There are plenty of things to do indoors and outdoors this winter season. From nature trails and history museums to forest preserves and shopping centers, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Bundle up and adventure out with our list of Top 10 free things to do in DuPage.
- Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
With its numerous locations to walk while taking in the beautiful snowflakes on trees and pathways, sunrises and pastel colored sunsets at dawn, this recreational playground will soothe the soul any time of day. Popular Forest Preserves in DuPage County but not limited to include: Blackwell Forest Preserve; Danada Equestrian Center; Fullersburg Woods; Herrick Lake; Waterfall Glen and Kline Creek Farm. No other factor contributes to the wellness, peace and healthy lifestyle quite like the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
- Shopping Centers
Up for window shopping or just need a reason to get out and about? Shopping is a great way to reach daily “step” goals and it might help beat the feelings of “cabin fever” during the long winter season, plus, get the kids involved in some winter fun activity in one of the indoor shopping center play areas, or bundle them up and explore charming downtowns. There are plenty of pedestrian-friendly and easily accessible shopping destinations in DuPage County. Even better - parking is free!
- Elmhurst History Museum
Visit this award-winning regional history museum and be engaged in history through an extensive collection of archives, enlightening exhibits and diverse educational experiences. Visit the new exhibit; On the Right Track: By Rail to Chicago & Beyond. The exhibit explores how railroads carved out the suburban landscape as we know it today. The Elmhurst History Museum is located in a historically significant landmark known as the Glos Mansion, the former home of Elmhurst’s first village president, Henry Glos, and his wife, Lucy.
- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
Fermilab in DuPage County is known around the world as the destination where proton therapy for cancer treatment became a reality. Fermilab is one of the leading international laboratories for particle physics, the study of the basic building blocks of matter. It is located on 6,800 acres of pristine land, complete with hiking trails, an off-leash dog park and Native American bison roaming the prairie land in their heavy winter coats.
- Naperville Riverwalk
Explore 1.75 miles of brick paths, wood covered bridges, outdoor bronze sculptures and artwork, a child’s dream playground, and historic memorials. After enjoying the sights and sounds of the Riverwalk, head into the charming downtown featuring favorite restaurants, unique boutiques, coffee shops, bookstores and more.
- Billy Graham Center Museum
Labeled as “one of the most influential Christian leaders,” Billy Graham was an American Evangelist and ordained Southern Baptist minister. The museum provides a unique visual overview of the history of Christian evangelism and its influence on American society. View artifacts and interactive displays that begin with the early history of America and take a powerful walk-through presentation of the Gospel message. The museum is located on the campus of Wheaton College. *Donations welcome
- Cantigny Park (closed January)
Cantigny Park is the former estate of Chicago millionaire, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Step in to the First Division Museum and be immersed in the history of the U.S. Army’s famed 1st Infantry Division. Be captured by the sights, sounds and soldiers’ stories from the First World War through a virtual reality experience. Outside, explore the iconic tank park featuring 100 years of armor and walk through the park and gardens for a sensual delight. There’s no looking past the beautiful 500-acre landscape. Cantigny is a special gem of DuPage County. *Admission free - $5 Parking fee
- DuPage County Historical Museum
Learn about the architectural and cultural history of DuPage County at the DuPage County Historical Museum. Here you can explore its rich history from the 1830s to the present. Learn about local agriculture in the current “Home Grown” exhibit. The museum features changing exhibits to permanent ones and works on special loan. Be sure to check out the HO Gauge Model Railroad. A suggested donation amount for adults is $5 and $2 for children and seniors.
- Illinois Prairie Path
DuPage is home to the first successful rail-to-trail conversion in the United States – the Illinois Prairie Path. The path spans over 40 miles in DuPage, and it is a main artery connecting communities, quaint downtowns, forest preserves and recreational trails. Don’t let the chill of winter days prevent you from enjoying a leisurely walk or challenging run while snowflakes are coming down or the sun is warming the air. Regardless of your fitness level, the Illinois Prairie Path helps residents and visitors stay active year-round.
- Science of Spirituality
Discover the healing powers of meditation. Combat life’s daily stress, reduce blood pressure, build strength and flexibility in a free yoga class. Learn the benefits of eating a vegan diet by fueling the body with plant-based foods. Take a cooking class, participate in a meditation workshop, attend inspiring seminars and programs. There are plenty of resources to help you find your Zen. Namaste!