BEST Things to Do in the Chicago Suburbs

Looking for what to do in the Chicago suburbs? Whether staying in the suburbs or looking for a fun day trip from Chicago, here are the best things to do in the suburbs of Chicago. From the best attractions to fun and unique activities, there are many of places in the Chicago suburbs worth visiting for adults and kids.

Things to do in the Chicago Suburbs

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Top Things to do in the Chicago Suburbs

If your time is limited, below are my top 3 things to do in the suburbs of Chicago. I have listed the remaining activities and attractions by region.

Explore the Morton Arboretum

Morton Arboretum (in Lisle about 26 miles west of Chicago) is home to more than 4,000 different types of trees among 1,700 acres.  The Arboretum is full of hiking and biking trails or you can just drive through by car. Kids will particularly enjoy the 4-acre Children’s Garden.

The Arboretum offers seasonal events throughout the year. In addition to enjoying flowers in the spring and summer, the Arboretum is one of the best places in the Chicago area to see fall colors.

Human+Nature, an outdoor art installation by renowned South African artist Daniel Popper, will be at the Arboretum through March 2023. The exhibition features 15- to 26-foot-tall sculptures in various locations across the Arboretum site to lead guests to areas they may not otherwise explore.

Visit the Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden (in Glencoe about 24 miles north of Chicago) is one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers with 27 gardens and four natural areas, situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline. You can explore the Garden by walking or a tram tour.  The website has a list of suggested garden walks including seasonal walks which maximize nature viewing opportunities.

Chicago Botanic Garden offers seasonal events throughout the year including the popular Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns for Halloween and Lightscape, an after-dark, illuminated holiday lights trail during the Christmas holiday season.

See the Baháʼí Temple

Bahai Temple in Wilmette one of the best things to do in the Chicago suburbs
The Baháʼí House of Worship in Wilmette is the second Baháʼí House of Worship ever constructed and the oldest one still standing. It is one of eight Baháʼí temples in the world and the only one in of North America. The temple is open to the public and used as a devotional space for people of any faith.  Even for those not interested in going inside, it is worth seeing the beautiful exterior.

Things to Do in the Western Suburbs

Below are some of the best things to do in Chicago’s western suburbs:

Things to Do in the Northwest Suburbs

Below are the top things to do in Chicago’s northwest suburbs:

  • Take the kids to LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago, a 30,000 square feet indoor LEGO® playground.
  • Shop at Woodfield Mall, the largest shopping mall in Illinois located in Schaumburg.
  • Shop or dine on Swedish meatballs at Ikea in Schaumburg.
  • Bike or hike the Fox River Bike Trail, a 40 mile long bike trail alongside historic railroad lines, crossing six bridges and passing through nature preserves and charming towns like St. Charles. This brew and bike tour is a a great way to explore the area.
  • Go indoor skydiving in Rosemont.
  • See the beautiful architecture of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Complex in Bartlett, a traditional Hindu place of worship built of intricate hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone.

Things to Do in the North Shore

These are my favorite things to do in the North Shore:

Things to Do in the Far North Suburbs

Below are the top things to do in the far North suburbs of Chicago:

  • Have fun at Six Flags Great America, an amusement park located in Gurnee.
  • Enjoy the outdoors Illinois Beach State Park, 4160-acre park stretching 6.5 miles along Lake Michigan in northern Illinois recognized for its geological structure, unique flora, and recreational opportunities for swimming, boating, hiking, biking and picnicking.

Things to Do in the Southwest Suburbs

Below are the top things to do in Chicago’s southwest suburbs:

More Things to do in the Chicago Suburbs

So there you have it – the best things to do in Chicago suburbs.  If there is an experience or place you think I should include please let me know in the comments below!


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