The village of Libertyville is located in suburban Lake County, Illinois. According to Wikipedia, the city has a population of 21,975 residents and spans an area of roughly 23.72 square kilometers. It has been recognized as one of Illinois's "best places to live." According to Libertyville's official website, modern Libertyville history dates to the early 1830s when English settler George Vardin and his family settled in what is now known as Libertyville. The Potawatomi tribe initially inhabited it until more settlers arrived three years later. Once adopted, the village remained largely unchanged for the next century and a half. However, rapid economic growth in recent decades has transformed Libertyville beyond all recognition. Libertyville is also served by several major roadways that commuters use to travel into and out of Chicago each day, including Illinois Route 21 and U.S. Route 45. The village has several distinct neighborhoods popular among residents and tourists alike. The historic downtown district has been revitalized in recent years with several new restaurants, retail shops, and a popular farmers market each Saturday. Today, visitors can enjoy a range of unique places to visit during their stay in Libertyville. If you're thinking of taking a visit here, check out these 20 best things to do in Libertyville, IL.
20. Visit Dawes House/Evanston History Center
The National Historic Landmark Dawes House is located at 1401 Sheridan Road in Libertyville, Illinois. Built in 1867 for local businessman George R. Dawes, the mansion served as a summer home for his family. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and designated a National Historic Landmark four years later. The house is a prime example of Italianate architecture and is one of the best examples in the country for its use of ironwork. It also houses an expansive collection of fine arts and furnishings from America's Gilded Age.
19. Go boating at Independence Grove Forest Preserve
Independence Grove Forest Preserve, a 2,600-acre recreational area located 22 miles north of Chicago, is a part of the Lake County Forest Preserves system. It is one of the largest and most popular parks in Lake County, Illinois, and one of its oldest. There are many ways to enjoy the park: hiking and biking trails, picnicking areas, fishing ponds, riding trails, cross country ski trails, etc., according to the Independence Grove Forest Preserve website.
18. Go axe throwing at Lumberjaxe Axe Lounge
Lumberjaxe Axe Lounge is another beautiful spot in the Downtown Libertyville Historic District. It features a large axe-throwing range with targets for parties of two to eight people. A private group can reserve the entire room for up to three hours. It's an excellent place for couples and groups, especially team-building. This is a must-try if you're looking for something fun to do or entertainment with friends.
17. Take a trip to the Wildlife Discovery Center
The Wildlife Discovery Center is a nonprofit educational facility that serves as an aquarium and zoo. The center has several indoor exhibits on display with large tanks containing all sorts of aquatic life, from sharks to sea turtles, as well as penguins and otters. You'll also find peacocks, deer, wolves, foxes, and many other animals. There are several outdoor exhibits with marine life swimming around in them and a nature trail with birds and animals to see.
16. Celebrate the holidays at Fannie May Marketplace
Specialty and gift shop Fannie May Marketplace offers many treats, especially holidays, with unique chocolates, truffles, fudge, caramel corn, peppermint bark, and more to choose from. Several fun holiday-themed items make great gifts for everyone, including family members and friends. The store is open year-round, so you can visit anytime or order online to have it shipped directly to your home.
15. Explore history at Downing's At Liberty Square
Downing's At Liberty Square features a 1920s prohibition theme. The venue provides a unique and fun atmosphere with friendly, professional service and good music. It's a great place to meet up with friends and hang out for drinks and laughs or enjoy some live entertainment on the weekends. Several spacious rooms can be reserved for private events and outdoor seating on sunny days.
14. Test your patience at Ultimate Ninjas Libertyville
Game and entertainment center Ultimate Ninjas Libertyville is a great place to bring the kids or have some fun with friends. All ages are welcome so that everyone can play together no matter your age. It features over 80 arcade games, many of which are traditional favorites from the past, plus a few modern ones. And according to the Ultimate Ninjas Libertyville website, Ninja training offers an amazing spot for kids to exercise. They also have a redemption center where you can pick up some cool prizes or get an even bigger one by racking up points on your cards at each machine.
13. Relax with a massage at Massage Motu
Give yourself a spa retreat at Spa Massage Motu, located in Libertyville's Greenbrook Corporate Center. The center offers massages done by professionals. So you know you'll get what you need at this clean and professional facility. You can choose from various massages, including deep tissue, hot stone, couples, prenatal, foot reflexology, and more. They also offer skincare services like facials and makeup applications. It's the perfect way to relax after a long day at work or any time you need some downtime.
12. Get down at Downing's Premier Bar and Grill
Meet up with friends or family to hang out or throw a party at Downing's Premier Bar and Grill. They provide catering for all sorts of events, from birthdays to weddings, while serving food, drinks, music, and tons of fun in the Downtown Libertyville Historic District. The venue offers something for everyone, so book it for your next big occasion or just come on down and enjoy the fun.
11. See the latest movies at Liberty 1 & 2 Theater
Suppose you enjoy the theater experience, Liberty 1 & 2 Theater, full of charm, with classic touches like ornate molding on the ceilings and an old-fashioned ticket booth. This theater is a great place to catch a film because it offers a genuine movie-going experience. You can also enjoy some tasty treats from the concession stand while you watch your favorite movie. It has comfortable seating and great acoustics, so it feels like a real theater experience.
10. Indulge with a massage or facial at Libertyville Massage Therapy Clinic, Inc.
Take the stress away from your day with therapeutic massage services provided by Massage Therapist Jenna Smith of Libertyville Massage Therapy. The clinic is located in the heart of downtown Libertyville just off Milwaukee Avenue. The therapist provides various services, including therapeutic and deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, hot stone therapy relief, and Swedish. If you prefer to take care of your skincare needs yourself at home, Jenna also offers aromatherapy facial scrubs and wraps that are perfect for the whole family.
9. Shop for unique items at Oh Olive
Oh Olive is a quaint and eclectic shop in the Deerpath Commons Shopping Center. The boutique offers many unique finds that you won't find anywhere else, like jewelry, home decor, clothing, and more. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary to bring some life into your living space or wardrobe, Oh Olive is the place to go. The store has even featured WGN's "Chicago's Best."
8. View fine art and antiques at Foulds Gallery Art & Antique
Foulds Gallery Art & Antique offers a unique shopping experience because it features not only one but three stores, all under one roof. The gallery offers fine art and antiques, including furniture, pottery, rugs, textiles, jewelry boxes, home decor items, and more. The store also offers custom framing services to suit the needs of your particular piece of artwork or décor object.
7. Experience peace at Saint Sava Monastery
If you're looking for somewhere to meditate, contemplate, or immerse yourself in God's creation, the Saint Sava Monastery is the spot for you. The monastery is located on 100 acres that feature beautiful scenery and wildlife. Spend some time outside taking it all in, or pray privately inside the church if the weather isn't cooperating. The monastery also hosts workshops, retreats, lectures, and special events throughout the year.
6. Explore Independence Grove with your canine companion at the Independence Grove Dog Park
The dog park is located within the Lake County Forest Preserve District of Libertyville near Waukegan. It features unique amenities that you won't find anywhere else, including separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, pet waste stations, water fountains that are accessible to both humans and canines, benches for owners to sit on while they watch their furry friends play, and more.
5. Learn History at The Bess Bower Dunn Museum
The museum is located inside the Lake County Forest Preserve District. There's a lot to be learned at the museum, as it features art and natural history exhibits that showcase local treasures from the past. The museum even has a Victorian garden with over 500 plant species. You can also enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat outside of the museum. This is a great place to visit if you're interested in learning about the history of Lake County.
4. Relax at the Lake County Forest Preserve
If you like to take hikes or go on scenic trails, this is a place for you to check out. The preserves are divided into four different districts: North, South, East, and West. Each district has unique aspects that make it special. For example, Hainesville Woods features 1-mile gravel hiking trails that offer beautiful views of the Des Plaines River Valley; Heron Creek Wetlands has 1/4 mile ADA accessible trails with boardwalks over wetlands; Spring Creek Prairie offers short loop trails for hikers of all abilities; and Roger's Woods and the Peace Meadows each have 1/2 mile trails with wetlands, meadows, and woodlands.
3. Enjoy a day of fun for the whole family at Lambs Farm
Lambs Farm is a nonprofit organization that serves children and adults with cognitive disabilities. The facility offers many services such as peer support, employment readiness programs, community housing, and education facilities. As if that's not enough, they also offer special events like Easter egg hunts on their 30-acre farm in Fox Lake. Their summer camps are always a lot of fun too. Check out their website to find more information about upcoming events and services offered by Lambs Farm. You can also adopt an animal or volunteer your time there.
2. Visit Marytown - The National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe
The shrine features over twenty buildings, including the Basilica church with sacred art and stained glass windows. You can spend an hour or a whole day exploring the shrine. Admire the beautiful scenery as you take a stroll down one of their many trails, or check out a prayer service if you prefer. On weekdays there are self-guided tours from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM, and on weekends they open an hour earlier at 7:00 AM for guided tours.
1. Explore Independence Grove with your whole family
This is a great place to spend an afternoon with the kids. The trails are paved and well-maintained, so they're accessible even for those who use wheelchairs or have disabilities. There are also trailers on-site that you can borrow, which makes it perfect if you happen to be traveling with toddlers. And according to the Independence Grove Forest Preserve website, there are 7.5 miles of hiking trails that follow the lake's shore and thread through beautiful natural regions. If you're looking for a more peaceful experience, check out one of their trails that are not open to the public - you'll have all the serenity you need.
Lake County is a great place to visit, no matter the season. The different parks each have unique features, so check out as many as you can. You never know what new sights and activities await you around the corner. Just be careful not to let your dog get too hot during the summer months, and bring plenty of water for extra hydration. The forest preserves and parks are open from sun up to sundown, so get your family together and see what it's all about.
Written by Liz Flynn
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