Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Naperville, IL

  • Published 2022/12/19

Ranked as the wealthiest city of the Midwest United States of America, Naperville is a picturesque suburban city in Illinois.

This delightful city is one of the most visited cities in the said state.

It offers an authentic experience of the glorious culture of Chicago, with impressive views of the DuPage River, vibrant art culture, great local shops, and mouthwatering food of Chicago, most notably the world-famous Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.

This delightful suburban city has a perfect mix of nature and urban landscape.

There are concert halls, nature preserves, arboretums, museums, parks, and so much more.

There is something for everyone to do and see.

With lip-smacking food, sweeping views, and fascinating arts and culture, this wonderful city will win over your heart.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 30 best things to do when you visit the terrific city of Naperville:

Dip Your Toes in the Water at Paddleboat Quarry

View of Paddleboat Quarry

EA Given /

Paddleboat Quarry is located right on the riverwalk, next to Centennial Beach, and is easily accessible.

You may hire a paddleboat, a paddleboard, or a kayak from May through October at this location.

They’re not only fun and picturesque activities for your family, but they’re also reasonably priced activities!

On weekends, be sure to arrive on time, and if you can, pay entry at the Riverwalk Cafe in advance.

Boating at Paddleboat Quarry

EA Given /

Have a Fun Day With Your Kids at Ball Factory Indoor Play and Café

Children will love Ball Factory’s cafe and party rooms, as well as their parents!

There is no better way to get kids to exercise than with the help of this enormous playground.

The play areas offer a safe, sanitary, and pleasant place to play to keep youngsters active.

This play area has a variety of play spaces for youngsters to enjoy, including gated toddler and infant zones, mega blocks, a ball blasting arena, and more.

At the café, there’s a wide variety of kid-friendly alternatives and coffee for grownups who’ve had a long day of play and bonding with their loved ones.

See the Panoramic Views at Naperville Riverwalk

Sunset over Naperville Riverwalk

Joe Hendrickson /

Nicknamed as the crown jewel of Naperville, Naperville Riverwalk is situated alongside the DuPage River flowing through the town.

The riverwalk provides a tranquil environment to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the river, fountains, bridges, brick paths, sculptures, and so much more.

The Naperville Riverwalk was constructed in 1981 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the city and has become a famous landmark in Naperville since then.

Buildings at Naperville Riverwalk

Joe Hendrickson /

It is a perfect place to walk while appreciating the beauty of this vibrant town.

Also, there are various shops and restaurants located along the riverwalk, where you can enjoy shopping.

Visit this wonderful riverwalk to truly enjoy yourself while being pleased by the breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the river.

Memorial at Naperville Riverwalk

Steve Cukrov /

Join a Gastronomic Journey at Naperville Bites and Sites Food Tours

It’s no secret that Chicago has some of the best food in the country.

But Naperville, Illinois, is also an excellent place to dine.

Walking around the historic downtown and neighboring areas, you’ll explore family-owned restaurants, featuring local cuisines and businesses for all the most fantastic flavors.

It includes an Irish pub, a neighborhood bar, a chocolate store, a pastry shop, a specialty tea shop, an olive oil, and vinegar supplier, and a quality cookie dough business in addition to the classic Italian pizzeria and a Chicago-style pizza restaurant.

Step Back in Time at Naper Settlement Museum

Exterior of Naper Settlement

Joe Hendrickson /

Established in 1969, Naper Settlement is an outdoor living history museum covering an area of about 12 acres that showcases and preserves the rich history and culture of the Naperville community.

It shows how the city transformed itself into what it is today from a frontier outpost.

The outdoor museum consists of two original buildings from the 19th century and thirty other structures and buildings, including a church from the civil war era.

The museum provides an immersive experience with historical enactments and characters in costumes and plenty of fascinating exhibits.

Visit the Naper Settlement to step back in time and learn about the enthralling history of Naperville.

Relax at Centennial Beach

Aerial view of Centennial Beach

Sea Cow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Centennial Beach is only a few minutes’ walk away from the Naperville Riverwalk.

After strolling along the riverwalk, you can relax at this unique beach.

Centennial Beach is a public aquatic park with a unique swimming pool made from the historic stone quarry’s remains.

The park covers an area of six acres, and the water in the swimming pool comes directly from Lake Michigan.

It is not a real beach; however, it has lawn areas with beach-like sand near the massive swimming pool perfect for playing volleyball and making sandcastles.

The park also has water slides, fountains, and other fun things for you to enjoy.

The premises also has a skatepark, ball field, and a restaurant.

Visit Centennial Beach to experience the summer tradition of the Naperville community.

Birdwatching at Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve

Wildflowers at Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve /

Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve is a nature preserve covering an area of nearly 2000 acres.

It is situated in the southwest part of Naperville and is one of the three essential grassland communities of the state of Chicago.

It is a paradise for birdwatchers, as several different species of birds can be spotted all around the preserve.

You can spot beautiful and rare endangered birds species, including grasshopper sparrows, dickcissels, meadowlarks, northern harriers, Henslow’s sparrows, short-eared owls, and so many more.

Sunset over Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve

Hank Erdmann /

Not only can you do birdwatching, but you can also enjoy the picnic spaces, hiking trails, biking paths, dog parks, and more.

You may even catch small planes in the sky as the preserve has a model-craft area.

Visit Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve to unwind and relax while enjoying the scenic environment.

Scenic view of Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve

Mark Baldwin /

Visit the Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium

Aerial view of Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium

Sea Cow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium is a stadium in Naperville that usually hosts soccer and football games.

The stadium can accommodate about 5,500 people.

Make sure to catch a game at the Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium when you visit this delightful town.

Test Your Problem-Solving Skills at Hidden Key Escapes

Hidden Key Escapes is a room escape challenge that will put your problem-solving abilities to the test.

You’ll utilize your senses to solve puzzles and discover clues to free yourself and your team from a confined chamber in a 60-minute time constraint.

Both “The Hideaway” and “The Storage Room” are available as options for you to take on.

You may expect a 40% escape rate for the former and a 37% escape rate for the latter.

“The Hideaway” may be a better option if you and your friends will only be playing “The Storage Room,” which requires a minimum of four players.

Enjoy the Spectacular Views of Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon

Exterior of the Millennium Carillon

Nejdet Duzen /

Locally known as the “Bell Tower,” Moser Tower is a musical tower that is open to the public on weekends.

It also offers concerts on Tuesday evenings in the summer.

The tower is 160 feet tall and offers spectacular views of the city from the top.

It also has 72 carillon bells.

Visit the Moser Tower to see the impressive views of the whole city from the top or attend a concert in the summer.

Spectacular Views of Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon

Joe Hendrickson /

Visit the Bright Side Theatre

Located in the historic downtown district of Naperville, Bright Side Theatre is the only professional theatre in the city.

It is a small theatre with different enjoyable shows.

Be sure to catch a show at the Bright Side Theatre when you visit the town.

Attend a Concert at Wentz Concert Hall

Interior of Wentz Concert Hall

Quadrahex, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the North Central College campus in Naperville, Wentz Concert Hall is an essential part of the city.

It is a 617-seat venue, and it hosts several concerts performed by renowned jazz, classical, and modern artists.

The acclaimed Talaske Sound Thinking designed the fantastic acoustics of the hall.

The hall can even be tuned mechanically according to the performance to make the guests’ experience perfect.

The concert hall has hosted several famous artists, such as Herb Alpert, Yo-Yo Ma, Colbie Caillat, Elizabeth Futral, and many more.

Make sure to attend a concert at the Wentz Concert Hall when you visit Naperville.

Explore the Naperville Century Walk

A statue at Naperville Century Walk

Scott Naidow /

Naperville Century Walk consists of more than 40 pieces of the public at work throughout the downtown area of Naperville.

The walk began in 1996 and is still a popular tourist attraction.

It features sculptures, murals, mosaics, and much more.

Plan your century walk with the interactive map available on

Try Solemn Oath Brewery’s Artisanal Beers

Solemn Oath Brewery is a beautiful brewery located in a secluded place in the industrial complex.

This hidden gem serves the best artisanal beer in the town.

There are food trucks near the brewery if you want to eat something while enjoying your beer.

The staff is friendly and will happily answer all your questions about beers.

Visit the Solemn Oath Brewery to drink the best craft beer in Naperville.

Hop in Naperville Trolley & Tours

View of Naperville Trolley along the road

EA Given /

To experience all that historic downtown Naperville has in store for you, ride aboard an operating trolley.

From history excursions and pub crawls to group trips, Naperville Trolley & Tours has many options to explore.

Holiday-themed tours are also available for Halloween and Christmas.

The family-run business has a history of making its customers happy and satisfied when they ride around town on one of their little trolleys.

View of Naperville Trolley during a parade

EA Given /

See the Impressive Displays at DuPage Children’s Museum

Founded in 1987, DuPage Children’s Museum is a fun, interactive museum designed specifically for children.

The museum has three floors full of interactive and fun displays and exhibitions.

They focus on math, science, and art and feature different concepts and themes to educate the children.

The museum is open daily, and the admission fee is $13.

Gaze at Historic Buildings in Naperville Historic District

Houses along Naperville Historic District

Bcsimon15, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Naperville Historic District is a local district in the city with 613 buildings that contribute to the rich history and heritage of the area.

The buildings have stunning architecture and add to the aesthetic of the charming neighborhood.

A historic house at Naperville Historic District

Bcsimon15, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also dine in the restaurants and cafes in the district.

The best way to appreciate the beauty and charm of the Naperville Historic District is by simply strolling around or by biking along with the neighborhood.

A street at Naperville Historic District

Teemu08 at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taste the Authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza at Lou Malnati’s Pizza

Outside View of Lou Malnati's Pizza

Joe Hendrickson /

Lou Malnati’s Pizza serves the best Chicago deep dish pizza in Naperville.

It is a local family-owned chain that makes mouthwatering pizza.

The crust, as well as the sauce, is delicious and, when coupled with gooey and melty cheese and your favorite topping, will be the best thing you’ll ever eat.

Visit Lou Malnati’s Pizza to eat the perfect deep-dish pizza.

Enjoy the Stunning Views at Knoch Knolls Nature Center

Knoch Knolls Nature Center is located near the Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve on the southern part of the city, right along the DuPage River.

It is a nature center and provides plenty of educational resources and sweeping views of the scenic environment of lush nature and plenty of wildlife.

You can learn about the formation of the river, plant life, and wildlife while relishing the stunning surroundings.

The center also has bridges, a creek, playgrounds, picnic groves, golf nets, trails, and much more.

Knoch Knolls Nature Center is a beautiful place with a beautiful wooded setting to enjoy different activities with impressive views of the scenic surroundings.

Stay at Hotel Arista

Outside View of  Hotel Arista

Joe Hendrickson /

Hotel Arista is a luxurious boutique hotel in Naperville.

It has various amenities to make your stay as luxurious and worthwhile as possible, such as a full-service spa, fitness center, three different restaurants, free shuttle service, and more.

Stay at the Hotel Arista and treat yourself to a luxurious experience and numerous amenities.

Brunch at Mesón Sabika

Mesón Sabika is one of the best restaurants in Naperville and serves traditional Spanish tapas.

It is ideal for brunch.

The restaurant serves brunch buffets with mimosas and champagne, which only costs $35 per person.

Don’t forget to try delicious stuffed mushrooms and patatas bravas when you visit Mesón Sabika.

Enjoy the City’s Last Fling Celebrations

Marching band at the Last Fling parade

Mark Susina, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Downtown Naperville with your family on a Labor Day weekend and enjoy the Last Fling attractions.

Hosted by Naperville Jaycees’, this annual family-friendly festival has something for everyone to enjoy.

The four-day celebrations feature great entertainment with talented artists and performers to keep you on your toes with the music.

Enjoy a gastronomic experience with lines of local food specialties and beverages offered by various vendors.

You’ll also catch the city parade and several special events like contests and games, along with a Family Fun area, a great spot to bond and enjoy with the family.

And of course, the fun never stops with exciting carnival rides you can try with your kids.

There are plenty of things to enjoy at the Last Fling.

Catch Amazing Performances at the Naperville Community Concert Center

Arts and stage performances are among the main highlights of vibrant Naperville.

You can catch more shows, live music performances, and featured shows at the Naperville Community Concert Center.

Located in the city’s Central Park, it features many community-based performing arts groups along with concerts by the Naperville Municipal Band.

This facility boasts a large performance stage, rehearsal and dressing room areas, and modern acoustic equipment.

You can enjoy the outdoor arena and the park’s relaxing views while enjoying some entertainment.

Bring your family to watch stunning shows at the Naperville Community Concert Center.

Marvel at Wonderful Artworks at Naperville Fine Art Center and Gallery

Art aficionados can feast their eyes on amazing works at the Naperville Fine Art Center and Gallery.

This art gallery on North Center Street is open to the public with notable gallery displays you can linger in and appreciate.

The gallery and the Naperville Art League were established in 1961, aiming to provide art education and instruction and promote interest and appreciation for various creative art expressions.

You’ll see various current and featured themed exhibits in different media so visitors can expect to see something new each time.

Level up on your art skills and sign up for different adult programs like portraiture classes and workshops for mosaics, video editing, painting, photography, and many more.

You can also let your children join drawing classes for kids or art camps to bring out the budding artist in them.

Let Naperville Fine Art Center and Gallery give you a unique art experience.

Browse Through Various Exhibits at the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair

Riverwalk Fine Art Fair is an annual art event featuring lines of fine art and crafts from over a hundred artists from all over the country.

The two-day celebration started in 1985 and has become one of the most profitable art and crafts festivals in the nation.

Browse through the displays at the juried show and view interesting pieces by various artisans.

You’ll surely find something of your liking and pieces you’d like to take home from this event.

Join the workshops and instructional programs if you have an interest in the arts; likewise, there are also fun art activities for your kids to enjoy and learn.

You can also enjoy some entertainment at the fair with local guest artists performing throughout the weekend.

Have fun at the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at the DuPage River Trail

If you’re looking for outdoor activities to do with the family, you can head out to DuPage River Trail.

This trail spans more than eight miles with access points at Whalon Lake and Riverview Farmstead Preserve in Naperville and Hammel Woods in Shorewood.

Trek the paths to see various woodlands at the hilly Hammel Woods, the wetlands in the Whalon Lake area, and the historic farmstead along the Riverview Farmstead Preserve.

You’ll surely spot some wildlife along the way and be greeted by birds, too.

Get to enjoy the trails on a bike, run some laps or go on a scenic hike; otherwise, go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Have a relaxing nature experience at DuPage River Trail.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Morton Arboretum

Daytime view of Morton Arboretum

Mark Baldwin /

Located only about 7 miles away from Naperville in the neighboring city of Lisle, the Morton Arboretum is an outdoor museum established in 1922.

The arboretum consists of woodlands of over 1700 acres of wooded spaces with several varieties of trees.

Trail at Morton Arboretum

Mark Baldwin /

It has more than 4100 types of different species of plant life.

Along with various kinds of plants and trees, there are hiking trails, biking paths, interactive gardens for children, and much more to make your visit more enjoyable.

Troll sculpture at Morton Arboretum

Ken Schulze /

Enjoy Hiking, Fishing, and Boating at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve

Boat docked at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve

EA Given /

Located only a few minutes north of Naperville, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve is a nature reserve covering an area of 885 acres, with several hiking and biking trails, along with boating and fishing opportunities.

The lush greenery of the woods will relax you with its sweeping views.

The preserve is popular among bikers, hikers, and horseback riders because of the many impressive trails in the forest.

A dock at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve

EA Given /

It is also very well-liked by birdwatchers as the forest provides shelter to plenty of different kinds of birds.

You can also enjoy the water of the pond by renting a canoe or by enjoying fishing.

It is best to visit Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in spring or summer to best experience the true glory of the luscious forest and incredible wildlife.

Waters of Herrick Lake Forest Preserve

EA Given /

Learn About World War I at First Division Museum

Sculpture at First Division Museum

Robert Sarnowski /

First Division Museum is a lovely museum dedicated to Robert R. McCormick, the former owner of the estate of Cantigny Park.

McCormick also served in the first division during the first world war.

A visit to Cantigny Park is not complete without visiting this museum.

The museum showcases the history of McCormick’s division and other information about the first world war with artifacts, exhibitions, and displays.

Liberty truck at First Division Museum

Idricha, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Golfing at Cantigny Park

Golf course at Cantigny Park

JR Inspirations /

Located only a short 20-minute drive away from Naperville in Wheaton, Illinois, Cantigny Park is an impressive 500-acre park with gardens, museums, a golf course, playgrounds, restaurants, hiking paths, gift shops, and a picnic area.

The park was once an estate of a longtime editor of the Chicago Tribune, Colonel Robert R. McCormick.

It was opened to the public in 1958 and is now a trendy spot for tourists and locals alike.

Bench overlooking the fountain of Cantigny Park

Christopher Aquino /

Both formal and informal gardens in the park are lovely and perfect to explore or just gaze at.

The park also has a museum dedicated to Robert R. McCormick in a historic house.

The 27 hole golf club will undoubtedly be your favorite if you are an avid golfer.

Cantigny Park is a perfect place to play golf and relax while gazing at the park’s scenic beauty.

A mansion at Cantigny Park

Mia Rogers /

Final Thoughts

Naperville is a fantastic city with everything that a perfect vacation spot needs.

It has many activities to choose from, including gardens, museums, and swimming holes.

What are you waiting for?

Plan your trip to this city with this list of the best things to do.

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