15 Best Things to Do in Libertyville, IL

Libertyville, IL
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Located 37 miles north of Chicago, the bustling and lively village of Libertyville awaits curious visitors.

Its humble beginnings started in the early 1830s when George Vardin, an Englishman, established a settlement in the area with his family.

During its early years, the village went through several name changes in rather quick succession.

From the original “Vardin’s Grove,” it became “Independence Grove,” then “Libertyville.”

Moreover, it received the name “Burlington” when they made it the county seat of Lake County in 1839.

The village finally returned to Libertyville when they moved the county seat to Waukegan.

Around its incorporation in 1882, the village saw rapid progress in constructing the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad.

This ease of access opened the village to more settlers and businesses.

Today, Liberty is a thriving community with numerous attractions and exciting events year-round.

Here are the best things to do in Libertyville, Illinois:

Take a Tour of Dunn Museum

Located along W. Winchester Road, Dunn Museum boasts more than 20,000 unique artifacts from the prehistoric era to modern times.

The museum got its name in honor of Bess Bower Dunn.

She became Lake County’s first official historian and one of its earliest genealogists.

She is also credited for her tireless work and dedication to preserving Lake County’s early history.

One of the museum’s most fascinating exhibits is the fossilized remains of several prehistoric animals found in Lake County.

Moreover, the museum highlights the life and story of Native Americans from thousands of years ago.

The museum’s collection includes various memorabilia from the Civil War era and early portable cameras from the late 19th century.

On top of ancient and historical artifacts, the museum also hosts special exhibits featuring artworks created by local artists.

Dunn Museum’s impressive collection of exciting relics makes it a must-visit for history buffs and everyone.

Visit the Adler Arts Center

Exterior of Adler Arts Center
Ronincmc, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along N. Milwaukee Avenue, Adler Arts Center celebrates Libertyville’s artistry and creativity with its exhibits and activities.

The center is inside the beautiful villa of the renowned architect David Adler.

Working primarily in the Chicago area in the early 20th century, many of Adler’s works have become part of the National Register of Historic Places.

With its primary goal of preserving and promoting the arts, the center contains works of local artists, such as paintings and 3D art.

Moreover, you can see many of the villa’s original century-old furnishings displayed prominently in the center.

The center also hosts art classes and private music lessons.

The museum’s beautiful architecture and courtyard make it a favorite venue for private events like weddings.

As a place of significant cultural importance, Adler Arts Center is a great place to learn and appreciate local artworks.

Experience the Great Outdoors at Independence Grove Forest Preserve

The waters of Independence Grove Forest Preserve
Sarah Quintans / Shutterstock.com

Spanning 1,151 acres, Independence Grove Forest Preserve is a sprawling piece of nature located north of Libertyville.

It boasts over seven miles of hiking trails, a considerable portion of which is also accessible for biking.

Nestled inside the vast preserve is a beautiful 115-acre lake.

It contains a boathouse and marina which offer boat rentals to visitors.

Thanks to a built-in pier, fishing is a popular activity in the lake, albeit purely recreational due to the mandatory catch and release program.

Moreover, Independence Grove Forest Preserve is also famous for its beach volleyball court, playground area, and native garden.

Sitting amid a pristine environment, it also offers an excellent picnicking experience.

You can also grab a snack at the café inside the preserve.

The preserve also hosts numerous special events like beer gardens and summer concerts.

Independence Grove Forest Preserve is your all-in-one place for family recreation, thanks to a relaxing environment with tons of neat amenities.

Go Picnicking at Adler Memorial Park

Situated on the northeast portion of Libertyville is the 100-acre Adler Memorial Park.

The park features amenities such as a nine-hole disc golf course, playground, and a flower garden.

One of the main attractions of the park is its public swimming pool.

The park has designated picnic areas with grills, perfect for family cookouts.

For larger gatherings, a pavilion is also available.

Take a short walk within the park, and you’ll see scenic views of the Des Plaines River.

You’ll also find the occasional deer roaming around the vicinity thanks to lush trees and vegetation.

The park becomes a great spot for cross-country skiing, ice skating, and sledding during winter.

The clean environment and excellent amenities make Adler Memorial Park one of the best places in Libertyville to hang around and relax.

Go Fishing at Butler Lake Park

Butler Lake Park is a neat patch of green space located right at the heart of Libertyville.

The entire park covers an area of nearly 60 acres.

The water of Butler Lake mainly covers the park’s western side.

As such, it is a popular fishing spot in the village.

You can also stroll along the park to enjoy breathtaking views of the lake.

The park’s paved walkways make it easy for everyone to access.

Its lovely, clean grounds also make it perfect for picnicking.

You can also watch local teams play at the baseball diamond or on the football fields.

Butler Lake Park offers everyone a quick breather from the hustle and bustle of urban life, a beautiful place just a short walk away from the commercial district.

Go Antique-Hunting at Reclaimed Artisans Inc.

Considered Libertyville’s hidden gem, Reclaimed Artisans Inc. is a vintage store along Peterson Road.

Outside, the shop appears relatively straightforward with its unassuming mom-and-pop store looks.

However, you’ll see many neatly displayed home items once you step inside.

The store sells many antique furniture and home décor shapes and sizes.

Likewise, the store prominently displays neatly designed woodwork from local artisans.

Other exciting items sold in the store include local artworks and pieces of Americana.

Reclaimed Artisans Inc. is the perfect place for you whether you want to add to your collection or check the exciting items on display.

Go Swimming at Lake Minear Beach

Lake Minear is a beautiful 200-acre artificial lake located in the eastern part of Libertyville.

The lake along W. Spring Road also features a lovely sandy beach.

Thanks to the lake’s clean, shallow waters, Lake Minear Beach is a popular swimming destination for locals and tourists alike.

They also have swimming lessons right at the beach.

Fishing is allowed in the lake along the designated areas or by boat.

The beach is also a favorite picnicking spot in the village, offering scenic views of the lake and the surrounding nature.

Other excellent features of the beach include weekly food trucks and yoga lessons.

For a relaxing day of swimming and fishing, there’s no other place in Libertyville like Lake Minear Beach.

Dine at Austin’s Restaurant

Located along Peterson Road, Austin’s is one of Libertyville’s most popular restaurants.

Featuring indoor and outdoor dining areas, It offers a casual dining experience with a good mix of a rustic and modern vibe.

The restaurant boasts an impressive menu, beginning with its delicious starters such as soups, salads, and sliders.

Moreover, their extensive menu includes nearly 40 different kinds of sandwiches and burgers.

Of course, topping off the list are their mouth-watering specialty entrees like juicy and tender steaks, fajitas, grilled chicken, and salmon, among others.

They also have a kids' menu for the little tummies and delectable desserts to satisfy your sweets cravings.

Those who prefer to dine at home also offer sumptuous take-home meals.

For a whole night of entertainment, you can also hang out at the adjacent Impact Fuel Room and enjoy live concerts.

With its great food and friendly ambiance, dining at Austin’s is always a gratifying experience.

Spend the Day at Cook Memorial Park

Exterior of the house at Cook Memorial Park
Paul R. Burley, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along N. Milwaukee Avenue, Cook Memorial Park is a small area of green space in the middle of Libertyville’s busiest district.

The park is famous for activities and events such as car shows and open markets.

It is also famous for its gorgeous rose garden.

Moreover, the historic Cook Memorial Library is right within the park.

The park also provides tables and playgrounds, making it a favorite spot for picnicking.

Cook Memorial Park may look simple, but its perfect location, clean surroundings, and lively vibe make it the ideal way to take a breather from urban life.

Reflect on Life at the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe at Marytown

The National Shrine of St. Maximilian at Marytown is a beautiful church along W. Park Avenue.

Built in 1932, it gets its name from Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, a Polish priest known for his works in spreading the Catholic faith through mass media in the 1920s until the onset of World War II.

Maximillian became a martyr during his imprisonment in Auschwitz in 1941 and was later canonized in 1982.

Today, the church is a well-known pilgrimage site in the Midwest.

The church houses fascinating relics, intricate sculptures, and gorgeous artworks.

The beautifully-landscaped church grounds also evoke a solemn and rejuvenating atmosphere.

If you want a quiet and relaxing time to reflect on your life, the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe at Marytown will provide you with needed solace.

Go for an Adventure at Des Plaines River Trail

Stretching over 31 miles, Des Plaines River Trail encompasses almost the entire length of  Lake County, including Libertyville.

The trail also runs through multiple forest preserves, parks, and other public lands across different villages.

Created to protect the river valley, the trail is also a favorite destination among outdoor enthusiasts.

Thanks to its length and accessibility, not to mention its natural beauty, the trail is perfect for biking and hiking.

During winter, it transforms into a cross-country skiing wonderland.

On the other hand, the Oak Spring Road Canoe Launch allows you to explore and enjoy the sights of Des Plaines River via boat.

Whether you want to embark on an unforgettable outdoor journey or take a short hike on the weekend, Des Plaines River Trail is the way to go.

Grab a Pint at Mickey Finn’s Brewery

Located along N. Milwaukee Avenue, Mickey Finn’s Brewery is a famous watering hole in downtown Libertyville.

Established in 1994, the brewery prides itself as the oldest brewpub in Illinois.

Apart from its specialty house-brewed beers, the pub also crafts delicious cocktails.

You can pair those delicious drinks with their sumptuous salads, sandwiches, pizza, and burgers.

They also serve full meals like barbeque ribs and grilled salmon.

You can enjoy all of these while live music plays in the background.

Mickey Finn’s Brewery is a fantastic spot to hang around with friends and family with its excellent drinks, food, and relaxing atmosphere.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Feel the Thrill at Six Flags Great America

Goliath rollercoaster at Six Flags Great America
Jeremy Thompson from United States of America, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Less than eight miles north of Libertyville lies one of the most fun places in the Midwest: Six Flags Great America.

You can find this theme park in Gurnee, Illinois, 14 minutes from Libertyville.

The theme park boasts more than 100 attractions, from gravity-defying rollercoasters to fun, movie-themed rides.

Feel the adrenaline rush as you take on their exhilarating and aptly named rides like Goliath, Demon, and Raging Bull.

If those rides seem too much, you can try their family-friendly rides like Columbia Carousel, Fiddler’s Fling, and Logger’s Run.

Carnival game at Six Flags Great America
E Fehrenbacher / Shutterstock.com

Little ones can join the fun as the park features kids' rides such as Little Dipper, ZoomJets, and Tot’s Livery.

Moreover, the theme park hosts live shows and entertainment for a wholly immersive experience.

Several full service restaurants also dot the theme park.

As the ultimate, all-in-one place for family entertainment, nothing comes close to Six Flags Great America.

Carousel and pool at Six Flags Great America
Jeremy Thompson from Los Angeles, California, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Lakeside Views at Century Park Arboretum

About three miles south of Libertyville lies the picturesque Century Park Arboretum, in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

This place is six minutes from Libertyville.

Nestled inside the park are two lakes, Big Bear and Little Bear, which take up nearly half of its 113-acre area.

You can either trek or bike along its 2.7 miles of trails while enjoying scenic views of the lake.

The paved walkways make it easy for everyone to get around the park.

It also has sports facilities like basketball and volleyball courts, baseball fields, and a playground.

The park’s picture-perfect surroundings make it stand out as picnicking spot.

Century Park Arboretum’s unmatched beauty and numerous convenient amenities make it one of the most relaxing places you can visit.

Explore the University of St. Mary of the Lake

Academic institutions don’t come first into people’s minds regarding tourist attractions.

However, the University of St. Mary of the Lake might change that.

This beautiful university is nine minutes outside the western border of Libertyville, in Mundelein, Illinois.

Chartered in 1844, the university offers exclusively theological degrees and has operated since 1921.

The Mundelein Seminary is also inside the university.

The university is well-known for its beautiful campus and gorgeous buildings.

Likewise, the boathouse along St. Mary's Lake may be the campus's most standout feature.

This landmark provides unobstructed and breathtaking views of the lake.

As one of the most beautiful and comforting places in Lake County, the University of St. Mary of the Lake is a must-visit for everyone.

Final Thoughts

With its perfect blend of great attractions and exciting activities, Libertyville serves as an all-in-one place for recreation and entertainment.

This lively village has everything from beautiful nature preserves to serene and relaxing parks to great local food joints, night spots, and exciting shops and places.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Libertyville, Illinois!