15 Best Things to Do in Elmhurst, IL
To the west of Chicago and overlapping into Cook County is the city of Elmhurst in DuPage County, a place mostly known for the many large corporations that have been headquartered here.
These include a cookie brand made by Famous Amos, McMaster-Carr Supply Co, and Sunshine Biscuits by the Keebler Company.
Aside from this, Elmhurst is also known for myriad other things that are great for families.
From inviting little shops and great dining places to major visitor attractions and entertainment facilities, anyone visiting the city will surely have a great time.
In recent years, the Family Circle Magazine named Elmhurst among the Ten Best U.S. Towns for Families, making this suburban place a top choice among affluent homeowners.
Coming here means getting treated to numerous sights and experiences, including the Elmhurst Salt Creek County Forest Preserve, Eldridge Park, Pioneer Park, Crestview Park, York Commons Park, and more.
The Wilder Park Conservatory, situated within Wilder Park, is also another must-see in the city, which hosts the Art in Wilder Park every spring.
The event features the creations of over 100 artists from different genres, as well as some 40 food vendors.
So, if we’ve already got your attention, then let’s go ahead and explore Elmhurst.
Here are the 15 best things to do in Elmhurst, IL:
Be One with the Wild at the Wilder Park
Let’s start off with the most popular destination in the city, the Wilder Park.
Strategically located in the heart of Elmhurst, this park houses many other attractions in the city, including the Wilder Mansion, Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst Public Library, and the Wilder Park Conservatory.
Looking at the beautiful surroundings, you cannot even begin to imagine that this piece of land used to be a cow pasture.
When the park first opened, its entrance featured a cathedral of elm trees and two bricks.
Subsequently, they installed landscaped walkways, a lily pond, and playground equipment.
Make sure to explore the southwest corner of the park to see its elaborate series of glass buildings that include a growing house, two greenhouses, and the conservatory.
Discover the Fauna at Wilder Park Conservatory
Home to a wide variety of plants, the Wilder Park Conservatory is one place you should see when coming to Elmhurst.
The conservatory has been around for 83 years and has served as a link to the city’s past.
Each year, around 13,000 visitors go through its doors also since it has become a venue for many memorable events such as weddings, holidays, graduations, and proms.
The greenhouses house native plants and prepares them for transport to natural areas.
From 500 prairie grasses, woodland flowers, and forbs raised in the greenhouses, there are now 12,000 of them each year.
The in-house horticulturist also offers youth education programs, making the place hold a symbolic part of the city’s story.
Have Outdoor Fun at the Plunkett Park
If you want to visit the attractions of Elmhurst, then spend a day at Plunkett Park, located on West Avenue.
Before selling the park to the Park District in 1971, the Immaculate Conception High School first used it for an athletic field.
Today, you can find a playground, basketball court, and several sports fields, perfect for visitors of all ages.
Add to these the picnic tables, a drinking fountain, restrooms, batting cages, and concession stands to make your day comfortable and convenient.
It also has a treehouse-themed playground where the kids can play, specifically the Global Motion that allows both child and caregiver to swing on together.
Check Out Art Exhibitions at the Elmhurst Art Museum
Located on Cottage Hill Rd sits DuPage County’s cultural center, the Elmhurst Art Museum.
If you want to experience the visual arts of contemporary times, this is the place to go.
The museum is home to late 20th Century American Art, offering programs, tours, art classes, and guest lectures.
It features exhibitions that range from national artists to local and mid-career artists in the Chicago and Illinois areas.
There is just so much to see in the museum—three galleries, the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick house, and an educational pavilion.
Through the Museum’s Education Center, the attraction aims to deepen the knowledge of people in the arts, design, and architecture while inculcating the importance of visual art to society.
Take the Family on a Picnic at Eldridge Park
By now, you can say that the locals of Elmhurst won’t ever run out of recreation spaces!
Located on Commonwealth Ln, Eldridge Park is massive, allowing it to have not just one but two playgrounds!
It is home to the Eldridge Lagoon, where people can ice skate and fishing contests are held.
If you take the path that winds around the perimeter of the park, you’ll reach the Salt Creek Greenway Trail.
Compared to the other two parks mentioned earlier, this park has more activities for adults, such as canoeing and kayaking.
With that, children still love to come here because of the playground fun they can have, consisting of a clatter bridge, cliff climber, sand table, scoop digger, sand play area, tire swing, and a lot more.
Discover Elmhurst’s Past Through the Elmhurst History Museum
Go to the Glos Mansion on Park Avenue to find the striking Elmhurst History Museum.
The mansion is the former home of Henry L. Glos, who was the first village president of Elmhurst.
The museum features changing interpretive exhibits that feature national touring exhibits and regional history.
It’s also a great place for families and children because it offers year-round activities for them.
It’s the go-to place for researchers, students, residents, and authors who want to know Elmhurst more deeply, thanks to its permanent collection of over 15,000 3D artifacts, 10,000 historical photographs, microfilm copies of censuses and newspapers, and a library that brims with over 500 books, among others.
Have Fun at Elmhurst’s Second Oldest Park—Salt Creek Park
One of the best things about Elmhurst is that it puts a lot of importance on families and children, which is why you will find quite a number of parks here.
The second oldest park in the city is Salt Creek Park, popular among visitors of all ages and located adjacent to Route 83.
Thanks to its access to Salt Creek, which has a swimming hole and an ice rink and allows fishing, the park became popular with both visitors and locals.
This prompted the park district to add a picnic shelter and warming house.
Coming here, you’ll enjoy the playground, baseball diamond, and horseshoe pits—plus a helix tower, friendship swing, rock climber, four slides, and Xcelerator spinner.
Discover the Stories about America’s Theatre History at the Theatre Historical Society of America
One of the places that interest the visitors of Elmhurst is the Theatre Historical Society of America, located on N York St.
Be amazed to see the place that documents, celebrates, and promotes the social, cultural, and architectural relevance of the historic theaters of America.
With collections of more than 100,000 items that document over 18,000 theaters in America, you’ll surely find new information that you haven’t heard before.
The organization aims to increase the appreciation, awareness, and scholarly study of America’s theaters.
This is one good place for you to take the kids so that they will also know the historical significance of some of the shows that they follow.
Have More Fun at Conrad Fischer Park
Conrad Fischer Park, located on the northeast corner of Elmhurst, was originally owned by a German immigrant who settled in the area, Conrad Fischer.
Its strategic location of being adjacent to two schools, Churchville Middle School and Conrad Fischer Elementary School, makes it a great spot for kids to take their breaks.
Because of this, the park district developed a playground for kids 2 to 5 years old and a pathway through the park that links the school and neighborhood to the site amenities.
The park consists of two half Basketball courts, a futsal court, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a tennis court, and playground equipment.
Coming here can give you a glimpse of the local life of families in the area.
Create Memories at the Crestview Park
Regardless of the time of the year you are coming to Crestview Park, you are guaranteed an experience like no other in this place.
During the winter, the sledding hill is a top destination among locals and tourists, while in the summer, the picnic tables are always fully booked.
With basketball courts, sports fields, six pickleball courts, ball diamonds, a recreation building, and picnic tables, Crestview Park never disappoints.
For the kids, they can choose from a wide variety of options, including monkey bars, two spring riders, four slides, Scoop diggers, and swings.
You can opt to spend an entire day here and just imbibe the atmosphere of pure fun.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Learn about the Purpose of the Cricket Creek County Forest Preserve
Just 2.2 miles away from Elmhurst is the Cricket Creek County Forest Preserve.
With nearly two miles of crushed limestone trails, the forest preserve acts as a link in the Salt Creek Greenway Trail that spans 30 miles.
It contains the first wetland mitigation bank of DuPage, a restoration site aimed to replace the previously destroyed wetlands.
A wide variety of native wildlife with a stunning array of different bird species such as ducks and great blue herons.
The forest preserve is also a great place to explore the outdoors, with more than 3 miles of trails.
This includes 2.4 miles of the Salt Creek Greenway Trail, which winds through the preserve and lakes, making it perfect for biking, jogging, walking, and cross-country skiing.
See Nature More Closely at the Trailside Museum of Natural History
Just 15 minutes away from Elmhurst is a place where you can find colorful wildflower gardens, live native animals, and tons of information on local wildlife.
Aside from the museum itself, the Trailside Museum of Natural History also has miles of unpaved walking trails that wind through the beautiful oak woodlands of Thatcher Woods.
There are also various events and programs scheduled on a regular basis, as well as field trips and hybrid learning activities that let parents and teachers use the facilities as an outdoor or virtual classroom.
What makes the Trailside Museum of Natural History interesting and unique is that it is set within a historic mansion built in 1876.
Have an Authentic Living History Experience at the Churchville Schoolhouse
Just about 10 minutes from Elmhurst awaits an authentic living history experience in the Churchville Schoolhouse.
You’ll be amazed to see one of the few remaining one-room schoolhouses in Illinois.
Built in 1850, it has already gone through numerous renovations to make it suitable for community programs and school groups.
It sets field trips for scouts, schools, and adult groups.
It features a 1910 schoolmarm that gives visitors an immersive history experience of how farm kids from the DuPage area did in their school.
Marvel at the Amazing Wildlife of Thatcher Woods
Drive 16 minutes from Elmhurst to find the beautiful home of a wide variety of birds and plant life.
The 245-acre Thatcher Woods is a savanna and floodplain forest that is a favorite spot for nature exploration and birdwatching.
It boasts a network of trails that is connected to the Trailside Museum of Natural History.
Following the trails doesn’t only let you breathe in the fresh air, but it also reveals the attractive floodplain forest and oak woodlands.
Behold 250 native plant species that inhabit the Thatcher Woods, with its floodplain forest slowly leading to a scenic river bluff.
Meanwhile, colorful simmer wildflowers greet visitors on the west side of the river.
Cool Down at the Bensenville Water Park
Complete your excursion of Elmhurst with a visit to the Bensenville Water Park in Bensenville, Illinois.
It’s the best place to take the family to for a day of absolute fun under the sun.
A family-friendly water park, it features a sundeck, a full-service concession stand, a 2527-square foot splash pad, a diving board, two drop slides, and a 155-foot waterslide.
It has themed days and holds special events throughout the summer, making it perfect for people of all ages.
It’s the perfect place to bring the kids to an exciting adventure they will never forget.
Elmhurst is one place that you should place on your bucket list.
From parks and museums to recreation sites, it won’t disappoint even the tourists with the most discriminating taste for adventure.