Chicago, rich with dining, shopping, and entertainment offerings, has a growing number of suburban communities that have made it their business to offer those who venture west a healthy assortment of things to see, buy, and eat. From Oak Park to Naperville, Hinsdale to Elmhurst, we’ve compiled your go-to guide for making the most of Chicago’s Western Suburbs.
Fall is a great time for a walk in the woods, and west suburban communities have plenty to choose from. Rich with parks and forest preserves, get ready to get lost in all of the natural beauty.The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Rte. 53, Lisle
Established in 1922 as a great outdoor museum of trees, the Morton Arboretum’s 1,700 acres are a favorite spot for nature lovers of all ages. Not only is it open 365 days a year, the Arboretum has played host to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, art exhibits, and galas. Programming is scheduled year-round, with the special exhibit Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney running through November 1.Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st St., Brookfield (north entrance)
3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield (south entrance)
Home to more than 2,000 animals, the Brookfield Zoo is open year-round, demonstrating how animals adapt to the changing seasons. Starting in October, general admission is free on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Families love to celebrate Halloween with Boo at the Zoo, scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays, October 17 to 25.Danada Forest Preserve
3S503 Naperville Rd., Wheaton
Explore 825 acres of wetlands, woodlands, and prairies, and check out the Danada Equestrian Center, which hosts the Danada Fall Festival, a celebration of horses, on October 11.Naper Settlement
523 S. Webster St., Naperville
October is the last month of the summer season at Naper Settlement, a 12-acre village where actors in period costume role-play to demonstrate what life and work was like in the 19th century. Adults can join the fun too, with Oktoberfest taking place from October 2 to 3.
Take in world-class theatre, concerts, and performances outside the city by visiting the unique entertainment venues of the Western Suburbs.Drury Lane Theatre
100 Drury Ln., Oakbrook Terrace
One of Chicago’s premier theatres, Drury Lane delivers Broadway classics, musicals, and comedies that appeal to audiences of all ages. A production of Tony Award-winning Peter and the Star Catcher runs through October 18 and family favorite White Christmas begins its run on October 29.North Central College
30 N. Brainard St., Naperville
Aside from being an excellent liberal arts college, North Central is home to several concert venues including Wentz Hall, considered an acoustic gem and designed by the same sound engineers who helped build Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.Paramount Theatre
23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
This restored art deco-inspired venue was originally built in the 1930s. Its Broadway Series, now entering its fifth season, continues to impress Chicago theatre critics. Catch Oklahoma, which runs through October 18, and Jay Leno, who is performing for one night only on October 30.McAninch Arts Center
Fawell and Park Blvds., Glen Ellyn
The McAninch Arts Center is a family of venues on the campus of College of DuPage. Each season features more than 200 performances of plays, concerts, and lectures. This season includes Cirque Zuma Zuma on October 10 and a dance performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s second company, Ailey II, on October 18.
When it comes to dining and shopping, the Western Suburbs don’t disappoint. This region’s walkable downtown areas and hidden gems are sure to satisfy even the most discerning tastes, from foodie to fashionista.
809 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park
An eclectic mix of fine furniture and home decor consigned from a variety of sources, including interior designers, furniture manufacturers, and model home consignors, Divine Consign offers high-quality furniture and decor in a spacious showroom.Carnivore Inc.
1042 Pleasant St., Oak Park
Most definitely not your grandfather’s butcher shop, Carnivore is a purveyor of fresh, non-GMO meats, as well as seafood from sustainable fisheries. Prepared foods and sandwiches can be purchased and enjoyed in the shop as well.Sugarcup Trading
110 N. Marion St., Oak Park
This unique kids’ boutique features curated retail brand selections for parents who want their children to dress with culture and the environment in mind. Walk downstairs to the Trading Lounge, where shoppers can exchange gently used clothes for shopping credits to use right away.Gene & Jude’s Red Hots
2720 N. River Rd., River Grove
Located in nearby River Grove, Gene & Jude’s Red Hots has been serving customers since 1946. A favorite among loyal locals and critics alike—it was named the number-one hot dog in America by Serious Eats and Every Day with Rachael Ray in 2011—Gene & Jude’s is a destination you shouldn’t miss.Fitzgerald’s
6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn
Fitzgerald’s is among the best places for live music in the area. An ample beer list changes with the seasons and food can be ordered in from nearby restaurants.
100 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook
Oakbrook Center is a shopping and dining mecca with miles of shopping plazas. The fall months are an ideal time to walk this open-air, premier shopping destination anchored by five major department stores (Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Sears) and more than 160 specialty shops and restaurants.DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau
915 Harger Rd., Ste. 120, Oak Brook
The DuPage CVB offers a wide array of complimentary services to help you with planning business meetings or events, social events like weddings and reunions, group tours, and getaway weekends with family or friends. Visit discoverdupage.com or call 800-232-0502 for more information about Chicago’s Western Suburbs.Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar
1000 31st St., Downers Grove
Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar offers the very best of land and sea, blending warm, personal service with great food and a Wine Spectator award-winning wine cellar. Enjoy fresh fish and seafood flown in daily, American specialties, and VPN-certified wood-oven pizza.York Furrier
Elmhurst City Centre, Elmhurst
Since 1931, York Furrier has carried an extensive selection of fashionable furs, fine outerwear, and accessories from around the globe. They also offer professional, on-premise services: custom design, storage, cleaning, repairs, and restyling of older fur garments (all store labels welcome).Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
220 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst
Collector Joseph Lizzadro opened the museum in 1962 with a unique collection of Chinese jade and hard stone carvings from around the world. All ages enjoy the incredible diversity of stone with exhibits featuring gemstones, minerals, and fossils.Courageous Bakery
108 W. Park Ave., Elmhurst
Courageous Bakery is the brainchild of the Pekarik sisters, created after one of them was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The pair was featured on a 2012 episode of Cupcake Wars, and a portion of their proceeds is donated to lymphoma research and support. Their food trucks can be found throughout Chicagoland.The Uptown Shop
111 E. 1st St., Elmhurst
921 Burlington Ave., Western Springs
Find unique gifts and curious antiques in this quaint shop in downtown Elmhurst, with a second location in Western Springs. From Vera Bradley and Trollbeads to Pine Cone Hill and Sid Dickens, The Uptown Shop is as delightful to explore as it is to shop.
535 Duane St., Glen Ellyn
Glen Ellyn offers the scenic beauty of parks, a wildlife preserve, golf course, and access to the Illinois Prairie Path; a mix of specialty boutiques and retail outlets; and a pedestrian-friendly downtown full of unique local shops and restaurants.Marcel’s Culinary Experience
490 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn
This culinary oasis has everything the aspiring chef and entertaining expert wants and needs. Shop for the latest kitchen gadgets and cookware, enjoy a demonstration in the world-class on-site kitchen, partake in a cooking class, or peruse the fresh market for fine cheeses, charcuterie, and freshly baked breads.Fire + Wine
433 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn
A much-loved staple in Glen Ellyn, Fire + Wine serves Neapolitan pizzas, small plates, beer, and wine in a casual, warm environment. The comfortably hip atmosphere is perfect for a romantic date or a night out with friends. While the pizzas are fantastic, make sure to order at least one small plate, such as the zucchini fries or grilled romaine.2Toots Train Whistle Grill
450 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn
This train-inspired diner is a must for families with small children. Every seat is “on the tracks,” with trains delivering meal baskets to the delight of tiny diners. All burgers, hot dogs, and chili are made with grass-fed and grass-finished beef. Children 12 and under can sign up for the birthday club to receive a coupon good for a free birthday meal and cupcake.
13 W. 1st St., Hinsdale
Sweet Ali’s is a certified gluten-free bakery offering sweet and savory treats, including coffee cakes, muffins, breads, cookies, cupcakes, pizzas, and quiches. Find dry mixes for pancakes, brownies, and other items. Custom orders are easily accommodated and dairy-free menu items are also available.Vie
4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs
Rated among the top restaurants in the nation and a past Michelin star recipient, Vie specializes in seasonal American cuisine and is the creation of much-lauded chef and restaurateur Paul Virant. Both the brisket and butternut squash soup are divine. Check online before dining as menus change often.Kirschbaum’s Bakery
825 Burlington Ave., Western Springs
The Kirschbaums first opened their bakery in 1953, not foreseeing it withstanding the test of time and becoming a local favorite more than 60 years later. Don’t leave without trying Mrs. K’s special, the Chocolate Lover’s Delight Cake.Kama Bistro
9 S. La Grange Rd., La Grange
An exotic refuge from the daily grind, Kama Bistro reinvents traditional Indian fare with the freshest ingredients in its scratch kitchen. Savor complex flavor profiles in signature dishes such as black pepper Chilean sea bass, tamarind-glazed ribs, and lamb tacos.
Benton to Aurora Aves. (east to west), Eagle to Ellsworth Sts. (north to south)
With one of the most thriving and talked-about downtowns in the Chicago suburbs, Naperville’s downtown district has much to offer, from classic restaurants and shops to unique boutiques and eateries.Schmaltz Deli
1512 N. Naper Blvd., #152, Naperville
Finding a Jewish deli in the Western Suburbs wasn’t easy until Culinary Institute of America graduate Howard Bender opened Schmaltz in 2004. Be sure to try the SLT made with Schmacon, Bender’s own beef alternative to traditional bacon.Solemn Oath Brewery
1661 Quincy Ave., #179, Naperville
Tucked away in what looks like an industrial park is one of the region’s most popular breweries, specializing in Belgian-inspired and barrel-aged beers. Check out the taproom to try the latest releases and feel free to BYOF (bring your own food). It’s all about the beer here.Meson Sabika
1025 Aurora Ave., Naperville
An award-winning restaurant located in the historic Willoway Mansion reminiscent of a romantic European villa, Meson Sabika serves Spanish tapas and sangrias in elegantly decorated dining rooms, a breathtaking outdoor patio, and the Pavilion, a perfect setting for private events.
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