More than just real estate

Racine, the Belle City

Dorothy Bosley is a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Racine office. Today, she shares why Milwaukee’s neighbor to the south is a fun, unique and amazing place to live.

Greetings from the South! Racine is a great place to live with a great lifestyle and competitive prices. Many residents choose to live in our communities and commute to Milwaukee and even into Illinois. It is an easy trip to Mitchell International Airport plus there is a new Amtrak depot.

For years Chicagoans have bought many houses in the area both as primary and second homes. Technology allows them to enjoy life without the hassle of big-city traffic.

What can Racine offer? Lakefront and near-lake housing is priced attractively. A new lakeshore bike and walking path on the North side takes you east of Racine Zoo to the wide sandy North Beach and its Oasis, a favorite spot in summer for swimming and play. Boat storage is offered in the area’s many marinas. Charter fishing trips are available from experienced skippers, although many fishermen are seen at the Horlick Dam or along the Root River. There are bikers and walkers throughout our area. In addition to challenging public golf courses, there are two fine private country clubs with excellent courses, tennis and dining.  

North of the city is the Village of Wind Point, home of the Wind Point Lighthouse (tallest lighthouse on Lake Michigan) and the lakefront Shoop Golf Course, a 9-hole public course. Wind Point offers a variety of lovely houses, some lakefront, and a variety of condominiums. It is also the home of Prairie School, an outstanding preparatory school serving grades K4 through high school.

Racine has a particularly attractive downtown with two lakefront condo associations. Flowering planters are in abundance and now corn shucks and autumn scarecrows have popped up. As in many cities the current economic situation has hurt some of our downtown shops, but most are surviving. Check out Dover Flag and Map, a great site for travelers or armchair travelers; another unique shop is The Hot Shop, for do-it-yourself glass blowing. Downtown restaurants include Japanese, Korean, Italian, Spanish and Thai, plus fish fries and traditional Wisconsin/American cuisine. There is a lakefront hotel with swimming pool for our overflow guests.

For many years Racine has been a city of arts. The downtown RAM (Racine Art Museum) won a national architectural award for their redo of an old bank building, the site of a well-documented John Dillinger hold-up. The editor of a national crafts publication attests that the RAM has one of the top four craft collections in the country. RAM also has a satellite museum campus on the west side which offers many hands-on art classes and gallery space.  Adjacent to the museum is our Racine Theatre Guild, providing varied theatre programs throughout the year. The Racine Symphony Orchestra was the first symphonic organization in Wisconsin and offers a variety of musical programming. Weekends bring out a number of contemporary and folk presentations.

An often overlooked downtown asset (but my favorite) is our superb public library. The children’s department allows kids to check out books (babies through teens), but also toys, flashcards and other educational tools. There is a giant turtle on which to play chess and an enormous Paul Bunyan to meet. The adult library upstairs offers free weeklong DVD rentals, and often has current titles for a $2 surcharge. Through the Wisconsin library association they will track down the most obscure book for you. The facility sits adjacent to Lake Michigan with great windows for relaxing while you sit and read.

But there is more! Two unique retail stores have brought buyers and lookers to Racine for many years. Porters of Racine has long served the greater Racine and Chicago area with their tremendous inventory of handsome fine furniture displayed in an immense gallery building in the downtown area. Milaeger’s (with its original north side location plus a Sturtevant site) has a national reputation with its online sales of fine perennials. But in addition to selling shrubs, tree and flowers, they offer furniture, home décor and a stupendous Christmas display. And, I must add, this is also where I often buy clothes and shoes. There are other interesting shopping stops in the Racine area; I urge you to find them for yourself.

Outside the city limits, there are many varied attractive Racine subdivisions. Just south of downtown and near Lake Michigan is an area of charming Victorian-era homes. The active Preservation Racine organization sponsors an annual show with a number of homes open for public viewing.  Whether you look north, west or south there are many wonderful homes available.

Racine residents are the beneficiaries of gifts of many generous philanthropists who have provided us a rich life in our Belle City. There is great golf and tennis, kids sports and activities, and our pride and joy, the Racine Zoo with its new aviary, its outback area where you can walk with the wallabies, or listen to top quality summer jazz concerts. Racine offers enjoyable living. We invite you to consider its fine housing and living advantages.


- Dorothy Bosley, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Racine office

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