Ten Great Chicago Suburb Attractions

by Jessica on October 10, 2011



I love Chicago!  Even as a country girl at heart, I can't think of another city that rolls out the red carpet like Chicago.  The museums. The art. The parks. The food.  If you are bored in Chicago, it is your own fault.   The great thing is that there is just as much to do and see outside the city as there is in the city proper. 

  1. Graue Mill.  The only operating gristmill in Illinois, this homestead is located along the bucolic Salt Creek in Oak Park.   History comes to life as kids take a turn with the many hands-on exhibits.  Don't miss the cellar that was once a part of the Underground Railroad

  1. Morton Arboretum. Kids have unlimited access to explore, learn, and play among the natural world.  Wade in a stream and catch tadpoles.  Climb among the treetops in a giant treehouse.  Slide down the tree roots and explore the giant shrub maze.  You will not want to leave!


  1. The City of Aurora.  An hour away from the bustle of the city is this charming little suburb with tons of fun.  The Sci-Tech Hands-On Museum has floor after floor of science fun.  There is even a free zoo in the midst of a lovely park. 

  1. Volo Auto Museum.  The chances are, if you have seen a car in a movie, you will see it in this museum.  Kids will love to see their favorites from Scooby Doo, the Cat and the Hat and even the Flintstones.  There is also an entire 'look but don't even think about touching' section of perfectly restored classic cars.  One of them can even be yours if you brought your checkbook and have $50.000 burning a hole in your pocket! 


  1. Illinois Railway Museum.  It's the largest train museum in the US, so if you have a train lover, this is not to be missed.   If trains aren't really your thing, you might still be interested in the museum if you loved (like I did) the movie A League of Their Own. The station and train from the movie can be seen here.

  1. Naper Settlement.  Thirty historic buildings give a perfect glimpse of what life was like in the past.  Costumed tour guides will share interesting tidbits as you wander from log houses to the blacksmith shop to the schoolhouse.  Plenty of hands on activities make this a fun and historical stop for kids.

  1. DuPage Children's Museum. A great children's museum that is divided into neighborhoods for exploration.  My favorite part of the museum is the young explorers areas that are adjacent to the areas for bigger kids, giving all of my kids a safe place to play where I can keep an eye on everyone.

  1. The City of Niles.  A sister city to the city of Pisa, Italy, you won't be surprised to see a Leaning Tower replica on the horizon.  Summertime tower visitors can enjoy concerts in the shadow of the half size replica.  For a blast from the past, stop at the nearby Superdawg, a drive in operating since 1948.


  1. Donley's Wild West Town Kinda cheesy, but oh so fun, this wild west theme park offers a chance to pan for gold, saddle up your horses, and watch an authentic gunslinger.  Yeehaw!


  1. Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary ArtA lapidary is an artist who uses gems and minerals to create a decorative item.  The museum includes two floors of expert lapidary specimens and is not nearly as boring as it sounds.  Admittedly, the top floor is a very hands off area, but the creations are such unique scenes that kids will be captivated for a minute or two.  The downstairs area has plenty of hands on exhibits to allow kids to explore the elements of gems and minerals.  Best of all, the museum is located in the midst of a terrific park, a perfect place to blow off steam.





Posh October 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I grew up in Chicago. You brought back a lot of memories. I took swim lessons at the Y behind that leaning tower :)

Stopping by from the Tuesday Hops to say hello.
Have a great day!

Jenn October 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Thanks so much for these suggestions! My husband is from a suburb of Chicago and we go back twice a year. This will give us some fun ideas to try with our kids now that they're a little older and can enjoy museums and such :) Another place in Aurora is Blackberry Farm. It's set up like a long-ago village with lots of fun demonstrations like a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse, animals and free train rides. Our kids (5 1/2 and 3) loved it!

Dorie October 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Wow, such great places to visit.  Chicago is definitely one city I'd like to explore!

Lisa October 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Chicago!  We have been several times with our kids and have never once considered a trip into the suburbs.  Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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