Elmhurst, Chi-town’s suburban cousin to the West, is a fun place for day tripping year round. Sure, Chicago has a strong Irish contingent and is renowned for dying the river green every St. Pat’s day, but if you really want to Irish it up, Elmhurst’s the place to see. Their annual St. Patrick’s Day and Memorial Day Parades are major deals. So here’s a list of all the things you can do in Elmhurst year-round, no matter what type of weather Mother Nature offers up!
Fair Weather Scenario
The park is open year round sunrise to sunset.
Check the website for dates and times specific to other amenities.
Head for “The Hub” at Berens Park in Northern Elmhurst where they have outdoor, family friendly fun you don’t see in the city, like miniature golf and a putting green. They also feature batting cages, a snack bar and a splash pool in warm weather months.
Put a little spring in your step. Even in the winter, Spring Road has wonderful special events. There are sleigh rides with Santa in December, an Easter egg hunt in the spring, and summer concerts under the gazebo.
Get even wilder (historically speaking). The Wilder Mansion is in the center of town, but what was once the “yard” of the Wilder Mansion is now a sweet, public park with a conservatory and an excellent playground. It’s bookended by two great museums on either end, The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art and The Elmhurst Art Museum. The mansion itself is still there and has been restored.
Cool Cars Under the Stars
Speaking of historical, Cool Cars Under the Stars happens every Wednesday during the summer. Vintage cars line the streets of downtown Elmhurst from 7:00-9:00pm, Memorial Day to Labor Day.
1/2 block east of York Street on Vallette
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Wednesdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Wednesdays through Labor Day, come for the Farmer’s Market and stay for the automotive blast from the past. It’s a true Farmer’s Market with lots of great produce.
Elmhurst College has outdoor concerts on their sizable lawn during warm weather, that are perfect for families. Kids are welcome to run around and it’s a great place to bring a picnic and relax.
Foul Weather Scenario
Sat 9a.m.-6p.m. and Sun 11a.m.-4p.m.
Is stormy weather toying with your fun day trip plans? Come check out My Favorite Toy Store. They feature unique brands and playful, knowledgeable staff.
Mon-Thurs: 4:30 p.m.-1a.m.
Fri and Sat: 11:30 a.m.- 2 a.m.
Sun: 11:30 a.m.- 1 a.m.
Fitz’s Spare Keys is a vintage-looking bowling alley. It’s charming and great for kids. They offer 16 bowling lanes with manual scoring, 12 pool tables, a full bar, kid friendly restaurant, dueling pianos and live music.
Elmhurst’s also features three good museums for educational, indoor fun:
Tues through Sun: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday admission is free for everyone. Members of the Lizzadro Museum and active members of the Armed Forces are admitted free of charge on any day the Museum is open to the public.
Seniors (60+): $3
Students and Teens: $2
Children under 7: FREE
The Lizzadro Museum is a rock and mineral museum with ties to The Smithsonian. They frequently have great events for families. Permanent collections include more than 200 pieces of jade and other hard stone carvings from around the world, including internationally famous pieces from the imperial palaces of China. You can see a nephrite jade imperial altar set completed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and a gemstone encrusted cinnabar screen, originally a birthday gift to the Chinese emperor, Qianlong (Ch’ien Lung) in 1791. The Museum’s main floor feature gemstone dioramas, carved in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. The museum also features cameos and intaglios, Florentine and Roman stone mosaics, mineral specimens, and faceted gemstones.
Sun /Mon– closed
Tues – Thurs, Sat: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fri: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
*The Museum is closed for Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Friday following Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
Seniors & Students: $5.00
Children under 12: Free
*Friday is the Museum’s free admission day. Members, AAM Museum professionals and active duty military receive complementary admission.
Elmhurst Art Museum, is not very kid-friendly in general, but they do have amazing classes for kids. Kids can make real Raku pottery at their annual Art Festival, which is always the first weekend of May in Wilder Park.
Galleries: Tues– Sun 1p.m.-5p.m.
Research Facility: Tues– Fri 1p.m.-5p.m.
The Elmhurst Historical Museum has regular themed activities for kids that are reasonably priced and educational.
Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner – Sun-Tues: 4 p.m. -9 p.m.
Wed-Thurs: 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 5 p.m. -10 p.m.
Reservations: Accepted for both lunch and dinner, walk-ins welcome.
If you want to go a bit more upscale, without hiring a babysitter or enduring dirty looks from date diners, Francesca’s Amici has an inexpensive kid’s menu and is very welcoming to children. Many of the tables are routinely filled with families, unlike Mia Francesca in the city. Francesca’s Amici is the 6th restaurant in The Family of Francesca Restaurants. They feature dishes from Rome and the surrounding areas of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio with trattoria ambiance and friendly waitstaff, without breaking the bank.