While the city of Chicago is a fantastic one-of-a-kind town, sometimes you just need to get outside of the downtown area for a while. And if you don’t live near the heart of the city, then you know how nice the suburbs of Chicago can be. Personally, I am from the Western Suburbs and know that there is a lot to do out there. Here is a list of just a few of the best attractions around those parts.
Brookfield Zoo - The free Lincoln Park Zoo in the city is pretty nice, but the Brookfield Zoo definitely edges it out. With a strong focus on innovative animal care and natural conservation, the zoo is not only a fun place to visit, but can also be quite educational.
Cantigny Park - As Wheaton’s finest landmark, Cantigny Park has lots to offer. From beautiful gardens to fascinating museums to a quality golf course, there’s always plenty to do. As a child, I remember climbing around on the old tanks and cannons in their iconic American infantry exhibit. Dangerous? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.
Drury Lane - No, this is not home to Illinois’ muffin man. Drury Lane is a theater and conference center that plays host to a variety of special events, including weddings and business meetings. The theater also puts on many live shows throughout the year and is a big proponent of the performing arts. In addition, you could very easily eat yourself sick at their delicious brunch buffet. Fair warning.
Morton Arboretum - Now who doesn’t love a good arboretum? The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is an outdoor nature museum intended to promote environmental health through sustainability and educational efforts. The museum offers acres of beautiful foliage and many fun activities to inspire and teach the value of nature.
Naper Settlement - Along with many great shops and restaurants, the delightful area of downtown Naperville is also home to Naper Settlement. This outdoor history museum does more than just inform visitors about the old pioneer way of life; it lets them experience it firsthand. With many interactive exhibits and programs, Naper Settlement is a great place to connect to the past and enjoy the present simultaneously.
The Tivoli Theatre - Built in 1928 as one of the first theatres in the country, the Tivoli Theatre is the crown jewel of Downers Grove. With its ornate designs and pre-show live organ music, the Tiv really gives the customers a feel of what an old time night out at the cinema was like. And if this great theatre isn’t enough, you can head downstairs to the bowling alley or right outside to Aurelio’s pizza (and see my 2nd grade baseball team photo) to complete the night.
No one can blame you for spending all your time experiencing all of the great attractions that the city has to offer. But just know that if you decide to venture out to the quieter parts of Chicagoland, there are plenty of gems around here waiting to be enjoyed.