Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Berwyn, IL

  • Published 2023/03/08

Berwyn is a culturally diverse suburban community on the western outskirts of Chicago.

This small community in Cook County, Illinois, is full of history, charm, and activities.

Despite its size, Berwyn is home to over 57,000 inhabitants, primarily working or studying in nearby Chicago.

Historically, Berwyn was purchased by real estate partners Wilbur Andrews and Charles E. Piper in 1902.

From a quaint village, Berwyn grew into a substantial suburban community home to the famous and elegant Chicago-style bungalows you can still see today.

Visiting Berwyn allows you to see a different perspective on Chicago’s history.

At the same time, Berwyn’s local arts scene adds more color to this community.

What makes Berwyn an idyllic location for a weekend getaway or a day trip is most of its attractions don’t charge fees.

Explore this Chicago suburb by reading this post about the free things to do in Berwyn, Illinois.

Check Out the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show

People at the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show

Sheryl Chapman /

Ogden Avenue is famous throughout Cook County for the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show every August.

This car show features some of the most beautiful vintage cars you’ll find in the area parading through this stretch in a festive atmosphere.

Historically, Route 66, or Ogden Avenue, was one of Berwyn’s first streets when it began to boom in the 1920s.

Route 66 became one of the area’s icons for connection and prosperity, home to many automobile companies and a leisure area for locals.

Cars at the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show

Sheryl Chapman /

Because of its contribution, Berwyn’s locals celebrate the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show every August.

This unique local festival draws thousands of visitors throughout Cook County.

Whenever you plan to visit Berwyn, schedule your trip in August to witness this one-of-a-kind celebration.

Stroll through Roosevelt Road

Roosevelt Road is a significant east-west street in Chicago’s western suburbs.

This street is the best place to catch locals enjoying various leisure activities, making it a recommended place to visit.

It’s also Berwyn’s entertainment, dining, and shopping destination.

However, visiting Roosevelt Road doesn’t mean you need to spend money.

It has many sights to see, such as its colorful shops, public art installations, and other attractions.

In addition, you can also see some historical landmarks in the area, making it a wonderful place to explore and get acquainted with the locals.

Spot the Berwyn Free Little Libraries

The Berwyn Free Little Libraries is one of the most unique attractions in this place.

These little libraries are technically small covered bookshelves packed with children’s books and booklets that the public can read freely.

You can find them at the Berwyn North School District along W. 16th Street, Berwyn Historical Society along S. Grove Avenue, and other locations.

The primary mission of creating these fascinating miniature libraries is to allow the community to read books every day for free conveniently.

With that in mind, the Berwyn Free Little Libraries make for a unique and one-of-a-kind attraction you mustn’t miss seeing.

Marvel at the Picnic Mural

The Picnic Mural is a testament to Berwyn’s vibrant local arts scene.

Most of Berwyn’s public art installations, such as murals, sculptures, and other quirky artworks, are in various areas.

One of its most iconic murals is “The Picnic,” painted in 1942 on the Berwyn Post office.

The mural illustrates a classical-themed painting that features people celebrating a picnic.

Besides “The Picnic,” there are plenty of wonderfully painted murals in Berwyn.

You can see them throughout Berwyn’s streets, walls, and alleyways, which you can find easily.

Thanks to the Berwyn Public Art Initiative, Berwyn’s streets became more colorful with these magnificent artworks.

Have Fun at the Proksa Park Children’s Garden

Proksa Park Children’s Garden is an excellent place to bring your family, especially kids.

You can visit this park along Wisconsin Avenue.

The park features numerous amenities, such as tennis courts, an activity center, a playground, a pond, and a picnic area.

This park is a great place to do various outdoor activities since it’s Berwyn’s biggest park.

Besides the amenities mentioned, the park has a children’s garden, which is a fascinating place to let kids discover rare and common plant species.

Remember to add Proksa Park Children’s Garden to your itinerary for a day filled with fun and laughter.

Wander through Depot District

The Depot District is your go-to place for various outdoor activities and leisure.

You can visit this place along Grove Avenue and Windsor Avenue.

This vibrant district is a pedestrian-friendly area known for its public art installations, free entertainment, restaurants, bars, and shops.

This place is usually packed with people since it’s adjacent to the metro bus stations that connect Chicago.

Depot District has plenty of sights, such as quirky public art installations like murals, sculptures, etc.

At the same time, numerous art galleries and street buskers provide more vibrance to its already lively scene.

Also, many of Berwyn’s local activities happen here, which makes it an exciting place to catch an event.

Chill at Hett Park

Hett Park is one of the many community parks in Berwyn.

You can visit this park along 19th and Cuyler Avenue.

The park was named after Thomas A. Hett, a prominent individual in Berwyn back in the day.

The park is one of the newest outdoor attractions constructed by the North Berwyn Park District.

Like most parks, this one has a playground, a picnic area, sports facilities, a water park, and a swimming pool.

Hett Park has top-notch amenities and outdoor activities you can enjoy.

Check Out the Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District

One of the houses at Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District

Boscophotos, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the reasons why Berwyn is known throughout Cook County is its charming tiny Chicago bungalow houses.

These houses have existed since the early 1900s.

You can see these bungalows along 19th Avenue westbound and 19th Avenue eastbound, known as the Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District.

There are plenty of options to see these bungalows, either by guided tours or self-guided tours.

These bungalows were built during Berwyn’s early years, which was a testament to its progress back in the day.

Besides the Chicago bungalows, there are over a hundred other historical buildings you can see up close during your tour at this place in Berwyn.

Spend the morning at the Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District!

Do Tricks at Kriz Skate Park

Kriz Skate Park is an exciting place to enjoy skateboarding with friends or locals.

You can visit this skate park along Maple Avenue.

The skate park features concrete pavement with some necessary obstacles and features to provide skaters with a challenging but fun experience.

If you are an avid skater who wants to hone your skateboard skills, go to Kriz Skate Park.

Besides being the go-to destination for local skaters, it hosts various regional skateboarding competitions, making it an exciting place to drop by.

Appreciate the Peaceful Ambiance of the Berwyn Gardens

Berwyn Gardens is a charming place plant lovers mustn’t miss visiting during their trip to Berwyn.

You can visit this community garden along Home Avenue.

This garden is tucked away from the noisy, bustling city scene of Chicago.

It’s an excellent place to explore the gorgeous passive atmosphere filled with well-maintained plants and flowers.

It’s home to dozens of plant and tree species, such as ornamental trees, rolling berms, flowering shrubs, and colorful flowers.

Besides its garden, it has a gazebo, picnic tables, and a winding pathway that leads you to a sprawling green open space.

This garden has received numerous awards and recognition since its opening in 1997.

Thus, the Berwyn Gardens is a recommended place in Berwyn to spend your time, especially with your loved ones.

This garden is the perfect place to take a break because of its tranquil atmosphere.

Let Kids Have Fun at the Mothers on a Mission Playground

Mothers on a Mission Playground is a beautiful place for kids to have fun.

You and your toddler can visit this playground along Kenilworth Avenue.

Unlike your typical playground, this has unique play equipment and sections, including accessibility features for differently-abled kids.

Besides, it has sensory boards for an interactive and fun learning experience for kids.

The playground was named after an advocacy group that conceptualized an idea to add special sensory features to local playgrounds for differently-abled kids and those with special needs.

Today, the Mothers on a Mission Playground is where kids from all walks of life can have fun in Berwyn.

Remember to bring your kids to this local playground in Berwyn for a day full of fun and excitement.

Watch the Mustangs at the Morton West High School Soccer Field

For an exciting activity, head to the Morton West High School Soccer Field to watch the local high school team, the Mustangs, play this sport.

You can visit this soccer field along W. 26th Street.

The Mustangs are the official soccer team of Morton West High School, which regularly plays in the gold division of the western suburbs.

Watching these high schoolers play soccer is an exciting activity.

You can enjoy cheering for the home team along with parents and supporters on the sideline.

Besides soccer, the Morton West High School Soccer Field also hosts various sports, making it a nice place to catch local sports.

Play Sand Volleyball at Sunshine Park

Sunshine Park is one of the community parks you can visit in Berwyn.

This community park along 29th Place is mainly famous for its sand volleyball court.

Many locals love to play sand volleyball, especially when the sun is out.

Remember to add this park to your itinerary, especially if you’re a big fan of sand volleyball.

Besides its main attraction, the park has a sand playground, bocci ball courts, a play structure, a gazebo, and plenty of green open space for other activities.

Whenever you’re yearning for more outdoor activities, visit Sunshine Park and enjoy what it offers best.

Relax at Karasek Park

After exploring Berwyn, treat yourself and relax at Karasek Park.

You can visit this park along Kenilworth and Windsor Avenues.

The park is known throughout this suburb as a perfect spot for relaxation despite being adjacent to the bustling Depot District.

Many locals love to spend their time relaxing and sitting on one of its benches under the canopy of trees after shopping or working.

Karasek Park is a small slice of nature where you can enjoy a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

It’s a perfect spot for pausing for a few minutes before continuing your tour through Berwyn.

Make sure to visit Karasek Park before returning home from your incredible adventure in Berwyn.

Visit the Miniature Berwyn Spindle Car Kebab

Close view of the Berwyn Spindle Car Kebab

Erstwhile.Human from Ellensburg, Washington, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Paisans Pizzeria pays homage to the original Berwyn Spindle Cars, which were removed years ago.

The pizzeria along Ogden Avenue built a miniature version of it in front of its store, which the public can visit and take photos of.

Historically, the famous spindle car sculpture was a quirky public art installation that once stood in front of a shopping center in Berwyn.

The original sculpture comprised numerous cars stacked above each other similar to a kebab stick 50 feet high.

However, this public art installation was torn down in 2008 for safety reasons.

In 2022, Paisans Pizzeria reimagined the Berwyn Spindle Car Kebab with their miniature version, which stands at 23 feet.

Posing for a photo at the miniature spindle car kebab is a nice souvenir from your trip to Berwyn.

Final Thoughts

Berwyn is a great place to explore, especially if you’re fascinated by arts and history.

Your time visiting this suburb in Chicago’s western outskirts is guaranteed to be a worthwhile experience because of its free attractions.

Pin this post about the free things to do in Berwyn, Illinois, as your handy itinerary.

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