Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in West Chicago, IL

  • Published 2023/04/03

Located a few minutes from busy Chicago, West Chicago is a small but charming city.

The city used to be called Junction and is one of the first cities established by the railroads.

West Chicago is in DuPage County.

Because of its proximity to Chicago, you can take a day trip to the city for a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of the metro.

Here’s a list of the best things to do in West Chicago, Illinois!

Start the Day at Egg Yolk Cafe

Egg Yolk Cafe is a family-owned cafe in downtown West Chicago, famous for its comfort breakfast food and other hearty meals.

The restaurant serves healthy breakfast and lunch meals at affordable prices.

Aside from its food options, Egg Yolk Cafe is a local favorite for its friendly service and cozy setting, making one feel welcome and part of the family.

Before heading around West Chicago, have breakfast or brunch at Egg Yolk Cafe and try their best-selling dishes like omelets, skillets, and French toast.

You can also try their house specials, including a vegetarian omelet, apple pancake, stuffed French Toast, steak skillet, and pretzel burger.

French spinach and feta omelet, napa salad, and fruit crunch parfait are ideal for health-conscious eaters.

Treat Your Dogs to a Fun Day Out at Wiggly Field Dog Park

If you’re traveling with your dogs, bring them to Wiggly Field Dog Park and let them run free and play with fellow canines.

Not to be confused with Wiggly Field Dog Park in Chicago, this dog park in West Chicago is on one end of Reed Keppler Park.

It has a fenced area, so you’re assured that your dogs can run off-leash in a safe environment.

Watch them play with their fellow dogs and meet fellow animal lovers at Wiggly Field Dog Park.

You can drop by the park and watch the dogs play even if you don’t have a pet.

Although the park is off-leash, dogs must be on their leash when entering and exiting.

Unwind at Hawthorne’s Backyard

After a tiring yet fulfilling day exploring West Chicago, nothing feels more rewarding than a delicious meal, a cold beer, and live entertainment.

At Hawthorne’s Backyard, relax and enjoy delicious chicken wings, hand-packed burgers, fish fry, and other mouthwatering dishes.

The bar and grill is the best hangout after sundown.

Otherwise, go to the four-acre outdoor area with sand volleyball courts, a bocce ball court, playgrounds, an outdoor fire pit, and a patio.

Food at Hawthorne’s Backyard includes nachos, tacos, hand-patted burgers, grilled salmon, and more.

Satisfy your sweet tooth and have a slice of apple pie, chocolate lava cake, or their homemade seven-layer carrot cake for dessert.

Pair your burgers and wings with imported draft beer or any 14 beers on tap.

Spend the Afternoon at Reed-Keppler Park

Spanning 89 acres, Reed-Keppler Park is your go-to destination for outdoor activities.

The sports and recreational park is located near the West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve and offers baseball fields, softball fields, a basketball court, and a skate park.

It also has a children’s playground, a splash pad, nature trails, dog parks, and picnic shelters.

Take the family to Reed-Keppler Park and enjoy various outdoor recreational activities like playing a few rounds of basketball, swimming, or having a relaxing picnic under the shade.

For those who like to stay active, you can jog across the park premises or visit the small garden area.

The park is also home to the Dyer Nature Sanctuary, a 25-acre nature escape where you can go birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

Go Back in Time at Kline Creek Farm

Discover life during the 1890s at Kline Creek Farm, a Timber Ridge Forest Preserve living history farm.

The restored farmstead gives visitors a glimpse into the old DuPage County, with well-restored farming structures and the assistance of costumed interpreters.

Take a tour of Kline Creek Farm and check out the exhibits highlighting Dupage County’s agricultural background at the visitor center.

Check out the free-range chickens at the chicken coop, see the honey bee apiary at the Honey House, and meet farm animals like horses and sheep.

Visitors can also watch old-school farming activities like baking, planting, harvesting, canning, ice cutting, and sheep shearing, led by farm staff and volunteers donning period costumes.

Brush Up on Your Golf Skills at Prairie Landing Golf Club

Prairie Landing Golf Club is the area’s premier golf facility, serving West Chicago’s locals and tourists since 1995.

It’s also one of the few golf courses in Illinois to receive a 4.5-star rating from Golf Digest, proof of its world-class facilities and terrain.

Play a round or two of golf at Prairie Landing Golf Club and enjoy its well-maintained greens, fairways, and challenging yet rewarding landscape.

If you want to polish your swinging skills, join lessons led by expert PGA and LPGA golf professionals at the golf practice facility.

After your game, head to McChesney’s Pub & Grill, the in-house pub and grill, for a well-deserved meal with craft beer.

Hang Out at Pioneer Park

Nestled in a quiet corner of West Chicago, Pioneer Park is ideal for a relaxing picnic or a lazy afternoon spent outdoors.

The park has a catch-and-release pond, two rentable pavilions, a children’s playground, and a splash pad.

For sports enthusiasts, Pioneer Pak features a soccer field, five baseball and softball fields, and short walking trails.

In the summer, bring your kids to the park and watch them play at the splash pad, play frisbee at the open green space, or go on a relaxing walk around the trails.

If you’d like to go on a picnic, the Pioneer Pavilion is a covered pavilion with four picnic tables that you can rent depending on the season.

Savor Mexican Food at La Cocina de Maria

Are you looking for the best Mexican food in West Chicago?

Satisfy your cravings and grab a bite at La Cocina de Maria, conveniently located at W Washington Street.

The restaurant takes pride in serving fresh food prepared with high-quality ingredients.

Enjoy your favorite beef tacos, cheese nachos, chicken nuggets, ham tortas, shrimp tostadas at La Cocina de Maria, and other classic Mexican dishes.

They are also known for their flautas, deep-fried corn tortillas with cream, cheese, and rice, and pambazo, a Mexican sandwich served with sausage, potatoes, lettuce, cream, and cheese.

For a complete Mexican dining experience, order a glass of lime or mango margarita, sangria, wine, or beer.

Commune with Nature at West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve

Take a short break from the busy city streets and enjoy the quiet surroundings of West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve.

The nature preserve boasts 358 acres of wetlands and upland oak savannahs, making it one of the most biologically diverse areas in the region.

Unlike most parks and nature preserves, West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve doesn’t have huge lakes or designated picnic areas so that visitors can enjoy long nature walks here.

See over 600 plants and wildlife species in the nature preserve and soak up the peaceful environment.

Nine connecting trails go around the nature preserve, most connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path and Reed-Keppler Park.

Visit Kress Creek Farms Park

Kress Creek Farms Park is a charming neighborhood park where families can hang out on a lovely weekend afternoon.

Park facilities include an 18-hole disc golf course, playground, walking trails, and a covered pavilion with picnic tables.

Despite being near a residential area in the city, the park offers native landscaping, rolling hills, and even a small pond for fishing.

Bring the family to Kress Creek Farms Park for a relaxing day out and have a picnic.

While the kids are at the playground, go for a walk around the trails or play a game of disc golf.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Marvel at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chicago

Exterior of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chicago

Uladzik Kryhin /

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chicago is a gorgeous Hindu place of worship at Bartlett, Illinois, an eight-minute drive from West Chicago.

Spanning over 27 acres, the mandir is the largest in Illinois.

It was built with hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone, creating an ethereal and serene atmosphere.

Entrance arch of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chicago

Uladzik Kryhin /

Learn more about Hindu culture and beliefs on tour around BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chicago and explore the grand mandir (place of worship) and haveli (cultural complex).

After exploring the complexes, stop by the souvenir and snack shop for books, herbal health products, gifts, and traditional snacks to bring home.

Since you’ll be visiting a place of worship, adhere to the proper dress code.

Facade of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chicago

Uladzik Kryhin /

See the Animals of Cosley Zoo

Drive nine minutes from West Chicago to Wheaton and visit Cosley Zoo, a five-acre zoo housing domestic animals and other wildlife species native to Illinois.

This AZA-accredited zoo is built on the site of a historic train station.

Find more than 200 animals from 50 species at Cosley Zoo’s 20 exhibits, each providing a safe and educational way to interact with the animals.

Some animals in the zoo include white-tailed deer, Canadian lynx, bearded dragons, blue jays, and red foxes.

For an added fee, you can also feed the ducks and visit a coyote up close during its training session.

Spend the Day at Cantigny Park

Paved trail at Cantigny Park

JR Inspirations /

Boasting 500 acres of green spaces and well-manicured gardens, Cantigny Park is a must-visit for anyone visiting West Chicago.

The park is located in Wheaton, Illinois, and is the former estate of Joseph Medill and his grandson, both publishers of the Chicago Tribune.

Cantigny Park is a nine-minute drive from West Chicago and an ideal day tour destination because of its large area and various activities.

Vibrant flowers at Cantigny Park

Danita Delimont /

Feel as if you’ve been transported to a European mansion as you explore the formal and informal gardens, admiring the fragrant blooms and lush greenery.

You can also play a few rounds of golf, have a picnic, go birdwatching, and relax along the 2.5-mile walking trail.

People playing baseball at Cantigny Park

Ken Schulze /

Enjoy Family Day at Funway

Funway is a large indoor and amusement center in Batavia, Illinois, a 14-minute drive from West Chicago.

The establishment started as a small go-kart track in 1959 and eventually became one of the state’s largest entertainment centers.

Its indoor area features a bowling center, roller skating rink, laser tag arena, bumper cars, and an arcade.

On the other hand, the outdoor recreation area at Funway has an 18-hole mini golf course, batting cages, bumper boats, a mini go-kart track, and a backyard cafe and patio.

You can easily spend a day at the amusement center with the family thanks to numerous activities.

Take a Day Trip to Blackberry Farm

Pond fountain at Blackberry Farm

EA Given /

Spanning 54 acres, Blackberry Farm is a history museum in Aurora, Illinois, 24 minutes from West Chicago.

It offers amusement rides, live animals, and a museum that gives visitors a glimpse into the city’s history.

Bring your family there to enjoy outdoor activities.

A carousel at Blackberry Farm

EA Given /

Ride the train, see hundreds of plants and trees at the arboretum, paddle boats across the lake, and explore the museums.

The farm also offers period craft demonstrations like spinning, weaving, pottery making, blacksmithing, and more.

Daytime view of Blackberry Farm

EA Given /

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a good weekend getaway from the bustling metropolis of Chicago, consider the small yet charming West Chicago.

The city offers various parks, world-class golf courses, and sprawling green spaces where you can enjoy a change of scenery.

Start planning your vacation today with this list of the best things to do in West Chicago, Illinois!

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