Things to Do Just Outside of Chicago

Day Trips and Nearby Activities

Walden Pond & Thoreau's Cabin
Henry David Thoreau, the famous American author, wrote some of his most famous works at this cabin which is now a museum and park. Visitors can walk around the famous Walden Pond which has a small beach area and walking trails. It's a nice spot for a swim in the summer. The area is now a state park and open to the public.
915 Walden St, Concord, Massachusetts
Six Flags Great America
Six Flags is a popular American amusement park chain. It is also the largest and most thrilling amusement park near Chicago. There are 45 rides and attractions including 17 roller coasters. This amusement park can thrill and entertain kids and adults of all ages. There are classic rides like spinning teacups and bumper cars, as well as newer, high adrenaline coasters that are not for the faint of heart. Six Flags is open during the summer months with hours changing depending on the time of year.
1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL, 60031
If you're looking for more information about Chicago, read Things to do in the Winter in Chicago and The Best Summer Activities in Chicago.
Santa's Village Azoosment and Water Park
Located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, this Christmas themed amusement park includes popular rides such as The Blizzard and the Tri-Nado. There are rides for kids and adults of all ages including a carousel and bumper cars for the young kids. There's also an attached water park with water slides, pools, and an interactive water playground. Animal lovers will appreciate the petting zoo.
601 Dundee Ave, East Dundee, IL, 60118
Safari Land
This indoor fun center is popular with kids age 10 and under. It makes a nice rainy day activity with simple rides like a merry go round, monkey jump, tilt-a-whirl, and Tiger Terror roller coaster. There's a restaurant with pizza, burgers, and pasta on site as well.
701 W North Ave, Villa Park, IL, 60181
Pullman National Monument
This historic district was the first planned industrial community in the country. It was the location of the 1894 Pullman strike and has a famous history as the location of the Pullman Company, which built sleeping cars.
10827 South Cottage Grove Avenue, Arcade Row, Chicago, Illinois, 60628
Pirates' Cove Children's Theme Park
For the very young kids, this small theme park offers miniature boats, a carousel, a safari train, and a pirate ship ride. There's also a playground and a stage as well as a small concession stand. You can also bring your own picnic lunch. This is a nice place to spend some time on a warm summer day.
901 Leicester Rd, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007
Indiana Dunes National Park
This is a relatively new national park, and it's a popular day trip for Chicago locals who want to escape the city. It has three miles of pristine lake shore that is lined with dunes, marshes, grassland, and forest. There are plenty of places to hike and explore, as well as nine beaches that are great for relaxing in the sun on a warm day.
1050 N Mineral Springs Rd, Chesterton, IN, 46304
Haunted Trails Joliet
In the southwestern suburbs of Chicago, this indoor/outdoor family-fun-center and small amusement park has go-karts, arcade games, laser tag, batting cages, and smaller fair-style rides. It's a fun outing if you're in the area or need to get away from the city for some good old-fashioned fun.
1423 N Broadway St, , IL , Joliet, Illinois, 60435
Chicago has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: Activities and Things to Do in the Fall in Chicago and The Best Beaches Near Chicago.
Great Lakes Aquarium
The Great Lakes Aquarium is about 2.5 hours from Chicago and it features a number of habitats and animals from around the world. There are 205 different species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. This is also one of the few aquariums in the country that focuses almost exclusively on freshwater ecosystems. Many of the habitats are based on those found in the Great Lakes.
353 Harbor Dr #100, Duluth, MN, 55802
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo, or the Chicago Zoological Park, is located just outside of Chicago in the suburb of Brookfield. It has about 450 species and 216 acres of land. This was the first zoo in the country to house both Giant Pandas and an indoor dolphin exhibit. There's also a unique indoor rainforest simulation.
8400 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL, 60513
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