What’s not to love about Naperville?
Since its founding in the mid-1800s, Naperville has been a community known for its charm and hospitality. Featuring lots of vintage and modern architecture, ample green space, and great places to eat and drink, Naperville has earned national recognition as an excellent place to live, launch a business, raise kids, and retire.
So, what experiences and sights have helped put Naperville on the map? Here are ten of the “bucket list” things to see and do in Naperville:
1.) Take in the Sights of the Riverwalk
Winding along the west branch of the DuPage River, the Naperville Riverwalk is a prime place to visit, whether you’re looking to enjoy a few quiet minutes on your own, or while away the hours with friends and family. Since its creation in 1981, the Riverwalk has been at the heart of the Naperville community. Featuring stunning views of the DuPage River and the sights of the local neighborhood, the Riverwalk boasts nearly two miles of brick paths, along with lovely covered bridges and perfectly manicured green spaces.
To learn more about the Riverwalk or plan your visit, you can find more on the City of Naperville’s official site, available here.
2.) Travel Back in Time at the Naper Settlement & Homestead
Joseph Naper and his family first settled along the western bank of the DuPage River in 1831, sowing the seeds for the community that would eventually grow into Naperville as we know it today. For visitors looking to get a glimpse into this area’s storied past, the Naper Settlement is a must-see. Featuring a living indoor-outdoor museum spread across 13 gorgeous acres, the Naper Settlement shows visitors what it would have been like to live in 19th century Illinois, and lets explorers pay tribute to the men and women who helped build up the region.
For more on the experiences available at the Naper Settlement & Homestead, be sure to visit the organization’s official site, here.
3.) Enjoy the Sights and Sounds of Moser Tower and the Millennium Carillon
Located near the Riverwalk, the Moser Tower is a striking open-air tower, built in 1999 to commemorate the turn of the 21st century. The tower is a striking piece of architecture in its own right, and visitors who climb to the top can get unparalleled views of the area. On clear days, sightseers may even be able to see all the way to Chicago. But it’s the sounds of this Naperville landmark that make it truly stand out. Housed in Moser Tower is the Millennium Carillon, an enormous set of bells and chimes controlled by a keyboard. Local musicians use this hauntingly gorgeous instrument for special recitals and performances throughout the year.
To learn more about the history of this Naperville landmark, or schedule your visit, you can visit the official web page for the Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon, available here.
4.) Experience the Natural World at Knoch Knolls Park
Naperville is home to many gorgeous parks, offering lots of fun things to see and do. If you’re looking to really explore the beauty of nature, though, Knoch Knolls Park and Nature Center should be high on your to-do list. The park features more than 5.5 miles of trails, while the Nature Center offers regular activities and resources, helping visitors to truly make the most of their day in the woods.
To learn more about Knoch Knolls Park and Nature Center, you can visit its official page on the Naperville Parks District site, here.
5.) Cool Off at Centennial Beach
When it’s time for fun in the sun, many people first think of heading to their local swimming pool or lake. Fewer people immediately think of going swimming in a historic stone quarry. And yet, in Naperville, that’s exactly where generations of visitors and residents have gone to splash, tan, and enjoy all that an Illinois summer has to offer. Centennial Beach was originally developed as a swimming center in the 1930s; before that, this area was used for limestone mining. Today, this Naperville spot has everything a beachgoer could want: cool and refreshing water, ample space to stretch out and relax, and tasty food and drinks available on-site.
For more history and a visitor’s guide to Centennial Beach, be sure to visit the beach’s official web page, available here.
6.) Learn About Craft Beer at Solemn Oath Brewery
Naperville has no shortage of delicious dining options and places to grab a drink. But when you want to see a growing brewery in action, there’s no place around quite like Solemn Oath Brewery. Since its founding in 2012, Solemn Oath has served up award-winning brews in its taproom, which features a full view of the beer-making process in action. Today, this taproom and craft brewery is a beloved spot for locals, and a destination that attracts craft beer lovers from all over Chicagoland and beyond.
To learn more about the past, present, and future of Solemn Oath Brewery, you can visit the company’s official site, here.
7.) Inspire Kids With Science and Art at the DuPage Children’s Museum
The DuPage Children’s museum presents countless opportunities for kids and their families to learn through play. Featuring hands-on games and activities, including rooms full of educational toys and an immersive art studio, the DuPage Children’s museum has been inspiring children onto lifelong learning for more than 30 years. Whether your little one is interested in science, architecture, art, or math, they’ll find an activity here that’s sure to entertain and educate, in equal measure.
To take a virtual tour of the space or plan your next visit, please visit the official site for the Children’s Museum, here.
8.) Enjoy the Charms of the Historic District
Just a short stroll away from the Naperville Amtrak/Metra station, the historic district is a great area to explore, particularly for any local history and architecture buffs. This quaint area features hundreds of meticulously preserved historic buildings, including stores and churches, plus an abundance of classic homes in all sorts of intriguing styles, from Victorians to Cape Cods to Four Squares.
9.) Savor a Freshly Brewed Coffee at a Naperville Cafe
When it’s time for a morning pick-me-up, serious java lovers have plenty of places to choose from around Naperville. This area is home to plenty of local coffee shops, in styles ranging from ultra-modern to adorably rustic. So, what local spots should be on any coffee fanatic’s list? For fans of all things old school and European, there’s Le Chocolat du Bouchard, a local gem that serves up sweet pastries, savory food, and, yes, classic coffee and chocolate drinks in an upscale setting. Elsewhere around Naperville, the Standard Market coffee shop is known as a great place to pop in for a cold brew, as is the lower level of The Craftsman, a combination coffee shop, bar, and restaurant operated by Two Brothers Artisan Brewing.
10.) Take a Guided Tour of the Community
Sometimes, it’s nice to explore a neighborhood on your own. But in other cases, it’s great to have a local expert point out the historical sites, the delicious restaurants, and the amazing art you might have missed on your own. Fortunately, two great local services can help you get around Naperville in style, helping you discover the best that this great area has to offer. Naperville Bites and Sites offers food tours of the community, featuring tastings at multiple restaurants and plenty of commentary on the area’s architecture, history, and local color. Meanwhile, Naperville Trolley offers private and public tours of the area, with great views from the back of a vintage trolley car.
Interested in learning more about Naperville? Be sure to read up on this wonderful community’s housing and market stats using our handy guide to Naperville real estate, available here. Want to talk to an agent who knows Naperville inside and out? You can get in touch with the talented associates of Baird & Warner Naperville here.