Just 40 miles west of Chicago you’ll find the vibrant community of Elgin, Illinois.  Nestled in the Fox River Valley, this city offers abundant opportunities for visitors, regardless of what they are seeking.  From a bustling local arts scene to golf courses to a variety of outdoor adventure activities, there is something for every taste.

If you are the adventurous type, Elgin’s Fox River Trails offer hiking, biking and kayaking options to explore the great outdoors.  The bike trails feature more than 40 miles of paths running alongside picturesque vistas of the scenic Fox River, historic railroad lines, bridges and nature preserves.  The trail provides numerous spots to stop for a picnic or you can dine at a restaurant right off the trail.  If watersports are more your style, the Voyageur Landing Forest Preserve has a popular boat launch and is a perfect starting spot for a day exploring on the Fox River Water Trails.  If you did not bring your own gear, you can always rent a kayak from Kayak Myak which is open seasonally and offers three different kayaking trips as well. 

Once you’ve had your fill of adventure, it might be time to take in some of Elgin’s lively arts scene.  The city is home to a number of art galleries including Side Street Studio Arts and Funky Rooster, which is both a tattoo studio and art gallery that is a must-visit on any trip to Elgin.  There are also several live music venues in town including RocHaus and Danny’s on Douglas, a local institution since 1968 which is a pizzeria that features live music and entertainment.  For the music lover, a trip to Elgin won’t be complete with a stop at the Hemmens Cultural Center, a 1,200-seat theatre that is also home to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

The community also offers lots of family-friendly activities for those traveling with kids.  Santa’s Village, a combination amusement and water park, features an array of rides for little kids, roller coasters, animal attractions and a Caribbean themed water park, Santa Springs, complete with numerous water slides.  Kids and adults alike will both have fun at Underground Retrocade, an arcade whose mission is to “transport players back to their original arcade experience by featuring games from the golden era.”  Underground Retrocade offers a large selection of old-school arcade and pinball games, as well as vintage console games such as the old Nintendo and Atari systems.

Mama Lee’s Popcorn

Elgin is full of charm, with lots of vendors selling locally made products.  Some can’t miss spots include Emmett’s Brewery with its local craft beers, Mama Lee’s Popcorn which has over 70 flavors from spicy to sweet, and the Martini Room, a cocktail lounge that serves its own infused vodkas made in-house such as cucumber vodka, cilantro vodka and marshmallow vodka.  If this is all making you hungry, not to fear, as Elgin’s culinary options will not leave you disappointed.  The Anvil Club, formerly a private members only establishment, is renowned for its steaks and seafood, which it has been serving up since 1956.  If you fancy some Italian cuisine, check out Café Roma, a trattoria with stone-oven pizzas from Cordon-Bleu trained Chef and Owner Frank Redisi.

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If you’re searching for the perfect getaway this spring, search no further.  Just outside Chicago, Elgin is easy to get to, with something to suit everyone.  You won’t be disappointed with the charm, culture and liveliness you will find in this creative and welcoming community.