Cool Places to Visit in the Northwest Suburbs of Illinois

by Gabrielle Nicolet Google

The city of Chicago is not the only fun place to visit in Illinois.The northwest suburbs, located outside of Chicago, have a lot to offer to both locals and tourists alike. Whether you are looking to shop, eat or simply have fun and be entertained, these popular Illinois attractions have a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Amusement Parks

Six Flags Great America amusement park is located in Gurnee. It features activities for the entire family, including 14 roller coasters, a 20-acre water park, summer concerts, parades and children's rides as well as plenty of restaurants and shopping. In 2011, Hurricane Harbor, the Six Flags water park, unveiled new slides and attractions, including Riptide Bay, the only place in Illinois where you can surf. Kids will love KeyLime Cove Water Resort, a 65,000-square-foot indoor water park featuring slides, a lazy river and kiddie pool. It too is also located in Gurnee.

Animal Venues

The Brookfield Zoo features more than 200 acres of exhibits of bears, elephants, gorillas, giraffes, lions, dolphins and other animals. The zoo is open every day and has plenty of dining options and shopping. Arlington Park Race Track, in Arlington Heights, features live thoroughbred racing from May until September. Visitors can place their bets, have a cocktail and a bite to eat and enjoy a day at the races. The park also hosts special events, including the annual Kentucky Derby Party, Chef's Fest, Fiesta in the Park and a Fourth of July celebration complete with a fireworks display.


Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is a 385-acre public garden full of beautiful flowers, trees and plants from all over the world. It features peaceful lakes and winding paths, making it perfect for a leisurely nature stroll or a guided tram tour. Visitors can discover the 24 bright, formal gardens that include roses, peonies and stars of Persia. You can also enjoy the beauty of nature at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, which features 1,700 acres of trees and plants, peaceful hiking trails and a maze.


Woodfield Mall, located in Schaumburg, is the top tourist destination in Illinois. As of 2011, this shopper's paradise features almost 300 stores, including Macy's, Nordstrom, Apple, the Disney Store and Urban Outfitters. The mall also has several restaurants, including the Cheesecake Factory and Rainforest Cafe. Long Grove Historic District is a quiet, charming town with more than 80 stores and restaurants and is home to the Long Grove Confectionery, a chocolate lover's dream come true. Bargain shoppers can save on designer apparel at Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora.

About the Author

Gabrielle Nicolet has been writing and editing professionally since 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University. Nicolet is also a certified nutrition, wellness and weight-management consultant with American Fitness Professionals and Associates.