Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Kane County, IL

  • Published 2023/06/10

With the beautiful waterparks, natural areas, farms, and gardens surrounding Kane County, Illinois, it’s not surprising why it’s been one of the favorite destinations among tourists in the state.

It’s a gorgeous county to visit year-round, and I’ve been grateful for the chance to experience the goodness in this wonderful county.

Whether you only want to sit in a coffee shop and sip hot coffee, enjoy an extraordinary outdoor excursion, or simply sit in a park and watch the world go by, the county offers countless possibilities.

Its beauty has attracted many visitors to the area, and even those who have lived here for work or for good have contributed to its population growth to 516,522 as of the 2020 census.

Kane County was named for Illinois’ first Secretary of State Elias Kane and was officially formed in 1836.

The county’s largest city is Aurora, but its seat is Geneva, and both offer equally gorgeous tourist attractions and are hubs for entertainment, dining, and shopping.

My visits here were all extraordinary, and I’d like to share with you all the places that are worth your budget and time.

Here’s a round-up list of the best things to do in Kane County, Illinois.

Play Classic Video Games at Underground Retrocade in West Dundee

Entrance to the Underground Retrocade in West Dundee

Joseph Gage from USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The moment I stepped into Underground Retrocade, it automatically brought me back to the days when arcades, pinballs, and consoles were a thing.

But thanks to this classic spot everyone is able to go back in time and enjoy such classic games without hassle.

Games like Pac-Man, Star Wars, Frogger, Indiana Jones, X-Men, and Joust are among the old-school ones you can enjoy at Underground Retrocade.

If you miss these classic video games, this spot is a great place to drop by during your road trips to Kane County.

Eating or drinking inside isn’t allowed though, but they’ll let you go out and come back after grabbing a bite and some drinks.

Experience Pioneer Life in the past at the Blackberry Farm in Aurora

Experience and see the pioneer life yourself at the Blackberry Farm; a living history museum in Aurora where demos and activities are offered to give you a glimpse of the past.

The 54-acre farm offers unlimited train rides, paddle boats, hay wagons, ponies, pedal tractors, and a carousel, which is perfect for traveling families with kids.

One of the demos that I liked here is the pottery house where the staff would show you the process, as well as a blacksmith, and an 1800s-old house.

The little ones will also enjoy playing at the farmhouse-themed playground.

You can also buy food at the concessions and use the picnic tables to eat.

The Blackberry Farm also keeps a nice collection of artifacts from the past.

Visit the Historic Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden in Geneva

If you’re a history buff like me, I’m certain you’ll enjoy exploring and browsing through the historic corners of the Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden in Geneva.

Also known as the Fabyan Villa, it was the homestead of George and Nelle Fabyan between 1908 to 1939.

The property itself, which they named Riverbank, also has beautiful gardens to explore, including the one-acre Japanese Garden.

I was impressed by the Asian artifacts collection that I saw in the house, as well as the original furnishings.

The Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden also entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

See the Animals up Close at Phillips Park Zoo in Aurora

Python at Phillips Park Zoo

Erik Christian Voigt /

There are about 100 animals you can see up close at Phillips Park Zoo with more than 40 species of reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Established in 1915, this zoo in Aurora focuses on native animals and also has plenty of rescued birds to see.

Cougar at Phillips Park Zoo

Mythicmeadows, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve seen bald eagles here, as well as a huge snake and turtle, which were all amazing to learn more about.

It will only take about 40 minutes to an hour to see everything at Phillips Park Zoo.

I was also impressed by the Mastodon fossils that the zoo showcases at the park.

Pond at the Phillips Park Zoo in Aurora

Mythicmeadows, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Boating at Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles

The great outdoors in Kane County is unbelievable and it doesn’t end in one city.

When you drive to St. Charles, make time for Pottawatomie Park, which offers riverboat cruising with amazing views of the Fox River.

The 38-acre park offers boat rentals for a minimal fee, and you’ll get to enjoy the water while the birds are singing to your ears.

It’s a 45-minute boat ride, which was a wonderful experience on this side of Kane County.

I also took scenic nature walks on the paved trails, which make my visit to Pottawatomie Park an extra feat!

Catch Live Performances at the Historic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles

Street view of the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles

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

The historic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles opened in 1926 with silent movies and live vaudeville plays.

I’m a huge fan of the classics, so when I learned about the Elvis Show, I immediately drove here, which was a wonderful experience.

The theater also hosts live concerts, including the 80s cover bands that you may enjoy watching.

If you love dancing, there are also dance parties happening at the theater.

Arcada Theatre was built in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style and entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Spend a Day at Santa’s Village Amusement & Water Park in East Dundee

One of the best spots to spend a day with your family and friends is Santa’s Village Amusement & Water Park; a themed park in East Dundee.

If you’re visiting Kane County sometime between May and October, the park is a great spot to play and have fun with your loved ones.

I loved the park’s water rides and slides at Santa Springs where parents can sit back and relax at the lounges while the little ones are enjoying the water play structure and rides.

The thrill rides will also give you extraordinary fun at Santa’s Village Amusement & Water Park.

We purchased season passes at the time of our visit, which was a breeze.

Experience Farm Life at Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park

Gourds at the Kuipers Family Farm

PhotoFlyt /

Farm life has never been this fun at Kuipers Family Farm, which is a wonderful spot for traveling families, especially those who have kids in tow.

This charming 230-acre farm is where the fun and happy memories begin when the tulips are in bloom, the apples are perfect for picking, and the pumpkins are ready for a nice harvest.

There are about 500,000 tulips that grow on the farm, which are all in full bloom in spring.

Toy train at the Kuipers Family Farm

Joseph Gage from USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was a magical day during my visit in spring, but I heard it’s also fun here in the fall when pumpkins and rides lit up the farm for the whole family.

Established in 1998, Kuipers Family Farm also offers a great venue for weddings and special events between November and July when tulips, apples, and pumpkins are not in season.

Watch a Movie at Marcus Elgin Cinema in Elgin

If the movie you’ve waiting for has been released, the best place to watch it is Marcus Elgin Cinema, which runs mainstream films.

This theater in Elgin features nice, enhanced picture and top-quality sound with comfortable dream lounger seating for movie-goers.

I liked that the seats are spacious and there’s also enough leg room for your feet to stretch.

It’s a clean theater in the suburbs with nice concessions to grab your snacks and drinks to enjoy while watching a movie.

It was a great movie to watch and Marcus Elgin Cinema went the extra mile for everyone’s entertainment.

Spend Time with Nature at Peck Farm Park in Geneva

Easy days also mean nature days, and Peck Farm Park in Geneva doesn’t disappoint.

Whether you’re doing it solo or with loved ones, the beautiful 385-acre park offers amazing nature walks through the tallgrass prairie.

I liked the farming equipment, the butterfly house, and the observation silo, and I saw many kids enjoying the playground too.

But to put the cherry on top, the Peck House was a real treat, which was built in 1869 on the property by Eli Peck and his family.

The two-story Italianate-style house now serves as a museum where exhibits include the life of the Peck family back in time.

Peck Farm Park also features picnic tables to use if you want to bring lunch or snacks.

Ride the Trolleys at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin

View of a trolley at the Fox River Trolley Museum

David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To ride a historic trolley was a dream of a kid in me, and it was made possible during one of my visits to Kane County.

Thanks to the Fox River Trolley Museum it was a fun experience in summertime when I got to ride an electric trolley, which took me to Jon Duerr Park and back.

Interior view of a trolley at the Fox River Trolley Museum

David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum itself was founded in 1984 and keeps a nice collection of antique electric trolleys, locomotives, and railroad cars.

The Fox River Trolley Museum also hosts different kinds of events for all visitors.

I had fun watching the World War II re-enactment, which was a nice piece of history to look back.

Get Great Deals at the Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles

It’s always nice to shop when there are great deals you can get, especially during your travels, and the Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles is no exception.

I liked that I got to haggle with vendors at the market, which features many great finds like home decor, collectibles, refurbished furniture, and lots of antiques and vintage finds.

The market has been serving the community since 1967 and has been a gem in the hood when it comes to great finds and deals.

There are more than 600 vendors at the Kane County Flea Market.

Get ready to be amazed and try not to overspend because it’s tempting here!

Picnic with Nature at Its Best at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve in South Elgin

Picnicking has never been this relaxing and I’m glad I got the chance to visit Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve.

Not only that the preserve offers a nice time with nature, but picnics are also wonderful here, especially since you’re surrounded by nature’s beauty.

There are riverside shelters for gatherings with grills for cookouts.

I loved having a picnic here while listening to the birds chirping through your ears, and watching other visitors kayaking or canoeing.

Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve also features a wood-carved memorial statue of Black Hawk; a Sauk leader in 1832.

Get Caffeinated at Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse in Geneva

Lion sculpture made out of junk at Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse

Helene Woodbine /

In the Geneva area, a charming spot to sip your favorite cup of coffee is called Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse.

Not only because this nice coffeehouse offers delicious, fresh latte, which is my favorite, but also because it supports local roasters.

The coffeehouse also uses organic and fair-trade coffee beans for sustainability.

Its bright spot filled with beautiful art will automatically set your mood, and I love the warm smiles that the crew gives.

The freshly baked pastries are delicious, and I also didn’t miss out on trying its housemade gelato.

Drop by Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse one fine morning or afternoon and have a taste of the best coffee in town!

Play Frisbee at Randall Oaks Park in West Dundee

Whether or not you’re a pro at playing Frisbee, Randall Oaks Park is a beautiful place to go to if Frisbee is your thing.

Locally known as The Oaks, the 141-acre park features a ten-hole disc golf course surrounded by trees and hills, which make it more relaxing for a few rounds of Frisbee.

I played a round here with my friends, and it was a great one, especially in the summertime.

There’s also a sledding area and a playground for the little ones.

Randall Oaks Park also features a picnic area with grills for barbecues.

Final Thoughts

Kane County is a true beauty in the hood, which will make your trip worthwhile.

I love how history meets the great outdoors here making my visit spontaneous and easy.

Experience the beauty of Kane County, Illinois, and don’t forget to take nice photos!

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