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Visit Elgin, Illinois

Discover things to do on an Elgin, Illinois, getaway

Route 20 Road Trip Getaway | Day 2 – Downtown Elgin

Route 20 Road Trip Getaway | Day 2 – Downtown Elgin

Plan a Road Trip on America’s Longest Road!

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.


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


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! If you’re traveling with a group, please contact our Visitors Center for special rates! COVID-19 Travel NOTE: When traveling, please be sure to call the businesses ahead of time to confirm operation hours and limitations.

Click Below to See the Itinerary for Day 1 or 3


And don’t forget to use #ExploreElgin on your social posts, so we can follow your adventure!  Happy travels.


Let’s Hit the Road!

Day 2 – 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.


Pictured: Elgin River Walk / Fox River Bike Trail in Downtown Elgin | Photo Credit: City of Elgin


Start your day with breakfast at Ray’s Family Restaurant.  Ray’s has been 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 are Baker Hill Pancake House, Golden Skillet, and Big Skillet.


If you prefer a coffee shop, downtown Elgin boasts many cafe’s to relax in with a great coffee, and a small breakfast plate.
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 geek culture and regularly host events that promote all types of interests, like Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter and more!

Relax with a good book and river views at Elgin Books or Craft Donuts +Coffee, located in Gail Borden Library. We also highly recommend Arabica Cafe!


Now that you’re caffeinated and fed, you’ll want to burn off some of that energy taking a stroll around town.  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. Like art? Then visit some of our art galleries, shops and theatre spaces.

And 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 PizzaKubo Sushi & Sake Lounge, Elgin Public House, Walnut Speakeasy, Danny’s on Douglas, and more!


Have kids? 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, and a playground with plenty of

climbing opportunities. Or take in a movie in the park, and live entertainment during the summer and fall.  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, with engaging interactive opportunities. The award winning Gail Borden Public Library is a must-see on your trip. As the third largest public library building in Illinois, the kids will have access to a whole wing dedicated to children’s books and activities! And with a library this big entire family is sure to find a book, or experience like eagle

watching that peaks their interest, like eagle watching!


Pratt’s Castle, Located near the Fox River Bike Trail. Click here to learn more!


If you’re looking for an active activity, Elgin’s Fox River Trails provide adventurists with more than 40 miles of guaranteed fun. Spirited cyclists, hikers, kayakers, and families will enjoy these scenic trails seeing historic sites and railroad lines, crossing six bridges, and passing through multiple nature preserves.

Test your wits at Escapade 360. Try to escape features family-friendly themed rooms. They’re fun and safe for guests ages 12 and up and since it’s located right in Downtown Elgin, it’s just a few feet from a number of restaurants!



Experience gaming, dining and entertainment at the Grand Victoria Casino.

This beautiful casino is a 2 story, 29,850 sq ft gaming boat situated on the Fox river. It boasts numerous dining opportunities. If you plan to spend most of your day here, check out Prime BurgerHouseIndulge Show Kitchen & BuffetCRAVE Deli, or the award-winning  Buckinghams Steak & Lounge.

Aside from the acclaimed gaming promotions and giveaways, the expansive gaming area holds 1,100 exciting slots and a wide-variety of Vegas-style table games.

Whether visiting here for a wedding, entertainment event, or a night out with friends, you will always find exemplary customer service.


If you’re looking for more nightlife opportunities check out the Martini Room. Does knowing they’ve won multiple “Reader’s Choice” awards form the Daily Herald, and “The Best Martini in the Burbs” make your curious to try it out? The Martini Room continues to live up to it’s legacy of incredible hand-crafted drinks and is a must-stop for any cocktail connoisseur.

Pictured: Martini Room

Medusa’s Nightclub continues to be a beacon of light for the partying public. With 3 levels, 2 dance floors, intimate seating areas, constantly changing scenery, and a killer sound and light system, it’s great stop for a night out on the town. Medusa’s also features a unique opportunity for those under 21. A Night out for music and dancing is available for those ages 17+, only on Saturdays on the main floor and mezzanine levels from 10pm to 3am. Patrons 21+ can experience Medusa’s Lower Level. This level is always strictly 21+, complete with a DJ booth, full bar and dance floor! This area is open from 10pm to 4am every Friday and Saturday night. Come experience this premier party destination!


Plan your Stay!

Ready to make your road trip happen?! Here are some recommendations for places to stay!

If you’re traveling with pets and looking for a great place to board them during your trip, check out the Kountry Pet Resort in Hampshire, IL.  Your furry family member will be pampered, and you’ll get daily updates on activities that your best friend is enjoying.


TownePlace Suites by Marriott
Courtyard by Marriott
Quality Inn 
Holiday Inn & Suites
Super 8 by Wyndham
Hampton Inn

The above hotels are all located at the intersection of I-90 and Rt 31.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
Comfort Suites
CandleWood Suites

The above hotels are all located at the intersection of I-90 and Randall Road.

Click here for our full list of accommodations!


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