Think Downtown Janesville is only for grown ups? Think again! There's plenty of fun for the whole family. Downtown is fairly compact and you can cover it on foot if you choose, or stop in at Velocity Downtown Adventures & Rental to rent bikes, scooters, or even kayaks or paddleboards. The Ice Age Trail runs through downtown as a paved, off-road trail along the west side of the river.
Wake up with fresh squeezed orange juice at Citrus Cafe, where you'll have a hard time choosing from their extensive menu, including omelettes, French toast, skillets, and Swedish pancakes with lingonberry butter (or Nutella).
Saturdays from May through October, the Janesville Farmers Market is a can't miss experience with produce, crafts, music, food trucks, and games encompassing both sides of the river in Town Square, connected by the beautiful Blain Gilbertson Family Heritage pedestrian bridge.
Explore more than 25 murals in a three block radius, plus numerous sculptures, statues, historical markers and monuments that are part of Janesville's Public Art Trail. Be sure to get a selfie next to some of the murals and public art, such as the Doty Mill Alley Janesville mural or the Feathers and Feet mural. Click here to download the Public Art Trail guide (or stop in our office in Olde Towne Mall, 20 S Main St, Ste 11 to pick one up).
History and architecture buffs should tour the Lincoln-Tallman House on the Rock County Historical Society campus, where the kids will get a kick out of the indoor, three-hole privy. Also check out several exhibits including Rock County Legacies (on display through September 2023), with stories and memorabilia from the Janesville GM plant. You can't miss the 100 millionth vehicle built by General Motors in the US, a 1967 Chevrolet Caprice Custom Coupe built at the Chevrolet-Fisher Body Assembly Plant. Their gift shop features locally created items from books and toys to pottery and jewelry.
Rotary Botanical Gardens is just a mile south of downtown, and offers 20 acres of themed gardens, most of which are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Don't miss the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden, with the fragrant Popcorn plant and plants that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Look for their StoryWalk from June through October. This outdoor exhibit is a children's book displayed on posts so you can stroll through and read with your little one. Their annual Garden Art Exhibit, on display from mid-May through mid-September, ties in with the StoryWalk book.
Get off your feet for a while and enjoy lunch at one of over 20 uniquely Janesville restaurants. Check out the best Reuben in town (and a Little Leprechaun's menu) at O'Riley & Conway's Irish Pub, or climb the stairs to experience Wisconsin's oldest Chinese restaurant, Cozy Inn, which celebrated 100 years in 2022. The kids will love the round booths, and it's never too early to introduce them to the best egg rolls around (the special ingredient is peanut butter).
Check out the Hedberg Public Library for fun for all ages. While you'll need a card to check out material, there are many programs and activities that you can enjoy on site. Shop for your little ones at Classy Rascals Children's Clothing Boutique,where you'll find quality children's clothing, gifts and accessories in sizes newborn to six 6. Visit Adorn Janesville for an eclectic mix from local and fair trade artisans, including art, accessories, size inclusive clothing, beauty, home and garden, and even tarot decks. Check out Blondie's Bling and Things for all things sparkly, including Parazzi jewelry, Bling handbags, and handmade items.
Take home gifts for friends, kids, and even the dog from Raven's Wish Gallery is a wonderful source for gifts ranging from wearable art to beautiful pieces to hang on your walls. While you're there, check out the unique gifts by Studio reDesign that range from cocktail bar tools to pop culture candles and cards. Stop in to see the handmade coaster wagons and other wooden toys available from Wisconsin Wagon Company and place an order for your very own piece of history. At Mystic Moraine Minerals you will find a world-class selection of rare and beautiful rocks, minerals, crystals and fossils, as well as beautiful creations by talented artists. Be sure to bring home something for the family pet as well from Pawlicious and Company.
We haven't forgotten the outdoorsy types - check out Kurt Buggs' Signworks for custom signs, antique duck decoys, and original art and glamping equipment, while Lured Inn Outdoors offers new, used and vintage hunting, fishing and camping gear. If you aren't sure exactly what you're looking for, there's a little bit of everything at 608 Vintage, with more than 13,000 square feet of antiques, primitives, handmade items and oddities. Just Us offers handcrafted items by more than 18 vendors, and Carousel Consignments is crammed to the brim with anything you can imagine, from antiques and collectibles to housewares, figurines, and records.
Drop your purchases at the car then head to The Sugar Exchange where you can treat your family to every kind of candy you can imagine, plus ice cream, fudge, handmade sodas, and even a s'mores charcuterie tray!
Now that you've caught your second wind, it's time for entertainment! You'll find live music nearly every day of the week during the summer. From June through August, bring lawn chairs or a blanket and hang out at Music at the Marv on Tuesday evenings at the Marvin W. Roth Community Pavilion in Lower Courthouse Park, where regional bands perform. Area restaurants and food trucks are on hand to make the day complete. Also visit Artrageous Wednesdays at the Rock County Historical Society Campus for music ranging from classical and swing to rock and country. You'll find a food truck or two, plus artists offering their wares and children's activities. Settle in at Traxler Park to watch the Rock Aqua Jays waterski show team perform Wednesday and Sunday evenings from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. With more than 60 tournament victories and more than 20 National titles, this is a can't miss show. Grab a bite from their concession stand or watch for Food Truck nights for more choices.
Want to try something new? Papa Docs Axe Throwing is a fun activity for ages 12 and up, with games from tic-tac-toe to Zombie Hunter. Make an appointment for your next visit.
Stop in the Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau office at the map location below for more ideas while you're here!
Address: Olde Towne Mall - 20 S Main St Ste 11 - Janesville - WI, 53545