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Here Are 5  Reasons To Love Beloit, WI …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Along Beloit’s Riverfront

To be completely honest, we never gave much thought to visiting Beloit, a small Wisconsin city just over the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Rockford, IL has been a consistent day trip destination, and Beloit is only about 15 miles north …

Plus, once you cross a state line, it feels like you’re on vacation!

We’ve taken a real liking to this friendly little city. To be sure, there are probably a lot more than five reasons to love Beloit, but let’s start with these five to give you a taste …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Bushel and Peck’s Downtown Beloit

Reason #1 to Love Beloit: Independent Shops

Beloit’s downtown is for all intents and purposes split in two by the Rock River, which rolls through the city on its way to Illinois further south. In the past decade, downtown Beloit has undergone a renaissance … you’ll see people milling about shopping, having lunch or a bite to eat, and enjoying noon hour live music in summer months.

Downtown offers a couple dozen shops, eateries, and service businesses, along with plenty of parking.

There are two shops in particular you should know about … both independent and both filling an important shopping niche. Let’s start with the fantastic Bushel and Peck’s, located in the heart of downtown Beloit at 328 State Street, just off the corner of State and Grand Avenue …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Bushel and Peck’s Market and Cafe

Best described as a neighborhood market and cafe, Bushel and Peck’s is a Beloit must stop destination and the type of business that every downtown needs. It’s part casual cafe and part market, brimming with organic, locally sourced products and area specialties …




The cafe serves weekend breakfast and light sandwiches during the week, with specials featuring whatever is fresh. We stopped in one Saturday to find lake perch sandwiches featured – everything is made to order and there’s a “stop, linger, and chat” sort of vibe to the place.

If you’re looking for locally made specialty food products, this is your go to spot in Beloit. Fresh ingredients for salsas, hot sauces, and pickled vegetables are grown on their nearby Monroe, WI farm and then prepared and packaged right in the market.

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Bushel and Peck’s Hot Sauce

Insider Tip: Try any of the Bushel and Peck’s house made hot sauces, available for purchase in the store. We’re big fans of “Cherry Bomb” and “Pineapple Mango”. both made with just picked fresh peppers …

Walk out the front door of Bushel and Peck’s, turn to your right a few doors down and you’ll be right in front of another downtown Beloit gem, Chic and Unique at 218 State.

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Chic and Unique, Downtown Beloit

Chic and Unique is a clothing, accessories, and home furnishings consigment store which features trendy brands at affordable prices. Here you’ll find women’s clothing items from Kenneth Cole, The Limited, and White House Black Market to name a few. The store features all sorts of items, clothing and otherwise, just waiting to be “re-loved”.

Not a thrift store by any means, Chic and Unique buys items direct from consignors and offers them to downtown Beloit shoppers at prices significantly lower than retail. They also carry a line of locally produced soaps and lotions, vintage hats, and overstocks from large retail chains …

If finding your unique look at a dime-on-the-dollar price is on your agenda, stop in!

Reason #2: Getting Out On (or near) The River

Beloit’s main body of water is the Rock River, which flows directly through the downtown area on its 300+ mile path to the Mississippi near Rock Island, Illinois …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Beloit’s Riverside Park

The Rock River’s headwaters are found in Fond du Lac County farther north in Wisconsin. It reaches close to its halfway point in Beloit, carving a wide, expansive path that’s perfect for river recreation and scenic beauty …

If you want to get out on the Rock River, head just north of town to one of Beloit’s many parks, Riverside Park. Located on the east bank of the river just 2-3 minutes north of downtown, Riverside Park is a central gathering spot for the community and the site of many local events.

Here you can rent kayaks, canoes, or even a fishing pole if you want that real (or reel!) river experience …




Riverside Park also features the Beloit River Walk, a walking and jogging path stretching 3.5 miles along the riverbank. It’s one of the nicest places in the city to get some exercise, fresh air, and immerse yourself in the Beloit experience …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

The Rock Bar, Beloit – West Bank of the River

If you like dining or having a cocktail with a river view, check out The Rock Bar and Grill. It’s located on Maple Avenue on the west side of the river, five minutes from downtown and adjacent to the Maple Avenue / Henry Avenue bridge.

Featuring a casual menu and extensive beer selection, this is a family friendly place that livens up into the evening. It’s a great place to watch the river traffic roll by and they’ve got a nice outdoor patio for the warm weather months …

Reason #3: Two Local Restaurant Gems

Here at Midwest River Cities you’ll find we lean toward local, independent restaurants, preferably those who’ve stood the test of time and have earned a great reputation with locals.

We seek these places out to tell you about them because if an establishment has been in business for decades, they must be doing something right!

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Hanson’s Bar & Grill – Beloit

While this is not an exhaustive list by any means, two beloved Beloit establishments that have been around for 60+ years are Hanson’s Bar & Grill and Tilley’s Pizza House.

Hanson’s Bar & Grill is located about five minutes north of downtown. Take Riverside Drive past Riverside Park and turn right at Cranston Road. You’ll see the sign (pictured) on your left …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Hanson’s Bar & Grill

Hanson’s has been around since the 1940’s and is a combination friendly local bar with food service seating off to the side of the bar and in an adjoining room. It’s not fancy but it’s clean, comfortable, and the food is really good!

They serve specialty burgers, sandwiches, salads, homemade soups, and there’s usually a daily special. Check out a few pictures of Hanson’s and more information about them …

Closer to downtown along 4th Street at Portland Avenue is Tilley’s Pizza House. This family owned operation is where the locals go for pizza, and with good reason. Their thin crust and thick crust pizzas have been a Beloit mainstay since 1955 …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Menu From Tilley’s Pizza House

Tilley’s location features plenty of parking just a few blocks from downtown. There’s an adjoining tavern, called Tilley’s Ballyhoo Tavern, where locals gather to socialize, have a beer (go for the Spotted Cow on draft), and wait for their pizzas to go. You can even order a “take and bake” pizza and cook it at home at your convenience – their carry out stand was all kinds of busy when we were there on a late Saturday afternoon …

There are also several places downtown … park the car, put on your walking shoes, poke your head in, and give them a try!

Reason #4: The Oldest Bar In Beloit

Ok, we’ll admit it … we’re suckers for the oldest bar in town. In each city or town we visit, we like to honor the establishment that’s been continuously serving drinks and offering camaraderie for the longest period of time.

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

The Oldest Bar In Beloit

In Beloit, that place is The Mouse Tavern. It’s located on Madison Road slightly northwest of downtown across from a McDonald’s and down the street from a Woodman’s Grocery Store.

As you can see, it’s a cozy looking place from the outside. If you’re like us, it’s the kind of place where you want to be a regular … it’s very inviting and the food is remarkably good. Friday nights are known for fish frys at The Mouse Tavern, but far and away their most famous offering is Saturday’s chicken and dumplings special. It features farm fresh fried chicken and a dumpling almost as big as your head. You won’t go home hungry – really!

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Check Out This Mickey Mouse Mural!

The Mouse Tavern has been around since the 1930’s and was once called The Mickey Mouse Tavern; you’ll see a Mickey Mouse mural from the 1950’s adorning the north wall inside the tavern and Mickey Mouse memorabilia in a display case. And there’s a story …

It seems a number of years ago, a regular wore a Mickey Mouse Tavern, Beloit t-shirt on vacation to Disneyland. Disney attorneys, ever vigilant, sent a stern cease-and-desist letter to the tavern, demanding a name change. Undeterred, ownership simply shortened the name to The Mouse Tavern and Restaurant, and it’s been that way ever since.

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Welcome To The Mouse Tavern, Beloit

We visited on a Saturday afternoon, enjoying a few Spotted Cow and Pabst Blue Ribbon drafts and kibitzing with the locals. Everyone is welcome here and The Mouse Tavern is proud of their family friendly reputation … the only thing not welcome here is profanity. We weren’t guilty of using any, but were told those who do are gently but firmly warned first, in case they weren’t aware of the tavern’s policy.

A second verbal slip up results in being shown the door, and the regulars like it that way – there’s never any trouble at The Mouse Tavern!

We loved stopping in here and plan to do so any time we’re in the area. You should too!

Reason #5 To Love Beloit: A Park With A View

The terrain of Beloit isn’t flat at all … it’s best described as rolling hills, likely carved centuries ago by the Rock River. And of all the city’s parks, in our estimation the park with the best views is the appropriately named Big Hill Park …

MidwestRiverCities.com Beloit

Beloit’s Big Hill Park View From Atop

Tucked along the west bank of the Rock River ten minutes north of downtown off Afton Road (6th Street), Big Hill Park is literally perched atop a large bluff overlooking the river.

At one time, the eastern edge of the park featured a skiing and toboggan lift to allow winter outdoor enthusiasts to bundle up and do their thing. When we visited in the late fall, the main overlook was closed for the season, but we did get one good photo through the trees as you see.

There’s a winding road from the park’s entrance to the top of the bluff, or hill if you prefer, and the view of the river is spectacular. It’s said there are occasional bald eagle sightings during the colder months as the eagles scout the river below for fish …

Regardless, Big Hill Park is one of Beloit’s under the radar natural attractions and well worth a visit. Heading back downtown, you’ll pass right by The Rock Bar and Grill, so plan your afternoon accordingly!

Made in Beloit

MidwestRiverCities.com BeloitDid you know Kettle Brand potato chips are made in Beloit?

There’s also a Frito Lay plant located here, and a Hormel Meats as well …

Bushel and Peck’s, mentioned above, is an excellent source for their own locally made food products and other Wisconsin products too …

We’ll add more to our Made in Beloit section over time, and much more to this travelogue. We intend to “dive deeper” into Beloit – we really enjoy visiting here and we’re planning an overnight stay to bring you even more local highlights. Stay Tuned!

Beloit Trivia

MidwestRiverCities BeloitProbably Beloit’s best known landmark is Beloit College, located on the outskirts of downtown on the east side of the river. Did you know Beloit College is Wisconsin’s oldest continuously operating college? It even pre dates Wisconsin statehood …

If you’re a fan of classic rock, you’ll be interested to know a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group performed at Beloit College in 1968. Legendary power trio Cream, featuring Eric Clapton, played a concert at the since replaced Beloit College Field House on March 21st of that year …

Thank You …

VisitBeloit.com MidwestRiverCities.comWe’d like to thank Bob Haas of the Beloit Historical Society for his assistance with information about the city’s historic taverns and restaurants, and the good folks at the Beloit Convention and Visitors Bureau for their comprehensive visitors materials and gracious help. Click through to their website for more information about Beloit …

We welcome local Beloit businesses who wish to be part of our growing Beloit travelogue. Opportunities are available for sponsored posts, reviews, website links, and more. Reach out to us at our Contact page!

    11 Comments

  1. Wonderful blog about Beloit! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you so much for featuring
    Chic & Unique
    Clothing and Furniture Boutique
    We are so honored to be part of the
    Beloit community.
    Megan Warntjes

  3. Beloit has been our home since 1988. We marvel at the wonderful transformation of the downtown in the past 2 decades.
    Being born and raised in Southern California we love the small town living. Thank you for highlighting our little town.

    • Jan, thanks for your comment and we’re very pleased to highlight Beloit. We’ll be adding to the travelogue over time; we’re planning to do an overnight visit so we can go into more depth. We’d also like to spotlight more of your local businesses, parks, and restaurants.

      The last two times we visited, skies were overcast and we’d like to post some sunny day pictures to better show off Beloit …

      Thanks again,

      Jim Hofman, MidwestRiverCities.com

  4. Don’t forget the Beloit Snappers Baseball. Minor league baseball is a great way to enjoy an evening.

  5. Wonderful review! Thank you for sharing! Downtown Beloit is certainly special.

  6. The renaissance of the downtown area has been a wonderful experience in our town, whilch we’ve called home since 1987. And we love Bushel and Peck’s soups!

  7. This is the community that raise me. I’m part of the great of 58. Lincoln junior high, Parker elementary.

  8. We moved to Beloit in April 2015, having found the perfect house to open our bed and breakfast! We love living here and appreciate all the encouragement we’ve received in opening 1810 Emerson House. Thanks for highlighting those five reasons to love Beloit, we definitely will keep those in mind when suggesting places to visit to our guests!

    • Tony, we’d love to stay at your place on our next visit to Beloit. We want to expand on this travelogue, visit a few more of your local Beloit businesses, and give them all (and you) a shout out! We bet there are a lot more than 5 Reasons To Love Beloit …

  9. It was great to have you guys stop at Turtle Tap! Come back anytime

    Nicole 😎

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