100 Things to Do This Summer in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

**The handy list has been updated for 2019**

It’s the unofficial start of summer! I am so excited to present you the 100+ Days of Summer in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Don’t get stuck in the rut of not finding anything to do. In fact, I’ll make it easy and give you more than 100 things for you to do with your kids – all in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. I’ll be continually adding items so bookmark this page. 

So what are you waiting for? Get out and GO!

    1. Check out a new library to play, play, play including our favorites Barrington Area Library and Wauconda Area Library. Or better yet, check out Algonquin Area Public Library’s recently renovated playroom area. (Check it out here.) Here are a few more library ideas. (various locations)
    2. Choo choo! Ride the rails at Fox River Trolley Museum. Review here. (South Elgin)
    3. Boogie down with the kids at a free children’s concert.
    4. Learn about the history of Buffalo Grove at the Raupp Museum. Starting June 11, there will be free walk-in activities every Tuesday afternoon from 1 – 3:30 p.m.  Two Moms a Little Time and a Keyboard review here.  (Buffalo Grove)
    5. Want to try yoga in the park for free? Try Vinyasa Yoga at Randall Oaks Park and Sleepy Hollow Pool. (West Dundee, specific Saturdays June to August) 
    6. Ahoy matey! Spend the day enjoying kiddie rides at the pirate-themed amusement park Pirates’ Cove. Read a review here. (Elk Grove Village)
    7. Bounce around and let the crazies out at an inflatable bounce place like Jump Zone (Crystal Lake or Buffalo Grove) or Pump It Up (Schaumburg/Crystal Lake)
    8. Bring your tot bowling to Pinstripes for $3 Kids Bowling. Read a review here. (South Barrington)
    9. Fishy fun is possible without a trip to the Shedd. Visit Petland Aquarium Adventure instead. Review by Queen of the Land of Twigs ‘N Berries. (Hoffman Estates)
    10. Watch horses gallop and speed through. Sundays are family fun days at Arlington Park National Racecourse. (Arlington Heights)
    11. Become Scottish just for a day at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Read a review here. (6/14 & 6/15, Itasca)
    12. Learn about frogs at Crabtree Nature Center. (6/21, Barrington Hills)
    13. Let the kids go wild at the Treehouse while you sip on coffee. (Lake Zurich)
    14. Walk through a bog. What’s a bog? Learn all about it at the Volo Bog nature center then walk through yourself. While you’re there head to their unstructured nature play space. (Volo)
    15. Discover a new fro-yo joint. (Various suburbs)
    16. Cool off and go ice skating at Hoffman Estates Ice Arena. (Hoffman Estates)
    17. Earn a prize by trying to visit as many places as  you can with the KDRMA program (various burbs)
    18. Try to visit as many places as you can with the Museum Adventure Pass (various burbs)
    19. Experience the gallantry and chivalry of Medieval Times (Schaumburg)
    20. Bowl for FREE. Find more info here. (Multiple places)
    21. Visit a zoo AND an amusement park. Santa’s Village Azoosment is the best of both worlds! (East Dundee)
    22. Touch a truck! Algonquin Commons will have super-sized vehicles in their parking lot. (6/9, Algonquin)
    23. Taste your way through Des Plaines at Taste of Des Plaines (Free, 6/14-6/15, Des Plaines)
    24. Choo choo! Time for a choo choo restaurant. My kids adore 2Toots Grill (Bartlett) and people rave aboutThe Choo Choo. Little Lake County review here. (Des Plaines).
    25. Immerse yourself in the world of LEGOs at Brickworld (6/15-6/16, Schaumburg)
    26. Taste delicious gourmet popcorn at Mama Lee’s Gourmet Popcorn. (Elgin, West Dundee)
    27. Partake in a Crystal Lake tradition by watching cardboard boats float on water at the America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta. (7/27, Crystal Lake)
    28. Boogie down. Dance your way in downtown Des Plaines during Friday Nights Live!, their 10-week series of live family-friendly entertainment. (Friday, June 21-August 23; 6-9:30 p.m., Des Plaines)
    29. Bike the Fox River Bike Trail and explore many of the family-friendly stops like Van’s Ice Cream and Dairy Queen.
    30. Have a brick-tastic good time at LEGOLAND Discovery Center. (Schaumburg)
    31. View fish at the aquarium and see stuffed animals (real stuffed animals) at Cabela’s. (Hoffman Estates)
    32. Pick fresh produce at a farmer’s market. (Various)
    33. Speaking of farmers markets, how about storytime at a farmer’s market? Check out the fresh produce, relax on Woodstock Square, and listen to storytime. Review here. (Tuesdays, Woodstock)
    34. Grab ice cream at Christie’s Dairy Delights. Review from Two Moms a Little Time, and a Keyboard here.  (Palatine)
    35. Grab your blanket and watch a movie in the park under the stars (various suburbs)
    36. Catch a flick for cheap with the kids. Marcus Cinemas and Regal Cinemas have kids movies this summer. My kids are super excited to watch Lego Movie 2. Check out all the different movies here.
    37. Pick your very own luscious strawberries from the vine. We had a fun time at Heider’s Berry Farm a few years back.  We also tried strawberry picking at Stade’s and had a great time.  (Woodstock)
    38. Take a break from shopping at the play area at a mall like Woodfield (Schaumburg), Hawthorne Center (Vernon Hills) 
    39. Walk amongst art at the International Sculpture Park(Schaumburg)
    40. Feed ducks, pet sheep, emus, and alpacas at Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo. From June 15-August 10, the Zoo will be open on Saturday nights until 8:00 p.m. If you visit on Sundays, stop by afterward at the historic Centerville Schoolhouse open from 2 – 4 p.m. until October. Review here. (West Dundee)
    41. Practice safety while biking at Safety Town at Vogelei Park. (Hoffman Estates Vogelei Park)
    42. Drop-in at the Recplex for indoor fun for tots. Review here by Queen of the Land of Twigs and Berries. (Mount Prospect)
    43. Head to the mall and have the kids go crazy at the newly renovated brightly colored playground Yu Kids. Review here. (Schaumburg)
    44. Ride a carousel at Jumps ‘n Jiggles. Review here. (Elk Grove Village)
    45. Be a beach bum at any one of the beaches – Main Beach, West Beach, or Three Oaks Recreation Area (Review here) in Crystal Lake and Lake Arlington offer sandy fun on a sunny (or not so sunny) day!
    46. Play PAC-MAN and a few other arcade games at PAC-MAN inspired restaurant/entertainment venue PAC-MAN Entertainment. My Chicago Parent review here. (Schaumburg)
    47. See Elk at Busse Woods. Review here(Elk Grove Village)
    48. Listen to music at a free outdoor concert in the park. (Various suburbs)
    49. Let the kids enjoy the sun and have fun in a new park. Some of our favorites include Deicke Park (Huntley) and Veteran Acres Park (Crystal Lake)
    50. Batter up! Cheer on the Schaumburg Boomers at a minor league baseball game. For even more fun visit during their Sunday Family Fun Day or their many themed nights. Review here. (Schaumburg)
    51. Splash around at a splash pad.  For a simple yet fun one at Fountain Square Park. (Elk Grove Village)
    52. Splash pad + playdate? The Dundee Township Park District will be hosting a playdate every Friday at 2 p.m. at Huffman Park (June 7 – August 9, Dundee)
    53. Tuesdays are free fun Tuesdays at the Buffalo Grove Park District parks. Drop in and enjoy fun activities for kids. (Free, Buffalo Grove)
    54. Fly a kite (Anywhere)
    55. Go fish! Catch and release fishing is available at Twin Lakes. Rent a boat for more fun! (Palatine)
    56. Watch planes land and take off while having dinner at Pilot Pete’s, an airplane themed restaurant. It’s located at an airport!  (Schaumburg)
    57. Tumble around at open gym at Trinity Lakes Gymnastics, Huntley Gymnastics Academy, or Cary Gymnastics.
    58. Ride the Metra between the ‘burbs or to the city! (various suburbs)
    59. Learn about the history of trains at the Bartlett Depot Museum. (Bartlett)
    60. Celebrate the summer with a sweet treat at Sweet T’s Bakery. (Arlington Heights)
    61. Put out a (pretend) fire at Fire Zone. (Schaumburg)
    62. Pick up a new hobby, find a new train to add to your collection or watch model trains chug through at America’s Best Train, Toy, and Hobby Shop. (Itasca)
    63. Plan a little redecorating at Ikea. Kids tall enough can be dropped off at the playland area. (Schaumburg)
    64. Watch butterflies fly all around you at Crystal Lake Butterfly House at their Nature Center. (Crystal Lake)
    65. Brunch it up at Pinstripes Sunday Brunch. Review here. (South Barrington)
    66. Discover your favorite Asian foods at Mitsuwa. Grab some noodles for lunch. (Arlington Heights)
    67. Enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride through Heritage Farm. (Schaumburg)
    68. Fridays are Funday at various Hoffman Estates parks. (6/14-7/26, Hoffman Estates)
    69. Experience the charm of a 19th-century community farm fair during Spring Valley Country Fair at Volkening Heritage Farm (6/22-23, Schaumburg)
    70. Think you can be the next new Ninja Warrior? Practice your skills at the “ninja” course at Meineke Park. (Schaumburg)
    71. Celebrate the Fourth of July at Frontier Days (7/3-7/7, Arlington Heights)
    72. All aboard! Hop aboard the Woodfield Trolley making stops at Woodfield, Streets of Woodfield, and more! (Schaumburg)
    73. Pedal a paddleboat on the lake at Twin Lakes Recreation Area. (Palatine)
    74. Buy candy at an old-time candy shop like Around the Corner Candy. (West Dundee)
    75. Buy a new toy or window shop at a unique toy store like Brilliant Sky Toys & Books (Deer Park) or Marvin’s Toy Store. (Crystal Lake)
    76. Listen to a story at Barnes and Nobles (Various suburbs)
    77. Witness how donuts are made at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Call first to see when they have a fresh batch cooking.  (Elk Grove Village)
    78. Learn about the Irish culture at Irish Fest (7/12 – 7/13, Arlington Heights)
    79. Catch a flick at the last remaining drive-in in the area. The McHenry Outdoor Theater has been opened since 1955. Read about our experience here. (McHenry)
    80. Fore! Practice your mini-golfing skills at Congo River Golf. (Hoffman Estates)
    81. Find a bargain at a flea market like Wolff’s Flea Market. (Palatine)
    82. Shop at an old-time general store like Norton’s USA. (Barrington)
    83. Watch the Dragon Boat Festival at Busse Woods. (7/27, Rolling Meadows)
    84. Listen to stories at storytime at a library (Various)
    85. Take photos at the picturesque Walton Island Park. (Elgin)
    86. Eat at a restaurant….with a live tree growing in the middle. Benedict’s is a great option for a breakfast or brunch. (East Dundee)
    87. Dine in a train car at Chessies(Barrington)
    88. Celebrate Christmas in July with fun activities at Spring Valley. (7/25-28, Schaumburg)
    89. Discover all that Rosemont has to offer. Review here. (Rosemont)
    90. Chow down on grilled food at Weber Grill. Read about our experience here. (Schaumburg)
    91. Celebrate the 4th of July at Northwest Fourth-Fest, the largest festival in the Northwest suburbs. (Hoffman Estates)
    92. Food trucks + parks?! Find your fav food truck at participating South Elgin parks. (TBD, South Elgin)
    93. Enjoy fun activities like a corn maze, 50′ tube slide, carousel, jumping pillows and more at Richardson Adventure Farm. Read about our experience here. (Spring Grove)
    94. Sundae Funday! Have you conquered the kitchen sink at Colonial Cafe? (Algonquin)
    95. Eat sushi kaiten-style on a conveyer belt at Sushi Station (Elgin)
    96. Enjoy the beautiful gardens at Friendship Park Conservatory. Read a review by Queen of the Land of Twigs and Berries. (Des Plaines)
    97. Visit the Northern Illinois Fire Museum in Marengo to learn all you want about the firemen and their cool equipment.
    98. Take a selfie with the bison at the wildly popular new nature playground at Bison’s Bluff. Review here. (Schaumburg)
    99. Watch bakers make the donuts at Craft Coffee + Donuts. Grab a couple for yourself and some of that award-winning Metric Coffee. (West Dundee)
    100. Get reacquainted with nature at the nature play space dubbed Wahoo Woods behind the library. Read all about it here. (East Dundee)
    101. Beat the crowds and go apple picking. Read our review of Royal Oak Farm. (Harvard)
    102. Partake in a family fun day with rides, games, crafts, and more at Randall Oaks Recreation Center (FREE, 8/24, West Dundee)
    103. Play at an indoor playground like TykePlay (Carpentersville) or Kinderland (Algonquin). Read about Kinderland here. 
    104. Splash away at Rainbow Falls Waterpark. It’s small and manageable which makes for an easy day out! Read review here. (Elk Grove Village)
    105. Enjoy a sunflower stroll at Crabtree Nature Center. (8/25, Barrington)
    106. Take an art class at Kids Art & Cafe. Or just have fun in the play place. Read the review here. (Schaumburg)
    107. Too hot or rainy? Take the kids to Bumblebee Play Cafe to release their energy, while you sip on a Bumblechino. (Elgin)
    108. Watch a movie…outside! For a totally cool and unique experience head to the Outdoor Movie Night at the Lake in the Hills Airport. (6/18, Lake in the Hills)
    109. Taste unique rolled ice cream. You can’t go wrong with any of the flavors at Fanny’s Thai Rolled Ice Cream. On Mondays and Tuesdays, you can even try making your own rolled ice cream. (Elgin)
    110. Enjoy nature and read a story on the way. The new StoryWalk at Hamilton Reservoir sounds fun! The unveiling is on June 12. (Palatine)
    111. Welcome the newest sports team to Chicagoland, The Chicago Dogs, at Impact Field. Don’t miss Family Sundays with $3 bottomless popcorn and fountain drinks. Read all about it here. (Rosemont)

Did I miss any of your favorite activities in the Northwest burbs?

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