15 Best Things to Do in Niles, IL

Niles, IL
Nejdet Duzen / shutterstock.com

The village of Niles in Cook County, Illinois, is situated in both townships of Niles and Maine, adjacent to the far northwest border of Chicago.

The history of Niles dates back to the 1700s before it was incorporated in 1899 when Potawatomi Indians first settled in the area.

The first pioneers, mainly Germans, were attracted to the region due to its low cost and fertile farmlands.

In the 1830s, the Milwaukee Avenue and Touhy Avenue vicinity became known as Dutchman's Point.

Today, Niles takes pride in its family-friendly, diverse ethnic neighborhoods, providing excellent services, affordable taxes, and efficient multimodal transit for all its residents.

People gather together to enjoy festivals, events, and different cultures, making it a fantastic place to live and visit.

Enjoy this community with the best things to do in Niles, Illinois!

Marvel at the Leaning Tower of Niles

Exterior of the Leaning Tower of Niles
Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock.com

The Leaning Tower of Niles is a scaled-down replica of the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, completed in 1934 by Robert Ilg.

Ilg was an industrialist who built it for Chicago-based ILG Hot Air Electric Ventilating Company workers as part of a recreational park.

While some speculate that the tower was constructed to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it was initially designed as a water storage for the park's outdoor swimming pools.

Top part of the Leaning Tower of Niles
Dawid S Swierczek / Shutterstock.com

The tower is adorned with five bells; three are believed to have been cast in Italy and are over a hundred years old.

Recognizing its historical significance, the Leaning Tower of Niles was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2020.

Visitors can enjoy many shopping and dining options while looking at this awe-inspiring tower.

Aerial view of the Leaning Tower of Niles
Emma_Griffiths / Shutterstock.com

Book Tee Time at the Tam O'Shanter Golf Course

The Tam O'Shanter Golf Course is a stunning public nine-hole course located on the scenic North Branch of the Chicago River.

It has been a landmark destination for many generations and played a significant role in making golf popular in America.

The history of the Tam O'Shanter Golf Course can be traced back to the Tam O'Shanter Country Club, which hosted renowned golf legends such as Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Patty Berg.

In 1973, the Niles Park District acquired the golf course, and it underwent renovation in 2018.

The course has a practice chipping or putting green for golfers to hone their skills, as well as fairways and bent grass greens, which are impeccably maintained to provide the perfect playing height.

The Tam O'Shanter Golf Course is also home to the popular restaurant and bar, The Howard Street Inn.

Have Family Fun at Sky High Sports Niles

Sky High Sports Niles is an exciting indoor entertainment center featuring multiple courts with floor and wall trampolines.

As the largest trampoline park in Illinois, it offers a whopping 55,000 square feet of thrilling trampoline activities.

It also offers birthday party and event packages, dodgeball courts, a Freestyle Court, a Sky High ninja course, Sky High Hoops, and more!

Their Freestyle Court is nearly as large as a basketball court, providing ample space to practice your most impressive aerial stunts.

Their trampoline dodgeball courts are an elevated version of the classic playground game, adding excitement to your visit.

Whether you’re planning a birthday party for a group of 20 or a company event for 300 people, Sky High Sports’ party packages are affordable, easy to organize, and memorable.

Sky High Sports Niles is not your ordinary trampoline park; come and check out one of the best party venues in town!

Pamper Yourself at King Spa & Sauna

King Spa & Sauna is a Korean-inspired spa (also known as "Jjim-Jil Bang”) that has become a well-loved fixture in the Korean community in Chicago.

This unique spa has garnered the attention of the public and the American media due to its globally competitive and different concept, providing a wellness sauna and spa experience for the entire family.

At King Spa & Sauna, customers can enjoy a whole sauna experience with nine separate healing sauna rooms, full-body acupressure massages, a relaxing pool, and a movie theater for entertainment.

The spa offers ancient Asian treatments that use the Earth's natural elements of crystals, stone, salt, soil, and wood to relieve stress, restore health, and relax the mind and body.

As the country’s largest Asian sauna, King Spa & Sauna provides the ultimate authentic experience in Chicago, making it a top choice for individuals seeking relaxation and restoration.

Learn Local History at the Niles Historical and Cultural Center

The Niles Historical and Cultural Center is a treasure trove of local history and resources on 19th and 20th-century Chicago.

Run by the Niles Historical Society, chartered in 1971, this museum offers two floors of exhibitions regularly updated with new content, historical artifacts, and research.

The museum is housed in the former Station #1 building of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, operational from 1923 until its closure in 1984.

The building is a historical landmark and one of the oldest municipal buildings in Niles, making it an essential piece of local history.

With its ever-expanding collection of exhibits, the Niles Historical and Cultural Center offers a unique opportunity to explore the past of the Chicago area and gain a deeper understanding of the community's evolution over time.

Explore Nature at Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill is a hidden gem known for its picnic groves and stunning natural areas, including an open savanna, a floodplain forest, and the Sidney Yates Flatwoods.

Despite its small area, Bunker Hill is diverse, offering a wealth of flora and fauna.

Throughout the growing season, the savanna bursts with grasses and wildflowers, and the oak trees provide a habitat for birds and insects, including song sparrows and swallowtail butterflies.

Woodcocks perform their distinctive courtship dances in spring, while ducks, geese, and herons savor the leisurely river.

Bunker Hill is part of the vast North Branch Trail System, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

This beautiful natural oasis is famous for biking, bird watching, walking and hiking, cross-country skiing, and picnicking.

Hike or Bike the North Branch Trail System

The North Branch Trail System offers approximately 20 miles of paved and unpaved trails along the North Branch of the Chicago River.

It’s one of the most popular biking routes in the northern suburbs, thanks to its picturesque setting.

The trail system features several loops that wind through ecological restoration sites, where hikers and bikers can observe diverse native wildlife.

The North Branch Trail System can be accessed from several forest preserve areas within Chicago, including Bunker Hill in Niles.

Try the intermediate eight-mile out-and-back trail from Bunker Hill to Linne Woods for a great starting point.

The North Branch Trail System is often called "the bike path to the Botanic Garden," which is a fitting name.

Likewise, challenge yourself at the advanced 15-mile trail ride starting at Bunker Hill, taking you through prairie vistas and scenic woodlands and to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Enjoy Beer and BBQ at Une Année | Hubbard’s Cave

Une Année | Hubbard’s Cave is an exceptional brewery offering excellent barbecue beyond the Chicago border in Niles.

Une Année, an independent craft brewery, was founded in 2013 on Hubbard Street to create high-quality Belgian-inspired ales that appeal to all beer enthusiasts.

Une Année, which means “One Year” in French, started with seasonal Belgian beers offered annually, now expanding to weekly and bi-weekly offerings.

Their first beer, “Maya,” was created during the birthday party of the founder’s daughter.

Hubbard’s Cave opened in 2015 as another option to their Belgian Style Ales, producing American Style beers, mainly Fresh IIPAs and Imperial Stouts.

Named after the street where the brewery was founded, Hubbard’s Cave has rapidly become home to some of their most popular beers.

The brewery moved to Niles in 2017 and expanded its facilities to include a taproom.

In 2020, a kitchen that specializes in barbecue was added, making it a perfect spot for those who love beer and delicious food.

Shop 'til You Drop at the Golf Mill Shopping Center

Exterior of Golf Mill Shopping Center
Zol87 from Chicago, Illinois, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Golf Mill Shopping Center is a shopping mall in Niles serving several communities in the northwest Chicago area, including Des Plaines, Glenview, Park Ridge, Mt. Prospect, and Skokie.

The mall boasts more than 100 specialty shops, along with three anchor stores (JCPenney, Ross Dress for Less, and Target), a grocery shop (Gordon Food Service), a theater (AMC Theatres, a fitness gym (XSport Fitness), a nine-story professional building, and several outparcels.

Originally an open-air mall, Golf Mill opened in October 1960.

It features a distinctive nine-story office tower created by Chicago architect Edo Belli to resemble the top of a golf ball.

Golf Mill Shopping Center is easily accessible, located just 15 minutes away from O’Hare International Airport.

Eat, Drink, and Play at Play Book Sports Bar

Play Book Sports Bar offers a whole new level of entertainment, featuring 30 flat-screen TVs, a massive 100" LCD at the back of the main bar, two bars, luxurious booths, a custom beer display, and stunning floor-to-ceiling doors!

Savor Play Book’s craft beers, signature cocktails, gourmet burgers, and other delicious entrees.

Experience the Player’s Lounge, which boasts six slot machines, lounge chairs, a full bar, and a kitchen for that Las Vegas-style video gaming atmosphere!

Play Book Sports Bar caters to any private or special event, meeting the unique requirements of both corporate and individual customers.

Play Book Sports Bar is ideal for locals and visitors who want to game and catch the big game while savoring their delectable signature food and beverages.

Learn to Skate at IceLand Skate

IceLand Skate, or the IceLand Ice Arena, offers various programs and activities to meet your skating and hockey needs, regardless of age or skill level.

You can learn to skate and join competitive figure skating classes and hockey leagues.

Additionally, they offer private lessons, private ice rentals, birthday parties, and indoor and outdoor (seasonal) public skating for everyone to enjoy.

As ice time can be scarce, IceLand Skate stays open for recreational skating and hockey as long as the ice is available.

IceLand Skate is proud to be the home of the Maine Township High Schools hockey teams, Northwestern University’s synchronized skating team, and women's hockey team.

Beat the Heat at Oasis Waterpark & Fun Center

Oasis Waterpark & Fun Center is conveniently located in Niles, only a few minutes' drive from O'Hare International Airport.

The waterpark offers an array of amenities that cater to visitors of all ages and preferences.

For thrill-seekers, two giant water slides, including twists and turns, are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.

Families with young children will appreciate the activity pool's interactive water features and zero-depth entry.

There are lap lanes and diving boards to enjoy for more active visitors.

You can also indulge in classic treats like soft-serve ice cream and hot dogs at the on-site concession stand.

Additionally, shaded picnic areas are available for those who want to relax and recharge.

Don't skip the fun at Oasis Waterpark & Fun Center, and be a part of the #SplashinOasis experience!

Play Mini Golf at Pioneer Park

Test your skills on the challenging 18-hole miniature golf course at Pioneer Park!

Also, have fun with the park’s automated batting cages, with six baseball machines with varying speeds (slow, medium, and fast) and four softball machines with both slow and fastpitch options.

This seven-acre park features playgrounds, softball, baseball fields, soccer fields, picnic areas, and concessions.

Are you looking for a fun birthday party or group activity?

Pioneer Park also offers rentals for groups of all sizes and ages, perfect for those looking for a family-friendly venue for any event!

Book a Party at Play and Spin

Welcome to Play and Spin, one of Chicago’s top amusement centers where the fun never ends!

Play and Spin offers various exciting children's activities and birthday packages to make your child's special day unforgettable.

Whether planning a birthday party or looking for a fun-filled day out, Play and Spin has something for everyone.

Race your friends around the go-karts, challenge them to a table tennis match, test your skills and luck at the arcade, or relax and get pampered at the nail salon.

You can also enjoy a drink at the bar, shoot some pool, play video games, and indulge in some of the best concession food!

This family-friendly entertainment center boasts an impressive 51,000 square feet of non-stop fun, so come on and have the time of your life!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Try the Classic Superdawg at Superdawg Drive-In

Superdawg Drive-In is Chicago’s only drive-in restaurant and one of the country's few remaining original drive-in restaurants.

It is renowned for its iconic roadside architecture and classic Chicago-style hotdogs, sandwiches, fries, and milkshakes!

In 1948, Maurie and Flaurie Berman founded Superdawg on North Milwaukee Avenue near Bunker Hill.

Today, the original location still serves customers with the same friendly, family-oriented approach that has delighted patrons for over 70 years.

The restaurant's distinctive building design, adorned with two 12-foot hot dog character statues, Maurie and Flaurie, has remained a fixture atop the roof since its inception.

Try their classic Superdawg, featuring the juiciest pure beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun, accompanied by their unequaled Superfries and pickled green tomato on the side!

This hotdog joint is in Chicago, Illinois, five minutes from Niles.

Final Thoughts

Niles is a vibrant community offering diverse activities and amenities suitable for individuals and families alike!

Explore parks and trails or visit local bars and amusement centers.

If you're looking for a fun place near Chicago, the list of the best things to do in Niles, Illinois, surely won't disappoint you!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.