Retzer Nature Center Waukesha

6 Reasons to love Waukesha

Waukesha is a place loved by all in Lake Country and Waukesha County. Some call Waukesha the heart of Waukesha County and I couldn’t agree more. Waukesha has also been called, “Guitar Town” and “Spring City” – read on to find out why! 

The Waukesha Parade Memorial Commission selected the proposals from Thrive Architects (pictured) as the primary memorial design on Main Street and at Grede Park. In addition, the Commission voted to include the art piece from Carmen De La Paz at Grede Park which features hands holding a heart (pictured).

There will continue to be refinements to the designs as the staff incorporates comments received in the final design process and receives approvals from the Park, Rec and Forestry Board, Plan Commission, and City Council.

The funds for the memorial will need to be raised with help from the community. Donations are being accepted through the Waukesha Community Foundation for the Memorial.

We at Lake Country Family Fun have put together a list of the 6 reasons we love Waukesha with awesome help from our friends from the Waukesha Pewaukee Visitors Bureau.

Visit Waukesha Pewaukee
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1. Rich History

  • Waukesha is home to the great Les Paul who invented the solid body electric guitar, first 8-track tape recorder, and more. This is the reason why Waukesha is also coined “Guitar Town”. 

  • Waukesha is the first home to resident Indian tribes like Sauk, Menomonie, Winnebago and Potawatomi.

  • Waukesha was originally known as “Spring City” for its fresh spring waters thought to have healing properties.  Due to this notion, many flocked here and it was considered a resort town for a long while. 

  • Waukesha hosts Wisconsin’s oldest Fair, the Waukesha County Fair, each July at the Waukesha County Expo Center and Fairgrounds! Fun Fact, this year was the 176th fair.

  • The Cutlers founded Waukesha and hence there is a park named, “Cutler” park. Being a Cutler myself I traced the history back and found that I am not the same Cutlers that founded Waukesha (bummer!)

2. Awesome Architecture

  • Waukesha’s walkable and charming downtown offers more than just great shops and dining, but some beautiful, historical architecture. We just love the Rotunda building and attending events there – it’s simply unique! FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE is an awesome, outdoor walkable event loved by many.

  • The stone buildings lining main street, historic courthouse and churches nod to a bygone era and also make for some great photo ops especially by the waterfalls.

  • Guitar murals and sculptures can be found sprinkled throughout the city as well!

  • The Ingleside Hotel underwent a building upgrade (inside and out) in recent years and is an amazing staple in this area, boasting the only water park in the county.

3. The Fox River 

  • Downtown Waukesha has the Fox River running through it. The riverside is beautifully landscaped and offers runners, bikers, rollerbladers and those who enjoy a long stroll a lovely paved path alongside the river (3-mile path). You can even enjoy the water and rent a paddle boat or kayak – along with bike rentals too! 

  • You will find Frame park at the North End, where you can enjoy the formal gardens in the spring, summer and early fall. Frame Park is also home to a large playground, that just underwent renovation (completed September 18, 2019) to become a fully accessible playground! 

4. Culture, Embraced 

  • From our growing dining scene with great restaurants like Pat’s Rib Place, Tofte’s Table, Steaming Cup, People’s Park, Didi’s Supper Club and Spring City Winehouse to local artists showcased in numerous galleries and fun events promoting the city’s passion like Waukesha Art Crawl, Friday Night Live and Farmers Market… there is an appreciation for art, music, and food! 

  • The Parades are a part of the Waukesha Culture.  We never miss the Waukesha Christmas parade, but they also have other parades and events like fireworks throughout the year as well.

  • Coffee Shops in Waukesha are abundant and are all unique. We love Mountain Top Coffee and Mama D’s. Find all the Coffee Shops here in the Waukesha tab.

  • The Waukesha County Airport is a great venue and recently was updated!  The FOOD TRUCK FRIDAYS is an awesome event for the family! Talk about exploring a variety of cultures through the various Food Trucks that attend the event.

5.  Trails galore!  

  • Waukesha is home to Minooka Park, Retzer Nature Center, Fox River Park, Glacial Drumlin Trail, and Lowell Park. So if you are looking for an outdoor adventure, it is easily accessible.

  • You can read about Jann’s review of the Waukesha, Waukesha County Parks for Fox River Park here, Minooka Park here and the Retzer Nature Center here

6. Urban meets Nature 

  • Waukesha is a city that offers a nice balance with an urban downtown AND access to lots of countryside including parks and lakes. Despite it being very much a developed city, there is nature around every corner. 

  • The Library is amazing.  Read Jann’s review of the Waukesha County Library here.

  • Monkey Joe’s (urban) is a family-favorite in Waukesha as is the slide at Fox River Park (Nature)!

  • The campuses of Carroll University, UW Milwaukee at Waukesha and the Waukesha County Technical College are both mixed with urban and nature and make beautiful additions to Waukesha.

  • Waukesha is also closely situated to Pewaukee Lake and many other lakes in general if the water is what you see.

Waukesha County Parks Tour: Retzer Nature Center

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