Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Sycamore, IL

  • Published 2023/03/24

As a charming city in an idyllic setting, Sycamore is one of the most relaxing destinations in the state of Illinois.

It’s a part of DeKalb County and is situated along the lengths of Illinois Route 64.

While settlers had already lived there since 1835, Sycamore only became an official city in 1869.

The city contains a mix of countryside attractions and commercial establishments for a vacation with leisure, arts, history, and entertainment.

Visit Sycamore’s historical downtown area and enjoy its traditional and modern attractions.

Explore local shops, admire homegrown talents, and relax in the city’s mellow destinations.

Here are the best things to do in Sycamore, IL:

Roam the Sycamore Historic District

Henry Garbutt house at Sycamore Historic District

A mcmurray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sycamore Historic District is an old architectural gem in a constantly changing world.

Over 187 buildings in the district are on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s widely praised for retaining its old style and architecture amid the 20th century’s cultural modernization.

The road of Sycamore Historic District

A mcmurray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The buildings in this historical district display an array of styles, including Greek Revival, Italianate, and Classical Revival.

Aside from residential homes, you can also find charming local shops, quaint restaurants, and service providers in Sycamore Historic District.

It comprises just a few blocks, but it lets you see plenty of heart and character from the city of Sycamore.

You can find most of the district along Somonauk and Main Street, but a portion extends to Maple and California Street.

Mr. Pumpkin house at Sycamore Historic District

A mcmurray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn Local History in DeKalb County Historical Center

You can find out everything about Sycamore’s local history in the DeKalb County Historical Center.

It has even received an excellence award from the Illinois Association of Museums.

Photographs, artifacts, newspapers, and artworks are just snippets of the things in the venue.

It has information not just on Sycamore but also other towns and cities in DeKalb County.

They also change exhibits to keep things fresh for locals and frequent visitors.

Ride a Horse at Willow Creek Farm

Sycamore may be a city, but some of its attractions hold a country-style allure, like the Willow Creek Farm.

This lovely farm offers opportunities to ride horses through a spacious private area within a gated property.

Your age or experience level doesn’t matter; their lessons are open to everybody who wants to try.

Horse-riding isn’t the only scope of their lessons.

They also include seminars on how to properly care for horses, equipment maintenance, and the basic anatomy of horses.

In Willow Creek Farm, you can have a customized learning experience that they’ll personally curate, depending on your goals.

Join the Parade at Northern Illinois Steam Power Club

The Northern Illinois Steam Power Club shows off a collection of unique and historical steam-powered items like tractors, sawmills, and steam-engine mobiles.

They hold a famous annual parade every August featuring local food vendors, tractor demonstrations, flea markets, and pony rides.

Look back at the Industrial Revolution when steam engines were the primary power source before electricity, gas, and diesel.

It’s also a lively event with plenty of fun and educational things to do in a vast open space.

Since 1957, this impressive club has seen many hard-working volunteers who make the parade possible every year.

Explore the Sycamore Park District

Sycamore Park District is the city’s one-stop destination for various types of fun recreation.

It’s a far-reaching district with an aquatic center, fitness center, elevated indoor track, and various studio rooms.

The aquatic center features a well-maintained community pool and a fun splash fountain, perfect for cooling off in summer.

Meanwhile, the fitness center offers plenty of opportunities to stay active through its open gym and track field.

It’s a premium fitness destination that gives you access to healthcare professionals, trainers, and group exercise classes if you become a member.

Visit them to enjoy a plethora of joyful recreation!

See a Show at the Sycamore State Theater

Exterior of the Sycamore State Theater

Andy McMurray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The local theater in Sycamore may not have a modern flair, but its old-style allure leads to a unique and cozy movie-watching experience.

Sycamore State Theater first opened in 1925 with 900 seats and a single screen, featuring live performances and movies with no sounds.

Over the years, it has gone through several ownerships; right now, the Hoppers proudly run the business as a family.

Their tickets are known to be more affordable compared to other nearby theaters.

However, the theater’s highlight is the flavored popcorn at the concession stand.

So, taste their popcorn to figure out why it’s become a local favorite at West State Street!

Unwind at Sycamore Forest Preserve

Government officials transformed a frequently flooded trailer park into a vast, beautiful nature preserve.

Sycamore Forest Preserve is a 60-acre park composed of lush grasslands, public facilities, hiking trails, and a fishing pond.

The preserve is a wholesome destination where locals and travelers can relax.

Dense trees, vibrant flowers, and open plains add to the lovely scenery.

Popular activities in the area include hiking, biking, birding, and fishing.

This place is easy for anyone who wants scenic walks with sunset views in the city.

Shop Local at Hristov Family Farm

Established in 2014, the Hristov Family Farm started with corn and soy before expanding into other goods.

It’s a family-owned farm that now sells various fresh, homegrown farm products, from fruits and vegetables to meats, chickens, and eggs.

Their planted products are organic and non-GMO, while their livestock is free from antibiotics, growth hormones, and MSG.

The owners are also friendly and may share some stories about their farm if you’re interested.

Skip retail stores and buy your groceries from this local farm.

Play at Sycamore Golf Club

The Sycamore Golf Club offers a mid-sized piece of golf paradise in Sycamore.

Many tall trees surround the quiet landscape, aided by a few portions of lush bushes and charming flowers.

A nearby shop within the club offers necessary gear, equipment, and a few novelty souvenirs like caps and shirts.

You can also take golf lessons regardless of your skill level, experience, and age.

Book a tee time at Sycamore Golf Club.

Camp Out at Sycamore RV Resort

If you’re traveling through an RV ride, you can’t miss out on the Sycamore RV Resort.

This place is a relaxing destination with splendid views and a long list of activities including fishing, basketball, tennis, and beach volleyball.

It gives access to two nearby spring-fed lakes and a swimming beach.

Sycamore RV Resort makes camping more convenient through clean restrooms, a laundromat, Wi-Fi, and a campground store selling camp necessities and fishing supplies.

You can also rent paddle boats and pedal karts for a flair of fun.

Unwind in the comfort of this charming resort in Sycamore.

Admire the Flowers in Blumen Gardens

A colorful, dreamy array of flowers and plants create stunning views in Blumen Gardens.

The Blumen Gardens began with Joan Barczak growing plants in her small garden, which evolved into renting a venue until they could purchase an abandoned factory in 1993.

Now, you can buy flowers, rent their event venue, and schedule photography shoots in their gardens.

Their offerings vary each season, with different specialties like pumpkins for autumn and Christmas wreaths for winter.

Have Fun at the Sycamore Family Sports Center

The Sycamore Family Sports Center has operated for over 25 years, becoming a staple destination for group recreational enjoyment.

It’s perfect for people traveling in groups like families, friends, and co-workers.

The facilities include soccer cages, batting cages and a driving range where you can hit golf balls into random targets like an old van and a back fence.

You can also play go-karts, jump shots, and mini-golf at Sycamore Family Sports Center.

Browse Sycamore Antiques

Find great deals at Sycamore Antiques.

This place is a local hidden gem featuring affordable vintage items like dining sets, jewelry, and small trinkets.

You can also browse various artworks such as paintings, sculptures, and delicate glass products.

It’s impossible to know what you’ll find in Sycamore Antiques, presenting an exciting experience for vintage and antique collectors.

The family-owned store allows price negotiations for their products.

Shoot the Targets at Sycamore Sportsman’s Club

The Sycamore Sportsman’s Club opens to the public in exchange for an affordable membership fee.

It’s a well-maintained shooting range that provides you with a shooting venue to test your marksmanship skills.

There’s an array of range distance levels available—25 yards, 50 yards, and 100 yards.

There are also range officers to watch over you and ensure that you follow safety protocols.

They don’t rent out the range, guns, and ammo, so bring your own.

This sportsman club offers a safe, secure venue in an outdoor open area for a day of shooting.

Watch Them Go at Sycamore Speedway

You can find a unique, thrilling experience at Sycamore Speedway.

Watch colorfully decorated race cars speed and drift to reach the finish line first.

This superb track began in 1960 as a simple go-kart track, but consistent popularity and support led to significant improvements.

Besides racing tournaments, this arena also hosts monster truck shows and various concession stands.

Sycamore Speedway has operated for over 50 years.

Enjoy Fun Family Entertainment at Four Seasons Sports

If you’re looking for a place to have fun with the family, you can head out toFour Seasons Sports.

Located on Dekalb Avenue, this amusement venue has been a family entertainment stop in the DeKalb area since 1977.

Give your best throw and strike the pins at the 24-lane bowling alley; you can also get the Open Bowling Specials aside from their regular rates and rent bowling shoes at the venue.

Play billiards and enjoy the arcade and redemption games, too.

When the pack gets hungry, stop by at 2nd Frame Grille for tasty snacks and meals.

You’ll love classic appetizers from fries, tots, and nachos to onion rings, corn dogs, chicken wings, and more.

Sink your teeth into delicious thin-crust pizza slices in cheese, sausage, meat lovers, and pepperoni flavors.

Get all-time favorites like all-beef burgers, assorted sandwiches and wraps like Hot Dogs, Chicken Ranch Wrap in original or spicy flavors, and Chicken or Fish Sandwiches.

From Tuesday to Sunday, you can also enjoy beers and drinks at The Lost Mine Lounge, right inside Four Seasons Sports.

Try Mouthwatering Specials by PJ’s Courthouse Tavern

Signage of PJ’s Courthouse Tavern

Andy McMurray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

PJ’s Courthouse Tavern is all about fun nights and delicious food.

Located in an 1871 reconstructed historic building along West State Street, the restaurant has become a local icon in Sycamore.

Every Monday is Wingo Night where you’ll enjoy the perfect combo of wings and bingo.

Drop by the weekend to enjoy some good live music or belt out a tune on a Saturday Karaoke Night.

Check out featured drinks and fares like the Burger and Flatbread of the Month and Mule of the Month.

For starters on the menu, get some appetizing PJ’s Courthouse Specialty Onion Straws, Jumbo Traditional Wings, Supreme Court Nachos, and more.

Go for a bowl of Homemade Chili and soups and try salad selections like Thai Chicken Citrus, Santa Fe, or Dixie Chicken Salads with your choice of dressing, or extras like protein or bread.

Munch on juicy Signature Burgers and enjoy their famous Sycamore Friday Fish Fry served with fries, coleslaw, and a roll; likewise, try other sandwiches, baskets, and wraps on the menu.

And you wouldn’t want to miss PJ’s Courthouse Tavern’s famous mules including Moscow, Irish, and Kentucky Mules, along with the Mexicana, Gin Mule, and others.

Shop for Fresh Local Produce at the Sycamore Farmers Market

Enjoy shopping for farm-fresh produce and local goods at the Sycamore Farmers Market.

This seasonal market runs yearly from June to August every Tuesday from early afternoon until evening.

For more than 18 years, this family-friendly market continues to offer fresh, locally sourced, and quality products and food items offered directly by farmers and vendors in the area.

Drop by the DeKalb County Courthouse Lawn and pick from a wide variety of locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Browse through specialty food items like freshly-baked bread, sweets, oils, homemade sauces, honey, jams, and more.

You’ll also find organic herbs and fresh-cut blooms and potted plants and flowers like perennials and annuals at the market, along with beautiful handcrafted products made by local artisans.

And of course, the Sycamore Farmers Market is always lively with musical performers entertaining the guests and shoppers.

Catch Art Events by the Kishwaukee Valley Art League at Gallery on State

For art inspiration, meeting theKishwaukee Valley Art League will surely be a worthwhile experience.

The art group hosts regular art events and exhibits at Gallery on State located on West State Street.

You can visit the gallery from Tuesday to Saturday.

If you want to learn art techniques, watch professional demonstrations, or simply want to put your creativity to the next level, you can join their meetings every first Thursday of the month.

See featured amazing artwork by local artists on exhibit or enjoy events like the Gallery Art Reception.

Kishwaukee Valley Art League also holds classes that you might also be interested in like Needle Felting Classes and other craft workshops.

Come and See the Northern Illinois Art Show

For over 50 years, theNorth Illinois Art Showhas drawn many local artists and art enthusiasts in the region.

Every scheduled weekend in June, this annual art event is held at the DeKalb County Courthouse Lawn.

For the whole two days, you’ll get to see new and repeat artists and crafters showcase their artwork and share fun crafts with visitors.

See the exhibits by the Kishwaukee Valley Art League and get to purchase beautiful art pieces you might like.

You can also join the raffle to win an original art piece; proceeds will support art students from local high schools, colleges, and various school art departments.

See who gets to be awarded outstanding fine artists and crafters, then stop by the Gallery on State to see more art.

The Northern Illinois Art Show is hosted by The Kishwaukee Valley Art League.

Final Thoughts

A small-town charm envelops the city of Sycamore, marking it as a relatively peaceful destination.

Some of its leisure destinations are nature preserves, pleasant local shops, and an affluent historic district.

Sycamore also features swimming pools, annual parades, a racetrack, and a diverse family center.

Book your trip to Sycamore today!

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