30 Fun Things to Do in Naperville, Illinois

Updated 11 min read

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A tower structure behind green trees and a lake under a blue sky
Naperville has many attractions, like Quarry Lake and the Millennium Carillon

Located under an hour from Chicago, Naperville is a lesser-known Illinois destination that's well worth visiting. Fun things to do in Naperville, Illinois, include taking your kids to DuPage Children's Museum, dining at SixtyFour Wine Bar & Kitchen, and seeing landmarks like the Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower.

You'll also discover numerous outdoor attractions in and around Naperville, including Morton Arboretum and Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve. Keep reading to learn more about all the exciting activities in the Naperville area!

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30 Fun Things to Do in Naperville, IL

Naperville Things to Do Map

A map of Naperville. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

Naperville, IL, Things to Do

One of the fun things to do in Naperville, Illinois, is exploring Knoch Knolls Park
Exploring Knoch Knolls Park is one of many fun things to do in Naperville, Illinois

Hang out at Knoch Knolls Park

Knoch Knolls Park is a fun place to hang out with friends or family. The park has scenic tree-lined trails to follow, including those that run along rivers. Visitors can also kayak or canoe and play disc golf on an 18-hole disc golf course. There's a nature center, picnic areas, and an exciting playground for children to enjoy as well.

Skydive with Chicago-Naperville Indoor Skydiving

A fun activity to try in Naperville is skydiving. At iFly Indoor Skydiving, you can try the sport in a safe indoor environment. Your instructor will teach you the basics before allowing you to skydive in a state-of-the-art wind tunnel. If you enjoy the experience, you could then look into skydiving from a plane!

See a show at the Wentz Concert Hall

A great way to spend an evening in Naperville is by going to a show at the Wentz Concert Hall. Located at North Central College, shows to see include classical music and jazz concerts, with performances by musical artists from other genres being held frequently as well. The college also hosts dance shows and theater productions that are open to the public.

Enjoy watersports at Paddleboat Quarry

Paddleboat Quarry is an ideal place to head to for a fun day on the water. As the name suggests, it's a great spot for paddle boating, with paddle boarding and kayaking also popular activities to enjoy. Equipment for all sports is available for rental, and the attraction is open in the spring through fall, depending on the weather.

A wildflower field under a purple sky
The Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve features trails and pretty wildflower fields

Bird watch at the Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve

Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve is a top-rated attraction in the Naperville area that will appeal to nature enthusiasts. The vast natural area features various landscapes, including wetlands and prairie lands.

As you explore, you'll also spot lots of wildlife, with the preserve being a popular spot to go bird-watching. Just a few of the birds to see include grasshopper sparrows and short-eared owls.

Spend the day at Centennial Beach

If the weather is nice, planning a trip to Centennial Beach is one of the best Naperville activities! The attraction is located on the site of a historic stone quarry and features a pool complete with slides and diving areas.

Visitors can also sunbathe on the grassy lawns that surround the water, and there's a food outlet, Centennial Grill, serving drinks and snacks like burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream.

Create a masterpiece at Pinot's Palette

Pinot's Palette is one of the relaxed and fun attractions in Naperville, Illinois, especially for those that enjoy arts and crafts. Visitors can follow along with a tutorial to paint a fantastic artwork. There's also a bar in the art studio, where you can purchase wine and beer.

Go sightseeing with Naperville Trolley & Tours

Naperville Trolley & Tours offers various ways to see Naperville landmarks and unique sights. Tours on offer range from sightseeing tours to seasonal events like a Christmas lights trolley tour that takes you past the best festive light displays and decorated homes in the city! When booking a general sightseeing tour, you can opt for public tours or private tours.

Take your kids to the DuPage Children's Museum

If you're wondering what to do in Naperville, Illinois, with kids, taking them to the DuPage Children's Museum is sure to please! Children can enjoy various hands-on exhibits, like a building and construction area and a physics display teaching basic scientific concepts.

There's also an arts and crafts studio, an area for kids under two, and much more! After checking out all the exhibits, you can grab your kids some snacks from the on-site cafe.

A river next to a riverwalk with lots of trees under a blue sky with some cloud
The Naperville Riverwalk is referred to as one of the Midwest's most beautiful places

Follow the Naperville Riverwalk

Located in Riverwalk Park, the Naperville Riverwalk offers stunning views of the DuPage River. Established in 1981, the walkway has been recognized as one of the most beautiful places in the Midwest. As you wander along the path, you can take in the views and will see some landmarks, like the Millennium Carillon.

Share tapas at Macarena Tapas

Macarena Tapas is a great local spot to stop by for dinner. The Spanish eatery serves a variety of sharing dishes, with many vegetarian and vegan options available, as well as meat and fish dishes.

Just a few of the items on the menu include Spanish serrano ham, cod croquettes, patatas bravas, and sauteed garlic artichokes. Seafood or vegetable paella can also be ordered, and you can end your meal with yummy desserts, such as churros.

Taste delicious dishes with Naperville Bites and Sites Food Tours

Naperville has many excellent eateries and food stores; a great way to check out some of the best is by taking a tour with Naperville Bites and Sites Food Tours.

Your guide will take you to various spots where you can taste samples and learn a little about the history of each business. As you walk between locations, you'll also get to hear some fun and historical facts about Naperville and see city landmarks.

Sip wine or cocktails at SixtyFour Wine Bar & Kitchen

Another of the evening activities in Naperville to enjoy is getting drinks at SixtyFour Wine Bar & Kitchen. This trendy spot has a wine menu with 64 wines to choose from, and tasting sizes are available if you can't decide what to try.

Cocktails, including classic and craft cocktails, are also available, as are bar snacks and meals, such as truffle fries with aioli, butternut squash ravioli, and goat cheese bruschetta. A variety of charcuterie boards are available too.

Grab a beer at Solemn Oath Brewery

Solemn Oath Brewery is a popular local spot serving artisanal beers in a trendy industrial-style bar. Various brews are on offer to suit all tastes, and you can also get fruit hard seltzer in flavors like peach lemonade or blackberry limeade.

Along with sipping on great drinks, you can enjoy events at the brewery, such as beer and food truck nights, with dishes like pizza, gyros, and burgers available.

j.hendrickson3/Depositphotos.com
A unique tower structure surrounded by grass and trees at sunset
The Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower is an iconic Naperville landmark

View the Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower

The Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower is one of the most famous Naperville attractions. Constructed at the end of the 90s to commemorate the beginning of the 21st century, the tower stands at 160 feet tall and houses the carillon consisting of 72 bells.

Visitors can tour the tower and climb to the top to take in views across the surrounding Riverwalk Park. The bells also sound frequently throughout the day.

Let your children play at the Ball Factory Playground

Another fun kid-friendly venue in Naperville is the Ball Factory Playground. The indoor attraction features slides, play structures, toy cars, and lots more. There's also a special play area for toddlers, and lots of space for parents or other guardians to sit and relax. The Ball Factory is ideal for kids from around two up to 12 years of age.

Tee off at Springbrook Golf Course

Golfers will want to check out Springbrook Golf Course when in Naperville. The 18-hole championship golf course is challenging for more experienced golfers but can also be fun for those new to the sport. In addition, there's a driving range and practice putting green. After a round, you can hang out at the Springbrook Patio and Grill.

Watch a college football game at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium

Seeing a college football game at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium is one of the can't-miss Naperville, Illinois, things to do for sports fans. The stadium is home to the North Central College Cardinals football team. You can watch a game between September and November, and soccer games and track and field events are also hosted at the stadium.

Break free from an escape room at Hidden Key Escapes

Hidden Key Escapes offers a range of escape room games to enjoy. Options include a museum heist-themed game and a Victorian-era murder mystery. Difficulty levels vary for each theme, but no matter which you choose, you'll have an hour to solve puzzles and use clues to help you escape.

A small cabin in the snow surrounded by bare trees
The Naper Settlement features interesting buildings from the last few centuries

Look around Naper Settlement

One of the interesting historical attractions in Naperville is Naper Settlement. The 12-acre outdoor history museum features historic buildings and exhibits on life in Naperville over the last few centuries. Things to see include the Herman and Anna Hageman Memorial Thresher Hall and an exhibit on the history of transportation in the area.

The Naperville Fine Art Center & Gallery, also known as the Naperville Fine Arts League, hosts art classes for all ages. Adult art classes include those teaching oil painting, mosaic art, and watercolor painting, among other mediums.

In addition, kids can learn basic art skills in painting, drawing, and collage. The center also hosts art fairs and exhibits showcasing works by local artists.

Attend a show at the Naperville Community Concert Center

Attending a performance at the Naperville Community Concert Center is another of many activity ideas. The open-air venue is located in Downtown Naperville's Central Park. It's notably home to the Naperville Municipal Band, which performs during the spring and summer months.

Dine at VAI's Italian Inspired Restaurant Kitchen + Bar

VAI's Italian Inspired Restaurant Kitchen + Bar is an excellent spot for a dinner date in Naperville. The Italian-style eatery serves various pasta and pizza dishes, like wild mushroom Sacchetti or an artichoke and garlic pizza.

Salads, meat and fish main courses, and appetizers are also available. You can accompany your meal with a bottle of Italian wine or hand-crafted cocktails.

Fun Things to Do Near Naperville, IL

A lake next to trees and grass with a picnic bench on it under a blue sky
Herrick Lake Forest Preserve is a scenic place to go for a walk near Naperville

Stroll through Herrick Lake Forest Preserve

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve is another excellent outdoor attraction near Naperville. The Wheaton area preserve covers 885 acres and can be reached in about 15 minutes when driving from central Naperville.

At the preserve, you can follow five miles of scenic trails, including those around a lake and ponds. In addition, you can boat on the lake with rentals available within the park.

A garden with greenery, a bench, and a path running through it
Cantigny Park has scenic gardens and an 18,500-square-foot greenhouse

Wander around Cantigny Park

Cantigny Park is a 500-acre park located just outside of Naperville in Wheaton. The park is somewhat of an Illinois landmark as it's located on land formerly belonging to Joseph Mednill, an owner of the Chicago tribune.

Visitors can explore beautiful themed gardens, look inside an 18,500-square-foot greenhouse, and follow nature trails, with playgrounds for kids also available.

Visit the First Division Museum at Cantigny

Visiting the First Division Museum at Cantigny is one of the best things to do near Naperville, for those interested in military history. The museum is located in Wheaton, which is about 20 minutes from Naperville when driving. At the museum, you can see exhibits on US military history with a focus on the First Infantry Division. Displays cover various events from WWI through the Vietnam War.

A bridge over a river with trees on both sides under a blue sky
There are many things to do in Aurora, like kayaking on the Fox River

Drive to Aurora for the day

Aurora is another charming Illinois city located only 30 minutes away from Naperville, depending on traffic. There are an array of fun things to do in Aurora, from kayaking on the Fox River to seeing a show at the Paramount Theatre or exploring the scenic Phillips Park. Aurora also has many independent shops, bars, and restaurants to check out.

Jkirsch13/Depositphotos.com
A wooden sculpture of a person lying down surrounded by grass and green trees
You can see beautiful plants and interesting sculptures at Morton Arboretum

Admire floral displays at the Morton Arboretum

Strolling through the pretty Morton Arboretum is an ideal way to unwind. Opened in 1922, the attraction remains popular to this day, receiving over one million visitors each year. It's located in Lisle, around 20 minutes from Naperville.

As you explore the gardens, you'll get to see numerous types of trees, plants, and flowers. There are also many interesting sculptures and other art installations dotted throughout the arboretum. After looking around, you can pick up refreshments at the Ginkgo Restaurant and Café.

Go to Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park

Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park is a great place to take your family on a nice day. The waterpark is open year-round and is located just outside of Naperville in Bolingbrook. You can reach the park in around 20 minutes when driving.

At the waterpark, you'll find swimming pools, waterslides, a lazy river, and more. As the name suggests, there are indoor and outdoor attractions, allowing you to enjoy the park even on cold or wet days.

The Chicago city skyline next to a park with a lake and green trees
Chicago is a famous Illinois city located around two hours from Naperville

Plan a trip to Chicago

Chicago is an exciting US city that's only an hour to two hours from Naperville, depending on traffic and your starting point. Once you arrive, you'll discover no shortage of fun things to do in Chicago!

First-time visitors can go on a sightseeing tour to spot Chicago landmarks, like Cloud Gate and the Garfield Park Observatory. Other activities to enjoy include watching one of Chicago's professional sports teams play or going on a river cruise along the Chicago River.

In Conclusion

If you've been wondering what to do in Naperville, IL, this article should have given you many ideas. The city has an attraction for everyone, from museums and performing arts venues to breweries and unique eateries; you'll find an array of things to do when visiting Naperville!

This article was first published on Nov 21, 2022 12:00 UTC.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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