15 Best Things to Do in Arlington Heights, IL

Things to Do in Arlington Heights, IL

Arlington Heights is a hive of activity, brimming with hidden gems waiting to be discovered, and I am thrilled to take you on this tour. Let's look at the 15 best things to do in Arlington Heights, Illinois!

How this article was written: Our team first analyzed the scores and feedback across major platforms like Google Maps, Yelp, and Trip Advisor, considering not only the ratings but also the consistency of positive feedback. Following this, we conducted interviews with over 30 local residents who have been to these attractions and places to gather authentic, first-hand experiences. You can read more about our research process here.

While this list showcases some remarkable attractions, it's important to note there are many other exceptional places in Arlington Heights that are not featured here. Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Explore the Muller House

Exterior of Muller House
I, G LeTourneau, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every time I run my fingers over the intricate carvings of the Muller House, a sense of nostalgic harmony floods through me.

Nestled in the heart of our little tovillagewn, this late 19th-century house is more than just a structure; it's a window to our shared past – a testament to a simpler, more elegant era that continues to inspire awe and admiration.

Constructed by a German immigrant family, the house reflects the character of our pioneering ancestors.

Its unique architecture tells stories of the old-world charm blended with the pioneering spirit of the American Midwest.

The ornate details, the pre-electric kitchen, and the traditional Victorian-style bedrooms make the house a living museum, drawing locals and tourists alike.

Visiting the Muller House is a treasured ritual for me.

As I stroll through its hallowed halls, I'm swept back in time, reliving an era marked by resilience and innovation.

Have Fun at Break Escape

There's nothing quite like a thrilling evening at Break Escape, right here in the heart of our village.

My friends and I, we're always on the lookout for ways to challenge ourselves, so we decided to give this escape room experience a shot.

It turned out to be one of the most engaging evenings we've had in a while!

It was our first time attempting an escape room, and we didn't know what to expect.

The adrenaline rush and the sheer fun of figuring out the clues had us hooked from the start.

We were grateful for the occasional hints, which nudged us in the right direction but didn't give everything away.

It was a delicate balance that kept the experience exciting and fun.

The room we chose was filled with an immersive storyline and loads of information, which really made us think outside of the box.

The thrill of the final minute was unmatchable.

We managed to escape with just a second to spare in the "US Customs: Entry Denied" room.

However, the "10 Minutes to Heaven" room proved a bit too challenging for us, we were just about 20-30 seconds short of cracking it.

But that's just another reason for us to come back! Break Escape also turned out to be a fantastic place for a kid's birthday party.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Pioneer Park

Every time I step into Pioneer Park, it feels like I’m plunging into a cheesecake slice of pure Americana.

The baseball and football fields always echo with the energetic roars of teams battling it out, while the Olympic-sized pool glistens under the sun, inviting anyone looking for a refreshing splash.

Tennis enthusiasts can usually be spotted in one of the four courts, perfecting their backhand stroke or serving aces.

Imagine my delight when my daily walks turned into explorations in this beautiful facility.

The park offers a plethora of walking paths, all scenic and tranquil.

However, there's something special about walking on the grass.

The soft cushioning under my feet and the dewy freshness in the morning are an unmatched experience.

But it's not just walking; Pioneer Park is like a haven for outdoor fitness buffs.

You wouldn’t believe the thrill I get every time I ride down the large hill on my bike.

There's another steep off-trail one that I use quite often. It's exhilarating!

Stroll through North School Park

Every village has a heart, and for us in Arlington Heights, it's North School Park.

Tucked away in the bustling village center, this park is more than just a green space — it's a serene escape, a play haven, a place where time seems to slow down, and life feels just a little more magical, especially during the holiday season.

When the park gets decked up in Christmas lights, it feels as if you've stepped into a Christmas card.

The sparkle of the lights against the night sky transforms the park into a winter wonderland, casting a fabulous atmosphere that leaves you breathless.

You can't help but marvel at this spectacle every year.

It's like the park puts on a new set of clothes, becoming even more enchanting under the blanket of twinkling lights.

I often take my kids to play at the park.

The playground might not have much shade, yet it's a place where my children can frolic around, letting their laughter fill the air.

Spend a Night at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

I don't know about you, but there's something incomparable about the thrill of live theatre.

And the best place around here to get that rush is the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre.

From the moment you walk into the cozy and inviting atmosphere of the center, you're transported into a world of art and creativity.

It was at Xanadu, my first show there when I realized this was not your average theater.

The performance was as grand and professional as anything you'd see in bigger, more established theaters.

And the best part? Every seat is a good seat. Trust me on this, I've tried them all.

The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre is not just a theater. It's a hub for talent.

I've seen some genuinely amazing performances there, and each time I'm in awe of the talent this place attracts.

Top-notch productions are the norm here, not the exception. It's always a treat to see what's on their schedule next.

What's more, it's nestled right in the heart of Arlington Heights.

And I can't tell you enough how many remarkable dining spots and lively bars are within a stone's throw.

Pay a Visit to Thrown Elements Pottery

Thrown Elements Pottery is cozy and warm and offers a unique experience for kids and adults alike.

Aside from the parties, I occasionally visit Thrown Elements Pottery with my friends, and I must say, we always have a fantastic time.

The instructors are helpful and engaging, making the experience enjoyable and definitely, one to try if you're looking for something new.

Enjoy a Shopping Adventure at Mitsuwa Marketplace

I remember the first time I stepped into Mitsuwa Marketplace, it was love at first sight.

It was like stepping into a little part of Japan right in the heart of our village.

Over time, this place has become my go-to spot for my grocery needs and even a fun day out.

My favorite part of the supermarket is the food court, offering a wide array of delicious Japanese dishes.

Sharing different dishes with family and friends has become something of a tradition for us.

From sushi to udon, there’s something to suit everyone’s palate.

If you are a book lover like me, you'll appreciate the bookstore tucked inside.

Exploring this store has always been an enjoyable experience, offering a unique blend of Japanese and English literature.

The checkout process at Mitsuwa is a breeze. With multiple counters open, it's quick and convenient to get in and out, making it an effortless shopping experience.

Spend a Day at Sunset Meadows Park

Ahh, the charm of Sunset Meadows Park, my go-to haven for relaxation right in the heart of Arlington Heights.  

This is a place that truly offers something for everyone, from its clean winding paths to its expansive fields, perfect for a friendly match of soccer or football.

Speaking of these paths, they're kept immaculate year-round - a joy for walkers, joggers, and cyclists alike.

And if there's a chance of flooding, fret not, as there are ample warning signs to keep you safe.

The seating areas along these paths are equally welcoming, with well-kept benches offering a quiet place to rest or simply enjoy the view.

As for the kids, well, they're in for a treat, especially in winter.

There's a sledding hill, seemingly innocuous from the street, but once you get closer, you realize it's much more than it initially appears.

It starts off gentle on the sides, perfect for the younger ones.

But it also offers a larger drop for the older, more daring children.

I recall my own childhood spent racing down these slopes, the thrill of the descent still vivid in my memory.

But it's not all about adrenaline, some of my favorite moments at the park are spent quietly.

Just sitting, perhaps with a good book, and watching the sunset, or if I am up early enough the sunrise.

The park is also an excellent spot for moon-watching.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Heritage Park

I've got the privilege of living just a short walk away from Heritage Park.

With its sprawling green fields and a wide array of amenities, this place has something for everyone to enjoy.

The outdoor pool area is a major draw during the summer months.

Although it can get a bit pricy if you don't have a season pass - sometimes it's more affordable to have the kids go swimming elsewhere - I can vouch for the quality of the lifeguards.

They're top-notch. Plus, the swim instructors are some of the best we've come across.

The pool area isn't just one massive pool; there are different sections that cater to all age groups and swimming abilities.

And when the weather gets warm, it's an ideal spot for a family picnic.

The park lights up quite literally in the evenings, with night lights illuminating the tennis courts.

It's a fantastic sight to behold, especially if you're a sports enthusiast.

And when winter rolls around, the artificial hill turns into a sled hill, great for kids and adults alike.

Wander Around Recreation Park

You don't have to venture far to find a refreshing corner of nature right in the heart of our village.

I am talking about the Recreation Park, an urban oasis where the air is always buzzing with energy.

The Recreation Park is a local favorite for its indoor and outdoor swimming pools, its athletic courts, and fields.

My one ritual every summer? Attending Frontier Days.

The park is always so well taken care of during this event, clean and neat, but beyond that, the grounds are always a hoot to explore.

The landscape is peaceful, filled with grand and old trees that provide ample shade.

Wooden benches are scattered around, perfect for a moment's rest or an impromptu picnic.

I've watched countless kids run around the playground, sliding down the slides with glee on their faces.

My visits to the park aren't just about Frontier Days, though.

I've spent many an afternoon strolling through the park, listening to the birds and taking in the tranquility that's so rare in the village.

I've yet to try out the water pool, but it's on my list for the upcoming summer.

Revisit History at Arlington Heights Historical Museum

Is there anything better than spending a weekend exploring the rich history of your own village? I don't think so!

The Arlington Heights Historical Museum is a place that takes me back in time whenever I visit it.

It's housed in a series of vintage and replica homes and businesses, giving visitors a taste of what life was like in simpler times.

If that doesn't scream "local charm," I don't know what does.

I can't help but feel a sense of nostalgia as I walk through the beautifully preserved buildings.

Each room is filled with artifacts, each telling a unique story about our village's past.

One of my favorite exhibits is the collection of vintage dolls and dollhouses.

The intricate details on each item are a testament to the craftsmanship of yesteryears.

Apart from the fascinating exhibits, the museum also offers spaces for rent for meetings or small gatherings.

In fact, I've attended a few local group meetings here, and the historical setting definitely adds a unique charm to any event.

Experience the Fun at Arlington Lakes Golf Club

When I wake up early on Saturday mornings, you can usually find me teeing off at Arlington Lakes Golf Club.

The cool morning breeze and the tranquil sounds of nature offer just the right setting for a game of golf.

The pace of play at ALGC is top-notch, especially for a golf course nestled in the heart of the bustling Chicago area.

As soon as you step onto the green, you'll notice the course is pristine.

It's not the lengthiest course around, but don't let that fool you.

Its unique layout, with most holes featuring one or more lakes, makes for an interesting and fun game.

Every swing has to be calculated, and every approach needs to be straight.

It's a delightful challenge that keeps you coming back for more.

And then there are the views. The picturesque lakes on most holes and an abundance of local wildlife make the golfing experience even more enjoyable.

Even if you're not up for a full game, a leisurely stroll around the beautifully maintained course is a treat.

Be prepared, though - the ducks here often leave little reminders of their presence on the pathways.

Spend a Wonderful Evening at Jameson's Original Charhouse

When it comes to dining out in my village, Jameson's Original Charhouse has always been my go-to spot for an authentic American chophouse experience.

The upscale decor featuring brick and wood-trimmed details truly adds to the whole atmosphere of the place.

The last time I visited, one of the highlights was the raw oysters.

They were large, nicely cleaned, and simply delicious.

The horseradish in the cocktail sauce was a bit overpowering, but I'm a fan of the kick it gives, so no complaints there.

The stuffed mushrooms and crab cakes were alright, they could use a little more flavor for my liking, but then again, I'm a sucker for spicy taste buds.

The star of the evening, however, was the Porterhouse.

The New York strip lacked a bit of crust but made up for it in taste and tenderness.

The filet was heavenly, probably one of the best I've ever had.

The service was commendable. Our server was courteous and attentive, always checking to see if we were enjoying our meal or if we needed anything more.

The food did take a bit longer to arrive than I would have preferred, but the quality made it worth the wait.

Discover the Charm of Downtown Arlington Heights

As I roam through Arlington Heights, I'm captivated by its walkable downtown, brimming with an assortment of unique shops and eateries.

I come across an array of dining options: Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, the Korean Totowa Bistro, Spanish, Mexican, and even Irish pubs and restaurants.

The area is beautifully shaded, with trees lining the walkways, and a charming little plaza nestled between West Campbell Street and South Vail Avenue catches my eye.

The commercial malls in Arlington Heights impress me with their attractive landscaping and pedestrian-friendly design.

A diverse product range is at my disposal, and I appreciate the abundant free parking spaces.

I discover delightful shops throughout the village, offering a wide variety of goods, ranging from home decor to confections, jewelry, cosmetics, and even pet supplies.

Final Thoughts

Life in Arlington Heights is never short of excitement or tranquility, depending on what you are craving for the day.

Whether it's getting lost in the vortex of a thrilling escape room at Break Escape, absorbing the captivating performances at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, or simply winding down with a relaxing stroll through Heritage Park, there's always something to do.

Here’s to many more days of unwrapping the endless treasures this village has to offer.

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