Adventures in Itasca

Itasca is a lovely town located in the suburbs of Chicago. With a quaint historical downtown to explore, and the surrounding areas featuring activities for everyone, it’s a great place to come and get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Come to Itasca, there are adventures waiting just for you!

500 Park Boulevard
Surrounded by the soothing pools and fountains along Park Boulevard in Itasca, the Golf Learning Center at Hamilton Lakes is your go-to spot for sharpening your game. This practice facility provides all the tools necessary to take it to the next level. A huge driving range starts you off, followed up by a putting green with a lovely sitting area for viewing your competition, and you can even take some private lessons with one of the local pros if you should desire.
500 Park Boulevard
There’s nothing better after a long day than to get outside and take in some fresh air. The walking paths that weave in and around Park Boulevard are perfect for that post-work day stretch. You can enjoy the manicured lawns, the gurgling fountains, and the numerous sculptures as you casually stroll (or jog, if you’re so inclined) among the mini-lakes in this cute suburban setting.
500 Park Blvd # 160, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Come to Hot Seats for all your top-notch ticket needs. Specializing in getting you the perfect seats for any event you can think of, this is your spot for snagging seats that’ll make you the envy of your friends. From sporting events, to concerts, to theater shows, Hot Seats covers a wide array of events to please all audiences. Give them a call or search their website; your seats are waiting for you!
850 North Wood Dale Road
Located in Wood Dale, Yesterday’s Farm Museum is trip to a different era. The barn pictured above is part of the Wood Dale Historical Society, and it was constructed back in the 1850s. This massive structure is referred to as a ‘T’ barn due to the unique design for its time period. It features a hayloft, a feeding area for the horses, and a place for the cows to get their grub on as well (pictured above). But the coolest part is that during October, as Halloween approaches, the folks here provide hayrides for family and friends, and also feature spooky ghost stories at night in the barn. They don’t currently have a website, so please call 630-595-8777 for information and upcoming events.
850 N Wood Dale Rd, Wood Dale, IL 60191, USA
Founded in 1971, the Wood Dale Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation of the history of this quaint Illinois town. One such monument to their efforts is the Adolph and Esther Rosenwinkel farm that was donated to the society back in 1982. The farmhouse itself was built in 1840, and the room pictured above is located in a second house on the property built by the same family in 1922. This structure features 10 rooms, and a full basement, which you can wander through during your free self-guided tour of the grounds. Start in the kitchen and work your way through the various rooms and nooks in this enchanting historical wonderland. All the rooms have themes ranging from the 1920s through the 1940s, complete with displays of fashion and interesting accessories of the times. The proprietors that I met were lovely, and took the time to show me around the entire place. So if you’re in the area, stop on in and meet Judi and Dennis, as they’d love to show you around the place. The Society doesn’t currently have a website, but please call 630-595-8777 for information, donations, and upcoming events.
971 N Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling, IL 60090, USA
What started as a hobby by Fred Koehler and his wife back in 1975, has turned into something that we all now reap the benefits of. Lynfred Winery was founded in 1979 in Illinois, of all places. Urged by some to take his talents to California, Fred refused to leave his roots and set up shop in Middle America. Over the years Lynfred has produced some award-winning vino, some of which you can sample in their tasting room in Wheeling. Grab a glass or a bottle and make yourself comfortable on the grassy lawn outside, or settle into a comfy chair in the tasting room/wine shop inside. Varietals range from Pinot Grigio to Viognier all the way to Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes are sourced from all over, with an abundance from California, and even a few from Washington and Chile as well. A visit to Lynfred Winery is the perfect way to while away a couple of hours over a nice glass (or two) of wine.
270 W Irving Park Rd, Wood Dale, IL 60191, USA
Located in downtown Wood Dale, the Veterans Memorial park area is a place to pay respect to those who have served in the armed forces. Dedicated on November 11th, 2000, this memorial celebrates of all members of the community who made sacrifices for our freedom. There is a flame that continuously burns to demonstrate the eternal gratitude that community members have for their fallen brethren.
200 E Irving Park Rd, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
The Wesley G. Usher Memorial Park is one of the many parks located in and around historic downtown Itasca. The adorable pavilion pictured above is a great place to take shelter from the sun, and it overlooks a nice reflecting pool situated on the edge of the property. Take a book, a picnic basket, or just some friends; Usher Memorial Park is great place to spend a relaxing afternoon in Itasca.
100 N Catalpa St, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Voted “Best Waterpark in the Area for the Entire Family” by Chicago Parent in 2011, this water wonderland is fun for all ages. Parents can lounge around the pool, catching some rays in the sun, and the kids can romp around the Caribbean-themed park as they wish. The waterpark also offers swim lessons, birthday party packages, or the ability to rent the entire place for your own private event. And lest you or the little ones need a snack, the onsite concession stand will be more then happy to get you a little something to nibble on as you while away the hours of a summer afternoon.
100 N Catalpa St, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Weaving its way along the river, and among the various parks of downtown Itasca, the Itasca Riverwalk is a great way to do some small town exploring. The paths link the Springbrook Nature Center, to the Caribbean Waterpark, to the Fitness Center and to many more wonderful park district sights. You can hoof it, bike it, and when it snows, some have even snowshoed it (just rent your kicks from Springbrook and you’re all set). Exploring the path with friends or family is a great way to take in the great outdoors, get a little exercise, and get to know Itasca.
500 Park Blvd, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Featuring a wide selection of choice sushi, sashimi, tempura delights and even huge combo platters, the Hirano Japanese Restaurant will fulfill your every sushi desire. Their menu also boasts a nice selection of craft salads, udon (noodles) and donburi as well. Stop in for lunch or dinner, Monday through Saturday.
123 West Irving Park Road
Shorty’s is a throwback to an era where you hopped in your ’57 Chevy, put the kids in the back, and rolled to the drive-in for a bite to eat on a summer night. Featuring the usual selection of American hotdog and hamburger fare, Shorty’s also has selections to please the healthy side as well. There are five different salads to choose from, small plates featuring hummus and pizza bread, and larger plates that range from wood-fired P.E.I. mussels and salmon to grilled chicken sandwiches and barbecue pulled pork delights. And if that doesn’t work, you can also customize your pizza with a huge array of toppings. It may be called Shorty’s, but the menu options are anything but that.
249 East Irving Park Road
You’ve probably had the sauce, but did you know that there are three different places in Illinois where you can actually go and eat at a Sweet Baby Ray’s restaurant? With locations in Wood Dale, Elk Grove Village and Chicago, there’s no excuse. Falling under the label of ‘authentic urban Chicago style barbecue,’ Ray’s creative menu has a distinctive southern twang to it that everyone loves. Known for their ribs, chicken, pork, and awesome sandwiches, Ray’s also has a host of other craft choices. Spruce up your meal with one of the seven homemade sides, try the gumbo, or get your greens by adding a freshly made salad. And if you feel the need to take something home with you, there is a full selection of barbecue sauces that you can purchase for your very own culinary adventures back at the house.
217 N Walnut St, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
If you happen to be in the historic downtown area of Itasca, make it a point to stop by Kean’s Bakery for a quick bite. Grab a donut, a custard-filled creation, or maybe coffee, and then stroll through the quaint downtown area. If you need a custom cake, they’ll be more than happy to take care of you and all your celebration needs.
219 North Walnut Street
Daddy O’s is a cute little retro ‘50s-style diner that is still family owned and operated. From the throwback light fixtures to the all red-and-white decor, this place is the real deal. There’s even a little chalkboard at the entrance for local announcements. You can snag a nicely-prepared egg breakfast, complete with hand cut hash browns perfectly made. Or you can pop in for lunch and opt for anything from burgers to veggie wraps, complemented with ice tea or an old school soda fountain beverage. The delightful servers are a true pleasure to be around, and there’s even some outdoor seating if you are lucky enough to score one of the three tables on the patio.
5N105 IL-53, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Receiving rave reviews over the years from the Chicago Tribune, Zagat, the Chicago Sun Times and Fra Noi (Chicagoland’s Italian American Voice), DeMarco’s is a well-known authentic Italian eatery in the truest sense of the word. The team at DeMarco’s focuses on fine pasta dishes, incorporating veal, fish, chicken and steak into their foodie masterpieces. All pastas are made right at home, and patrons can customize their delicious meal any way they like. DeMarco’s also sources fresh ingredients to keep all their customers happy, and as you can guess, constantly coming back for more.
101 E Irving Park Rd, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Tree-Guys Pizza Pub is a great place to stop in for a pie and a beer. With the usual array of pizza choices, there’s no shortage of great eats right at your fingertips. Connected to the pizzeria is Hi-Fi Lounge (the pub) where you can belly up to the bar on any given night and sample their daily drink specials. From draft beers, to Bloody Marys, to choice tequila, there’s no shortage of libations at this local watering hole. Come for some pizza, stay for some drinks—the Tree-Guys insist.
5N105 IL-53, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
This place may be small, but its food and drink selection is mighty. Family owned and operated, this cozy local spot is a true gem for authentic Colombian food and drinks in the suburbs of Illinois. The shop and owners are absolutely delightful, and they go out of their way to ensure a wonderful dining experience. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner, but I’d recommend if you are short on time to at least stop in for a healthy drink. The folks at Colombian’s Taste make wonderful fruit drinks using guanabana, maracuya, lolu and mora. I tried the Colombian lemonade and now am hooked. This place is a true find!
865 Maplewood Drive
This place truly lives up to its name. There isn’t one single model train-related item that this place won’t have. They feature a staggering amount of model choices, and in back there are entire walls of locomotives, cars and cabooses to choose from to complete that perfect railway masterpiece you’ve been working on. They even have a model train set running just for fun! The folks here also specialize in repairs, and can get your engine up and running in no time. And should you be into model airplanes, or a pinewood derby enthusiast, they have you covered on that front as well. This place is a must-see for any hobbyist. Amateur or expert, you gotta see this place!
5 Woodfield Mall
If you are in the area and are looking for a wide range of options in one place, the Woodfield Mall is your answer. With stores catering to your every whim, there’s really nothing you can’t find within these walls. If you get tired and need to recharge, visit the food court or one of the many restaurants that can be found on site. Then get back to shopping.
5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont, IL 60018, USA
Used to be that doing serious outlet shopping required driving to Gurnee, Aurora, or Huntley. As of August 2013, Rosemont has its own outlet mall, and a classy one at that, with hundreds of high-end retailers from Aéropostale to Van Heusen. There’s a shuttle service to and from O’Hare Airport, too.
190 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60193, USA
The Trickster Art Gallery, located in Schaumburg, is the only Native American owned and operated arts center in the state of Illinois. The array of art is vast, ranging from handmade crafts to paintings, poetry readings, some book signings—even an open-mike night. There are also occasional offerings of classes to help you better a skill set, such as photography courses that’ll teach you to use that high-tech camera that you bring along on your travels. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission rates are merely “suggested,” as this is a community-supported center. So if you happen to be in the area and want to do something for the arts, for the community, and for yourself, pay a visit to Trickster Art Gallery. I think you’ll be glad you did.
523 S Webster St, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
If you fancy a trip back in time to catch a glimpse of how life changed throughout the 19th century, Naper Settlement is the time machine you seek. There is a dizzying array of educational and cultural learning to be done on these hallowed grounds. Check out the schoolhouse, the chapel, the carriage house, or perhaps the stonecutter’s shop; these and many more await you at this marvelous outdoor museum. The Naper Settlement is also great for field trips, corporate events, weddings, volunteer activities, or just spending some time exploring. With the litany of choices, the best bet is to check out the website and see what part of the 19th century suits you best.
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