15 Things to Do in Janesville: Wisconsin’s Great Outside

15 Things to Do in Janesville: Wisconsin's Great Outside

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If you have read any of my travel books, watched my TV show, or even followed my journeys on social media, you know I am a fan of Janesville Wisconsin. It was one of those places that surprised and delighted me – and had me going back often to discover more in the area. Food, history, and friendly people – what more could you ask for? How about being Wisconsin’s Great Outside!

15 Things to Do in Janesville: Wisconsin's Great Outside

Janesville, Wisconsin, also beckons outdoor enthusiasts with a diverse range of activities that celebrate the beauty of nature, community, and creativity. From exploring vibrant murals to indulging in unique treats, here are 15 unforgettable experiences that showcase the best of Janesville’s outdoor offerings:

1. Explore Vibrant Murals

Janesville’s streets are not just pathways; they are canvases that come alive with vibrant murals and street art. As you wander through the heart of the city, you’ll encounter an array of over 60 pieces of captivating artwork that add an extra layer of color and character to the outdoor spaces. There are over 25 murals, in addition to sculptures and memorials.

From historical depictions to contemporary designs, each mural tells a unique story and reflects the spirit of the community. These murals not only make for wonderful photo opportunities but also contribute to a sense of vibrancy that permeates Janesville’s streets.

2. S’mores Delight at the Sugar Exchange

Indulging in a classic treat takes a creative twist at the Sugar Exchange, where you can experience the s’mores charcuterie. This delectable creation combines the nostalgic flavors of gooey marshmallows, rich chocolate, and graham crackers in an artistic presentation that’s perfect for sharing.

Yes, this is an outside treat – you set on their back patio to safely account for the live flame needed to create that marshmallowey goodness that builds your s’more with a variety of choices: from peanut butter cups to strawberries you have a tempting treat to share. Basically, the Sugar Exchange has reimagined the beloved s’mores into an experience that’s both satisfying and Instagram-worthy, capturing the essence of culinary innovation in Janesville.

–>Pro Tip: Nutella and strawberries on a graham cracker – just trust me!

3. Local Art and Produce at Janesville Farmers Market

If you know me at all, you know I love to support our Wisconsin farmers! Farmers Markets are simply one of the many ways you can do that and the Janesville Farmers Market is more than just a place to shop for fresh produce; it’s a lively hub that embodies the heart and soul of the community.

As you stroll through the booths, you’ll find a variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and artisanal products that reflect the region’s agricultural bounty. Beyond the gastronomic delights, the market also showcases the craftsmanship of local artisans, offering a diverse range of homemade goods that make for perfect souvenirs or gifts. The atmosphere is brimming with energy, making it a must-visit for both residents and visitors.

4. Glacial Landscapes on Janesville-Beloit Crossings Ice Age Trail

Step into a prehistoric world as you embark on the Janesville-Milton Ice Age Trail. This hiking and biking trail offers an incredible opportunity to explore landscapes shaped by ancient glaciers. As you traverse the trail, you’ll discover geological features that serve as a reminder of the powerful forces that once sculpted the terrain.

It’s not just a hike; it’s a journey through time that allows you to connect with the Earth’s ancient past.

–>Pro Tip: If you are really up for a challenge try the “Devil’s Staircase” – I’m not sure you get a better “Buns of Steel” workout than that!

The trail, aptly named for its steep ascent, leads to breathtaking panoramic views that stretch beyond the horizon. As you conquer each step, the anticipation of reaching the summit builds, and the moment you stand atop the staircase is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The rugged beauty of the natural landscape unfolds before your eyes, reaffirming the power of nature and the thrill of conquering the great outdoors.

5. Botanical Beauty at Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens

For a serene escape into nature’s embrace, the Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens beckon with their enchanting beauty. The meticulously landscaped gardens showcase a diverse collection of flora, from colorful blooms to tranquil ponds.

5. Botanical Beauty at Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens

Meandering pathways guide you through themed gardens, such as the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden, offering a meditative experience as you immerse yourself in nature’s wonders. Whether you’re seeking inspiration or seeking solace, these gardens provide a serene oasis in the heart of Janesville.

Now here is the thing – this changes from season to season. Make sure you come back to see it transformed with about a million and a half seasonal light strings added to create a winter wonderland. Their annual holiday light show is a thing of true beauty to experience.

6. Shakespeare Under the Stars

Pull up your lawn chair and open your beverage of choice to get a little dose of culture in the great outside. The Janesville Performing Arts Center’s Outdoor Shakespeare on the Rock County Historical Society Grounds offers a unique blend of culture and nature. As the sun sets and the stars emerge, the stage becomes a backdrop for timeless tales to unfold.

The open-air setting adds a touch of magic to each performance, as actors bring Shakespearean classics to life amidst the tranquil beauty of the outdoor surroundings. It’s a cultural experience that bridges the gap between history and modernity, creating unforgettable memories under the open sky.

Pro tip: get there a little early so you can grab the best spot before 100-150 people join you.

7. E-Biking Adventure with Velocity Multi-Sport Running & Rentals

Renting an E-bike from Velocity Multi-Sport Running & Rentals opens up a world of exploration in Janesville. These electric-assisted bicycles make pedaling a breeze, allowing you to effortlessly navigate the town’s hidden corners and scenic routes. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, an E-bike adventure offers a new perspective on the city’s landscape.

From cruising along the riverfront to venturing into charming neighborhoods, this mode of transportation adds an element of excitement to your outdoor escapade. Seriously, those of us who are over 50 no longer need to cringe at the idea of a long bike ride.

8. Wine, Dine, and Music at Genisa Wine Bar

genisa sangria

I can’t love on this place enough – if visiting a Farmers Market helps our Wisconsin family farms, how do you think eating at an establishment that locally sources from farmers helps? It is beyond easy to indulge in a sensory delight at Genisa Wine Bar, where the pleasures of food, drink, and music intertwine.

Dining on the patio is a multi-sensory experience, as you savor delectable dishes while live music serenades you. The outdoor setting enhances the flavors and aromas of the culinary creations, creating an ambiance that’s both elegant and inviting.

i love a great charcuterie board

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or a connoisseur of fine dining, Genisa  Wine Bar offers an exceptional opportunity to tantalize your taste buds while enjoying the surrounding beauty.

–>Pro tip: Get a selection of the small plates/sharables and compare notes with each other on your favorite.

9. Serene River Kayaking with Drift Away Paddle

There is nothing like working with a company that not only drops you off at a starting point with a kayak but is at the end of the route to help you out of the water and pick you up.

Drift Away Paddle invites you to experience the tranquil beauty of the Yahara River through kayaking. As you glide along the serene waters, you’ll be immersed in the picturesque landscapes that surround you.

The gentle current carries you through lush scenery, providing a unique perspective of Janesville’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a first-time kayaker, this activity offers a peaceful way to connect with the water and appreciate the serene rhythm of the river.

9. Serene River Kayaking with Drift Away Paddle

10. Picnic Haven at Murwin Park

So, you just got off the river and out of your kayak! Extend your foray into the arms of nature with a leisurely picnic at Murwin Park in nearby Edgerton. The idyllic setting, complete with shaded areas and lush greenery, provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor dining and relaxation.

Whether you’re sharing a meal with loved ones or seeking solace in nature’s embrace, Murwin Park offers a serene haven where time seems to slow down. The tranquil ambiance and scenic views make every moment spent here a cherished memory.

–>Pro tip: take a drink out of the vintage hand pump – the iron in the local water makes it slightly sweet.

11. Aqua Ski Spectacle with Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show

For a thrilling waterside spectacle, the Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show is a must-see. This captivating performance showcases the talents of skilled water skiers who gracefully glide across the shimmering waters, executing impressive choreography and stunts.

These people are legendary! You may see performers from the age of four to eighty-four! The awards they have stacked up at competitions since 1975 are too numerous to count but easy to understand once you have seen them in action.

The show is a testament to the dedication and teamwork of the performers, as well as a celebration of Janesville’s strong connection to its aquatic surroundings. Watching the show is a reminder of the city’s vibrant spirit and its ability to create memorable experiences that bring the community together.

french onion soup at the Buckhorn

12. Lakeview Dining at Buckhorn Supper Club

Hands down, one of my favorite Wisconsin supper clubs! Indulge in the beauty of a lakeside view as you dine outdoors at the Buckhorn Supper Club in nearby Milton, WI. The serene waters of Lake Koshkonong create a tranquil backdrop as you savor delectable dishes and share appetizers with friends.

This lakeside experience elevates your dining adventure, infusing each bite with a sense of natural beauty and relaxation. Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a lively gathering with loved ones, the Buckhorn Supper Club offers an unforgettable lakeside ambiance.

–>Pro tip: Start with the Baked French Onion Soup and if the tenderloin bruschetta is on the menu? Jump at it!

13. Pontoon Adventures with Floating Toy Rentals

I know I talked about this fun company in my article 7 Things To Do In Charming Edgerton, Wisconsin, but doesn’t an afternoon on the lake sound heavenly? Floating Toy has several different offerings to choose from and you are playing on Lake Koshkonong before you know it.

These leisurely voyages provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, offering a chance to relax and recharge while taking in the natural beauty of the water and the shores. Whether you’re seeking a serene solo ride or a leisurely outing with friends and family, a pontoon boat adventure promises a day of peaceful exploration in the aea’s aquatic playground.

Cedar Links Golf Course
9 holes are enough for me – but I kind of suck at golfing, LOL

14. Swing into Fun: Golfing Adventures in Janesville’s Scenic Greens

Janesville tees up a golfer’s paradise with a range of courses to suit all skill levels. Whether you’re chasing that hole-in-one or savoring a leisurely round, the city’s greens offer an idyllic setting. From championship-level challenges to more relaxed fairways, each course presents its own unique charm.

Engage with a welcoming golfing community, connect over tournaments and leagues, and embrace the serenity of well-tended landscapes. Whether you’re an avid golfer or new to the game, Janesville’s golfing adventures invite you to discover the joy of sport amid the beauty of nature.

–>Pro Tip: not all courses have a traveling bar – find out in advance if the course you picks does and will you need cash or a credit card to indulge.

15. Festival Frenzy and Community Gatherings

Janesville’s lively spirit is best experienced through its outdoor festivals, fairs, and community gatherings. Checking the local event calendar allows you to participate in the festive atmosphere that defines the city’s culture.

From food festivals to art exhibitions, these events offer a glimpse into the diverse offerings of Janesville’s vibrant community. Attending a festival is not just an activity; it’s an opportunity to connect with locals, celebrate traditions, and create lasting memories.

Final Thoughts on Things to do in Janesville

The Janesville Wisconsin area is a treasure trove of outdoor experiences that cater to a range of interests and passions. From artistic explorations to culinary delights, from natural wonders to cultural connections, the city’s Great Outside beckons with a wealth of adventures waiting to be discovered.

Each of these 15 activities offers a unique perspective on Janesville’s charm, spirit, and beauty. Whether you’re a local looking to uncover hidden gems or a visitor seeking to experience the essence of the city, these outdoor activities promise to create unforgettable memories in Janesville’s great outdoors.

Field of Flowers North Farm
Click on the picture to check it out

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