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Top Things to Do in the Elgin Area

Make the most of your Illinois vacation with these 15 best bets

1. Lose Yourself in a Good Book at Gail Borden Library

This 2009 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library services is the third largest public library building in Illinois. Visiting the exhibits of this enormous landmark proves to be one of the top things to do in the Elgin Area for locals and visitors, as nearly 88% of residents are cardholders to this collection of nearly half a million items.

2. Reunite With the Regulars at Elgin Public House

Located in the heart of downtown Elgin, this local establishment is open late and serves as a welcoming pit-stop for travelers as well as a place where family, friends, and loved ones gather and unwind over pub grub and refreshing beverages.

3. Have Fun in the Sun at a Zero Depth Fountain

Bring your kids and cool off in the zero depth fountain at Festival Park in downtown Elgin, one the best things to do in Illinois on a hot summer day. Set your mind at ease while your children enjoy a safe play environment—if you like, you can even join in on the fun!

4. All Aboard at Days out with Thomas

Enjoy family fun at the Union Railway Museum during a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine. Visit the Imagination Station featuring temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, and much more! Proceeds from the event go towards the restoration of the museums 1913 Michigan Central repair shops and railway artifacts.

5. Feed the Bison at Lord’s Park

Engage in an Elgin tradition by taking an up close and personal look at the bison, deer, and elk at the Lords Park Zoo. Meet at the Elgin Public Museum for a short introduction before heading to the zoo to assist in feeding and investigating these magnificent 2,000-pound creatures.

6. Follow the Leader on the Fox River Path

Bike or hike in the Northern Fox River Valley along 36 miles of trails surrounding the Fox River. Immerse yourself in the great outdoors and enjoy the majestic river’s edge views on the Prairie Bike Trail.

7. Try Your Luck at Grand Victoria Casino

Bet on a good time in Elgin at the Grand Victoria Casino. This local hot spot serves as a premier gaming, dining, and entertainment destination with more than 1,100 invigorating slots, Vegas-style table games, and four carnivorous restaurants.

8. Awe in Architecture at Frank Lloyd Wright Farmhouse

The only known farmhouse designed and built by Wright during his lifetime, the Muirhead in Hampshire stretches over two acres of land surrounded by nearly 800 acres of both active farmland and restored prairie in Illinois.

9. Have a Wild Time at Santa’s Village Azoosment Park

Visit one of the best things to do for kids and families in East Dundee. Play and learn while embracing the Christmas spirit year-round. The park features more than 200 animals incorporated into fun rides, a petting zoo, and interactive shows that engage the whole family.

10. Take a Swing at Bowes Creek, Highlands, and Wing Park

Take advantage of one of the top things to do among Elgin locals at three award-wining golf courses. Enjoyable for all levels of golfers, nine- and 18-hole options let guests choose to spend a whole day teeing off or simply a quiet afternoon on the course.

11. Grab a Bite at The Anvil Club

Established in 1956 by 10 local businessmen, The Anvil Club in East Dundee offers up history and ambiance in a fine-dining club. Built on the foundation of an old blacksmith shop and filled with antiques and memorabilia from around the globe, the Anvil Club delights the senses and provides unsurpassed personalized service.

12. Shop Like You Mean It at State Street Market

Not sure what to do? Shop. State Street Market Shops in Elgin offers shoppers a unique, stress free shopping experience. The 35 unique shops attract locals and visitors alike with collectibles, antiques, gifts, home décor, and custom jewelry.

13. Mix Business with Pleasure at Elgin Artspace

The Elgin Artspace Lofts in downtown Elgin provide living and working spaces for artists and their families, as well as retail and community space for art-centric businesses and nonprofit organizations. The City of Elgin and the Elgin arts community invite visitors to experience one of the top art projects in Illinois.

14. Time Will Fly by at the Elgin Watch Factory Exhibit Room

The Watch Factory room at the Elgin Area Historical Museum provides a great thing to do on a quick family outing. Visitors learn about the history of the Elgin Watch Factory before entering the exhibit, which features a wall mural of the clock face from the famous watch factory tower as well as the 13th watch produced on the renowned assembly line.

15. Enjoy Sophisticated Sound at Elgin Symphony Orchestra

Engage in Illinois’ premier regional orchestra, respected for exceptional performances and innovative education and community outreach initiatives. The Orchestra’s season includes more than 50 concerts annually.