Known as the "Crossroads With A Future," Johnson Creek resides about halfway between Madison and Milwaukee. Like it’s not‐so‐distant neighbors, Johnson creek has some big city amenities, yet it maintains a small-town atmosphere and charm. Here’s four stops you don’t want to skip out on:
As a common rest stop along I-94, there’s a lot you can do right off the highway, and the Premium Outlets are hard to miss. With 60 outlet stores from the world’s leading designers and brands, people come from around the state to shop here. Just one example of a store you should check out – the only Lindt Chocolate store in the state is right here. They’ve got all the Lindt flavors in one place, and they’ll even melt truffles right into their coffee for you, to take on your way out. How can you pass that up?
Also right off the highway is a legendary travel stop that’s open 24/7 here in Johnson Creek; The Pine Cone. From classic eggs and bacon breakfasts to tasty steak dinners, this place offers everything. But what they’re really known for are the fresh items baked daily in their bakery. People travel regularly from Milwaukee for a cream puff, big cookie or eclair from The Pine Cone. And with all of these different travelers in one place, it can make for a fun, diverse atmosphere.
Aztalan State Park encloses the ancient Native American town of Aztalan, which was established a thousand years ago as Wisconsin's first town. When visiting the site, you can still see earth mounds and structures that were once buildings in this town. It has now been designated a National Historic Landmark, and the Wisconsin DNR, assisted by the Friends of Aztalan State Park volunteers, maintain and protect the site. The Friends also focus on educating visitors, and put on public events in the park all year round that also celebrate the Native American culture of the site. Timothy Johnson was the one to first find the remnants of this ancient town, and so Johnson Creek can be considered the gateway to America’s first town, the site of Aztalan.
Before finding Aztalan, Timothy Johnson first founded Watertown in the early 1830s. Two years later, he continued to paddle down the Rock River for about 10 miles where he then stopped at what would become Johnson Creek. This community comes together to embrace this history every year with their Founder’s Float event, where participants hop in kayaks and paddle the same route down the Rock River as Tim Johnson. Reliving history and making your way down the Rock River gives you a very unique perspective of this city at a crossroads.
Brian Mohsenian is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Watch the full Wisconsin Walking Tour episode on Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Smart TV, Apple TV, and at discoverwisconsin.com.