For those of us studying at UW-Parkside and Carthage College, we know how expensive college can get. Thousands for tuition and another $1,000 just for books! So when college kids want to do something, we have to stick to a budget. The best place to find fun things to do for cheap (or even for free) is Downtown Kenosha. Here’s a list of my favorite things to do on a budget in Downtown Kenosha:
  1. Fusion with the Kenosha Performing Arts Association provides a work space for painting, music, graphic design or photography which includes free WiFi! Additionally, they have an outdoor beer garden which has live music and other performances during the summer. But during any other season, they also have events like open mic night and local band performances on their main floor, completely free.
  2. For those brave enough, visit the rumored to be haunted Kemper Center‘s Haunted House. Admission for adults is only $10 and the haunted house runs Friday and Saturdays in October. I have many memories as a kid experiencing the haunted house while I was way too young for the it. Kemper Center also hosts the Griffin Observatory where you can gaze at the stars and constellations for free on Friday’s in October and in February of 2020.
  3. The Southport Light Station, recently renovated to be a maritime museum, documents maps, artifacts, and important information about Kenosha‘s harbor throughout its past. The museum is free while a lighthouse tour is $10 for adults. The Light Station is an important part of Kenosha’s past and I love learning about this city throughout history.
  4. If you‘re interested in Kenosha’s history, you can also visit the Kenosha History Center Museum, the Kenosha Public Museum, the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and the Civil War Museum, all free except for the Civil War Museum which is $9 for general admission and $5 for city of Kenosha residents. I’ve been visiting these museums since I was a kid and it’s always exciting exploring them again. They also have free or affordable super fun events throughout the year that you should check out! One time when I visited, I was surprised with a Harry Potter event; the whole museum was transformed!
  5. Every year for Dia de los Muertos, the Kenosha Creative Space hosts a celebration of Mexican history and culture for only $7. I love this celebration for the live music, the demonstration of Hispanic culture, and the local art. This event is held on November 2nd on the corner of 57th Street and 6th Avenue.
  6. One of my favorite places when I want to do something artistic is Alpaca Art. At Alpaca, you have the opportunity to paint pottery! Your piece could be something useful like a bowl, mug, or plate or it could be something decorative. It is only $7 to paint (for all of the supplies) plus the price of the piece you paint which varies in price. However, they do have pieces for $10 and under. This is always a fun activity to do with friends, family and one’s significant other and they even host parties and special events.
  7. If you like to laugh, The Kenosha Comedy Club, hosted at the Wyndham Garden Harborside Hotel, features three comedians every night: a host, a feature, and a regional or national headliner. The shows are weekly on Friday at 8 pm and Saturday at 7 pm and 9 pm for only $12! Alcohol is also served but there is no minimum drink requirement for college students that are underage.
  8. Another ghostly thing to do this spooky season is visiting the supposedly haunted Simmons Library. You’ll go behind the scenes of the library and learn about all the supernatural happenings in this historical building. This event is one day only, October 18th at 6:30 pm and 8 pm. The cost is free, but you must register by calling (262)-564-6150.
  9. While the Kenosha HarborMarket thrives during the summer, it also runs during the winter, hosting around 30 vendors of baked goods, cheeses, art, prepared food, and more! You can visit the market on Saturdays 9 am to 2 pm at The Masonic Center and admission is free! My favorite stands are Jerry Smith’s, The Fresh Bar, Sandy’s Popper, and Jack Andrea.
  10. When you walk into Equinox, a botanical boutique, you instantly feel calm and at peace. At Equinox, you can pick out your favorite plants and herbs to use in baking or medicinal plants to soothe your mid-terms stress, plus taking care of something is very rewarding! Plants start at $2.50. You can also purchase in the boutique a wonderful massage or facial as an act of self care. Despite being on a budget, college students work hard and deserve to treat themselves every so often. I get a massage once every year from Equinox and I feel an immediate change in my mood afterwards.
While being on a tight budget is hard, you should always make room for fun activities, especially if they’re $20 and under, like so many in Downtown Kenosha are. And while my favorites may not be everyone’s, there is so much for everyone to do downtown.


Rachel Drosen