Summer in the Midwest means longer, hotter days and an explosion of foliage as well as things to do. DuPage County offers a great combination of indoor and outdoor events and attractions to get you through the dog-days of summer. The following list of 8 things to do in DuPage county features well-known destinations and a few off the beaten path.
1. Lilacia Park – Lombard, IL 150 South Park Ave
This hidden gem in Lombard, next to the Metra station features more than 200 varieties of lilacs and 50 varieties of tulips. Originally estate home to Col. William Plum and his wife, Helen Maria Williams Plum, the Plums started their collection of lilacs after visiting the famous gardens of Victor Lemoine in Nancy, France. Enjoy strolling through the grounds or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy among the fragrant blooms. This park is open daily from dawn to dusk to the public and is no fee to enter the park, but pre-registration is required and/or a small fee may be required for special events.
2. Elmhurst Art Museum – Elmhurst, IL 150 Cottage Hill Ave.
Founded in 1981 by a group of local teachers, artists and members of the Elmhurst community, this small museum’s mission is to encourage people to think and see things differently through active participation in the arts. In 1991, the Museum purchased the McCormick House, which was designed by famed Chicago architect Mies Van der Rohe in 1952. The house was physically moved from it’s original location and is now the centerpiece of the museum and is a great showcase of classic mid-century modern art and architecture. The rotating exhibits are usually focused on modern art by local artists. The museum hours are: Monday, closed, Friday 11AM to 7PM and 11AM to 5PM the rest of the week. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and free for students and children. Admission is also free the first Friday of every month.
3. Cosley Zoo – Wheaton, IL 1356 N. Gary Ave
Situatied on 5 acres in Wheaton, Cosely Zoo is the perfect destination for young children or those that wish to learn more about local wildlife. The zoo maintains 20 exhibits and houses more than 125 animals across 50 different species. The naturalistic habitats offer a fun and safe way for people of all ages to interact with the animals. Cosley Zoo also participates in several large-scale conservation efforts and offers education about conservation efforts in and around the home. The zoo is open year-round and hours vary throughout the year. Summer hours are 9AM to 5PM daily. Admission is free to Wheaton residents with a District Universal Resident ID, children and members. Non-resident adult admission is $7 and $6 for seniors.
4. Pixel Blast Arcade – Lisle, IL 1045 Burlington Ave.
If you’re in the mood for something non-traditional to do, or just want to escape the summer heat, Pixel Blast Arcade is the destination for you. The $10 admission fee gives you unlimited access to games that were popular in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. Favorites like Galaga and Ms. Pac-Mac to more obscure cult-favorites like Dig Dug and Ikari Warriors are among almost 90 vintage gaming consoles. The arcade is also available for corporate rentals and team building events. Admission is $10 for unlimited play until close, and they do allow re-entry with receipt. Hours are as follows: Monday, closed; Tuesday and Wednesday 6:30PM to 10PM; Thursday 4:30Pm to 10PM; Friday 4:30PM to midnight; Saturday 1PM to midnight and Sunday 1PM to 8PM.
5. DuPage County Farmer’s Markets
Did you know that Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Lisle, Naperville, Wheaton and Winfield all feature their own farmer’s market? Farmer’s markets are a great destination if you’re looking for the freshest produce, organic potted herbs, artisan baked goods and more. All the farmer’s markets in DuPage County are free and feature a wide variety of edible offerings. For a fancier experience, visit the Lisle French Market at the Prairie Walk Pond on Garfield Ave. In addition to fruits and vegetables and baked goods, this market features cheese, olive oils, artwork and much more. Visit the DuPage County Farm Bureau for more information on a farmer’s market near you.
6. Cluedin Escape Rooms – Glen Ellyn, 440 Roosevelt Rd
Escape rooms are all the rage right now, and for good reason! Visit Cluedin Escape Rooms in Glen Ellyn for a unique experience. Choose from two rooms each with its own individual theme and degree of difficulty. The themes are “The Game Master” which is board game themed and “The Asylum” which is designed to look like an old timey mental hospital. Teams enter each room and are given a set of clues to fine other clues, or open unique mechanisms that contain even more clues in order to “escape” the room. A staff member is with you at all times, in case you need a helping hand or a nudge in the right direction of the clue. Admission is $29 per person, with a limit of 8 people per group. Hours are 4PM to 10PM during the week and 10AM to 10PM on Saturday and Sunday.
7. Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve – Darien, Intersection of Cass and Northgate
Part of the extensive DuPage County Forest Preserve, this 2503-acre forest is known for ecological diversity, extensive trails, Rocky Glen waterfall and Sawmill Creek bluff overlook. You can spend all day doing a variety of activities ranging from hiking and biking to trails to fishing to trying out the orienteering course. A large open field in the southwest section of the preserve is a popular spot for model aircraft enthusiasts, and people often visit just to watch the planes take flight and land. The most popular destination in the preserve is the Rocky Glen waterfall. Though not quite as large in scale as Niagara Falls, you can wade in the shallow water and get up close with the aquatic wildlife. The preserve is open daily from one hour after sunrise until one hour after sunset.
8. The Morton Arboretum – Lisle, IL 4100 IL-Rte 53
The Morton Arboretum is more than “just a bunch of trees”. This 1700-acre facility features an outdoor museum with library, herbarium and hoses more than 4100 unique living plant species and 200,000 cataloged plants. The goal of the Morton Arboretum is to “encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world”. Check out the amazing foliage in a variety of ways by walking or biking through the many paths or taking one of the many educational courses offered, there is something for everyone. The on-site Ginkgo Restaurant and Café not only serves up delicious eats for visitors, is also an eco-friendly operation. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $10 for children aged 2-17.