Click on a road sign to follow the highway!
...more to come, including the U.S. Highways in Wisconsin!
>> contact us!
Downtown Racine and the Harbor area offer a wealth of sights and things to do. The Racine Art Museum (441 S. Main St.) houses a series of contemporary craft exhibits and street-level displays while the Racine Heritage Museum (701 Main St.) houses a bird collection and other features from Racine's early days. Monument Square (500 S. Main Street, just off Highway 20's eastern end) offers a look back - and up - with its 61-foot high Civil War Soldiers Memorial, dedicated in 1884, when it was called Haymarket Square, while also giving a nod to the future with Wi-Fi Internet Access for anyone using their laptops in the square, perhaps imbibing in a beverage or meal from the surrounding stores. If you're in the mood for an old-fashioned diner experience and one of the best-rated burgers in the state, by the way, a visit to the Kewpee (520 Wisconsin Ave.) should satisfy you, as it has for Racine residents since the 1920's.
Racine's attention to the lakefront is among the most impressive in the state. Buildings lining downtown streets offer increasingly busy storefronts, but their upper floors also offer sweeping lake views, as do the condos springing up all over the place. The Reefpoint Marina, Festival Park and Pershing Park can be accessed right after Highway 20's terminus, along 4th and 5th Streets leading down to the water. Annual events include the Racine Boat Show and Salmon-A-Rama (which is fun to say, actually).
Other things to see in Racine include the Johnson Wax Golden Rondelle (1525 Howe Street), built in 1964 for the New York World's Fair; the Wind Point Lighthouse (4725 Lighthouse Drive, Wind Point), one of the oldest (1880) and tallest (108 feet) lighthouses on the Great Lakes; and the Racine Zoo (2131 N. Main Street, about 1.5 miles north of downtown), which offers an impressive array of animals - over 76 species - overlooks the lake, and offers its "Animal Crackers Jazz Series" on Wednesday and Selected Sunday evenings.
Highway 38 winds out of downtown via State Street and angles on a northwesterly direction... to the point where it eventually becomes Northwestern Avenue. You head through an interesting set of neighborhoods; ones that have seen better days sit right next to the upscale Racine Country Club and beautiful Colonial Park. Long-closed factories lie on the other side. One of the attractions you pass is the Wustum Museum of Fine Arts (2519 Northwestern Avenue, 262-636-9177), which features 13 acres of parkland, a one-acre formal garden and a classroom and studio, all crowned by a Italianate-style farmhouse that dates back to 1856. This was the original Racine Art Museum; but the collection grew so large they had to build a new location downtown to hold it all.
Near the intersection with County MM, Green Bay Road and Rapids Drive coupled with a small bridge over the Root River (yes, again), you're close to John Batten International Airport, the largest privately-owned, public-use reliever airport in the United States. The "public use" is primarily for corporate jets (Racine holds several international corporate headquarters) and local aviation enthusiasts; don't look for commercial flights to and from the place. It is, however, now large enough to offer customs services 24/7...who knew? Its airport code is RAC; the larger airport for the region lies ahead, also on Highway 38.
Beyond the roundabout with County K, Highway 38 becomes a "country" road, a two-lane highway meanderingm through fertile farmland and occasional clusters of homes. When it reaches Six Mile Road (aka County G), Highway 38 joins it, going west through the little hamlet of Husher. Part of the Town of Caledonia that makes up most of Highway 38's non-Racine existence in Racine County, Husher offers the Husher Pub & Grill and a few homes - and a speed limit reduction. It was originally to be called "Hoosier", but the pronunication led to it being referred to as "Husher" instead.
Just past Husher, Highway 38 turns northerly again along Howell Road, which leads you past an increasing succession of "Mile Roads" (and 1/2 mile roads) until you cross the Root River - for the third and final time - and hit the only county line along the route.
At this point, you're in Milwaukee County and the city of Oak Creek (pop. 33,946), which was a vast township that incorporated in 1955 to avoid being annexed by the city of Milwaukee. Oak Creek today is a growing suburb that once hosted the headquarters of Midwest Airlines and today holds Bucyrus International, which has its main operating plant (and former HQ) in adjacent South Milwaukee. Oak Creek also held a major Delphi plant and other manufacturing facilites; economic changes have led to turnover in those buildings, with some along Howell very empty bit others experiencing a rebirth in the "new economy." Shortly inside Oak Creek, Highway 38 as Howell Avenue expands to a six-lane boulevard and stays that way through the heart of the city. Although Oak Creek doesn't have a "downtown" per se, the strip from Highway 100/Ryan Road and Drexel Avenue two miles north pretty much holds the commercial activity there.
At County Highway ZZ (College Avenue), you enter Milwaukee (pop. 596,000), the nation's 23rd-largest city and, of course, the largest in Wisconsin. Milwaukee is home to everything from major breweries (Miller is among the world's largest) to major corporations such as Johnson Controls, Manpower, Rockwell Automation, Roundy's, Assurant Health and more. Summerfest is the World's Largest Music Festival and other ethnic festivals on the same grounds along the lakefront keep things buzzing all summer. All of the region is served by the major airport, General Mitchell International Airport. Also known by its airport code of MKE, Mitchell Int'l is named after General Billy Mitchell, a Milwaukee native who many consider the father of the U.S. Air Force. Air traffic at Mitchell International was among the fastest-growing in the world for a brief period in 2010; that has since calmed down, as airlines reconfigured routes and hubs (the largest single carrier, Southwest Airlines, didn't even service the airport until 2009.) Mitchell is often rated very highly by travelers - particularly business travelers - for convenience. It also hosts a well-known used bookstore in its terminal, called Renaissance Books, that the New York Times described as "quirky". Travelers can browse among about 60,000 volumes before catching their flight. It's accessible for non-travelers too, since it's in the main area before security gates.
Beyond the airport, Highway 38 goes into a residential neighborhood of Milwaukee that has recently reemerged as the "Garden District." As Howell Avenue and then Chase Avenue, you can enjoy a nice, tree-lined boulevard past a series of pre- and post-World War II neighborhoods before crossing Oklahoma Avenue, entering an industrial area that includes the main plant where they make Klements Sausages, and then heading up and over I-94 into one of the city's oldest residential districts. At Lincoln Avenue, Chase Avenue ends and Highway 38 angles onto 6th Street. To your left is one of the most beautiful churches in the nation, St. Josephat's Basilica. Built by Polish Catholics from materials salvaged from a Post Office in Chicago, the magnificence of St. Josephat's led to Basilica status in 1929 and it still serves the heart of the Catholic community in Milwaukee today, although most attendees are of Latino origin.
A detour west on Lincoln Avenue takes you through more of Lincoln Village. St. Josephat's Basilica, the lovely - and large - Kosciuszko Park, and by the time you get west to 20th Street, the Holler House, a tavern which houses the oldest certified bowling alley in the United States. Still tended by pinsetters who manually reset the pins, the alleys have the original wood and scoring is on paper - no electronic system to save you fron the fact that few people truly know how to score bowling anymore. Bras hang from various rafters and fixtures throughout the bar, a tradition that started decades ago. Today, over 1,000 bras hang in the Holler House, having defeated a city inspector's attempt to get them removed in 2013 that made national news (it's always good to keep abreast of the news.)
A trek through near-south side Milwaukee leads you under I-94, which you just went over a few miles back. At this point, you'll be in Milwaukee's "Latin Quarter", a re-emerging area of restaurants, shops and lofts that reflect the continuous change - and reinvention - of Milwaukee's neighborhoods. Highway 38 technically turns east at Washington Street and then follows 5th Street northbound to National Avenue (Highway 59) where it ends, but you can also stay on 6th Street and at National you'll see an "END 38" sign. In the same line of vision, you can see the 6th Street Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge that takes travelers into the Menomonee River Valley and the Harley-Davidson Museum before lifting them back up to leapfrog into downtown Milwaukee.
Just beyond the end of Highway 38:
On the northeast side of the roundabout is the Iron Horse Hotel, a boutique hotel designed with motorcycles in mind. What was once a warehouse and mattress factory is now a popular stop for Harley riders and often musical artists when they come to town. They offer an upscale restaurant called Smyth, a bar called Branded, and a terrific outdoor patio in the summer months nestled between the hotel and the viaduct. The viaduct itself, called the 6th Street Viaduct, is a beautiful cable-stayed bridge complex that connects you to downtown and the Harley-Davidson Museum.
The Harley-Davidson Museum (400 Canal Street, 414-287-2789) is a MUST stop for anybody - not just Harley riders. Opened in 2008, the museum is now one of Milwaukee's top visitor attractions, showcasing over 450 motorcycles, including "Serial Number One", the oldest Harley-Davidson known to exist. Archives and displays are complimented by a large campus surrounded by the Menomonee River and one of its offshoots (the reason the viaduct exists on either side), a comprehensive gift shop, and a restaurant called Motor which features indoor and outdoor seating - and plenty of steel, metal, glass, and leather for tables, chairs, and decor. Special events happen often at the Harley-Davidson Museum, so call ahead for details. It will be VERY busy during the Milwaukee Rally and the 110th Anniversary events happening throughout late August and early September!
Upcoming events in places along Highway 38: