Did you know Elgin has outdoor public art? As you know, I’m a huge fan of outdoor art especially murals and sculptures. When I heard downtown Elgin had both, I had to see for myself. What a fun time! If you love art, want to be outdoors, this self-guided Downtown Elgin art walk is perfect for you! Grab comfortable shoes, your family, and get ready to explore Downtown Elgin.
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We parked at the lot right across the street from Gail Borden Library at 226 Grove Street in Elgin. Plenty of free parking. After parking, we walked towards the Fox River. The first thing you notice will be the “waterfall.” We then saw our first sculpture of the day, Pioneer Family Memorial Sculpture, dedicated to the first pioneers of Elgin.
Elgin art along Rt. 31
We then crossed over Kimberly Street and over the bridge and made a left onto Rt. 31 to find the next round of sculptures.
Although not a sculpture, we thought this windmill out of nowhere was pretty cool!
Art along the bridge and riverwalk
Then we made a left on Highland Avenue and spotted this fox right on the bridge overlooking the Fox River.
We then made a right on Riverside Street and walked along the Fox River. This sculpture, 1835 Expedition, was one of our favorites. Love the colors!
Although not technically part of the art walk, I adored the back of Meraki Market’s murals.
Any good art walk has plenty of diversions for the kids. We loved finding the new-to-them playground at Festival Park. It has a pretty cool play structure, something we haven’t seen before. Make sure to check out the sculpture here first. During non-Covid times, they also have a splash pad.
Tip: If you’re looking to go biking, you can grab a bike here using their new bike share program.
Continue the Elgin art walk
After tiring out the kids at the playground we continued our walk. On the corner of Prairie Street and Grove Street was this wrap. I’m so glad we accidentally stumbled upon this mural at the tattoo shop. It’s one of my favorite pieces. Then we turned the corner and found the Parade Mural.
Grab Latin food
After all this walking and playing, we were getting hungry. One thing’s for sure, there are plenty of options to eat in downtown Elgin. I’ve been on a quest to find birria tacos and I was overjoyed to find some at the new Bea Unique Latin Kitchen at Dream Hall. (Make sure to check their menu – it’s different every time.) They also had empanadas (my fav!) We sat outside and enjoyed our food. Everything we tried was so yummy!
For dessert, we stopped by next door at Al’s Cafe for their incredible rich and thick malts. Make sure to place your order ahead of time.
Art by Side Street Studio Arts
Needing to walk off what we ate, we continued our art walk. We may have gotten a little lost trying to find Side Street Studio Arts. but we eventually found it and scoped out a couple droids and murals.
Get your sweet fix on
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The new Cook’s Sweet Boutique just opened and we NEEDED to get there. What a cute little shop full of candy, pink, and cute things! The birthday girl had a fun time picking out something special. They even make fresh cotton candy if you ask.
Elgin Art along Chicago Avenue
With a bag full of candies, we crossed the street to hit up the next spot: a mural inside the parking garage on the ground floor. Then we crossed Spring Street to find another colorful wrap.
Tip: Stop by Blue Box Cafe if you’re by this piece. It is a Dr. Who themed cafe!
Art by the bridge
We headed back to Highland Avenue and spied another wrap (corner of Highland and Riverside.) It was time to walk again on the River Walk. But don’t go until you check out the murals underneath the Highland Avenue bridge.
Civic Center Plaza
They just redid this area and it looks great. A fun sculpture as well as two cool murals.
Keep walking north until you find a bridge to Walton Island. Had we more time we would have loved to just hang out here and go fishing! We crossed over the bridge and found our last sculpture of the day, United States Flag Sculpture.
And that was our fun-filled Downtown Elgin Art Walk. Now get out there and explore!
Which is your favorite art sculpture or mural?
Ready to follow in our footsteps? Here’s a map with all the art that we saw in the order we saw them. It also includes the places where we stopped to play and eat.
Creative juices flowing? Make art at home!