Willowbrook is a small village, known for its exceptional services and convenience to the metro Chicago region. Located at the nexus of Route 83 and I-55, it’s a short five-mile (8 km) drive along Route 83 north, to the regional business center of Oak Brook. Willowbrook’s prime location and accessibility to many regional destinations, make it an attractive location to live and work. Despite its small size, Willowbrook is well served by an abundance of hotels and thriving retail centers, including the newly constructed Willowbrook Town Center. Willowbrook has ten well-kept community parks and is nearby the Waterfall Glen and Salt Creek Forest Preserves. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in Willowbrook, Illinois.
1. Enjoy a day out at Prairie Trail Park
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Since it opened in 1988, Prairie Trail Park has been providing visitors with a beautiful respite amidst nature.
It is a great place to go for a quick stroll or spend an afternoon bonding with the family. Prairie Trail Park also offers designated picnic areas, a playground, and a fishing pond, making it a very family-friendly place to visit in Willowbrook. Its acres of vast greenery also provide areas where kids and dogs can play carefree. Other park amenities also include picnic tables and a drinking fountain.
Prairie Trail Park
Address: Willowbrook, IL 60527, United States
Opening hours: 7am - 9pm (daily)
2. Chill out at Black Horizon Brewing Company
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Black Horizon Brewing Company is proud to be a veteran-owned and Black-owned establishment. Located at 7560 S Quincy Street, this small brewery features a taproom that offers various barrel-aged beers. Black Horizon Brewing Company offers fun activities as well, making it an ideal place to hang out for families and groups of friends. There are a number of board games, classic arcade video games, and a foosball table which guests can enjoy with a beer in hand. There are also TVs for more entertainment. For guests with gluten-free diets, the place offers a seasonal rotating hard cider.
Trivia nights are held every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 7 pm. Anyone can join for free! Guests can enjoy these events with a plate of must-try cheese-infused breadsticks or flavored pretzels.
Black Horizon Brewing Company
Address: 7560 S Quincy St, Willowbrook, IL 60527, United States
Website: Black Horizon Brewing Company
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 3pm - 8pm; Fri: 3pm – 11pm; Sat: 12pm – 11pm; Sun: 12pm – 7pm
3. Head to Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is a 2,492 acre (1,008.5 hectare) preserve in the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. The preserve’s varied topography is comprised of prairies, savannas, wetlands, waterfalls and oak/maple woodlands. Because of the variety of landscapes, there are over 300 species of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles found here, as well as migrating birds, that thrive within the preserve.
There are also a wide variety of outdoor activities available to visitors, here. There are four mapped trails that hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders and cross-country skiers have access to, and which cover some of Waterfall Glen’s most scenic areas. Visitors on foot can explore the narrow, unmarked footpaths, that crisscross through Waterfall Glen. Several old quarries scattered throughout the preserve offer still fishing waters.
There are also two youth-group campsites, each sharing a shelter and a large grill. The campsites are close to the trails and restrooms and have access to drinking water, recycling containers, and firewood. There is a permanently marked orienteering course located in the northeast section of Waterfall Glen, near the trail head. A large, open field in the southwest section of Waterfall Glen is a popular spot for local model-aircraft enthusiasts.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Opening Hours Open daily one hour after sunrise until one hour after sunset
Address: Lemont, IL 60439
Website: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
4. Visit Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum, covering 1,700 acres (688 hectares), is a public garden and outdoor museum. Its grounds include a cataloged collection of trees and other living plants, gardens, and restored areas, a library, and a herbarium. It is also a place of recreation, with hiking trails, roadways for driving and bicycling, a 4 acre (1.6 hectare) interactive children’s garden and a 1 acre (.4 hectare) maze.
The arboretum offers an extensive nature-centered education program for children, families, school groups, scouts, and adults. The Visitor Center staff are happy to answer questions and have tickets that can be purchased for tram tours and special events. Detailed calendars, brochures, and informational handouts are also available at the Visitor Center.
Address: 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532
Website: Morton Arboretum
**Opening hours: 7am - 7:30pm (daily)
5. Dine at The Kerry Piper
Tom Carthy, the famous “Kerry Piper”, was a famous piper in the countryside of Castle Green, in County Kerry, Ireland. The Kerry Piper Pub in Willowbrook named their authentic cottage style pub after him and the interior design, installed by the Irish Pub Company of Dublin, transports its clientele to an authentic Irish pub.
The Irish spirit extends to the menu, which features traditional Irish dishes, including corned beef and cabbage, lamb stew and shepherd’s pie, along with more typical American bar fare. In the evenings there is live entertainment and some nights are designated trivia nights. Seasonal outside dining is available on the Kerry Piper Patio, which seats up to 70 people.
The Kerry Piper
Address: 7900 Joliet Rd, Willowbrook, IL 60527
Website: The Kerry Piper
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11:30am -1am; Sun: 12pm - 10pm
6. Have a drink at Miskatoic Brewing Company
The name Miskatonic was born from myth. It is a fictional university located in Arkham, a fictitious town in Essex County, Massachusetts, on the Miskatonic River. They brew 31 beers in the brewhouse, which has two taprooms. The outer taproom is open to the facility, and a seat at the bar overlooks the brewhouse and cellar. They also have an inner taproom, that has a glass partition which opens to join the two taprooms, when weather permits. The inner taproom has a British bristle dart board and a collection of board games. Wednesday night is trivia night and there are special events throughout the year, including live music nights.
Miskatonic Brewing Company
Address: 1000 N Frontage Rd c, Darien, IL 60561
Website: Mistatonic Brewing Company
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 3pm -10pm; Sat: 12pm -11pm; Sun: 12pm (closed on Mon)
7. Check out Graue Mill and Museum
Graue Mill and Museum, an operating waterwheel grist mill and homestead, is the only operating waterwheel gristmill in the Chicago area. The mill, a major center of economic life during the 19th century, was used by Fred Graue to hide runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad, on their way to Canada. Graue, who immigrated from Germany, operated the mill for 70 years until modern milling methods made the old mill obsolete and, at which point, the mill was abandoned.
The Frederick Graue House stands adjacent to Graue Mill and Museum and was built for the Graue family, between 1858 and 1859. The museum provides programs that include milling, spinning, weaving and living history presentations, as well as artifacts which illustrate the way of life of area residents, between 1850 and 1890. In 1975, Graue Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1981, it was recognized as an Illinois Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Visitors can tour the house which is also available for daily rental, for events.
Graue Mill and Museum
Address: 3800 York Rd, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Website: Graue Mill and Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 4:30pm (closed on Mon)
8. Stroll through Ty Warner Park
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Ty Warner Park covers 36 acres (14. 6 hectares) and offers a large variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. Restored woodlands and enhanced wetlands are connected through a prairie system surrounding the perimeter of the park, linked by a series of interpretive signs. There is a one mile (1.6 km) path along the perimeter, that provides walkers and joggers a chance to enjoy the natural surroundings. Cross country skiing enthusiasts will also have use of the interior and perimeter path system, during the winter months.
There are also three multi-purpose ball fields, anchored by a concession building, complete with handicapped accessible washrooms. Adjacent to this area is a courtyard with benches, decorative lighting, stone masonry and brick work. Nearby is a large garden gazebo, that can accommodate public gatherings and is host to the annual summer series of “Concerts in the Park”. There is a playground with separate play areas for young and older children.
One of the most popular pieces of playground equipment is the zero-depth splash pad, made of soft, resilient rubber, where kids and adults can splash around, with a touch of a button. Based on a nautical theme, water sprays through an in-ground spout, whales tail, or maybe even an anchor will squirt or spray the water. A picnic area has a timber structure that serves as a shelter, with accessible washrooms. Two tennis courts and a sled hill provide additional opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Ty Warner Park
Address: 800 N Black Hawk Drive, Westmont, IL 60559
Website: Ty Warner Park
Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)
9. Try cross-country skiing at Salt Creek Forest Preserve
The 92 acre (37.3 hectare) Salt Creek Park Forest Preserve is a mixture of upland forest and flood plain woods. Nearly two miles (3.2 km) of looped trails, that meander through the preserve, are ideal for hiking and cross-country skiing. A moderate 65 yard (59.4 meter) walk down a gravel trail gives anglers fishing access in Salt Creek, which is stocked with smallmouth bass, but the waterway also contains largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, northern pike, and walleye.
A 100-person picnic shelter with a grill can be reserved. There is a smaller, non-reservable shelter, as well as numerous tables throughout the preserve.
Salt Creek Forest Preserve
Address: Westchester, IL 60154
Website: Salt Creek Forest Preserve
Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)
10. Spend a day out at Katherine Legge Memorial Park
Katherine Legge Memorial Park sits amid 52 beautiful acres (21 hectares) of woodland. It is a popular park that has many facilities and amenities for a wide range of activities. There is a playground, dog park, three lacrosse fields, a sledding hill, six tennis courts, an 18 hole disc golf course, a nature based play area and two picnic shelters. Each of the shelters is equipped with a charcoal grill, water and electric access.
Also on the grounds is the Katherine Legge Memorial Lodge. The lodge’s charming ambiance and unique setting make it a popular venue for weddings, receptions, corporate functions, business meetings, parties, banquets, and luncheons.
Katherine Legge Memorial Park
Address: 5901 S. County Line Road Hinsdale, IL 60521
Website: Katherine Legge Memorial Park
The small-town charm of Willowbrook
The village of Willowbrook, Illinois has the advantage of small town charm, along with the benefits of being a part of the greater metro-Chicago area. Natural beauty abounds here, as the village has ten community parks and is close to the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve and Salt Creek Forest Preserve. Its prime location, along with its abundance of city parks and natural beauty make it an attractive spot to live, work and play.
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