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Visit Elgin, Illinois

Discover things to do on an Elgin, Illinois, getaway

A Winter Weekend for Families

A Winter Weekend for Families

Tired of staying in? Enjoy a weekend getaway in the Elgin area this winter! This itinerary will cover activities to do each day and a number of restaurant options with descriptions of each location. Health and safety information is included throughout the itinerary and our resource center. Now let’s hit the road!

What you’ll need

  1.  Masks for everyone in the family
  2. Warm clothing for snow
  3. Sleds

Day 1 – Hit the Slopes & Experience Downtown

Villa Olivia

Slide into the Elgin Area!

Hit the road and head over to Villa Olivia located a short drive away from just about anywhere in the Chicagoland area. Enjoy an afternoon skiing, snowboarding or tubing. This winter sports hub is outfitted with seven runs, a chairlift, six rope tows, and a tubing hill. No worries if you’ve never done something before, trying something new here is easy! Because there are classes available for beginner, novice, intermediate and advanced levels. You can take lessons in a group or private setting. Just be sure to register in advance for lessons!
Villa Olivia Health and Safety →

Foodie Fixin’s

After leaving from your outdoor adventure, take a quick 10 minute drive into downtown Elgin to enjoy a meal at one of the local favorites spots that are great for families.  All restaurants listed below require face masks for entry and offer indoor dining at this time.

  • Blue Box Cafe – A Dr. Who themed coffee and sandwich shop serving breakfast and lunch options.

  • Al’s Cafe & Creamery – A quaint spot located in a historic building built in 1892, serving creative American cooking and old-fashioned ice cream treats.

  • Elgin Public House – An upscale, brick-walled pub serving hand-cut steaks, seafood, pasta and burgers in a relaxed setting.

  • Danny’s Pizza – A lively pizzeria & sports bar providing thin-crust and pan pies as well as BBQ ribs & fried chicken.

Afternoon Treat

All businesses listed below require a face mask for entry.

  • Mama Lee’s Gourmet Popcorn – Experience the taste of Elgin with Mama Lee’s Elgin Mix popcorn.
    NANCY M.  

  • Arabica Café – A coffee House featuring Cafes Richard coffee, Bridgetown Coffee espresso, scratch-made pastries, and sandwiches on our own homemade bread. Indoor seating available.

  • Martini Room – This one is for the parents! Place a to-go order for some handcrafted cocktails to enjoy this evening from this cocktail lounge that specialize in martinis ranging from “Dry & Savory” to “Dessert” in romantic environs. Indoor seating available.
    Martini Room Health and Safety→


After hanging around Elgin’s downtown head over to Escapade 360 and see how well you and the family can escape! There are a number of rooms available for ranging difficulties to be as challenging as you want it to. Be sure to make reservations for your private escape room!
Escapade 360 Health and Safety →

Also located downtown you’ll find the 3rd largest library in the state of Illinois. Gail Borden Public Library is a great places for kids. Here there are designated quiet zones that are separate from the rest of the library, giving kids the freedom to explore different parts of the library without having to be completely silent. There are areas for meant for kids of different age groups and there is usually an exhibit for viewing.
Gail Borden Health and Safety →

Photo by @alittletimeandakeyboard taken at the Burnidge Forest Preserve

Parks, Preserves and Nature Centers

If you and your family want to spend more time outdoors, the Elgin area is full of forest preserves with miles of trails, and parks.
Learn more about Elgin parks →
Learn more about Elgin forest preserves →

Also located in Elgin is the Hawthorne Hill Nature Center. This is a 67-acre nature center with trails, meadows & ponds for hiking & wildlife-watching any time of year. This nature center holds a number of events during all times of the year, including winter. And these events tend to be very kid-oriented. Check out the Hawthorne Hill Nature Center event page to see if there are any events scheduled during your visit!
Hawthorne Hill Nature Center Health and Safety →


There are a number of accommodations that are perfectly located for your weekend getaway stay. Here are a few to choose from.

Day 2 – Relax in Dundee



If you choose to have breakfast at a local restaurant after checking out here are some suggestions! All the restaurant below require face masks for entry and are currently offering indoor dining. 

  • Alexander’s Café – A casual diner with contemporary décor, a full bar and an American menu.

  • Benedicts Eggs & More –  Enjoy this elevated breakfast diner where new dishes are being added including vegetarian, and old favorites.

Afternoon Entertainment

Spend the afternoon in a time machine. Warp back to the days of PAC-MAN, and Ghostbusters by visiting the Underground Retrocade! This retro arcade brings the classics like Galaga and Super Mario as well as newer games like Mortal Combat. With so many games, this collections is spread out over two floors! Oh, and did we mention that there’s a whole room just for pinball? Including pinball case themes like Dr.Who, Dungeons & Dragons and Tales from the Crypt to name just a few!

Another option for the afternoon is heading over to Randall Oaks Park. Here there are 141 acres of open space that includes three shelters, a 10-hole disc golf course two volleyball courts and three playgrounds. There’s also an amazing hill worth mentioning that is a local favorite for sledding! Bring your sleds if you’re interested in trying these hills with this kids. Randall Oaks Zoo will open daily starting on March 27th this year, but give the Randall Oaks Zoo Facebook page a look for occasional events held during the winter months.


Inside a Mockingbird Bar + Garden Nest

A fun winter dining experience in Dundee can be found at Mockingbird Bar + Garden. Here you can find themed outdoor igloos! These “nests” are outfitted with soft lounge seating and heaters to bring a warm and cozy environment to your lunch. For your safety the Nests are always sanitized between guests.

Here are a couple other recommendations:

  • The Village Squire – Cozy English tavern-inspired bar & grill serving hearty pub fare plus beer, wine & cocktails.

  • Bleuroot – Farm-to-table New American fare & cocktails in a stylish, brick-walled space.

A few locations that may be of interest to the parents are:

  • Emmett’s Brewing Co. – An upscale brewpub chain that pairs house beers made on location with classic American fare.

  • Black and Gray Brewing – A local brewery featuring many types of brews. Howlers, crowlers, and 4 packs are available to go.

Before you go… Grab a treat for the road!

In West Dundee sits a unique candy store: Around the Corner Candy. Here you can grab a small treat to satisfy any sweet tooth. Chocolates, gummies, licorice, nostalgia candy and more can be found here! Take your treat with you to enjoy as you journey back home!

We would love to see how you enjoyed your winter trip!

Tag us @ExploreElgin with your photos on social media! And use our hashtag #ExploreElgin. We hope you have an amazing visit! And for more specific resources or questions, send an email to Madison@ExploreElginArea.com