10 Fun Places to Visit In Janesville (Wisconsin) (2023)
Also known as Wisconsin’s Park Place, Janesville is a beautiful city settled in Southern Wisconsin. This charming community is the heart of Rock County, but from a tourism perspective, travelers often overlook Janesville. However, if you are daring to avoid adding this Geographically gifted city into your travel itinerary, you are really missing something great. Janesville makes for an amazing outdoor recreation city with over 25000 acres of green space, parklands, and natural trails. This is undoubtedly a charming option to go after, especially for travelers who are behind an active weekend getaway idea.
The city of Janesville is 1 hour and 15 minutes from Milwaukee, 48 minutes from Madison, 1 hour and 40 minutes from Chicago, and nearly 2 hours from Illinois. Travelers can go for outdoor recreation, shop and eat at the downtown, enjoy in the snow, in short, can have the best time of their life. Wondering how?
10 Fun Places to Visit In Janesville (Wisconsin)
Go with our list of best places and popular activities to try when in Janesville. Have a look:
1. Rotary Botanical Gardens
The most popular tourist attraction in Janesville, the Rotary Botanical Gardens, is a must-visit for all. It is an award-winning display of 26 beautiful Gardens that altogether are home to over 4000 plant species. The themes of these gardens go from Japanese, French formal, Italian, English, Spanish, and more. Some of the charming highlights here include a sunken garden surrounded by limestone walls and perennial plantings, a Japanese Garden with a red Japanese-styled bridge, and a Tudor-style stone arch. What makes the Rotary Gardens interesting is that a few decades ago it was an abandoned sand and gravel quarry. However, donations and thirty years of effort turned it into a 20-acre of mesmerizing estate. The gardens operate from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission charges for adults are $9 and for kids $7.
NOTE: With over 100,000 visitors annually, the Rotary Botanical Gardens is a must-visit place in Janesville, Rock County.
2. Visit the Lincoln-Tallman House
The Lincoln-Tallman House is a historic landmark and a museum operating in Janesville. This 1857 Italian-style mansion was once home to the William Tallman family. The mystery of Lincoln in its name comes from the fact that this house had once hosted Abraham Lincoln overnight, even before he became the U.S. President. A tour inside the museum will reveal how upper-class life in the latter half of the 19th century used to be. Even today the 75% of the furnishing and décor inside are original, whereas the building itself is totally the same. Visiting inside the museum is possible via guided tours and reservations only. The museum operates from Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm.
3. Spend Some Time Exploring Nature at the Gibbs Lake County Park
Gibbs Lake County Park is Rock Counties’ largest park, spread at nearly 300 acres. The entire extensive space is home to forestland, swampland, prairies, and more. Inside the park, there are two lakes, the smaller one surrounded by red elderberry swampland. In contrast, the larger one is shallow and thus ideal for fishing. Fishes like largemouth and smallmouth bass, and walleye are even seen swimming on the water level. Guest visiting here can indulge in hiking over flat terrain and gentle hills. Or during winters, one can enjoy skiing and snowshoeing. The park also provides for swimming and boating.
4. Learn The Art Of Quilt Making At Quilt Central Academy
The Quilt Central Academy in Janesville is where one can learn the art of quilt making. Janie Donaldson Mullen, an internationally renowned quilter own and operate this place. The Academy offers classes on machine embroidery, machine operation, quilt piecing, and log-arm quilting. It is not only for locals, but it is a great place for tourists, especially if you want to make your vacations productive. The Academy operates from Monday through Saturday from Morning till Evening.
5. Learn The Old-School Talents At Wisconsin Wagon Company
If you want to go back into the era of old-style carriages, do visit the Wisconsin Wagon Company. Back in the time before the introduction of motorized vehicles, the Wagon company used to deal in the highest quality of carriages, sleighs, and other horse-drawn vehicles. Later in 1940, the production got closed. Though soon in 1978 the factory got restored beginning the production again. Today anyone can visit the place to learn how these old-style vehicles are made. Even though the company today does not deal in real size wagons and carriages, they still produce the miniature and replicas. The best part is, visitors can even shop for these handcrafted artisans as gifts and souvenirs.
6. Have Fun at the Robert O. Cook Memorial Arboretum
For someone who holds a passion for Flora, Fauna, and Wild, they must definitely visit the Robert O. Cook Memorial Arboretum in Janesville. It is 160 acres of native forest and wetland that is popular for recreational reasons. Inside the Arboretum, there are various plant and animal species, a few well-maintained gardens, and marshlands. Upon visiting here, one can navigate through several well-maintained trails and enjoy the beauty of nature. Some section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail runs through the Arboretum. Or the Arboretum is also a hot spot for bird watching, which welcomes enthusiasts and photographers alike. Recreational opportunities here change seasonally. Once the snow starts falling, this nature space turns into the recreational ground for snow sports. Here visitors can indulge in cross country skiing and snowshoeing and have the best time of their life.
7. Visit The Quirky Yet Fun Glass Garden
Glass Garden in Janesville is an art and craft center that welcomes both locals and tourists alike. Upon enrolling here, participants can learn about the art of Glassmaking. The center organizes classes where experts teach how different items with glasses are made. One can learn an array of finished glass art, glass panels, jewelry, glass carving, and other talents. You can even take it back home as a memory upon making your own craft. From Tuesday through Saturday, Glass-making classes operate from 10 am till afternoon/evening. The Glass Garden can be reached exactly at 25 W. Milwaukee Street, Janesville.
8. Fermenting Cellars Winery
The Fermenting Cellars Winery is a rustic beautiful country log cabin home-style winery settled in rolling hills of southern Wisconsin, in Janesville. This classic liquor stop offers a small but splendid variety of dry and sweet, red and white wines. One of their specialties is a dessert coffee wine, a unique but marvelous creation. From casual sippers to wine enthusiasts, everyone loves the collection of choicest but great wines here. And to top that, the wooded outdoor and indoor seating adds to the vibes. They host live music sessions to lure and engage the guest during summers. Whereas to make the best of time during falls and winters, they even have a beautiful outdoor fireplace. If you want to spend some time in peace within a secluded setting, there isn’t a better place than Fermenting Cellars in Janesville.
9. Drive to the Beckman Mill
15 miles from the Southwest of Janesville is the historic Beckman Mill. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it is a grist mill dating from 1868. It is settled within a 50-acre county park with a new dam, millpond, fish ladder, a sawmill display, 1840s cooperage, a blacksmith shop, a footbridge, vintage Garden, nature trail, and other elements. There is even a picnic shelter where visitors can spend a nice afternoon picnic, soaking under the sun and enjoying the views around. The entire park operates year-round, from offering tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm. Though entering the park is free, one has to pay $3 as an admission fee for touring the mill.
10. Visit the Milton House Museum
Located on the Janesville St, Milton, the Milton House Museum is just 5 minutes from the city. This historic building cum museum is the last certified underground railway station in Wisconsin which is still open for tours. Upon reaching this hexagonal-shaped ancient building, visitors can learn about a splendid piece of history. There are two stories, a central spiral stairway, a common room, and multiple other rooms inside the house. A guided tour here is all about amazing stories and facts about the place and the people who once lived here. Walk-in tours here operate from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Tuesday to Sunday (10 am to 3 pm). Whereas during the rest of the season, one has to book tours at least a day in advance.