Downtown Kenosha Blog

Laura Tyunaitis

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Pic2.jpgThere is a lot to love about Downtown Kenosha. Beautiful views of Lake Michigan and miles of shoreline to enjoy. Five museums to explore with permanent and touring exhibits to learn from. Small businesses offering everything from popcorn and bowties to sports paraphernalia to dog treats. There are streetcars, charter fishing boats, and a trolley. There are free concerts, car shows, ice sculpture displays, a marathon and 5K races, and so many other events throughout the year. I could keep going, but I really want to get to the most delicious part of our Downtown.

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The warm temps we enjoyed at the end of February have left me with a severe case of Cabin Fever in March. As a March baby, I am no stranger to the very real struggle of Mother Nature’s teasing – I’ve seen everything from snow and sleet on my birthday to sunshine and seventy-degree days. Don’t get me wrong, I love snowy days and cozy cups of tea, but by my birthday I start to Think Spring.

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Over the holidays, I made a very conscious effort to do a lot of my shopping at locally owned establishments. Specifically stores in Downtown Kenosha. From bags of popcorn and bombers of beer for stocking stuffers to hand bags and wall décor, I found so many wonderful things for my friends and family – and maybe one or two things for myself, too. (Hey, don’t judge. I was pretty good and Santa agreed!)

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While my primary job is working at the Visitors Bureau, I have the privilege of managing the social media channels for Downtown Kenosha, too. If you’ve ever wondered who was talking to you on the Downtown Kenosha Facebook page or Instagram account… that’s me! J

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I broke my own rule last week. THE RULE being that there is to be no sign of winter or holidays other than Thanksgiving until after Thanksgiving!

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A few weeks ago, my friend Kim and I threw a baby shower for our friend Francesca. Neither Kim nor I have kids, but we sure do enjoy planning special events. We also love supporting locally owned businesses. We were able to plan the whole shower using vendors located in Downtown Kenosha – and they didn’t disappoint. So my heartfelt thanks goes out to the amazing businesses in Downtown K-Town!

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I don’t have children of my own, but I do have an adorable 18-month-old Godson and a friend with a baby on the way. This translates to the fact that I am going to have to start paying attention to what is cool for kids. One thing that I have noticed recently are all the awesome places in Downtown Kenosha that offer kids birthday parties – you know, places much cleaner and more fun than the usual kids play areas that host hokey birthdays with cheesy games and junk for party favors. So this “auntie” is taking notes early so that she can help plan the coolest birthday parties in town in the future. Maybe this information will help you…


b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2016-08-16-at-9.28.13-AM.pngSandy’s Popper
As if we needed one more reason to love Sandy’s Popper (I am a frequent flyer, especially this summer with the Pineapple and Watermelon Sherbets!). On a recent visit to this popcorn and sweet shop, Sandy was playing hostess with the most-est to a little girl’s birthday party. The seating area on the ice cream parlor was blocked off and kids all had games to play, ice cream in hand, and a Sundae cup filled with popcorn and other goodies as a party favor. Sounds like a pretty great outing to me!


b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2016-08-16-at-9.20.19-AM_20160816-142748_1.pngAlpaca Art
There are no little girls in my world, so the opportunity for crafting fun is pretty limited. However, Alpaca Art Pottery Painting offers paint-your-own pieces for boys, girls, kids, adults, and everyone in between. You can bring in your own snacks and beverages and have set pieces for kids to paint, or let them pick from a selection of pieces in the same price range. There is a separate party room that you can completely takeover so there is ample room for you and your guests (no matter what age) to paint, snack, and have fun! With Elsie Mae’s Canning & Pies and Scoops Ice Cream just down the block, there are some great options for treats.


b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3182.jpgTop Dog Gaming
I know nothing about video games, but this is another area I suspect I will be learning about as these little boys grow up. Top Dog Gaming now offers birthday party rentals – yup. Rent the entire gaming space for your kid’s next birthday or bring a smaller group and take over a corner of this gaming center. Again, great for kids of all ages, as they offer a number of game systems. No more fighting over the game controllers during parties at your house! Bonus: Robin’s Nest Cakery is right next door, so you have easy access to cupcakes and cookies!

Who am I kidding? One would not need to have kids to enjoy a birthday outing at any of these venues. I know a few adult women who would go crazy for a scoop of ice cream and a craft night, and plenty of guys would enjoy a night out gaming with their buddies. (Perhaps add on a stop at Wine Knot or Sazzy B afterwards, too?) Hopefully my recent observations will help you plan some awesome birthday parties for your friends and family in the year ahead!

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A few weeks ago, my friend Mike and I went out around lunchtime to shoot some photos. My role at the Visitors Bureau and Mike’s role at the Chamber of Commerce have a few similar goals, and getting to indulge our hobby of photography is one of the perks of the job. We wore our comfy shoes and packed up a crew of lenses and set out for a few hours of enjoying the summer sunshine in Downtown Kenosha.

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I love when people say that there is nothing to do in Kenosha. Especially in Downtown Kenosha.

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Downtown Kenosha is home to five museums. Count them: Kenosha Public Museum, Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha History Center and Southport Light Station Museum. Five. That is a pretty incredible number of museums for a community our size to have, let alone to house them all within about a mile of each other. Chances are, if you are a local resident, you have been to at least one of these great attractions… but there are some things you may not have known. So, here are some of my most favorite little known facts about each museum….

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You know what they say, kids who don’t believe in Santa Claus get underwear for Christmas! While I love me some Jockey (Yay for Kenosha businesses!), I definitely don’t want underwear for Christmas! Not a problem. I still believe in Santa!

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City of Kenosha Christmas Tree Lightin Up Downtown Kenosha So, you know how some people roll their eyes when they see their neighbors putting up Christmas lights before Thanksgiving? I am not those people. “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute!” I try to show restraint and enjoy each holiday as it comes… but I have a hard time containing my excitement when it comes to THE holiday season. In fact, I have a team of folks around town who are trained to call me when they see the City of Kenosha’s Christmas Tree in route to its place of honor in front of the Kenosha Public Museum so I can go take pictures to share with everyone (it arrived on Tuesday morning last week, in case hyou were curious)! I am the person who knows when the holiday movies start on the Hallmark channel. I am the person who announces when holiday music takes over certain radio stations – okay, who am I kidding. I put Christmas music on to write this blog! And I am definitely the person who makes sure to squeeze every last bit of holiday fun out of the season. After all, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

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Have you heard the latest buzz around Downtown Kenosha? I heard the scoop on Facebook. For all the things that make me crazy about social media (the complainers, the pictures of people’s feet by the beach, the Packers vs. Bears rivalry posts, and so on…) there are also a million GREAT things about social media. One example is that my pal Riki, manager at Sazzy B, posted about a pop-up/soft opening of the group’s new venue THE BUZZ about two weeks ago.

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As I was out running errands on my lunch hour last week, I spotted a truck filled with baskets of flowers. It was hard for me to believe that mid-October is here and the beautiful flower baskets that are so iconic to our downtown community were being carted away now that cooler fall temperatures have arrived. Boats are starting to be removed from the marinas. Patio furniture is slowly being put away at area restaurants. The final outdoor HarborMarket event has come and gone. Sure signs that summer is over.

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It’s my job to know a lot about our community – I work at the Visitors Bureau for goodness sake. Some of the things I know are really useful: the streetcar schedule, operating hours for Kenosha HarborMarket, and how many steps there are to get to the top of the Southport Lighthouse. On the other hand, some of the things I know are just useless information that would make me a shoe-in for first place in a Kenosha Trivia contest.

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If you visit the Kenosha area in the dead of winter, you’d find it hard to believe that the temperatures ever become warm. Contrary to popular belief, though, Downtown Kenosha becomes a destination of choice during the summer months. Whether you are one of thousands at lakefront festivals or enjoy some alone time at one of our beaches, Downtown K-Town is almost a tropical destination.

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When the warm weather arrives, trees are in bloom, and the breeze coming off Lake Michigan feels refreshing (as opposed to chilly as it does in December and January)… there is one thing I love to do. Head Downtown with my camera and capture all the moments of beauty and fun!

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Downtown Kenosha is a happening place. Whether you enjoy the dining and nightlife, or the shopping and art galleries, there is something for everyone. There is an event for everyone, too! It’s no surprise that with beautiful Lake Michigan as the backdrop, Downtown Kenosha and HarborPark are popular places for festivals and special events. While this is not the complete list, here is my Top 10 Summer Events in Downtown Kenosha list (in no particular order)…

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May is National Bike Month, and I can’t think of a better place to enjoy a bike ride than in Downtown Kenosha. Part of the Pike Bike Trail is HarborPark in Downtown Kenosha - which offers a ride that includes views of Lake Michigan, plenty of parks and green spaces, and of course some shopping and dining options along the way.

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If you have spent any amount of time in Downtown Kenosha in recent years, you are probably familiar with the delicious dessert options available. From pie to cupcakes and even Kannebulle, there is something for everyone.

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While I do not have children of my own, I have a lot of friends who have children ranging in age from newborns to upper grades of elementary school. I also have a new godson, so I have been more intune to children lately. I am constantly amazed at how smart kids are these days – how much more they want to know about EVERYTHING. I don’t remember being that intelligent at those ages.

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I took several days off around the holidays to enjoy time with family. One of our outings included a visit to Trolley Dogs for lunch – one of our favorite downtown spots. While eating, “JZ” (John Ziemba, the manager at Captain Mike’s) walked in for his lunch break. He shared with me that the new Mike’s location – Mike’s Donuts & Chicken – would be opening for some trial run days before their Grand Opening in February.

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