4 North Ave, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
We are starting off at the north end of downtown Naperville, at the DuPage Children’s Museum. But first, here’s a real quick order of business: SLOW DOWN! Take your time. There’s some amazing info that I wanna tell you so don’t just rush around. You can even stop in a parking lot if you’d like, so you can really take it all in. Ok, back to the museum. While it is called a ‘Children’s Museum,’ adults are encouraged to participate with their youngsters in various activities with the goal of helping the children become life-long learners. Through exhibits, programs, and special events, every experience is designed to help youngsters develop a strong foundation of creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It has become such an important part of the community that in 2015, then-Gov. Bruce Rauner proclaimed September 19, 2015, as DuPage Children’s Museum Day in Illinois. The Museum's interactive exhibit neighborhoods make for a great play date for a group of youngsters or for a birthday party. The festivities are not solely restricted to the youngsters, DuPage Children's Museum is a unique venue to host cocktail receptions, board or club meetings, fundraisers, corporate and/or family events. With adventure and entertainment built right into the venue, it's easy to create a unique and imaginative gathering for work, play, or celebration. Fun theme events include ‘Mess Fest, ‘Pajama Party,’ and ‘Back to School Bonanza.’ We all loved ‘field trip’ day at school when we were younger and DuPage is that getaway that's exciting for the kids to look forward to playing a little hooky from school. Continue down Washington Street as we cruise through the city center of Naperville. Take a right onto West Benton and then a quick left on South Main as we continue to explore downtown Naperville.
Benton/Main, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
And here we go! It’s time for some downtown Naperville fun! This here is the premier retail location for shopping in Naperville, with several brand name stores and high-end franchises. More than just a shopping destination, there are fashion shows, seasonal happenings like Easter Egg Hunt, the very popular Last Fling and other various themed events. There are several sit-down restaurants such as Zade’s Lounge and La Sorella di Francesca in addition to lunch counter spots like Five Guys Burger and Fries. There are coffee shops and Ice cream parlors as well. See for yourself why Downtown Naperville has become one of the most popular shopping destinations in Chicagoland! At the end of the block there are a couple of Chicago staples- Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s. They are known for their classic buttery crust deep dish pizza, but you’ll have to try for yourself to see which is the best. Think Pats and Genos in Philadelphia, (crowd favorites across the street from each other for the battle for best cheesesteak). Another spot to check out is Allegory around the corner. True farm to table and locally sourced like their Magic Mushroom burger which is pasture raised and ground in-house. It is accompanied by roasted mushrooms, gruyere, mixed greens and black pepper truffle aioli. About a block to your left is the Central Park of Naperville. In addition to being a relaxing place to take a stroll, the park has an outdoor concert venue and contains several statues and monuments representing local history. Please take a right on South Ellsworth.
100 E Jefferson Ave, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
Here comes the Wentz Concert Hall on your right. Located on the campus of North Central College, this fine arts center is the place for music, theater, dance, and variety show performances in downtown Naperville. Throughout the year, North Central College offers a series of speaker presentations that are generally free to the public. Notable guest speakers have included Cornel West, Caroline Kennedy, and the late Madeleine Albright. Can you hear me now? Wentz Concert Hall has an incredible acoustic architecture featuring motorized extension and retraction of sound-absorbing curtains. Two massive sound chambers, one on each side of the stage and invisible to the audience, enhance the audio characteristics and allow sound to bounce off multiple planes as it is directed to the audience.
38 W Chicago Ave, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
On the banks of the DuPage River is Northcott Liquorette, a throwback to the prohibition era speakeasies. When was the last time you drank from an absinthe fountain or a liquor infused teapot kettle? It’s been a while huh? Or maybe you haven't been in the right place at the right time? Now is as good a time as any to try the ‘Paint It Black.’ Cognac, Irish whiskey, blackberry-tarragon syrup, gran classico, and hellfire bitters. More of a bourbon drinker? Try the ‘Disco Devil.’’ Allspice, brown sugar, lime, bitters, star anise and absinthe make up this nefarious libation. Speakeasies received their name from police officers who had trouble locating the bars due to the fact that people tended to speak quietly while inside the bars. Consume without abandon and you too might find yourself hiding from the law. Please keep following your navigation.
305 Jackson Ave, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
On either side of us, you’ll see the jewel in the Naperville town crown, the Riverwalk. Created in 1981 to honor Naperville’s 150th anniversary, the Riverwalk features nearly 2 miles of brick paths, fountains, bridges, outdoor sculpture and artwork, recreational facilities, and celebratory memorials. There is also a labyrinth to explore and get lost in, paddle boating in the small ponds and kayaking in the river itself. On any given day you are likely to see musicians strumming their guitars, yogi’s flexing to their favorite pose as well as the sound of children playing and dogs barking. Hang a right onto Aurora Ave as we continue along the south side of the park. As we turn onto Aurora Ave, to your left is Naper Settlement. Just steps away from The Riverwalk, visitors can enjoy this family-friendly outdoor history museum featuring 13 acres of learning and interactive opportunities for all ages. Guests are treated to reenactments of pioneer life, like the Blacksmith shop where you can watch metal horseshoes being shaped over a hot fire. Within the Riverwalk are several unique venues like the Millennium Carillon (to your right), where visitors enjoy listening to musical performances with 360-degree vistas. In Centennial Park resides the ever-popular beach, in a stone quarry with zero-depth entry and swim depths of 15 feet. There are also sandy areas for the youngsters to play and make sandcastles. There is a price for admission but it is well worth it and there are lifeguards on duty.
Aurora River Bend, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
Coming up on your right is Meson Sabika, a Spanish tapas destination in an old mansion known as “Chicago’s taste of Spain.” The structure itself was built in 1847 on four acres and has eight dining rooms decorated in traditional Spanish décor. Each dining room has its own individual style and ambiance and can accommodate anywhere between ten to ninety guests. At Meson Sabika, some of the more spectacular hot tapas dishes include Champiñones Rellenos- Mushroom caps filled with spinach and cheese, served with tomato basil sauce. From the cold tapas menu, Tostada con Pato- Toast points spread with duck confit topped with caramelized onion, smoked duck breast, and Dijon mustard, served with julienned apples is always a favorite. Due to its eclectic menu and one a kind ambiance, Mesón Sabika has become one of the most popular venues for weddings and events in the Chicagoland area. Oh yea, if you enjoy Sangria, you’ll find plenty of that good stuff here, specially made in-house. How could we not have mentioned Sangria until the end of this tour? Sheesh. On we go! While it is entirely common for not just Spaniards but any culture to eat a full meal of ‘tapas,’ did you know that ‘tapas’ is generally regarded as an appetizer or small plate? Most people in Spain eat at a later time than in other European countries (around 9 or 10pm), which leaves plenty of time to enjoy a light snack before the meal. Tapas are also typically salty dishes which encourage those sampling them to order more drinks. Turn right on West Street. On your right is the Naperville Sportsman’s Park…
West/Martin, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
On your right is the Naperville Sportsman’s Park, a place for the growing sport of trap shooting. Pull! Wondering if this activity is the same as skeet shooting? They are quite similar in that they are shotgun games developed to mimic bird hunting and have since turned into contests designed to test the marksmanship of the world's best shooters. Compared to trap, Skeet targets are thrown closer to the shooters and in a wider variety of scenarios. Trap shooting is also a competition at the summer Olympics. The U.S won a Silver medal at the latest games in Tokyo. When the sport was initially introduced, real pigeons were used as targets before clay pigeons replaced them. Recently, a teenager here in Illinois became the first woman to win the overall National Trap Shooting Championship. The club at Sportsman’s Park offers three leagues each year including the doubles league which is held during the winter (January thru March), singles league during the spring (April and May), and the wobble league, held in the fall (September and October). What is the Wobble Trap version you ask? Wobble Trap is a variation of standard trap in that the target flight paths are more extreme, often oscillating, which are in contrast to traditional standard trap shooting which follow horizontal patterns. The Naperville Sportsman’s Club is dedicated to the preservation of this outdoor heritage and the conservation of natural resources. In addition, the club prides themselves on environmental protection and they proudly make use of nontoxic steel shot ammunition and Earth friendly biodegradable targets. You’ll also see the community gardens where you can reserve a plot and grow your own vegetables, fruits, flowers.
1016 Sheringham Dr, Naperville, IL 60565, USA
Continue down West Street and turn left onto Rickert Drive and we will head into the Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve. This grassland oasis has two different types of trails for visitors to enjoy; a 2-mile mowed trail, located on the east side of Plainview-Naperville Road, where bicycles are not permitted and the 7-mile regional trail which is open to foot, bicycle, cross-country skis and horseback traffic. DuPage County farmers cultivated the rich soil on this land for many decades and Springbrook Prairie was once slated to be the site of a 200-acre lake with a swimming beach and campground. Naperville residents and forest preserve neighbors played an important role in keeping this preserve a vast and open landscape. Springbrook Prairie contains the largest grassland community in DuPage County and has one of the healthiest streams in the area. Some characteristics of a healthy stream include a diversity of organisms, plenty of dissolved oxygen and low acidity. This area of grassland is ideal for breeding and overwintering birds and is home to a variety of species such as meadowlarks, grasshopper sparrows, bobolinks as well as state-endangered northern harriers, short-eared owls, and Henslow’s sparrows. There is a model aircraft area where operators with valid District permits in their possession can use the airfield on the west side of Plainfield-Naperville Road. Did you know that the popularity of building and flying model aircrafts developed in the 1930’s, and balsa wood, a building material that modelers had just started to use for their airplanes, was categorized by the U.S. government as a critical war material? Today, drone flying has overtaken the popularity of model aircraft flying, and pilots of these vehicles enjoy the open field they have to fly in. Of note, any drone weighing over half a pound must be FAA registered and those with cameras are not permitted to record while in flight. Dogs are welcome off leash by 83rd Street trailhead if the owner has a Springbrook Prairie permit. Permits are easy to obtain as they are made available daily at the Visitors center. Let’s see- We’ve gone hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, tested our pilot skills and even channeled our inner ornithologist with birdwatching. How else can we indulge ourselves and what can we work on while we're here? Four! Why not hit the links during one of your visits to the Prairie Preserve? Springbrook Golf Course is located on the southwest side of the Preserve and its lush foliage and trees complement the manicured greens, tees and fairways. The course is available to the public and has a pro shop and patio grill. We’re going to continue on Plainfield-Naperville Road and we’ll turn right on 95th Street.
Rock Spring/Plainfield-Naperville, Naperville, IL 60565, USA
Now we will unfortunately not be driving past this next hot spot on our tour, but let’s see if we can make your taste buds tingle. On Washington Street in Downtown Naperville is the quaint French bistro and dessert spot, Le Chocolat du Bouchard. With an elegant old world French dining room, you’ll think you’re back in the 1920’s enjoying the times with Fitzgerald, Dali or Hemingway. An Espresso Bar featuring over 40 specialty Lattes, Cappuccino, Mochas and Hot Chocolates await you as well. Fondue and Dessert parties are among featured themed events such as ‘An Evening in Paris’ or ‘Girls Night Out.’ The Patisserie specializes in macarons and craft cakes in addition to a variety of original desserts designed by their professional team of bakers. In both France and Belgium, the term Patisserie is a legally controlled title that may only be used by bakeries that employ a licensed maître pâtissier (master pastry chef). Because we are not driving right past Le Chocolat du Bouchard, you are encouraged to check out their website which displays plenty of high-resolution photos of their tasty creations, interior decor and seating areas. Lechocolatdubouchard.com Just don’t try to type that in right now!
2000 95th St, Naperville, IL 60564, USA
There are lots of schools in the area, and as we head down 95th Street, we’ll be passing one of Naperville’s five highly acclaimed high schools. Turn left on Cedar Glade drive and we will check out 95th street Community Plaza.
3380 Cedar Glade Rd, Naperville, IL 60564, USA
Hey look! It’s the Naperville Public Library. Head on in to check out some new books, or to sign up for their summer reading program! Let’s head on into the 95th Street Community Plaza and I’ll tell ya about it. The literacy-themed play space has stairs made out of books and a boat made out of pages from a book. A two-story slide, and a smaller one for toddlers can be accessed through a traditional/normal staircase, or one made out of thimbles and spools of thread. The splash pad is open for visitors daily from 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, where guests will find geysers, spouts, sprays, and two dumping buckets. There is a lot of variety in the style and shape of the water sprays, which makes it even more fun for kids to play and cool off. All of the features in the splash pad are spread out which means the youngsters can run freely without worry of bumping into others. The bandshell at the 95th Street Community Plaza is a spot for many family-friendly events. Select shows of their Children’s’ Lunch Hour Entertainment Series will take place at the 95th Street Community Plaza throughout the spring and summer. Part of this area includes the Frontier Sports Complex, an additional area for fun and play for all ages. This includes athletic fields, bocce courts, picnic areas as well as short trails to hike and bike. Skating enthusiasts in South Naperville can grab their boards or wheeled shoes and glide across the newly renovated skate facility within the complex. If you and your family are feeling hungry, there are plenty of places to eat just a few blocks over on route 59. Our tour comes to an end now but the fun is just beginning. Be sure to check out some or all these places at your leisure, and we look forward to seeing you around Naperville! Thanks for letting me show you around on behalf of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago. I hope you had fun! I know I did. Please reach out to Michele if you have any questions. She’d love to chat. Thanks again and have a great day!