Just minutes away from downtown Chicago sits the charming village of Lombard, Illinois, also known as the “Lilac Village.”
You won’t regret stopping by this place for a weekend getaway, thanks to its wonderful parks, rich historical landmarks, and a bevy of entertainment options.
No matter your taste, you’ll always find something you like here.
Lombard is famous for Ellen A. Martin, the first woman to vote in Illinois and one of the first women to vote in the entire United States.
Her work paved the way for the other women in Illinois to enjoy the right of suffrage in 1916, four years before the passage of the 19thAmendment.
In honor of Martin’s victory, the village of Lombard declared April 6 to be “Ellen Martin Day.”
The village has also hosted a yearly Lilac Festival and parade since 1930.
Every May, the village celebrates the 16-day festival called “Lilac Time in Lombard,” a terrific event that attracts visitors from all over the country.
Do you want to know more about Lombard, IL?
Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:
Smell the Lilacs at Lilacia Park
Lilac Park attracts thousands of visitors every year because of its flower beds, comprising more than 700 lilacs and 35,000 tulips.
This horticultural showcase has even made it to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.
Besides flowers, you can also explore the park to find commemorative bricks, historic structures, and lookout areas.
Moreover, Lilacia Park hosts the world-famous Lombard Lilac Time, a blooming flower festival, during the first two weeks of May.
Whether you like lilacs or not, you’ll never regret joining this festival.
During Lombard Lilac Time, Lombard transforms into a busy hive of activity, from hosting tours to tastings to concerts and coronations.
Learn Local History at the Victorian Cottage
The Lombard Historical Society now makes its home at the Victorian Cottage, a major historical landmark.
When the village still went by Babcock’s Grove, Thomas Donley built a farm for his family in 1860.
In 1880, the Chicago jeweler Newell Matson bought Mrs. Donley, Thomas’ widow.
Matson built the Victorian cottage according to the stylish Victorian style, taken from a plan book. Its original color was green, with dark brown and dark red accents.
Since it was a farm, it would have had a stable and a chicken coop.
The lack of indoor plumbing meant they had to build a hothouse on the property, along with a well and cistern.
In 1971, the Lombard Historical Society bought the house and undertook a year’s restoration.
They opened the cottage to the public in 1972.
Revisit History at the Carriage House Museum
Likewise, the Lombard Historical Society got the 1887 carriage house from the village’s East Grove Street.
The house once stood on John and Anna Ireland’s farm, built with the help of the neighbors.
In 1896, August and Sophie Kruse moved into the house, which they passed to their son Edward.
According to Edward’s grandson, horses also lived in the carriage house and the family workshops.
After stabilizing the house, the historical society moved the building to Maple Street, joining the Victorian Cottage.
Today, the house is a museum featuring exhibits on the town's history.
In 2012, the society added a second story to the house, increasing space for archives and exhibits.
Admire the Trees at The Morton Arboretum
Intended as a “great outdoor museum” of trees, the Morton Arboretum came about through the efforts of Joy Morton, the founder of Chicago’s Morton Salt Company.
Morton established the arboretum in 1922, which still undertakes important tree research today.
You can visit the grounds and marvel at the various trees in their collection.
Its collection of living trees should inspire every guest to plant and preserve more trees.
Likewise, the arboretum gives educational programs for adults and kids.
They also offer nature activities for people of all ages.
Visit the Oldest Home in Lombard at the Sheldon Peck Homestead
The oldest house in Lombard was once the home of renowned folk artist Sheldon Peck, who also contributed to the African-American struggle for freedom.
He built the house in 1839, and he spent the 1850s sheltering escaped enslaved people, making his home a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Through his help, several slaves managed to find freedom in the North.
Sheldon Peck was a self-taught portraitist, and he was also a known radical abolitionist.
He held anti-slavery meetings in his homestead.
Likewise, he wrote for the Western Citizen, a Chicago-based abolitionist newspaper.
Peck’s family owned the homestead until 1999 when the government turned it into a public museum.
In 2011, the National Park Service listed the house in its Network of Freedom, a record of verified Underground Railroad stops.
Get Physical at the Madison Meadow Athletic Center
This 38,000-square-foot athletic facility boasts cutting-edge technology and amenities that help residents and guests live an active lifestyle.
In 2018, the Lombard Park District established this facility inside the Madison Meadow Park.
When you visit, you’ll find a 4,800-square-foot fitness center, locker rooms, indoor track, and an open gym.
Likewise, you’ll find a few fitness studios where you can enroll in group fitness classes.
You can also avail yourself of the center’s babysitting services while you get busy with their cardio equipment and free weights.
Study Village History at the Maple Street Chapel
In 1870, the village of Lombard dedicated the Maple Street Chapel, soon after the town’s previous place of worship burned down in a terrible fire.
Since then, the American Gothic chapel, with a board-and-batten design, has become a major fixture for the Lombard community.
This chapel has seen several historic events in Lombard. For example, the first town meetings took place in this building.
The townspeople saw their first library at the Reade Room, located at the Chapel’s south end.
If you wanted to worship on Sunday, you’d wait for the bell in the steeple to toll.
This bell also tolled in case of fire since it also summoned the village’s volunteer fire department.
When the new century arrived in 1900, the chapel also began screening silent movies to the public.
The Maple Street Chapel hosts weddings, special programs, and concerts.
The Friends of the Maple Street Chapel and the Maple Street Chapel Preservation Society maintain the building.
Beat the Heat at the Paradise Bay Water Park
This award-winning water park features cutting-edge technology designed to give maximum thrill and enjoyment to all its guests.
Plan a summer visit and beat the heat at this state-of-the-art Lombard Park District facility.
For instance, you can splash around the Hurricane Cove, a zero-depth entry leisure pool filled with water sprays, fountains, and even a whirlpool.
Likewise, you can find the Sidewinder body slide at Hurricane Cove, together with the Wipeout bowl slide and the Pipeline speed slide.
Another feature is Splashdown, a 12-foot dive well outfitted with a 3-meter and 1-meter diving board and drop slide.
If you’re feeling competitive, you can do lap swimming at the Dolphin Cove and an 8-lane lap pool designed for water basketball and volleyball.
Spend the Day at Lombard Lagoon
If you just want to hang out on a lazy weekend afternoon, you should visit Lombard Lagoon, a crowd favorite for residents and guests.
Its name comes from the shallow lagoon, featuring native plants and boulders lining the shore.
You can also drop by the boathouse near the lagoon, which you can rent for special occasions and events.
Likewise, you can rent a boat and fish at the lagoon.
Otherwise, you can simply take a walk along the 0.5-mile walking trail or enjoy a cozy picnic with your family.
Hang Out with Family at the Four Seasons Park
One of Lombard’s biggest parks is the Four Seasons, which is open to visitors anywhere.
This 38.6-acre park hosts several amenities, such as baseball fields, soccer fields, picnic centers and concession areas, and a sand volleyball court.
You can also stroll along the 0.66-mile walking trail while your kids run around the playground.
Otherwise, you can also rent a boat and go fishing.
If you visit during winter, don’t miss the chance to go sledding on the park’s sledding hill.
Study Another Culture at the National Indo-American Museum
Step out of your comfort zone and get to know people of different cultures by visiting Lombard’s National Indo-American Museum.
This museum introduces you to another culture and shows you to connect with all Indian Americans, despite your differences.
The museum presents exhibits and programs showcasing every aspect of the ongoing Indian American story using documents and historical artifacts.
Likewise, these exhibits also feature artwork from Indian Americans who have chosen to make America their home.
Learn about the challenges facing these citizens and the mutual aspirations you share with them as you work for the American dream.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Enter Your Worst Nightmare at the Disturbia Haunted House
Take the 11-minute drive from Lombard to Downers Grove, Illinois, and visit the terrifying Disturbia Haunted House if you're a horror freak.
This latest terror comes from the twisted mind of the creator of the Basement of the Dead haunted house, sure to scare the crap out of you.
You’ll find various scary scenes when you visit the grounds, such as a medieval crypt, a haunted pumpkin patch, and an ancient graveyard.
Various monsters roam these sites, too, from pig monsters to demons and a spine-chilling Raggedy Ann doll.
You can also choose the right level of terror during your visit.
For example, you can schedule a visit without the actors or book a blackout date.
Bring Your Kids to the Safari Land Entertainment Center
With 62,000 square feet of floor space, the Safari Land indoor amusement park should be heaven for your kids.
They can go on eight rides, enjoy a 12-lane bowling alley, or spend a bunch of quarters on more than 100 arcade games.
Even adults can find rides to love at Safari Land, such as the MaxFlight Simulator or the Tiger Terror Roller Coaster.
The park also offers four pool tables if you don't like bowling.
Besides going on rides or playing, you can also grab delicious meals at the Atlantis Restaurant.
You can have everything, from appetizers to desserts, all of which are heavenly.
Adults can go to the bar for a glass of beer or a few cocktails.
Located at Villa Park, Safari Land is also four minutes away from Lombard.
Go Fishing at the Hidden Lake Forest Preserve
Returning to Downers Grove, you can spend the day chilling on a boat at the 390-acre Hidden Lake Forest Preserve.
You can also cast a line and fish or simply paddle along the serene lake.
Otherwise, you can enjoy a picnic under the trees with your family or friends.
This forest preserve has two lakes and a river, offering you more than enough choices for fishing spots.
Likewise, you can walk along the trails to get your blood pumping.
You can also hear spring peepers near the wooded ponds here, and it’s the only place in the entire county where that happens.
If you venture deeper, you’ll find King’s Grove, a woodland of red, white, and bur oaks.
Step inside County History at the Churchville Schoolhouse
The Churchville Schoolhouse is one of the few single-room schoolhouses in Illinois still standing on its original site.
Not only that, but it’s also one of the oldest buildings in all of DuPage County, located at Bensenville, just 15 minutes away from Lombard.
Local farmers and craftsmen built the Churchville Schoolhouse, following the usual architecture of a 19th-century rural schoolhouse.
It also stands on a parcel of land that once belonged to the Fischer family farm, one of the area’s first settlers.
Until 1930, schoolchildren from Bensenville, Addison, and Elmhurst went to school at Churchville.
The schoolhouse has undergone significant renovation and has now opened to the public.
If you want to see what it’s like to be a student inside an authentic early 19th-century schoolhouse, then the Churchville building is for you.
Likewise, the staff gives historical tours and presentations and holds special events.
The “Lilac Village” of Lombard offers plenty of historical, cultural, and artistic attractions to fill a week’s activities.
It’s also close to other towns with their unique attractions and landmarks, so you’re not stuck in one place.
So, are you still planning your next weekend getaway?
Book your Lombard trip today!