10 Best Things To Do In DeKalb, Illinois

things to do in dekalb illinois

DeKalb, Illinois, has a beautiful, lively downtown that is modern and full of color. Not short of fun things to do, DeKalb is rich with fine dining as well as family style restaurants, entertainment at the Egyptian Theater, and cool history to observe at its many museums. You won’t have to worry that nothing happens in an archetypal Midwestern suburb.

That is not the case here. There is sure to be fun for all! Here’s a list of some ideas to get you inspired!

1. Whiskey Acres Distilling Co.

Whiskey tasting
Source: Photo by Flickr user Paul Joseph used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

More than just a tasting room, this distillery is one of the best locations to see how whiskey is made, with some of the finest bourbon and rye ingredients you can find. A great way to spend time in a great location and what better than to experience it all than with a friendly staff who help make learning about how liquor is manufactured fun?

Whiskey Acres Distilling Co.

Address: 11504 Keslinger Rd, 60115 DeKalb, IL

Website: Whiskey Acres Distilling Co.

2. Amanda's Spa and Beauty Services

Source: Pexels

If you’re in town and feeling like treating your mind, body, and spirit, Amanda’s Spa & Beauty Services should be on your to-do list. From facials, hair removal, and massages to ear candling, waxing, hair cuts, hand and foot treatments, there are plenty of spa treatments here! You can call to schedule an appointment and walk-ins are welcome.

Amanda's Spa and Beauty Services

Address: 327 E Hillcrest Dr, 60115 DeKalb, IL

Website: Amanda’s Spa

3. Gurler House

Gurler House
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andy McMurray used under CC BY-SA 3.0

It is estimated that this Greek-revival style house was built in or around 1857, making it one of the first frame-built homes in DeKalb. Today, you can catch musical acts perform at the home, including folk rock acts and Celtic music. The west side is warm and welcoming for many social engagements and fun. Meet locals at the community center and check out great musical groups!

Gurler House

Address: 205 Pine Street, 60115 DeKalb IL

Website: Gurler House

4. Molly's Eatery and Drinkery

On their menu; chicken parmigiana
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tristan Kenney used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Perfect for a casual, fun family dining experience, Molly’s Eatery & Drinkery is the essence of Midwestern food joints, full of real down home, relaxing and no frills attitudes. Not exclusively for the family but it works just as well. You can get lunch and dinner and try the bar too. Most days Molly’s is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Molly's Eatery and Drinkery

Address: 1000 W Lincoln Hwy, 60115 DeKalb, IL

Facebook: Molly’s Eatery and Drinkery

5. Ellwood House Museum

Ellwood House Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andy McMurray used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in the heartland of DeKalb, this historic mansion is situated on 10 acres of parkland and consists of 7 historic structures. In 1965, the Ellwood Mansion was given to the DeKalb Park District by Mrs. May Ellwood and her three children. In the present day, the entire location is a museum. It’s like time traveling back to the 1870s! Part of the museum’s mission is to show authentic examples of architecture from a specific time and place.

Ellwood House Museum

Address: 509 North First Street, 60115 DeKalb, IL

Website: Ellwood House Museum

6. Star Worlds Arcade

Star Worlds Arcade
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user High literature used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Who doesn’t love video games? Seriously, if you are in or near the area, you have to check out Star Worlds Arcade. You can roam freely and attack every console available and host an event, where you can have private use of the game room. The best part is that they’re always changing up game consoles, so it’s never the same game play experience. If you dream of hours spent on arcade games throughout the decades, here’s your opportunity now!

Star Worlds Arcade

Address: 1234 East Lincoln Highway, 60115 DeKalb, IL

Website: Star Worlds Arcade

7. Buena Vista Golf Course

Golf course
Source: Piqsels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

According to the website, “Located off North 1st Street in DeKalb, Buena Vista is a 9-hole (par 32) golf course that also includes a number of practice areas such as the driving range, 9-hole pitch & putt, and practice greens. With all these amenities, Buena Vista is a great place for golfers of ages and skill levels to play. Buena Vista offers private and group golf instruction from a staff of seasoned instructors. Golfers also participate in leagues, tournaments, and special events all season long.”

Buena Vista Golf Course

Address: 131 Buena Vista Dr, 60115 DeKalb, IL

Website: Buena Vista Golf Course

8. Egyptian Theater

The Egyptian Theatre DeKalb
Source: Photo by user Derekgibbs used under CC BY-SA 3.0

When your mission includes conservation and integrity of all types of entertainment and community involvement, you know there’s going to be a ton of love from your local patrons, and the Egyptian Theater is no exception. Formed in 1978, this is a place for everything including shows, media, performances, and a lot more. Some of the events to look out for include The Haunted House, Live Lunch Music Series, Ride Like an Egyptian, Art Gallery, and Theater Tours. Be sure to check out the site to see when things are available!

Egyptian Theater

Address: 135 N. Second Street, 60115 DeKalb, Illinois

Website: Historic Egyptian Theater

9. J.F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center

Glidden House
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andy McMurray used under CC BY 2.5

The Historical Center, divided into three groups, (The Homestead, The Blacksmith Shop and The Barn) gives a unique insight into the history going back to the 1870s, where you can learn about Joseph Farwell Glidden, inventor of the most widely-used type of barbed wire. Each division has its own exhibits; you’ll be transported through time.

J.F. Glidden Homestead Center

Address: 921 W Lincoln Hwy, 60115 DeKalb, IL

Website: Glidden Homestead site

10. Rochelle Railroad Park

Rochelle Illinois Train Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Dennis Carr used under CC BY 2.0

Located a brief drive (25 minutes away) in Rochelle, this is the first park in the nation just for visitors to see operating trains! Not only is this attraction open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (rain or shine), you get a complete look at the beginnings of the use of trains in Rochelle. There are different features to see at the park, as well as a gift shop, so if you or someone you know likes toy trains, you probably know where to head for that pleasant surprise!

Rochelle Railroad Park

Address: 124 N 9th St, 61068 Rochelle, IL

Website: Rochelle Railroad Park

Take a load off in DeKalb

With so many homey, low-key, casual style attractions, it’s not difficult to picture yourself really letting loose and getting uber comfy. These hotspots are not the be all, end all to what is in DeKalb, but they’re some of the best to consider. The destination to fun starts here!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A lover of history and eccentric , colorful and intriguing cultures, I'm interested in the human aspect of travel; what travel means to each person you meet. We have stories and goals. Who we are...Read more

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