Blake Walsh

16 Best Things to Do in Arlington Heights, IL

  • Published 2022/07/31

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Arlington Heights, you’ve come to the right place.

Located mainly in Cook County, Illinois, the municipality of Arlington Heights also has a sliver in Lake County.

It is a Chicago suburb located around 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the city’s center.

The biggest village in the United States, Arlington Heights, is also close to Schaumburg and Palatine, Illinois.

Around 75,000 people reside in this prosperous municipality, which has a bustling downtown area with cultural attractions, shops and restaurants, and cafés with sidewalk seating.

There are also several beautiful nature paths where you may see various species.

Go for a ride or run in the great outdoors.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Arlington Heights.

Tour Muller House

Exterior of Muller House

I, G LeTourneau, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The village’s history museum is located a few streets north of the Arlington Heights railway station amid a complex of original and replicated buildings.

An 1880 coach house with a woodworking shop lies on the property, a replica log cabin from the 1830s, and the Banta House from 1908.

The Müller House, built in the 1890s and named for its owner, F. W. Müller, the soda magnate who launched Arlington Club Beverages, is the anchor.

Visitors to Arlington Heights may explore historic barns and the Müller and Banta homes.

Both underwent restoration to impart information about the history of soda pop and see the museum’s extensive collection of vintage toys and dollhouses.

Catch a Performance at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

One of Arlington Heights’ most active cultural institutions, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, can be found in the neighborhood’s many small businesses and eateries.

Rent, Spamalot, Moon Over Buffalo, the 39 Steps, and A Christmas Carol are the recent highlights of the in-house company’s production schedule.

Three hundred twenty-nine people may see the performances at the theater, which also hosts concerts and cabaret shows.

Several performing arts camps for students in grades K-12 provide exceptional co-curricular and extra-curricular educational opportunities.

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre’s performing arts school accepts pupils of all ages, even those beyond 91.

Select students at the university’s performing arts school are eligible for low-cost choices and need-based grants.

The Stories in Action series accommodates tens of thousands of schoolchildren each year, allowing them to collaborate with the casts of renowned productions.

Explore Local History at Arlington Heights Memorial Museum

The village’s history museum is located a few streets north of the Arlington Heights railway station amid a complex of original and replicated structures.

An 1880 coach house with a woodworking shop stands on the property, a replica log cabin from the 1830s, and the Banta House from 1908.

What holds this whole thing together was F. W. Müller, whose house today serves as the center of this neighborhood’s cultural life.

A Heritage Gallery in Arlington Heights tells the story of pop drinks, historic outbuildings, and two restored dollhouses containing notable collections of antique dolls.

The public library stands next door.

Only 21 public libraries in the U.S. have received a 5-star rating from Library Journal in the last seven years, and Arlington Heights MemorialLibrary is one of them.

Relax at North School Park

This charming neighborhood park lies at Arlington Heights Park District headquarters’ southern tip.

Because of its aesthetic nature and plenty of deciduous trees providing shade, North School Park is ideal for those who like to relax in a tranquil setting.

Nearby, floral arrangements encircle a fountain with a little playground for youngsters.

It would be best if you visited during the winter vacations, when you may see the park’s spectacular light displays lit up at night.

Then, in the summer, North School Park presents free outdoor concerts where you only need a lawn chair or a blanket to chill and enjoy the performances.

Sweat It Out at Heritage Park

This lovely suburban park has various facilities located south of Arlington Heights.

Heritage Park is one of the park district’s five community centers, a gym, basketball courts, pool, lit tennis courts, baseball field, beach volleyball court, and age-appropriate children’s playgrounds.

With a sledding hill and an outdoor ice rink complete with lights and boards, there’s enough to do here in the winter.

Suppose you’re just at the park for a stroll.

In that case, a mixed-use walkway winds between the hardwood trees.

Keep walking towards the lush Kingsbridge Arboretum, off the park’s southwest side.

Swing Your Club at Arlington Lakes Golf Club

Accessible to the public, this award-winning park district course is located just south of Arlington Heights, near Busse Woods.

The course lies on the site of a decommissioned Nike Missile Base after World War II.

Initially designed in the late 1970s, the course had an extensive makeover in 1916, under the direction of famous architect Mike Benkusky.

There are 18 holes in this 90-acre area, which includes an army installation.

An open layout, 13 water-involved holes, and lightning-fast tees make this course challenging even for the most experienced golfers.

Stroll around Downtown Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights includes a walkable downtown with various independent stores and eateries.

When exploring this district, you may find Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Korean Totowa Bistro, Spanish, Mexican, and Irish restaurants and pubs.

Trees and shade mainly cover the walkways, and there’s a lovely small plaza between West Campbell Street and South Vail Avenue.

Attractive landscaping and pedestrian-friendly design characterize Arlington Heights commercial malls.

In addition, a wide range of products is available, not to mention plenty of free parking spaces.

You’ll find adorable shops selling everything from home décor to confections, jewelry, cosmetics, and pet supplies across town.

Enjoy Various Lakeside Activities at Lake Arlington

Lake Arlington during sunset

Mpetrov1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Arlington is a stormwater detention basin covering 50 acres.

The lake, built initially to reduce floods in the 1980s, became a park in 1995.

Lawns, long grass, marsh, and forested sections line Lake Arlington’s two-mile asphalt route, open for walking, running, bicycling, and other activities.

Waterbirds like the great blue herons, Canada geese, and ducks call this park their home.

A Canadian geese at Lake Arlington

Phani Chaturvedula /

Interpretative signages make it easier to see these birds in the park.

You may also rent paddle boats and sailboats during the summer at the park’s new amenities, including a playground, an outdoor fitness area, and a sensory garden.

The detention lake is open to boats only and nor dor swimming.

Try Your Hands on Clay Art at Thrown Elements Pottery

You may participate in courses, seminars, and lessons at Thrown Elements Pottery.

All ages may participate in these activities, which include hand-building, wheel throwing, and clay painting sessions.

It’s possible to paint your pottery at the studio and then return to collect it a few days later when it underwent baking, firing, and glazing.

If you have a group of pals, you may have a “paint and drink” session where you all bring a bottle of wine.

You may also buy materials and high-quality ceramics from the gallery’s on-site store.

Chill with Your Friends at House of Music & Entertainment

Looking for a sports bar/lounge in Arlington Heights?

Visit House of Music & Entertainment.

The senior chef of this restaurant and nightclub adds innovative twists to classic American fare.

Due to its long daily hours of operation, it can provide a comprehensive lunch, dinner, happy hour, and late-night menu to its customers.

The usual pub-style appetizers include jalapeño poppers, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks.

The restaurant’s décor showcases the city’s pride in local sports teams, prominently on the menu and the walls.

A sidewalk terrace offers additional seating for customers.

The facility also acts as a music and entertainment venue.

Besides live performances and concerts, the venue’s main stage hosts open mic events and trivia nights.

Solve Mysteries at Break Escape

Break Escape is a team effort, so bring your best friends to help you out.

As a group, solve mysteries, riddles, and puzzles together to push your mental boundaries.

Within 60 minutes, you and your company will be able to escape from one of Break Escape’s four unique escape rooms.

High School Reunion “Gone Bad” and U.S. Customs – Entry Denied are a few of the escape rooms available to you. U.S. Customs – Entry Denied scares you with blackmail and prison time.

My “Crazy EX” interrupts a wedding and causes a stir in the aftermath.

High School Reunion “Gone Bad” takes place in the woods of a haunted house.

10 Minutes to Heaven is a unique 10-minute escape room where you and your party have just 10 minutes to rescue the world from a cataclysmic calamity.

Arlington Heights has much to offer visitors, but if you’re looking for something new to do, consider taking on this challenging quest.

Enjoy Steak at Jameson’s Original Charhouse

A well-known Arlington Heights steakhouse, Jameson’s Original Charhouse, opened in 1990 and has been a staple of the community ever since.

Everything from top cuts of beef and pork to grilled chicken or fresh seafood is available on the menu.

Jameson’s Original Charhouse believes creating an atmosphere conducive to having a good meal is essential.

Various special events take place in its banquet space.

It can hold up to 200 people 3700 acres of suburban Chicagoland lie on the southern border of Arlington Heights, forming a massive natural park.

Grab Some Good Finds at Mitsuwa Marketplace

Arlington Heights is home to a Japanese school and several Japanese-owned businesses scattered around the neighborhood.

The biggest Japanese store in the Midwest is one of them.

Mitsuwa Marketplace is more than simply a place to buy hard-to-find specialized products and housewares.

It is a part of a countrywide business with 11 sites.

However, this is like a center for Japanese culture, where you can acquire everything you need to cook your katsu curry or okonomiyaki.

Music, movies, books, toys, and a vast assortment of manga comics are available at the store.

In addition to sushi, the food court offers ramen and tempura, takoyaki and bubble tea, and Japanese baked goods.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Be One with Nature at Ned Brown Forest Preserve

Autumn trees at Ned Brown Forest Preserve

Wildnerdpix /

The 3,700-acre Nature at Ned Brown Forest Preserve straddles the southern border of Arlington Heights and takes 10 minutes to reach its downtown.

The heart of this is Busse Woods, a large property of a mature hardwood forest.

Marshland at Ned Brown Forest Preserve

Wildnerdpix /

A section of the preserve’s bike routes passes through a designated elk pasture, almost 10 miles.

Lake Busse Woods, a flood-control reservoir and one of Cook County’s primary water bodies for fishing and boating, occupies most of the southern section of Busse Woods.

Stunning sunrise at Ned Brown Forest Preserve

Jerzy Szwoch /

During the summer months, rowboat and kayak rentals are available.

You’ll have a great time just drifting about and observing animals.

Have Your Funny Bone Tickled at Laugh Out Loud Theater

John Belushi, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey are just a few famous comedians who started their careers in Chicago.

Laugh Out Loud Theater in Schaumburg, a 13-minute drive from Arlington Heights, showcases the future generation of comics.

There are presentations for adults and children at this club, which specializes in improvisational comedy.

There are improv courses you may take as well.

Classes are open to everyone, regardless of experience level or interest in short-form improv.

Experience Modern Sports at Topgolf Schaumburg

Golf is a seasonal sport in Chicago, and Schaumburg’s course is an exception.

There are several Topgolf facilities around the United States, consisting of driving ranges and bowling alleys with a fun party atmosphere.

There are heated hitting bays, and the range incorporates a ball tracking system and HDTV monitors so you can play against your pals in various games.

It also hosts seasonal leagues.

The Topgolf experience also revolves around food and drink.

In addition to a full-service bar, it also has a menu that would be at par with any fast-food restaurant.

Final Thoughts

Everybody should try something new in Arlington since it offers so much.

The conservation area is an excellent place to go if you’re not much of an outdoor person.

You’ll learn a lot about the fantastic work done to protect the land there.

Families will love all of the activities on this list; many are free or very budget-friendly.

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