Janesville, with a population of 63,575, sits along the Rock River in south-central Wisconsin, about 15 minutes north of the Wisconsin/Illinois border. It is the county seat of Rock County. Because Interstate 90/39 runs along the east side of the city, residents have convenient access to Madison (45 minutes north), Milwaukee (75 minutes northeast), Rockford (45 minutes south) and Chicago (2 hours southeast).
Through generous investment and strong partnerships, downtown Janesville is undergoing a renaissance to create a vibrant, regional gathering place for all ages.
Janesville offers a nice mix of small manufacturing, distribution center, service industry, retail, health care, and public sector employment. Mercyhealth is the community’s largest employer, followed by the School District of Janesville, and Rock County. Median household income is $50,729 (2016). Our cost of living is lower than surrounding metropolitan areas, and our unemployment rate stands at 3.7% (2017). In 2018, the median home price is $160,000.
Sports and recreation
“Wisconsin’s Park Place” has 23 acres of parkland. Our extensive city park system has 26 parks and features a large city pool, wading pools, 36 holes of golf (and another 18 holes at a private club), a disc golf course, softball fields, tennis courts, a 10-mile cross-country ski trail, and many playgrounds. More than 35 miles of paved recreation trail (which continue to expand), including portions of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, run throughout the city. If you’re a birder, you’ll be pleased to know that the City of Janesville was designated as a Bird City Community through the Bird City Wisconsin organization in 2013.
Fitness facilities include the YMCA, a full-service, locally owned athletic club, tennis clubs, and several national chain fitness clubs. The city recreation department offers affordable fun for all ages, all year ‘round, in a variety of venues. The Youth Sports Complex, a 90-acre park facility, includes several baseball diamonds, four football fields and 10 soccer fields. An outdoor fitness court opened in 2018 in downtown.
Local spectator opportunities include the World Record Champions Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Team, the NAHL Janesville Jets junior hockey team, and the Beloit Snappers Class A baseball team.
Other city amenities include several dog parks, an ice arena and an arboretum. In short, residents and visitors enjoy four seasons of recreation including biking, hiking, fishing, golf, swimming, tennis, disc golf, softball, cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and ice hockey.
Education and culture
Higher education opportunities abound within a short driving distance. These include the University of Wisconsin Whitewater at Rock County, Blackhawk Technical College, Beloit College, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The 633-seat Janesville Performing Arts Center, housed in a historical downtown former high school building, offers a diverse mix of entertainment by community-based groups and national touring professionals.
Rotary Botanical Gardens, an award-winning, 20-acre botanic garden, offers many dramatic and themed gardens, plus seasonal events such as its popular Holiday Light Show.
If history is your thing, visit Janesville’s beautiful Lincoln-Tallman House to learn about Abraham Lincoln’s visit here in 1859. The house hosts the annual Tallman Arts Festival on its grounds in August. In the summer, take part in Historic Rock County Walking Tours of historical neighborhoods. Learn more here.
On the downtown riverfront, you’ll find the Hedberg Public Library. As part of the Arrowhead Library System, a county-wide consortium of public libraries, it offers a robust selection of resources, classes and services for all ages. This welcoming place is undergoing a comprehensive transformation to serve as an inclusive hub of civic engagement.
Restaurants and shopping
Enjoy the best of Wisconsin dining right here. The area offers everything from fine dining and traditional Wisconsin supper clubs to many locally owned coffee shops, sports bars, and bakeries. Casual dining options include family diners and ethnic restaurants featuring Italian, Mexican, Asian and Irish cuisine. Area wineries and breweries offer tours, tastings and a relaxing atmosphere.
No need to leave town for great shopping. There is something for everyone, from downtown specialty boutiques to nationally known stores at area malls.