16 Best Things to Do in Rochelle, IL

Rochelle, IL
Eddie J. Rodriquez / shutterstock.com

Nestled amidst cornfields and bustling railways, this small-town gem offers a surprising array of activities for everyone.

Whether you are a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, our charming community will never cease to amaze you.

So, forget about the hustle and bustle of city life for a while, and let's dive into the myriad experiences Rochelle has to offer.

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We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Hazel Stanley, Milan Cundiff, Scott Morgan, Mildred Jones, Lillie Odom, Samuel Turner and Anahi Wiley.

Go Skydiving at Chicagoland Skydiving Center

Skydiver landing to Chicagoland Skydiving Center
Helene Woodbine / Shutterstock.com

There's something about the thrill of jumping out of an airplane that you just can't beat.

And nowhere does it better than the Chicagoland Skydiving Center.

The climb in the plane was filled with anticipation, but the atmosphere was surprisingly fun and exhilarating.

People at Chicagoland Skydiving Center
Helene Woodbine / Shutterstock.com

And then, finally, the jump was fantastic, made even better by the stunning views of the Illinois landscape below.

Back on the ground, the fun doesn't stop.

The on-site restaurant, The Flight Deck, is a perfect spot to wind down after the adrenaline rush.

Its outside patio is a great place to relax and enjoy the excellent weather. Don't forget to check out the sand volleyball pit.

But this is a place I'd recommend to anyone looking for an unforgettable skydiving experience.

Aircraft of Chicagoland Skydiving Center
Helene Woodbine / Shutterstock.com

Visit The Cypress House

"The Cypress House, where the clippers are your friends," I always joke when my friends ask why I look so sharp.

In my small town, there's only one place to go for a dapper haircut that never disappoints: The Cypress House.

But The Cypress House is more than just a barber shop.

It's got everything a lady could want- a boutique, plants, and even a coffee shop!

I often stop by for a cup of their delicious blackberry latte.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting - it's impossible not to feel at home.

On my way home, I always pass by their flower shop.

Whether fresh or silk flowers, they have a bouquet for every occasion. It's my little secret for those last-minute gift needs.

So, whether you're after a trim, a gift, or a cup of coffee, there's no place like The Cypress House.

Explore Kennay Farms Distilling

For the longest time, I thought local bars could only serve a decent beer or two.

But when I stumbled upon Kennay Farms Distilling, my perception took a complete 180. This place is a revelation.

Nestled comfortably in my hometown, Kennay Farms Distilling has become my go-to spot.

With its top-notch beer and rye, it is an absolute delight for everyone who loves a good drink.

I’ve tried their craft beers, the Mother Hen and Buttermilk, which are truly outstanding.

But what takes the cake is their Rye, especially the 95 proof and cask strength.

I liked the cask Rye so much that I bought a bottle on my first visit!

The brewery is not just about fantastic drinks; the people who run it are equally impressive.

They offer a behind-the-scenes tour that gives you an insight into how the magic happens.

And as you tour around, you can sip your cocktail and soak in the beautiful farm view.

The cherry on top is their tasting sessions, a treat for the palate and all senses.

Moreover, the ambiance is inviting, and the service is simply marvelous.

I have had some of my best evenings here, sampling their delicious spirits, and I'm sure there are many more to come.

If you want to join the fun, visit Kennay Farms Distilling for a unique experience.

Spend the Day at the Flagg Township Museum

Exterior of Flagg Township Museum
Andy McMurray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

"Small town charm with big city learning," I think when I hear about the Flagg Township Museum.

Imagine a place filled with rich history, engaging exhibits, and a welcoming atmosphere tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

That's what you get at this hidden gem.

Located in Rochelle, we're blessed with this local treasure that captivates both young and old alike.

There is no need to fight through the traffic and crowds of people in Chicago when you have such a fantastic alternative right here.

The Flagg Township Museum is a testament to our town's history, where you can learn about the past and how it has shaped our present.

It's worth noting that the museum also offers hands-on exhibits.

The museum encourages you to interact and engage with the shows, providing a truly immersive experience.

Though parking may seem trivial, it's also part of the experience at the Flagg Township Museum.

As a frequent visitor, I appreciate the well-maintained parking lot, a tiny testament to the attention to detail the museum's management offers.

The Flagg Township Museum is a must-visit.

What better way to understand our roots than to explore the treasures housed within this local museum?

Create Unforgettable Experiences at Veterans of Foreign Wars

I still remember the electrifying atmosphere on that fateful Super Bowl Sunday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

That day, I arrived with a dish to pass and was instantly welcomed by a sea of friendly faces.

Another genuinely memorable event was my friend's wedding reception at this venue.

We all had a fantastic time!

The laughter, the joy, the camaraderie, it was all so infectious.

But here's a playful warning for merry-makers and party-goers: their bartender pours generously, so you might want to keep that in mind if you plan on driving home.

The VFW hall is a community.

It's a place where friends meet, stories are shared, and memories are created. It's a place that feels like home, and I love every moment spent here.

Every local should give it a try.

Roll a Strike at T-Byrd Lanes

There's something special about striking down those pins at T-Byrd Lanes.

It's not just the satisfaction of a perfect shot but also the waves of nostalgia that rush over me.

From the time I was just a little one to now that I have kids of my own, T-Byrd Lanes has always been more than just a bowling alley to me.

Let me jog your memory.

Picture those classic wooden lanes that have seen countless strikes and spares over the decades.

Yes, they are still there, well maintained, and just as inviting.

Each crack and crevice tells a story of a time when everything was simpler - before flashy tech upgrades took over the bowling scene.

A game here is a fun romp from the past with the added charm of present-day cleanliness and friendly service.

In an era where prices rise as regularly as the sun, it's a relief that T-Byrd Lanes keeps their costs reasonable.

It's where you can take your grandchildren for an affordable day out, much like my parents used to take me.

We'd have countless hours of fun, laughter echoing off the polished wood, and pure joy lighting up young faces. There's no price tag on these lifelong memories.

So, next time you're looking for a perfect mix of nostalgia, fun, and affordability, remember to swing by T-Byrd Lanes.

Let's keep the tradition alive and pass on the joy of bowling to the next generation, one strike at a time!

Live Among History at the William H. Holcomb House

Exterior of William H. Holcomb House
Andy McMurray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's something genuinely magical about living in a place that holds a piece of history, and that's exactly how I felt when I used to reside in one of the apartments on the top floor of the William H. Holcomb House.

Nestled amidst the charm of the old building, my partner and I rented the north-side apartment way back when.

The property was a miraculous garden filled with towering trees and giant lilacs that would waft their perfume into our living room.

It was like living in an encapsulated time capsule, as the house was built during the Civil War era.

The main attraction was a huge, beautiful marble fireplace in the living room, our cozy haven on chilly winter nights.

Our living room window would oversee the busy state highway out front, where semi-trucks often wait for the trains to clear the road ahead.

A gentleman now owns the house and has turned it into a treasure trove.

There are statues, antiques, and plenty of iron fencing that add to the place's grandeur.

I had an opportunity to visit his site once and witness his collection of robots, a sight to behold.

Even today, the memories of living at the William H. Holcomb House are so vivid that they often materialize in my dreams.

It is a grand reminder of a time well spent, living amidst history and basking in the old-world charm.

Enjoy the Day at Skare Park

Did I ever tell you about when I lost my favorite disc at Skare Park?

It was just another sunny Saturday that begs you to get out and embrace the outdoors.

And what better place to do that than at Skare Park, right here in our town?

The park and I go way back - I practically grew up there.

I've seen it in all seasons, in all its wild beauty.

The park is nature, unfiltered and unpretentious.

That day, I decided to play the disc golf course.

If you've never tried it, you should.

It's a lot of fun, and Skare Park has the best 9-hole disc golf course in Illinois.

Beautiful, well-maintained, and not too crowded, it's just the right blend of challenge and fun.

But be warned, it's not for beginners! I've seen many a disc lost in the trees, including mine.

I stood at hole #7, eyeing the big tree straight ahead.

With a quick flick of the wrist, my disc soared straight into the branches.

I looked, I searched, but my disc was gone, swallowed up by the tree.

It was a sad day, but I couldn't help but laugh.

After all, it wasn't the first disc lost at Skare Park and wouldn't be the last.

So, next time you visit, watch for my old Firebird disc.

Who knows? You might find it!

But even if you don't, you will have a great day at Skare Park.

Whether you're there for disc golf, a family picnic, or just a stroll in the woods, it's a place that invites you to relax, unwind, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Enjoy Sky-High Dining at Flight Deck Bar & Grill

There's nothing quite like sipping a refreshing raspberry margarita as planes touch down at an airport sky-diving venue.

You can only get that experience at Flight Deck Bar & Grill! This casual eatery offers more than just a unique view.

Let me tell you, the outdoor seating can be a little hit or miss.

Some chairs aren’t the most comfortable, but you're all set once you find a good one.

Sitting outside and watching the planes land while enjoying your meal is an absolute joy.

The place always looks spotless, adding to the overall enjoyable atmosphere.

Moreover, the food is a star in its own right.

Offering various options that seem to change often, my favorite is the Panzanella Salad with added grilled chicken.

It's a foodie's dream salad!

And if you're in the mood for something hearty, I recommend their lobster poutine - essentially the most delicious lobster-loaded fries you could ever dream of.

Despite its unique location, Flight Deck Bar & Grill is easy to navigate, even with a cane, walker, or wheelchair.

There's a large, convenient parking lot, and the restaurant is handicap accessible, provided someone can assist with the doors.

Whether on a date or just craving a unique dining experience, this place offers a big bang for your buck.

After a meal here, an ordinary eatery won't cut it anymore.

Chase Trains at Rochelle Railroad Park

A locomotive at Rochelle Railroad Park
Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

My heart always lurches a bit when I hear the distant rumble of a train approaching.

It's something you get used to living near the Rochelle Railroad Park, a unique gem.

This isn't your run-of-the-mill park. No, the playground here is for the steel horses of industry that carry their cargo on twin rails.

The park has always been a favorite haunt of mine.

I've spent countless hours there, bundled up in a coat, coffee in one hand, camera in the other, waiting for the whoosh of a passing locomotive.

Over the years, I've met so many fascinating people there, from train enthusiasts sharing the folklore of the rail lines to kiddos sitting wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the size of the passing trains.

It's not just about the trains, though. The park is well-maintained and clean, making it inviting to wile away the hours.

Something about waiting for a train to pass adds to the allure.

The anticipation and the thrill when it finally thunders past form a unique experience you'll get to appreciate at the Rochelle Railroad Park.

And for someone like me, who finds beauty in the graffiti painted on the sides of the carriages, it's a treasure trove of urban art.

These transient murals add an unexpected splash of color to the industrial landscape, serving as a silent testament to the lives the trains touch as they hurtle across the country.

So if the call of clattering tracks and whistling trains sparks a sense of adventure in you, Rochelle Railroad Park is worth a stop.

Spend Casual Friday at The Rabbit's Foot Bar & Grill

You'll find more to love than just the lucky name when you swing by The Rabbit's Foot Bar & Grill.

Trust me, I was pleasantly surprised when I settled into one of their comfortable booths.

I popped in on a Friday afternoon, just in time to enjoy the hum of the end-of-the-week crowd.

Let me tell you if you're wondering about the food - it's not just your typical bar grub.

I ordered the hubvana sandwich and a side of tots, a combo I'd urge any first-timer to try.

The sandwich was piled high with tasty ingredients, and the tots were golden and crispy, just as they should be.

While the food may be enough to draw you in, the atmosphere will keep you coming back.

The Rabbit's Foot has a charm and a genuine welcoming vibe that makes you feel right at home.

Plus, they serve a decent beer selection to wash everything down.

It's one of those places that manages to be both an excellent place for a quick bite and a local hangout spot.

But if you're not a sandwich person, no worries.

I've heard rave reviews about their Taco Tuesdays, and the chicken sandwich also seems to be a crowd-pleaser.

It's worth the pit stop even if you're passing through on your way to Texas, like one visitor I met at the counter.

Always bustling with a blue-collar-friendly crowd, The Rabbit's Foot Bar & Grill is where anyone can feel comfortable.

So take a break from your usual spots and give this place a shot - I feel you might find a new favorite.

Go Fishing at Lake Sule

If there's a hidden gem nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of Illinois, it has to be the tranquil Lake Sule.

Think of a cool breeze in your hair, the sound of water lapping against the shoreline, and a fishing rod in hand - that's what a typical day looks like here for me.

Situated against the backdrop of Route 39/51, this lake spans over 40 acres, offering ample space for everyone to enjoy their leisure time.

I find it perfect for fishing or just indulging in a peaceful paddle.

Moreover, it features a neat boat launch and two floating piers, making it a convenient spot for boating enthusiasts.

There are two docks with seating arrangements - an ideal spot for me to unwind after a long day or to soak in the serene beauty of the surroundings.

The parking space is ample, and there's even a tiny park-style bathroom for convenience.

And yes, how could I forget the rope swing? It adds a touch of fun to the whole experience.

Lake Sule remains a fantastic spot to fish and explore.

A bonus is the shelter with many tables, making it an excellent place for picnics.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Discover History at Ellwood House Museum

Exterior of Ellwood House Museum
Eddie J. Rodriquez / Shutterstock.com

One of DeKalb's best-kept secrets is the Ellwood House Museum, a beautifully preserved Victorian-style home on a verdant 10-acre estate.

I often find myself entranced by its timeless beauty, captivated by the rich history echoing within its walls.

Every visit is a journey back in time, a chance to immerse yourself in the lives of those who once called this magnificent place home.

A visit to the Ellwood House wouldn't be complete without a stroll around the immaculate grounds.

The gardens are meticulously maintained, providing the perfect backdrop for the house.

Garden at Ellwood House Museum
Eddie J. Rodriquez / Shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, not all house floors are accessible to the public, but this in no way detracts from the overall experience.

I often take my daughter along, who is completely enamored with everything about the museum.

She's fascinated by the stories, the antique furnishings, and the intricate architectural details.

It's an excellent way for her to learn about local history in a fun and interactive way.

The Ellwood House Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in history architecture, or looking to spend a beautiful day exploring a local gem.

It's time well spent, I assure you.

And for those like my daughter, who find joy in every little detail, it's nothing short of a magical experience.

Signage of Ellwood House Museum
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Discover Anthropology at Pick Museum

Trust me, there's something truly captivating about the Pick Museum of Anthropology.

Tucked away in the heart of Northern Illinois University, it's like an oasis of cultural discovery.

The ebb and flow of the exhibits is exciting.

They change every semester, creating a fresh experience each time I pop in. It's never the same, and that's part of the charm.

I do need to keep in mind, though, that they do close for the summer and when students are away.

The size might deceive you at first.

Yes, it's small but packed to the brim with captivating items.

Each piece tells a story of why it was chosen to be part of this incredible collection.

It's like stepping inside a treasure chest, where every item has unique value.

Interestingly, some even say that Steve from Minecraft once battled the puppets here and emerged victorious!

These quirky, whimsical stories add a layer of fun to the experience.

The facility is top-notch, well-maintained and welcoming.

Likewise, the rotating exhibits ensure that there's always something new to explore.

With each visit, I immerse myself in a unique cultural journey, an adventure that spans through time and continents.

The Pick Museum is a local gem that invites us all to learn, explore, and appreciate the fascinating world of anthropology.

Encounter History at the Glidden Homestead & Historical Center

Exterior of the Glidden Homestead & Historical Center
Nicola Patterson / Shutterstock.com

You'd never guess in a million years, but the unassuming town I call home has an incredible story.

As I strolled one sunny afternoon to the Glidden Homestead & Historical Center, I was transported back to the era when barbed wire was a revolutionary invention.

I've walked past the preserved house of Joseph F. Glidden countless times on my way to the local grocery store, but on this particular day, I decided to stop and take a peek inside.

The house, a time capsule from the 1870s, held a treasure trove of historical items that made it come alive.

From the mustache cup on the mantle to the handmade elegant clothing carefully preserved, each item in that house told a piece of the Glidden family's history.

The tour's highlight was the array of barbed wire on display - who knew there were so many varieties?

It was eye-opening to learn about the impact of this simple invention, which altered the Western landscape in 1873.

Side view of the Glidden Homestead & Historical Center
Nicola Patterson / Shutterstock.com

One of the most delightful experiences at the Homestead is "Souper Tuesday."

My daughter and I relished the hearty soup, delicious cornbread, and fresh fruit while soaking in the warm hospitality the community is known for.

Another must-see is the working blacksmith shop, open every second and fourth Sunday from June to November.

Watching the demonstrators forge art out of steel is an experience that no one should miss.

And if you're lucky enough to be there on the season's opening day, you’ll get to see the barn where “The Winner” barbed wire was invented!

Looking at this preserved house, I felt a sense of pride in the legacy that Glidden left behind – a legacy that helped shape not just our town but also the entire American West.

It's more than just a home - a tribute to an invention that changed history.

Enjoy an Evening at the Egyptian Theatre

Exterior of the Egyptian Theatre
Nicola Patterson / Shutterstock.com

Stepping into the Egyptian Theatre is like stepping into another era.

The historical charm of the place is tangible from the moment you walk in.

It's a bit like time-traveling, to be honest.

My first experience at the theatre was with a live concert of Think Floyd, a Pink Floyd tribute band.

The venue was surprisingly intimate, fully immersing me in the experience.

Moreover, the band sounded fantastic, and the beer was reasonably priced - a rarity at such events.

The seats could have been more comfortable, but the overall atmosphere more than made up for it.

Marquee of the Egyptian Theatre
Eddie J. Rodriquez / Shutterstock.com

Likewise, the theatre is the stage for my daughter’s dance company.

I've been there multiple times for their showcases, and the views have never disappointed me.

No matter where we sit, we can see everything happening on stage.

It's a perfect venue for my little dancer to shine.

The Egyptian Theatre remains a gem in our community, offering a unique assortment of films, performances, readings, and even an annual haunted house!

Living in a town that houses a historic venue like this is truly a delight.

Architecture of the Egyptian Theatre
Eddie J. Rodriquez / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

I must say Rochelle has so much to offer.

Rochelle's small-town charm, rich history, and adventurous spirit bring me great contentment, making every day feel like a mini-vacation.

So come and immerse yourself in all the experiences Rochelle has to offer—I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

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