Summer 2023 has been the summer of road trips (per usual) and we found ourselves heading into Wisconsin a lot more lately! We had the pleasure of visiting the city of Janesville recently and its surrounding areas of Edgerton and Milton and were impressed with the beauty of the town! It’s about 4.5 hours from Minneapolis, 30 miles from Madison, 60 miles from Milwaukee, and 90 miles from Chicago. If you’re close to Wisconsin it’s great for a day trip, or make it a weekend trip from the cities. While our visit was in partnership with Explore Janesville, all thoughts and opinions are my own here. 🙂
From its lively farmers market to its charming coffee shops, museums, and scenic trails, Janesville has something for everyone to enjoy! Read on to see where our weekend adventure took us and how we enjoyed the area. At the end let me know if I missed any gems that I should add for next time!
Janesville Farmers Market
We arrived late in the evening and settled in to get a good night’s sleep for a fun-filled weekend. We kicked off our Janesville adventure by visiting the Janesville Farmers Market in the town’s square. Every Saturday morning, the city comes alive with local vendors selling fresh produce, handmade crafts, artisanal goods, and much more. I was expecting a smaller farmers market but was pleasantly surprised when it took up over 2 blocks and the entire square! We grabbed some coffee from the cutest mobile coffee shop, mini donuts, and admired the beautiful freshly picked flowers and all the other fun goodies! I highly recommend starting your Saturday here! It’s the perfect place to stroll, enjoy some delicious treats, and support local businesses.
Right off the streets of the farmers market, is 608 Vintage. This large shop houses an array of retro treasures and unique finds. Definitely allow for some time to pick and peruse because this place is HUGE! They have a large main floor section and also an upstairs as well. You’ll truly find a treasure around every corner. I snagged a few vintage travel maps that were in great condition and were fun to add to my vintage postcard collection!
As you explore Janesville’s streets, you’ll definitely notice all the vibrant murals that tell stories of the city’s history and culture. You’ll see some when you stroll the farmers markets or explore the downtown area too. I swear I discovered a new one every day. It provides the perfect opportunity for a great photo op! 😉
For a little trip outside of the downtown area, head over to Skelly’s Farm, where you can experience all the best of seasonal activities. We visited during prime sunflower season which was SO fun! We strolled through the fields, took a bunch of fun photos and I even picked my own for a little sunflower bouquet to take with me! In the fall you can expect pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and more. Skelly’s Farm also has a farm “shop” where you can pop in and buy locally grown fruits and veggies, plus fresh baked goods. Definitely try one of their donuts. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends or your partner, we loved this stop and it’s fun for all ages!
Mocha Moment and Havana Coffee
You know I’m always on the hunt for a good coffee shop while traveling so I discovered two that are worth mentioning here. Mocha Moment has an amazing location nestled amongst the trees. I highly suggest getting a latte and fresh pastry and cozying up on their outdoor patio – it truly feels like you’re in the forest while in the city! I got a maple latte (yay!) and it was fairly good. Their baked goods were extremely delicious too.
Secondly, I visited Havana Coffee. They have an extensive menu of fun coffee and blended drinks and do fun seasonal ones as well (they had a fun Barbie drink when I visited!). Their patio is surrounded by lush plants so it gives it a tropical vibe that is very welcoming. I’ll say stay for the coffee but maybe skip the breakfast. I noticed the line was long every time (a good sign!) but their coffee drink line moved fairly quickly compared to the food line!
Do you have a sweet tooth? You’re not going to want to miss the Sugar Exchange then. It’s a delightful, Instagram-worthy shop that has fresh fudge, ice cream, all the candy, plus designer chocolate, and more! Sugar Exchange truly is a paradise for dessert enthusiasts. PRO TIP: Go a couple of hours before closing to catch a table on their small patio out back and have a personal fire for your own s’mores charcuterie board!
One of our favorite dinners during our time in Janesville was downtown at Genisa Wine Bar. We loved the indoor/outdoor vibe and grabbed a spot on the charming patio along the river as we indulged in a wine flight and listened to live music (live music on Thursday nights!). We shared a pasta dish and their woodfired pizza and wow everything was delicious. While they might be known for their wood-fired pizzas – our favorite dish, a fresh asparagus risotto, had to be our favorite! Definitely don’t go without trying one!
Lincoln Tallman House
Delve into Janesville’s history by paying a visit to the Lincoln Tallman House. This historical landmark offers a glimpse into the city’s past but also boasts its connection to Abraham Lincoln as they welcomed him one night on his visit through Janesville. In the summer, the Tallman House has the Tallman Arts Festival, which we were able to visit, where over 90+ local artisans showcased their work in a fun atmosphere with fun food vendors and live music too. Right next door is the Legacies Exhibit which houses the GM exhibit, which tells the stories past of the influential part General Motors played in shaping Janesville’s past and future. I really enjoyed this one!
Ice Age Trail
The Ice Age Trail is over 1,000 miles long highlighting cool features created by a glacier that covered Wisconsin more than 12,000 years ago. Fun fact too, Janesville has more miles of the Ice Age Trail located within the city limits than any other Wisconsin Community! During my weekend there, I decided to hike the Devil’s Staircase portion for epic views and a route right along the river. The trail is an out-and-back, fairly short and it has a parking lot right by the start of the trail too! Just make sure to wear good and sturdy shoes!
Whew! We had such a fun time in Janesville and its surrounding areas. Make sure to check out my blog for Milton & Edgerton which both border right around Janesville for even more fun. And if you’re in the area, consider using these places to add in some stops or plan a full weekend here. Your adventure awaits in Janesville!