Watertown’s many historic districts showcase our rich heritage and unique architecture. Over 120 buildings within the downtown area are eligible for the National Historic Register.
Our Rich Heritage
The Octagon House Museum and the First Kindergarten in the U.S. are open to visitors from May through October with guided tours daily on the hour from 10am-4pm. Don’t miss the Octagon House Ice Cream Social with 1st Brigade Band Concert held every August. The Dodge-Jefferson Counties Genealogical Society is located at 504 South 4th Street.
Nine walking/driving tour brochures guide you through historic neighborhoods, commercial districts, and highlight the growing collection of murals which depict stories from the city’s past. The brochures, as well as commemorative postcards, are available through the Chamber of Commerce and area businesses.
Music and Theater
The talented Watertown Players provide the city with theatrical productions including the unique “theater in the octagonal” presentations performed in the Octagon House several times a year. There is always music in the air, with the Watertown Municipal Band and the Watertown Chamber Orchestra playing seasonally. Watertown enjoys the privilege of being home base for The 1st Brigade Band, a nationally known Civil War era band which plays 19th century music on period instruments.
Art, Antiques & Shopping Galore!
Our downtown boasts something for everyone, making it a memorable shopping experience whether you fancy crafts, antiques, art, jewelry (fine or artisan), music, or anything in between!
The Watertown Farmer’s Market, a tradition begun in 1860, is held in Riverside Park every Tuesday from May through mid-November from 7am to 1pm. In 2012, Watertown welcomed a 2nd weekly Farmer’s Market held each Thursday (August through October), held in the parking lot of the Watertown Public Library on Water St. from 3:30-6:30pm.
Watertown has a wide variety of restaurants like Mullen’s Dairy and Eatery, an old-time ice cream parlor, to local restaurants like Zwieg’s Grill and Chalet Restaurant just to name a few with a long history in our city. Other choices for dining in Watertown include: Rock River Pizza, Elias Inn, Amados, La Finca, El Mariachi, On The Rock, William’s Smokehouse and Connection Cafe. Many offer excellent facilities for groups and parties. Be sure to visit Tribeca GalleryCafe & Books to browse the art and shop for books while you get a bite to eat.
Relax & Have Fun
If summer fun is what you’re after, our Aquatic Center is second to none, featuring a water slide and other wet and wild activities for all ages. With over 27 city parks, covering 275 acres within the city limits, you can swim, bike, picnic, hike, play volleyball, golf/frolf, cook-out, skateboard or simply hang out! We even have 2 dog parks so none of the family will be left out of the fun!
If the weather is not conducive to being outdoors, you may like to check out a movie at historic Towne Cinema on Main Street or bowl a few frames at Watertown Bowl or Firehouse Lanes.
Watertown has it all!
Major Events and Festivals
Each year, Watertown is host to many major events and festivals. Riverfest, a FREE four-day music festival is held annually in August. It features nationally known entertainers, a carnival, classic car show, craft show, fireworks, and the popular “Taste of Watertown” food pavilion.
The Watertown Art Walk, featuring local artist’s work, will take place in May. Spend Father’s Day on an enchanted island. The Watertown Outdoor Arts Festival is held every year on Father’s Day at Riverside Park Island. Admission is free. Enjoy live music, food, free art activities for children, and a spectacular array of art.
Watertown has many fall and winter events including the Rockman Challenge and the Rock River Wine Festival in September. October’s schedule includes Watertown’s Fall Festival Craft Show & Farmer’s Market and Run from the Cops. the Holiday Parade of Lights takes place in November.
Visit our online calendar for details on even more events throughout the year.
Take a walking tour of all the murals across town, experience a tour of one of our local businesses or plan an entire trip around one of the many events in town.
- Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters – Berres Brothers is opening its doors and production facility just for you! Join us for “Lets Talk Coffee,” our new coffee class! (visit Berres Brothers website for dates and details)
- Calico Cottage Rock River Winery – One of the largest wine stores in the state, now featuring over 350 fine wines including those from 32 Wisconsin wineries. We invite you to book wine tasting parties and have tons of fun!
- Clara’s Antiques and Fox Music Indie Record Store – 50+ dealers showcasing an ever changing assortment of fine antiques and select collectibles from furniture to glassware and everything in between. The beginning or advanced collector will find it here.
- Octagon House – Tours are fully guided every hour, on the hour, in an air-conditioned museum. From May 1st to October 31st.
- Rosy – Lane Holsteins Farm – We regularly give tours to school children, community groups, US and international farmers and many others.
- Wisconsin Aviation – Take off into the blue yonder for a bird’s eye view of the Watertown area from a whole different perspective! A maximum of 3 passengers will enjoy an average flight time of 40 minutes. Don’t forget your camera!
- Ebert’s Greehouse Village – Ebert’s Greenhouse Village is sure to be an inspiring stop on your walking tour! Our 30,000 sq. ft. showcase greenhouse is just the beginning of the beauty that is second to none. Call for an appointment to see it for yourself!
- Brewery Walking Tour
- Clyman Street Walking Tour
- Washington Street Walking Tour
- Murals & Ghost Signs Walking Tour
- Main Street Walking Tour
- Parks Walking Tour
- Churches Driving Tour
- The Darker Side of Watertown Driving Tour
- Richards Hill Walking Tour