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Weekends in Downtown Elgin

Explore, dine & shop in the heart of Elgin, IL

Explore, dine & shop in the heart of Elgin, IL

Downtown Elgin is lined with tourist, cooking, retail, novelty and vintage shops. There are a variety of restaurants to provide a taste for any craving and several places to dine outdoors or along the river. On any given day throughout the summer, you can enjoy the sounds of live music drifting through the recently renovated streets and brick paved sidewalks of town.

Getting here

Flowers in front of a building in downtown Elgin, IL

Downtown Elgin is a must for your next weekend getaway, and getting here has never been so easy. There are two Metra stops along the Milwaukee District West line that will bring you right into downtown. The National Street stop is perfect for commuters who need space to park their vehicles, while the Elgin stop is designed for pedestrians or visitors who are dropped off to catch a train. The PACE Bus routes can take you almost anywhere in the area. Driving? Downtown Elgin is just a 45-minute drive on I-90 from downtown Chicago or 30 minutes from O’Hare International Airport.

Free parking is available in the Chicago Street Parking Garage (located off Chicago Street), the Fulton Street Parking Garage (located off Fulton Street), the parking lot along Riverside Drive and the parking lot located off Grove Avenue and Prairie Street.

Dining & drinks

Liquor bottles on a glass shelf in a bar in downtown Elgin, IL
Whatever you’re hungry for, you’ll find it in downtown Elgin.

Let’s talk Chinese, Thai, German, Mexican, American and mouthwatering burgers, seafood and steaks! Dine alfresco at a local pizza joint, or visit DuPage Court in the heart of the city. Whatever you’re hungry for, you’ll find it in downtown Elgin. With so many food and drink options—from early morning coffee and donuts to, Sunday brunch, lunch with friends, craft beer or wine outings and plentiful dinner options—we invite you to explore and enjoy our downtown Elgin restaurants.

Grand Victoria Casino

Try your luck at table games that give Las Vegas a run for its money.

Whether you are looking for excitement at the slots or a culinary escape, the Grand Victoria Casino will add some adventure to your weekend plans. At this hub for entertainment and dining, visitors can take in scenic views of the picturesque Fox River. Try your luck at more than 1,100 slot machines and table games that give Las Vegas a run for its money. Come hungry and experience the four on-site restaurants.

Explore downtown Elgin in three days

Sip, shop & selfie in Elgin

Day 1: Farmers Market

Day 2: Self-Guided Art & Architectural Tours

Day 3: Fox River Trails

Farmers market

The vendors offer their fresh harvests and handcrafted goods direct to the shoppers.

Situated in the heart of downtown Elgin, the weekly farmers market hosts vendors, including farmers, producers and artisans, on a weekly basis during the summer. Locals and visitors gather at the Elgin Farmers Market, browsing the festive selection. Surrounding restaurants and bars are lively, all the while vendors offer their fresh harvests and handcrafted goods direct to shoppers. Started in 2000, this is a popular stop for some of Elgin’s local chefs and caterers, cyclists, residents and visitors who can be spotted pulling their wagons up and down the street.

Free parking is available in the Chicago Street Parking Garage (located off Chicago Street), the Fulton Street Parking Garage (located off Fulton Street), the parking lot along Riverside Drive and the parking lot located off Grove Avenue and Prairie Street.

Click here to read important information about COVID-19 in Elgin, IL.

Art in the wild

A hand on a record player with a Rediscover Records sticker in downtown Elgin, IL
Lights illuminate the splash pad at Festival Park in Elgin, IL

Experience the arts in many intimate settings offered throughout downtown Elgin, from an award-winning Elgin Symphony Orchestra, which plays annually at the Hemmens Cultural Center, to the Elgin Fringe Festival.

Sculptures have long been an integral part of Elgin’s cultural legacy. On our popular self-guided walking tour, you’ll visit more than 10 of the city’s public arts sculptures, monuments and murals as you take in beautiful river views and stunning architecture throughout downtown Elgin. During your stroll, stop in and cool off at one of the many indoor art galleries and performance venues.

Ready to learn more about what makes downtown Elgin a true arts destination? Visit the Explore Elgin Area visitors center to pick up the tour map brochure and check out upcoming shows and concerts.

Shopping

A gold pocket watch with the word Elgin on the dial

In addition to events and dining, downtown Elgin offers several great shopping options. The State Street Market houses retailers, a confectioner, café and more. Side Street Studios is a destination for business and cultural events. Enjoy an afternoon browsing vintage vinyl at Rediscover Records, or go treasure hunting at one of the many antique shops around town. Stop by the Explore Elgin Area visitor center or the Downtown Neighborhood Association office for a full list of shops and maps.

Downtown Elgin is rich in energy, and it shows through an entrepreneurial spirit that is welcoming, exciting and infectious. You can encounter a diverse array of experiences all throughout the downtown. Renovated 1800s storefronts showcase the Midwest’s history while within they are embracing new technologies, innovative shops and lifelong passions. Isn’t it time you rediscover downtown Elgin?

Fox River Trails

Float through beautiful forests of pine, birch and cedar through the Northern Fox River Valley. #ElginWalks

From downtown Elgin, the Fox River Bike Trail winds north and south along the scenic Fox River. The bike trail offers more than 40 miles of guaranteed fun and is the perfect outing for cyclists, runners, hikers, families and outdoor aficionados. This trail runs along historic railroad lines, crosses six bridges and passes through nature preserves.

For those who want to get out on the water, pick a canoe or kayak rental outfitter and float through beautiful forests of pine, birch and cedar through the Northern Fox River Valley. The Fox River Water Trails are perfect for beginners, couples, families or large groups and provide the ideal way to enjoy a warm summer day or to view magnificent fall colors. Catch an occasional glimpse of deer, mink, blue heron, several species of ducks and other wildlife. Enjoy fishing, picnicking, walking trails and easy access to downtown Elgin.

Libraries & museums

Wander up to the second floor where you can enjoy a book fireside.

Libraries and museums … what a perfect combination! Both are established to educate patrons with curated resources. Presenting history, science, art, music and other subjects through immediate contact with objects that children can touch helps them develop emotional connections to learning. The Gail Borden Public Library often has larger-than-life exhibits that draw thousands of visitors every week. While you’re there, enjoy the KidsSpace where your child can explore great books or create in the craft center. For the adults, wander up to the second floor where you can enjoy a book fireside or use the provided binoculars to spot bald eagles along the Fox River!

Elgin offers three public museums. The Elgin History Museum is within walking distance from the heart of downtown and features several exhibits of notable people, structures and companies such as the Elgin National Watch Factory, Toastmaster, Elgin Street Sweeper and more. The Elgin Public Museum, located within the historic Lord’s Park, is a short 5-minute drive from downtown. Here you can learn more about the natural history and anthropology of the Northern Fox River Valley. The museum’s collections include Native American, Fox River Ecosystem, Endangered Species, the Ice Age Era and more. Visit the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum, which was the fifth official fire barn in the city.

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