When you think of Illinois, you might consider only Chicago as a bonafide tourist destination.
However, the state has a lot more to offer, with several hidden gems.
For instance, you might want a more laid-back and scenic getaway.
In that case, check out the quaint village of Itasca, 27 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.
It's the perfect day trip or weekend getaway.
Likewise, it's close to O'Hare International Airport, so you can quickly get there from anywhere in the country.
Once you're in Itasca, there's no shortage of things to do.
From strolling in its historic downtown district to exploring nature centers and forests, Itasca has a small-town charm perfect for a relaxing vacation.
Get your trip started with the 15 best things to do in Itasca, Illinois.
Follow a Nature Trail at the Springbrook Nature Center
Since opening in 1980, the Springbrook Nature Center has offered visitors a place to reconnect with nature.
The Springbrook Nature Center is home to over two miles of hiking trails that take you through different ecosystems.
Explore shady woodlands, wetlands, and prairies.
Recently, the center has added a mile of concrete paths for people who want a more manageable, leisurely walk.
The nature center also offers various programs and events throughout the year for both children and adults.
These programs include nature walks, astronomy nights, camping, and more.
Likewise, the knowledgeable staff can teach native plants, animals, and environmental restoration topics.
Experience nature and learn more about the local flora and fauna at the Springbrook Nature Center.
Walk along the Itasca Historical District
One way to get the feel of a town is to walk around its historic district.
The National Register of Historic Places has added the historic district to its record.
The Itasca Historic District spans several different streets in central Itasca.
It includes North Street, Bloomingdale Road, Rush Street, Cherry Street, Schiller Street, and Catalpa Avenue.
Irving Park is a notable landmark in this district, the first park in Itasca, created in 1892.
This district is a testament to the long and fruitful history of Itasca.
You'll find a variety of architectural styles, including Victorian, Italianate, and Queen Anne.
Many beautiful old homes and buildings also host businesses like cafes, restaurants, and shops.
The best way to explore the Itasca Historic District is on foot, so you can take your time and appreciate all it has to offer.
The town's quality and friendly residents will also make you feel at home.
If you want to learn more about the history of Itasca and see some classic architecture, start your journey at the Itasca Historical District.
Learn about Itasca's Rich Railroad History at the Itasca Depot Museum
From 1873 to 1976, the Itasca Depot was the town's original train station.
In 1976, the village built a new station right next to it, paving the way for its demolition.
Fortunately, the Itasca Historical Society stepped in to save and restore the depot.
They moved the structure to Irving Park Road.
Today, the depot has become the Itasca Depot Museum that tells the story of Itasca's rich railroad history.
During Itasca's early days, the village was a stopover for stagecoaches.
Constructed in 1873, the Milwaukee Road Railroad put Itasca on the map as a critical transportation hub.
The Itasca Depot Museum has a variety of exhibits that chronicle the town's railroad history.
You'll see old photographs, documents, and artifacts dating back to Itasca's early days.
Get Fit at the Itasca Country Club
The Itasca country club is a premium fitness and wellness club that offers a wide range of services and amenities on top of its golf course.
If you ever want to catch up on some workouts or play a round of golf, then go to the Itasca Country Club.
Their recreational amenities include a pool, fitness center, a yoga studio, and a tennis court.
However, the main attraction and feature of the Itasca Country Club is its evergreen golf course.
Golfers of all levels are welcome; there's even a golf shop on site if you need to stock up on supplies.
If you want to unwind after playing golf or recreational activities, go to the Fox & Turtle.
The Fox & Turtle is an upscale American restaurant serving quality food and various beverages.
Have a meal or drink while enjoying the view of the golf course.
Remember that you'll need to become a member to use the Itasca Country Club's facilities.
However, membership is worth it if you want to stay active and have fun on your Itasca vacation.
Have a Splash at the Itasca Caribbean Water Park
There's nothing like spending an entire day with your family at the water park.
The Itasca Caribbean Water Park is one of the best in the area.
This water park has everything you need for a fun day.
These amenities include the eight-lane main pool, dive well with high and love dives, bubblers, a sprayer bench, and a drop slide.
There's also an interactive family pool with play equipment, zero depth entry, and a tall 185-foot water slide.
There's also an all-new bathhouse facility, which includes changing rooms, lockers, and showers.
A few concession stands are also on-site if you need to take a break from the water and grab a bite to eat.
The Itasca Caribbean Water Park has everything you need for an enjoyable day under the sun.
Experience Italian Food at Tree Guys Pizza Pub
Chicago isn't the only place where you can have some great-tasting pizza.
Tree Guys Pizza Pub in Itasca serves up some of the best pizzas in Illinois.
This pizza pub uses only the freshest and highest quality ingredients in all their dishes.
Their pizzas aren't deep dish pizzas that are popular over the state.
Instead, Tree Guys Pizza Pub serves classic Italian-style thin crust pizzas loaded with flavors and carry a unique taste.
Besides pizzas, they serve other Italian dishes, such as pasta, sandwiches, salads, and more.
They also have a few poker tables on-site, so you'll have something fun to do while waiting for your order.
Their menu has something for everyone, and their place always draws people who want to enjoy a meal.
If you're ever in Itasca and craving some Italian food, check out Tree Guys Pizza Pub.
Taste Local Craft Beer at the Church Street Brewing Company
Even if you're not into beer, you should check out the Church Street Brewing Company.
It's one of the town's premier places to unwind and socialize.
The Church Street Brewing Company creates award-winning craft beer of over 30 varieties.
They use only the highest quality ingredients in their brews and constantly create new and innovative flavors.
The place features indoor and outdoor seating, weekly live music, food trucks, and timely events throughout the year.
The Church Street Brewing Company might be a brewery, but it is also pet- and child-friendly.
They also serve great-tasting food and non-alcoholic beverages.
If you're looking for a place to relax with a good beer, the Church Street Brewing Company has everything you need!
Taste Exquisite Wines at Wine with Me
Beer isn't the only thing brewing in Itasca.
You can also find some great-tasting wines at Wine With Me.
Wine With Me is a local wine shop in Itasca's Historic Downtown district.
They currently offer over 200 wines, with a wide selection of reds, whites, and sparkling wines from around the world.
You can take their wine with you or taste it on-site.
Wine With Me also offers wine tastings, educational classes, and annual special events.
They're a great place to learn about wine, taste some new varieties, and buy gifts for the wine lovers in your life.
If you want to meet like-minded wine connoisseurs, signing up for their win club is a great way to do it.
The club offers members exclusive access to new arrivals, tastings, and member-only events.
Visiting Wine With Me should do the trick if you want to discover and taste some exquisite wines.
Enjoy Nature at the Songbird Slough Forest Preserve
Some people love fishing, while some love birdwatching.
Many others love both outdoor activities.
No matter your preference, the Songbird Slough Forest Preserve has something for everyone.
The Songbird Slough Forest Preserve is a 390-acre nature preserve that features natural areas that borders and anglers can call paradise.
Different spots offer different opportunities.
For example, you can find secluded fishing spots or open areas perfect for wildlife or birdwatching.
The preserve also has miles of trails perfect for hiking and biking.
If you want to get a little closer to nature, camp at the several picnic and camping areas for the day.
Enjoy the great outdoors and nature by visiting the Songbird Slough Forest Preserve.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Bring Your Kids to the Pirates Cove Children's Theme Park
The nearby village of Elk Grove, Illinois, has something fun and exciting for your little ones.
It's just a short six-minute drive from Itasca.
Pirates Cove Children's Theme Park is a seasonal pirate-themed amusement park open from June through August.
This park encourages kids to expand their imagination as they play.
There are over 30 attractions at Pirates Cove, including a water park, arcade, mini train, and miniature golf course.
Of course, what pirate-themed park would be complete without a treasure hunt and a pirate ship?
Besides the treasure hunt and pirate ship, the park has several playgrounds, swings, and slides.
Your kids will have the best time as they explore everything in this amusement park.
If you're looking for something fun to do with kids, bring them to the Pirates Cove Children's Theme Park.
Explore the Busse Woods
The Busse Woods nearby Rolling Meadows, Illinois, is the perfect place to explore if you love nature and the great outdoors.
You can find it six minutes from Itasca.
This forest Preserve is home to various animals, plants, and trees.
It's also an excellent place for bird watching, as there are over 200 different species of birds that live in the woods.
Explore 13 miles of paved trails in this 3,558 preserve.
Take a walk, ride a bike, or ride a horse.
You can also go fishing on the three lakes in this preserve.
Likewise, the Busse Woods is also home to the famous Heron Rookery, where hundreds of great blue herons nest in the trees.
The Busse Woods is a truly magical sight, something that you won't find anywhere else.
Rejuvenate Your Spirit at the Tranquility Skin Spa
Vacations should relax you and relieve your stress.
Rid yourself of stress by getting a massage or facial at the Tranquility Skin Spa in Elk Grove, eight minutes from Itasca.
The Tranquility Skin Spa is well-known for its non-invasive and relaxing massages and facials.
You can choose from various treatments, depending on your desire.
They use top-notch products tthat are gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.
Likewise, they offer various skin treatments for different skin types and conditions.
Whether your conditionconcerns premature aging, acne, rosacea, or something else, this spa and skin care center has the solution.
The experts behind this skin care center will ensure that you leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and looking your best.
If you're feeling burned out after days of exploring Itasca, visit the Tranquility Skin Spa.
Have Fun with the Family at Jumps n Jiggles Playground
Jumps n Jiggles Playground is another excellent place to take your kids if they feel bored and want some fun.
You can find it in Elk Grove, six minutes from Itasca.
This indoor playground is perfect for those days when it's too hot or cold to go outside.
With over 5,000 square feet of space, there's plenty for your kids to explore.
There's a sizeable padded play area with lots of different obstacles and toys for your kids to play with.
If your kids need to burn off some energy, they can do that on the giant inflatable slide or in the bouncing castle.
Your kids will also love the beautiful hand-painted carousel inside the playground.
They can ride on one of the many different animals or sit in one of the two chariots.
Jumps n Jiggles Indoor Playground & Carousel also has a cafe where you can get coffee, tea, or a light snack while your kids play around.
See a Live Performance at Overshadowed Theatrical Productions
Overshadowed Theatrical Productions strives to bring the art of theater back to the mainstream.
This local theater company produces high-quality shows that are both family-friendly and entertaining.
They always put on a great show, and you'll have a good time no matter what performance you see.
Overshadowed Theatrical Productions also offers acting classes for those who want to learn more about theater and the performing arts.
The production team's goal is to promote live theater and make it accessible to everyone.
If you're looking for an enjoyable and cultural activity, visit the Overshadowed Theatrical Productions.
You can find this place in Medinah, Illinois, seven minutes from Itasca.
Have a Great Time at the Foxdale Park
Itasca has its fair share of parks and recreational areas, but that doesn't mean you can't explore the other parks in neighboring villages.
Foxdale Park in Addison, Illinois, is just an eight-minute drive from Itasca.
Likewise, it's one of the few complete parks you'll ever come across.
This beautiful park is perfect for any outdoor activity you can think of.
From picnics, walks, and jogs to playing sports, there's something for everyone at Foxdale Park.
The park features amenities such as a baseball field, basketball course, kids' playground, walking paths, and well-maintained restrooms.
It also has a couple of picnic areas, so you won't run out of things to do or places to explore.
Remember to pack your sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent because you'll spend a lot of time outdoors.
Itasca may not come to mind when you think of a trip to Illinois, but its playgrounds, parks, and nature preserves should put it on your radar.
What are you waiting for?
Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Itasca!