Ok, let's start this tour off right! Located just off of Central Ave. is a beautiful little coffee shop that looks like it could be straight out of Lord of the Rings! Draped with carefully manicured gardens of flowers, Mocha Moment is the best coffee shop in Janesville for amateur naturalists!
A family business from the start, Mocha Moment’s first employers were actually the children and niece of the owners! Stop by when you get a chance for a house roasted coffee, sandwich, smoothie, tea, or even an ice cream! How about we head north and cross over Rock River?
Here we will be passing over The Rock River. This 300 Mile long river is a tributary of the good old Mississippi. Its slow currents make it a favorite among kayakers and other water sports enthusiasts.
Like fishing? Bluegills and Catfish are plentiful if you find the right spot.
Look to your left. On the grounds of historic Janesville High and Marshall Junior High, the Janesville Performing Arts center is the primary performing arts center for both the town and Rock County as a whole.
Hosting a diverse mix of both professional and community sponsored acts, JPAC is an essential part of the local culture here in Janesville. Home to over 200 different events throughout the year, its stage is certain to have an act you're a fan of, performing on it at some point!
A monolith of intellect in downtown Janesville, the Hedberg Public Library on your left is the town’s gateway to knowledge. With a history dating back to 1865, the current building now covers 63,000 square feet, and offers a quiet refuge for all local Wisconsinite bookworms.
Also right near the Rock River is a mellow hangout spot for any Janesville resident or passerby to grab breakfast, lunch, or even just a freshly squeezed orange juice.
Named Reader’s choice Best Breakfast Restaurant in Janesville by the Janesville Gazette for seven years in a row, you can’t go wrong with anything on Citrus Cafe’s menu! Fresh ground coffee for those too tired for just orange juice, and fresh cut bacon from the local butcher for the meatheads out there - there’s truly something for everyone here!
The center of civic order in Janesville, the Rock County’s Courthouse is located here in downtown Janesville. It’s down E. Court Street to your right if you wanna go check it out. While a trip to the courthouse usually isn’t on the best of terms, viewing its outstanding modern architecture from the grassy hills of Courthouse Park is an excursion even the most experienced Janesvillian would envy.
For me, shopping is more fun than court dates, so let me show you a huge store hosting a significant collection of vintage and antique handmade wares. On your left, 608 Vintage is a shop filled with memories of times both new and old. Head on by if you’ve got a nose for the unnecessarily neglected, and remember who sent you!
Time for a bar, a restaurant and a coffee shop.
A North Main mainstay since 1982, The Looking Glass has been a favorite watering hole for regulars and newcomers alike in Janesville for good reason! Come get some libations by the water at this unique local bar with a personal twist.
The best country rock bar and grill in all of Janesville, Whiskey Ranch is a riverfront rest stop for every modern cowboy passing through downtown.
Head by for Karaoke Night on Wednesdays if you’re feeling your inner crooner getting rowdy, or stop by for Sunday Funday!
The Bodacious Brew, a laid back cafe, joins The Bodacious Olive and salad bar “So Chopped” to make up The Bodacious Shops here in central Janesville.
The perfect excursion destination no matter what meal, The Shops are also able to host private parties of any kind as well!
Let’s drive around the block and head back across Rock River. I’m not even close to done showing you around!
On your right you will see Janesville’s first nano-brewery, Rock County Brewing. Kick back and enjoy a hand-crafted brew.
They also host a variety of events like trivia nights or enjoy one of the food trucks often seen just outside.
Though currently under construction, the shops along West Milwaukee Street are another great destination for the self-proclaimed shopping freak.
From Center Avenue until you reach the Rock River, West Milwaukee is home to a selection of stores that remind you of the idyllic small town midwest spirit that persists throughout Janesville!
Please turn right on North Jackson Street and then left on West Centerway. Follow West Centerway to West Court Street and turn right. We are coming up on a town favorite, but not before we um, “visit” a Janesville specialty.
One of the more unique and simultaneously dangerous points of interest in Janesville is the Five Points intersection.
On the Westside of Downtown, West Court Street, Centerway, Center Avenue, and West Milwaukee Street converge at an uncommonly confusing intersection. To make things even more complicated, two sets of train tracks run across West Court Street, directly to the west of the intersection. With 50,000 vehicles passing through it a day, traversing the Five Points is almost a Janesville rite of passage! You will know it when we get there.
How about an Ice Cream pit-stop? A classic old fashioned ice cream joint, the Janesville Frostie Freeze is a stop that is sure to satisfy sweet tooths of all kinds! With Bond Park just down North Oakhill Ave, you can be sure that you’ll find yourself here after a long day of summer fun! Next, let's turn left on Crosby and go check out Rockport Park!
Need a family friendly activity? Look no further because Rockport Park has got you covered. Rockport Park is Janesville’s largest park offering a playground and pavilion. Older ones can enjoy the various trails perfect for hiking, cross country and biking.
On hotter days make sure to take a dip in the 50 meter outdoor pool which includes a diving area.
Let’s turn right on West State Street
Please turn left up ahead on Kellogg Avenue.
Situated in the Southwest corner of Janesville, just off of the Rock River, is Rock County’s “U Rock”, A branch campus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Enrolling around 1,000 students pursuing Associates degrees, UW-Whitewater at Rock County’s College of Integrated studies hosts programs like Rock County Engineering Program that provide world-class academic advancement opportunities. Their slogan “U ROCK HERE!” is also pretty great!
Are you a dog owner? Well Paw Print Park is located on South Oakhill Road. That’s to the right if you want to go see it. Or you can keep following Kellogg Avenue.
Surrounded by trees and agricultural fields, Paw Print Park is the perfect place for barkers of all sizes to howl to their heart's content! A full 16 fenced acres including an area for smaller pups. Paw Print even has a water service for washing paws and filling water dishes! Nice! Turn left on Beloit Avenue when you get to the end of this road. We’ve got a botanical garden on our list of things to see today.
Please turn right on Palmer Drive. That road will take you past the Rotary Botanical Gardens.
Janesville is no desert, but at its center is a 20-acre oasis. An elegant facility, Rotary Botanical Gardens is a non-profit botanic showcase home to 26 different garden styles and 4,000 different varieties of plants.
Once an abandoned sand and gravel quarry, Gardens’ founder, retired orthodontist Dr. Robert Yahr first approached the two Rotary Clubs in Janesville in 1988 with the idea. After a year of intense cleanup, planning, and landscaping took place, the Rotary Botanical Gardens stand today as a testament to the work countless volunteers put into the creation of Janesville’s secret gem!
Now that we’ve gotten some fresh air at the Botanical Garden, there’s another outdoor getaway just down Palmer Drive.
One of Wisconsin’s finest 9-hole golf course establishments, Balckhawk’s challenging yet playable layout is fun for golfers of all skill levels! Situated along Spring Brook Creek, Blackhawk’s holes are framed by stately oak trees, and filled with the sweet smell of pure Wisconsin air!
Time for a rest after a long round of golf? Palmer Park, on your left, is a unique 164-acre park with an ADA-compliant playground, a wading pool, ball courts, and picnic areas for you to kick back at! Got the kids with you? When the park was built in 1993 it was the biggest and most accessible children’s park in the world, and, after its rebuild in 2016, remains a fun and accessible destination for playtime seekers!
Now I’d like to take you to… well… one of the more interesting (?) stops in Janesville. Follow your navigation to East Milwaukee Street and then turn right.
On your right we have Monroe Elementary School. Go Monroe Mustangs! Next is Marshall Middle School, home of the Cardinals. Next let’s turn left on Mt. Zion Avenue.
Go ahead and turn right here on Milton Avenue. We are looking for some more shopping. Stores and restaurants line this stretch of Milton Avenue, and are headlined by Uptown Janesville, the town's 68 tenant indoor shopping mall! You will see the mall on your right. We are going to drive just past the mall though, so I can show you Woodman’s Food Market. It’s a fantastic place. Let’s go.
Founded in 1919 as a produce stand on the corner of Milton and Sherman Avenues, John Woodman’s business has since grown into a $2 Billion employee-owned company. Today, Woodman’s 18 stores across Northern Wisconsin to the Greater Chicago area average 230,000 square feet, almost 400 times the size of the original 580 square foot indoor store. With a huge selection of grocery items, a large liquor section, online shopping with pickup and delivery options, and gas stations with oil change centers, Woodman’s is and has been Janesville’s general store for over 100 years!
Ok. let’s head back down Milton Avenue in the direction we came. I need more Ice Cream. Turn right on West Memorial Drive when you get down there.
Here in the northwestern part of Janesville is one of the town’s tastiest retreats!
Coming up on your right is a Wisconsin mainstay, - Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company. Chuck and Nancy Deadman started Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream in 1962 in nearby Madison, Wisconsin. 60 years and more than 400 restaurants later, Chocolate Shoppe today offers a lot more flavors than just chocolate! Choose from over 100 super-premium ice cream flavors, and savor the taste of Wisconsin!
I hope you are choosing to go in and get some ice cream, even if you already had some at Frostie Freeze. You can never have enough ice cream in a day.
And now it’s time for me to say goodbye. We have come to the end of this Where-to-Live tour of Janesville, Wisconsin. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have! Remember, Caleb Dassow is your contact now and I know he’d love to chat with you. Give him a call 608-322-4538.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! Have a great day!