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Visit Elgin, Illinois

Discover things to do on an Elgin, Illinois, getaway

Route 20 Road Trip – Day 2 in Downtown Elgin

Route 20 Road Trip – Day 2 in Downtown Elgin

Plan a road trip on America’s longest road!

By Nick Nolte – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org


About Route 20

Did you know that US Rt 20 is the longest road in the US? Spanning 3,365 miles, Rt 20 stretches from the Pacific Northwest all the way to Boston, Massachusetts.  It nearly runs parallel to that of I-90 which in turn is the longest Interstate Highway in the US.  There is a short span of Rt 20 that uses unnumbered roads to traverse through Yellowstone National Park.

Getting Started*

To get you started on your Rt. 20 road trip, our team at Explore Elgin has outlined some great attractions along the 20 miles that spans through our communities!

Traveling East

Day 2 in Downtown Elgin:

Good Morning!  We have a great day planned out for you in the downtown area of Elgin.  Located just minutes off Route 20, you will find some great attractions and activities in an urban setting.

Enjoy breakfast at Ray’s Family Restaurant.  Ray’s was recently named one of the top diners in America by Travel and Leisure Magazine, and is conveniently located right off Rt. 20!  Some other traditional diners around town you may enjoy: Baker Hill Pancake House, Golden Skillet, and Big Skillet.

If you’re more of a coffee shop person, downtown Elgin boasts many cafe’s to relax with a great coffee and small breakfast plates.
For the Dr. Who fans out there, you’ll surely want to check out Blue Box Cafe. This cafe is the very first Doctor Who dedicated café in North America.  They not only support the show, but they embrace all of the geek culture and regularly host events that promote all types of nerds.  Relax with a book and enjoy views or the river at Elgin Books or Craft Donuts +Coffee in Gail Borden Library. Some other area favorites include: Arabica, Cafe Revive, and  Highland Cafe.


Now that you’re caffeinated and fed, you’ll want to burn off some of that energy taking a stroll around town.  Stop by our Visitors Center at 60 S. Grove Ave., and the Explore Elgin team can provide you with area maps, self guided walking tours of our Historic Districts that boast 667 structures including churches, houses, flats, apartments, and businesses. For the artistic side of you, we have a self guided tour map of the city’s public art which includes murals and sculptures throughout downtown.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association has assembled a lovely map of the downtown area that includes a full listing of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and theatre. When you’re ready for lunch we have some local favorites to recommend, like Al’s Cafe & Creamery located in a 1892 historical building, Brick’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Kubo Sushi & Sake Lounge, Elgin Public House, Walnut Speakeasy, Danny’s on Douglas, and more!

Experience gaming, dining and entertainment at the Grand Victoria Casino. This beautiful casino boasts several restaurants, and a 2 story, 29,850 sq ft gaming boat on the river. If you plan to spend most of your day here, check out Prime BurgerHouse, Buckinghams Steak & Lounge, Indulge Show Kitchen & Buffet, or CRAVE Deli.


You’ll find plenty to do with the kids around town.  Stop by the newly renovated Festival Park along the river and enjoy the splash pad, playground with plenty of climbing opportunities, movies in the park, and concerts during the summer.  While during the winter months you can admire the animated Christmas lights throughout the park. If you’re looking for adding an educational element to your trip, Elgin is home to two museums; the Elgin History Museum, and Elgin Public Museum.  The award winning Gail Borden Public Library is a must-see on your trip. As the third largest public library building in Illinois, the entire family is sure to find a book, activity or experience that peaks their interest.

Elgin’s Fox River Trails provide adventurists with more than 40 miles of guaranteed fun.  Spirited cyclist, hikers, kayakers, and families will enjoy these beautiful trails alongside historic railroad lines, crossing six bridges, and passing through nature preserves.

If you’re traveling with a group, please contact our Visitors Center for special rates!

COVID-19 Travel NOTE: **When it’s safe to travel again, please be sure to call the businesses ahead of time to confirm operation hours and limitations.**

Use #ExploreElgin on your social posts, so we can follow your adventure!  Happy travels.