15 Best Things to Do in Palatine, IL

Palatine, IL
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Are you planning to visit lovely Chicago on your next trip?

If you go north of this global metropolis, you’ll find the gorgeous village of Palatine, which should entice you with its beauty and charm.

It reveals a family-oriented destination with the right mix of an urban and suburban atmosphere.

In other words, it exudes an away-from-it-all hometown feeling while featuring metropolitan cultural sites and conveniences within easy reach.

The residents wear with great pride their deep roots and long past, giving you a lot of rich history to explore.

Along with many forest preserves and thrilling attractions, here are the best things to do in Palatine, IL:

Escape to the Deer Grove Forest Preserve

Bicycle trail at Deer Grove Forest Preserve
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Human instinct tells us that we always return to Mother Nature.

In times of anxiety and distress, walking in the forest scenery or seeing lots of green trees resets our spirits and clears our minds.

If you want an adventure, enter the lush green forest of Deer Grove Forest Reserve.

Located on Dundee Road, the country’s forest reserve features about 2,000 acres of incredible biodiversity.

The waters of Deer Grove Forest Preserve
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Explore exciting wooded ravines, rolling upland forest, savannah, wetlands, and rich prairie.

It offers a lot of fun things to do, such as cycling, fishing, birding hotspots, sledding, ice skating, and hiking.

You’ll find fearless deer wandering around as you walk through the crushed gravel, cement, and dirt trails.

The Deer Grove Forest Reserve is the perfect place to find aspects of land, sky, and water in a single destination.

Tall trees at Deer Grove Forest Preserve
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Play in the Twin Lakes Golf Course and Recreation Area

If you want to play golf while having a good time with the family, take them to the green, open fields of Twin Lakes Golf Course and Recreation Area.

As one of Chicagoland’s top three executive golf courses, it features a nine-hole course featuring 1,473 yards from the longest tees and a par of 29.

Your family can go kayaking and boating on its beautiful lake while appreciating the splendid scenery.

Other amenities include a relaxing café, a clubhouse, fishing, tennis courts, and a picnic area.

You can also bring the kids to the exciting playground at the Twin Lakes Golf Course and Recreation Area.

Discover the Victorian Past of George Clayson House Museum

Exterior of George Clayson House Museum
I, G LeTourneau, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Along the streets of Palatine Road lies the well-preserved George Clayson House Museum.

Built in 1873, it is one of the few two dozen buildings within the town that remain standing after 125 years.

In 1979, the National Register of Historic Places added it to the record.

George H. Clayson was a local carpenter and operator of a grape orchard.

Upon entering through its door, you’ll enter a different world–the phenomenal world of the Victorian Age.

History sign of George Clayson House Museum
I, G LeTourneau, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It features countless relics and precious heirlooms, telling the story of Palatine’s past.

The house contains an extensive furniture collection, kitchen artifacts, Victorian and Edwardian clothing, old children’s toys, and a unique book collection in hand-made bookcases.

Have you ever washed your clothes with a washboard or boiled your underwear with a stove?

You might get an answer to these questions when you visit the George Clayson House Museum.

Recharge Yourself at Massage Envy Spa

Are you looking for an excellent spa to relieve all that stress, body aches, and pain?

The Massage Envy Spa offers treatments to soothe those tight and tense muscles.

It is a pioneering company that provides affordable spa and massage services nationally.

Their highly trained employees perform total body sessions and facial skin care that your body desperately needs.

Their massage therapy services help boost your overall energy, ease everyday stress, and refresh your emotional and mental outlook.

They also specialize in massage techniques for backaches and headaches associated with pregnancy.

Indulge yourself in this top-notch experience because it pays to take care of your body.

Don’t let the demands of daily life beat you down!

Recharge yourself at Massage Envy in Palatine.

See a Show at Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center

Exterior of Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center
Mysterymanblue, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you want to try seeing live entertainment?

Purchase a ticket and brace yourself for the theater performance of your life at the Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center.

The Palatine Park District operates the center along Wood Street.

It showcases dynamic and awe-inspiring musical, singing, and dancing performances.

Likewise, they do film screenings, choral performances, dance recitals, band concerts, and many more.

The Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center offers an excellent opportunity for the locals to share their talents.

It’s also a lively example of the rich heritage in the village.

Join the Vibrant Downtown Palatine Street Fest

Visit Palatine in August and celebrate the much-awaited Downtown Palatine Street Fest at the intersection of Brockway and West Slade streets.

Since 2000, this event has become the premier suburban street festival featuring long booths of local cuisine, live music, family entertainment, and activities.

Every year a different group of bands with various musical styles plays to the lively crowd.

The tasty food booths reflect the best of Palatine, ranging from pizzas to sweet ice cream to Mexican food.

If you bring your children, they will undoubtedly enjoy the Kids Zone, where they can play games, get face-painted, and jump on the moonwalks.

The village celebrates the Downtown Palatine Street Fest three days before Labor Day, the down-home version of the Taste of Chicago.

Dine at Brandt’s of Palatine

Brandt’s has become the local favorite in Palatine for over half a century.

Enjoy classic pub fare at Brandt’s of Palatine.

It is a great local hang-out that offers the best Chicago burgers, barbecue ribs, salads, sandwiches, and quesadillas.

They have indoor and outdoor dining with a canopied deck, which is the perfect place to bring your family.

Customers keep returning to the sizeable half-pound burger from the Chicago stockyards and the mouth-watering bone ribs drenched in sweet barbecue sauce.

Satisfy your taste buds at Brandt’s of Palatine!

Watch the Beautiful Sunset in the Margreth Riemer Reservoir Park

A man walking along Margreth Riemer Reservoir Park
Rajesh Vijayakumar / Shutterstock.com

A picturesque park lies within West Wood Street, where you can watch the sun go down.

Spanning roughly 91 acres, the Margreth Riemer Reservoir Park ranks as the third largest property in Palatine.

Its main attraction is the 18-hole disc golf course, where experienced and new golfers can play.

It also sits on the highest part of Palatine, resulting in its hilly setting.

During the summer, bring your picnic baskets, go skating, and enjoy the scenic open terrain and two small ponds.

If you arrive in the winter, try sledding downhill.

No matter the season, the fun never ends at the Margreth Riemer Reservoir Park.

Join the Palatine Jaycees’ Hometown Fest

This event is your moment to celebrate the 4th of July, the Palatine way.

The Palatine Jaycees Hometown Fest happens along Palatine Road.

The Palatine Jaycees is an organization established to hone young adults’ leadership skills through community service.

Since 1957, the Jaycees have partnered with the Palatine Park District and Village of Palatine to host this spectacular event.

The festival showcases one of the largest fireworks displays in the northwest Illinois suburbs.

Check out the long chain of food vendors, live musical bands, an entertaining carnival, a craft fair, and a business expo.

Celebrate the 4th of July in a whole new way.

The Palatine Jaycees Hometown Fest also stages a dazzling parade that shows the undying patriotism of the citizens.

Unleash your Furry Companions a tthe Plum Grove Reservoir

Welcome sign of Plum Grove Reservoir
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The Plum Grove Reservoir features a park to spend your lovely afternoon and a dog park.

This park stretches for 44 acres with many amenities.

You can go cycling, jogging, walking or bring the children to the exciting playground.

It is a famous fishing destination, with a wooden pier open for all fishing enthusiasts.

Pathway lined with flowers at Plum Grove Reservoir
Rajesh Vijayakumar / Shutterstock.com

Its securely fenced dog park gives your dogs a vast space to wander around.

Other amenities include picnic areas, shelters, and access to the Palatine trail.

The Plum Grove Reservoir features an exquisite green environment filled with lush grass, which any family would want to explore.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Stir Your Soul at Six Flags Great America

Aerial view of Six Flags Great America
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Did you miss that sinking feeling where your stomach feels like it’s dropping?

Stir your stomach and soul by riding the 16 high-speed rollercoasters of the Six Flags Great America.

You can find it in Gurnee, Illinois, 39 minutes from Palatine.

This theme park is only behind Six Flags Magic Mountain in terms of their roller coaster sizes.

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

This fantastic amusement park offers about 100 rides and attractions for you and your family.

The park divides its exciting rides and attractions into themed areas such as Carousel Plaza, Hometown Square, Orleans Place, DC Universe, and others.

Each theme has a unique atmosphere and charming live entertainment.

You might want to a bite of the tasty treats from their restaurants and bring memorable souvenirs to remember the moment.

Get your adrenaline shot at Six Flags Great America!

Balloon pop game in Six Flags Great America
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Blow off Steam in Axeplosion

Who said ax throwing is just for people with beards?

It is a great option for unique family fun.

In Axeplosion, you can spend time together and learn the skill of ax throwing.

Located on McHenry Road, Axeplosion will teach you ax-throwing.

Many skilled trainers coach you on how to hit bullseyes safely.

It is a good workout and bonding occasion with your loved ones.

Axeplosion is in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, 14 minutes from Palatine.

Eat like a Knight in Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

Exterior of Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
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The queen has sent you an invitation to a mouth-watering banquet!

Experience an 11th-century feast at the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Schaumburg.

Find it 13 minutes from Palatine.

You’ll enjoy a medieval feast while watching a hair-raising knight battle in the center arena.

The epic fight features swordplay, jousting, extraordinary horsemanship, and awe-inspiring hand-to-hand combat.

Cheer on your knight as you gobble your four-course banquet.

Adult guests can go to the full-service bar while watching the heated battle in the arena.

After the show, you can meet the highly skilled horses and knights and take a memorable photo together.

Enter the world of knights at the Medieval Dinner and Tournament.

Ride and Steer in K1 Speed – Indoor Go Kart Racing

Are you looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity?

The humming sound of go-karts’ engines will blow you away.

You can find the best karting experience in the state at K1 Speed - Indoor Go Kart Racing in Buffalo Grove.

This kart track is 16 minutes from Palatine.

It has two challenging race tracks, professionally designed and built for a safe and fun environment.

Their high-performance electric go-karts can reach a top speed of 45 mph within seconds.

With genuine talent, you can push your go-karts to reach maximum performance.

They can also host parties and special events, which is excellent for families and friends.

Once you try the race tracks, you’ll come back for more at K1 Speed - Indoor Kart Racing.

Admire the Biodiversity at Moraine Hills State Park

The Moraine Hills State Park is in McHenry, Illinois, 35 minutes from Palatine.

From biking and hiking to birding and fishing, this park has got what you need.

It spans over 2,200 acres filled with scenic wetlands, lakes, well-marked trails, and lush green forests.

Its name originates from the geologic formation called the moraine, which means an accumulation of stones and boulders.

Dock and waters of Moraine Hills State Park
Mark Baldwin / Shutterstock.com

Home to a broad spectrum of wildlife, you may observe many animals such as coyotes, white-tailed deer, mink, red fox, opossum, and many others.

You can even see 100 identified bird species.

Picnic tables are available in the open and shaded areas for visitors who want to enjoy the stunning scenery.

There is a fishing pier in the open lake that visitors with disabilities can access.

You can go boating and kayaking there.

Spend a day in nature’s embrace at Moraine Hills State Park.

Scenic sunset over Moraine Hills State Park
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Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that Palatine is the perfect suburban spot for nature lovers and thrill seekers.

It possesses a good balance of wildlife and nature, tourist attractions, and accessibility to the city.

Cities might be fun to visit, but you need to escape the fuss once in a while.

Explore the best things to do in Palatine for a quiet getaway.

Book your trip today!