Michigan. If you want to park your boat there, it comes with many amenities to enjoy, such as Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, fire pits, and hot tubs. If you just want to walk around and enjoy the sights, there are also plenty of places to visit nearby, including restaurants, picnic areas, and a beach. It’s also located near Hot Shop Glass in case you wanted to stop there during your stay. The Reefpoint Marina is one of the best Racine activities for boaters, but it’s also a beautiful location to stop by.
#8 – Abandoned Haunted House Complex
If you love spooky Halloween events, then the Abandoned Haunted House Complex should be on your bucket list. This seasonal attraction is in Mount Pleasant, right next to Racine. It’s home to four of the best haunted attractions in Wisconsin. It includes haunted houses both indoors and outdoors, so you’re sure to get your fair share of screams during your visit. It even has spooky axe throwing lessons. If you get scared easily, this might not be the place for you, but horror movie enthusiasts are sure to have a blast.
#9 – North Beach Park
North Beach Park is an excellent summer getaway, with sandy shores along Lake Michigan. Some activities include swimming, biking, picnicking, and volleyball. There are restrooms on sight and a playground for the kids. Admission and parking are free, so if the weather is nice, it could be an exciting location to visit. Plus, there are lifeguards on duty throughout the entire summer season. During colder months, there’s not as much to do, but you can still walk around and take beautiful photos if you’d like.
#10 – Wingspread
Wingspread is a famous conference center and retreat located right along the lake. It has three main buildings and 40 guest rooms, but it’s most notable for its architectural designs. It’s shaped like a four-winged pinwheel and situated on a 30-acre property. If you’re looking for an extravagant place to hold an event, this might be the location for you. Wingspread also hosts tours of the facility, but they’re by appointment only. Tours don’t run on days when conferences, weddings, or other large events take place.
#11 – Root River Environmental Education Center
Like the River Bend Nature Center, the Root River Environmental Education Center is another one of the best things to do in Racine WI for families who love nature. It has educational and recreational programs to promote nature conservation for all ages. It’s open seasonally with a wide range of activities including kayak and canoe tours, field trips, birthday parties, volunteer events, summer camps, and various types of programs and workshops. It’s a great way to get exposed to nature and teach kids the importance of the environment.
Racine WI might not be the go-to city in the Midwest, but it still has plenty of things to do. Whether you want a fun or educational experience, Racine is the place for you. It’s a bit more relaxing than big cities, so it can make an exciting weekend adventure for you and your family.