Things to do in Des Plaines Illinois: Explore the Charm of Des Plaines

12/27/2024   Article by At 7 Bar & Grill 

Things to do in Des Plaines Illinois


Des Plaines is a city in Cook County, in the U.S. state of Illinois, and according to data from 2023, it has a population of 57,409. The city is a suburb of Chicago and is located north of O'Hare International Airport. Des Plaines offers a wonderful blend of history, outdoor recreation, and entertainment. 

From tranquil lakes to cultural attractions, this city has something for everyone. Whether you're a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a good time, Des Plaines will not disappoint. Here's a curated list of attractions, activities and things to do in Des Plaines Illinois.

Prairie Lakes Community Center

Prairie Lakes Community Center


Located in Prairie Lakes Park, Prairie Lakes Community Center is a beacon of modern recreational excellence. Offering a range of premium facilities, the center invites sports enthusiasts, fitness enthusiasts and families to indulge in numerous activities. Top fitness complex with closed paths for walking and running, courts for racquetball, football, basketball and beach volleyball.

The center has a 25-yard indoor pool with eight lanes and facilities such as: splash pad, whirlpool, changing rooms, showers, sauna and hot tub, providing an impressive wellness experience. Prairie Lakes Aquatic Center offers swimming lessons and aqua-fitness classes. Lap swimming is available Monday through Thursday from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Memberships are available.

In addition, the center has a child care center, dance studio, theater, meeting rooms and various multipurpose rooms that can be rented for parties and events.

The Prairie Lakes Community Center opens its welcoming doors Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
Official page:

Mountain View Adventure Center

Mountain View Adventure Center


The Mountain View Adventure Center, located right next to the Prairie Lakes Community Center, offers visitors a variety of recreational opportunities for all tastes. Whether you're into miniature golf, batting cages, skate and BMX bikes or boating, the Adventure Center is your one-stop destination for a day of fun and excitement. Mountain View Adventure Center is located at 510 E Algonquin Rd, Des Plaines and has many features: 

  • Miniature Golf Des Plaines
  • Batting Cages
  • Skate and BMX Bike 
  • Rafting Boats

- Miniature Golf Des Plaines


For miniature golf enthusiasts, the Mountain View Mine Adventure Mini-Golf is a must-see destination. With carefully designed 18-hole courses in the form of picturesque landscapes with creeks, rocks, bridges and waterfalls, the mini golf experience here is simply wonderful. 

Mountain View mini golf Des Plaines is an exceptional feature that provides a fun and challenging activity for visitors of all ages. Families, friends, couples and even corporate groups can enjoy a round of mini golf in a colorful and inviting environment. 

Fees and opening hours throughout the year:

- Batting Cages

With a selection of six top-notch batting cages, this recreational haven caters to baseball and softball enthusiasts of all levels, delivering a diverse range of pitch speeds and styles. Open until the late hours of 10-11 PM during the summer season, these cages promise an exhilarating sporting experience under the starry skies.

Batting Cage Lineup

  • Cage 1: Medium Baseball 45–55mph
  • Cage 2: Slow Baseball: 25–30mph or Medium Softball: 50mph
  • Cage 3: Slow Baseball 25–30mph
  • Cage 4: Fast Baseball 55–60mph
  • Cage 5: Very Fast Baseball 70–80mph or Hi-Arc Softball
  • Cage 6: Slow Softball 35–40mph

Token System and Pitch Count
Each $1 token unlocks a thrilling sequence of 15 pitches, allowing players to refine their swings and techniques. You can save when you buy more tokens!
12 tokens for $10 = 30 extra balls
25 tokens for $20 = 75 extra balls

Whether you're perfecting your baseball form or honing your softball skills, the Mountain View Adventure Center ensures value-packed entertainment with every swing.

Flexible Reservations and Rentals

  • Individual Sessions: Enjoy a solo batting session to focus on personal skill development.
  • Team Reservations: Elevate your team's game with reserved batting cages, accommodating group rates for a collective practice experience.

Special Events
Host memorable occasions like birthday parties or camps by reserving the cages for a unique and active celebration.

Find more here:

- Skate and BMX Bike 

Skate & BMX Bike Park at Mountain View Adventure Center in Des Plaines


Discover the Skate & BMX Bike within the expansive grounds of the Mountain View Adventure Center in Des Plaines, welcoming enthusiasts daily from 8 AM to 11 PM. This unsupervised and free-access park is meticulously designed to accommodate individuals of all skill levels, providing a thrilling space for recreation.

Find more information: 

- Rafting Boats

Discover water adventures at the Mountain View Adventure Center in Des Plaines. Rent swan and paddle boats as well as kayaks at Lake Park Marina. In the summer season it is open daily from 7 AM until dusk. 

Elevate special events year-round with boat, kayak, or swan boat rentals, creating lasting memories on the tranquil waters of Lake Park Marina.

Des Plaines History Center

Des Plaines History Center


Step back in time at the Des Plaines History Center and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the city, exploring exhibits and artifacts that narrate the story of Des Plaines from its humble beginnings. It's a journey that seamlessly connects the past with the present. 

The Des Plaines History Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and interpreting the rich history of Des Plaines and its community.

Within the History Center, you'll find the Kinder House Museum and the Visitor/Education Center, hosting a variety of programs and special events tailored for adults, families, and children. Engaging activities, such as the Afternoon Adventures series, lecture series, Dia de los Muertos, book discussions, as well as field trips and walks, make up popular annual events.

The museum is located at 789 Pearson St., Des Plaines, IL 60016. 
Their phone number is (847) 391-5399.
Find out more:

Lake Park

Lake Park in Des Plaines


Lake Park, nestled by Lake Opeka, is a public park in Des Plaines located on the westside of Lee Street, between Howard and Touhy Avenue. It covers an area of 76 acres and has a fishing pier with a large number of boats, a covered picnic area, water fountains, hiking and biking trails, as well as a diverse garden with native plants. 

It is a perfect combination of nature and recreation. Visitors can relax, enjoy the peaceful surroundings on the benches and observe the local wildlife around and on the lake.

- Lake Opeka

Lake Opeka is a man-made lake that was built in 1963 as part of the construction of the nearby Illinois Tollway. It is a hidden oasis, offers tranquil waters and scenic landscapes. Take a walk around or indulge in various water activities. It's a perfect spot for a peaceful retreat. 

Learn the history of Des Plaines Park District:

- Lake Park Golf Course

Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the Lake Park Golf Course, surrounded by lush greenery. Whether you're a pro or a novice, the course provides an enjoyable golfing experience. 

Find out more:

- Lake Park Marina (Sailing and Boating)

For those seeking adventure on the water, the Lake Park Marina is the place to be. Sailing and boating opportunities await, providing a unique perspective of Des Plaines.
Find out more:

Paddle Boat Rental
Experience the serenity of Lake Park on a paddle boat. Rent one and navigate the tranquil waters at your own pace, creating lasting memories with friends and family. Residents of Des Plaines and Park Ridge receive a $2 discount!
Marina Boat Rental Fees:

- Fishing

Fishing is permitted year-round from 6 a.m. to dusk, subject to Cook County and Illinois state licensing regulations. To maintain the health of the lake and the friendliness of anglers, please kindly follow all posted fishing rules. 

Lake Opeka daily Creel and Size Limits: 

Lake Park Memorial Pavilion


Celebrate special occasions at the Lake Park Memorial Pavilion. Surrounded by nature's beauty, it honors Des Plaines' military heroes from the Civil War to today. A timeless blend of celebration and tribute beneath open skies.

- Lake Park Picnic Shelters

Enjoy a picnic in the middle of nature at the Lake Park Picnic Shelters. Relax and enjoy the picturesque beauty that surrounds you.
Rental information:

- North Lake Park Area

Explore the North Lake Park area, a haven for nature lovers. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the outdoors, surrounded by greenery and wildlife.

Learn more:

- Flight 191 Memorial

Pay homage to history at the Flight 191 Memorial. A poignant reminder, this memorial commemorates a significant event in aviation history.
Learn more:

Des Plaines Golf Center

NIGHT GOLF Chicagoland's only fully-lighted 9-hole course


Founded in 1997 by Seiji Suzuki, Golf Center Des Plaines is a modern golf destination with an innovative driving range and a 9-hole par-3 course. It's the only fully-lighted 9-hole golf course in the Chicago metropolitan area. Acquired by the Des Plaines Park District in September 2000 for $5.95 million the facility caters to golfers of all levels with 80 bays, a short-game practice area, and a winter-favorite Chili Open. Golf Center Des Plaines in Des Plaines, Illinois has many features: 

  • 9-hole course with grass tees and a par-3 course
  • Driving range with 80 bays, automatic tee-ups and a short game practice area
  • Club Casa & Sports Cafe offers a wide selection of delicious food and drinks.
  • GolfTEC PGA personalized golf lessons and instruction to golfers of all abilities.
  • Chili Open is a popular 9-hole winter tournament with a valuable prize fund.
  • Dream Golf Pro Shop features the finest names brands and expert club fitting.
  • Wheelchair accessible entrance and free parking lot.

The Golf Center Des Plaines is located at 353 N. River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois.
Find more:

Des Plaines Theater

des plaines theater


Unleash your inner culture connoisseur at the Des Plaines Theater. From live performances to classic movies, the theater offers a diverse range of entertainment options. This iconic place in Des Plaines boasts a capacity of almost 1000 seats, including a balcony with a wonderful view. 

Upstairs there is a hidden lobby bar called Ron Onesti’s Bourbon 'N Brass Speakeasy, which is separated by a secret wall. It is an amazing place with ornate furniture and a bar where cocktails and where magicians perform on a small stage. On the ground floor, there is an authentic tavern from the 1920s, open before and after concerts in the theater.

The city of Des Plaines and the Rivers Casino invested the $6.7 million cost of renovating the building. 


- Restaurants near Des Plaines Theater

Restaurant At 7 Bar and Grill is just a few minutes' walk from the Des Plaines Theater. Restaurants near Des Plaines Theater are also:
- Sugar Bowl: Old-fashioned diner serving American breakfast and lunch in Miner Street
- The Choo Choo: Kid-friendly place diner serving burgers on a model train.
- Des Plaines Family Restaurant & Pancake House

Explore all the Des Plaines theater events that will happen in 2024. Official website:
The Location of Des Plaines Theater is 1476 Miner Street in downtown Des Plaines. 

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Des Plaines


Cultivating an atmosphere of faith, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic shrine, welcomes pilgrims and visitors with open arms every week. 

Amid prayer-filled gardens, a spacious plaza for celebratory gatherings, and a chapel where daily Mass and confession are celebrated, this sacred retreat creates a serene backdrop for spiritual connection.

Every December 12th of the year, an annual spectacle takes place that attracts over 250,000 fervent pilgrims to pay homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Lady of Guadalupe celebration draws thousands of believers to Des Plaines


The shrine is both a witness and a participant in this great celebration, leaving a lasting impression on the faithful who gather to honor the holy presence.

A symbolic gift shop allows visitors to carry a tangible part of this spiritual sanctuary, ensuring that the sanctuary's divine influence is maintained beyond its physical boundaries.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located at 1170 N. River Rd. Des Plains, IL 60016
Official website:

Des Plaines Public Library


The Des Plaines Public Library (DPPL) is a dynamic cultural hub at the heart of Des Plaines, offering more than just books. Whether providing a quiet space for contemplative reading, gaming, hosting interactive workshops, or embracing the latest technological advances, DPPL is dedicated to enriching lives and promoting lifelong learning.

Des Plaines Public Library has many features, including: 

  • Over 360,000 items, including books, music, films, magazines, comics and downloadable content
  • Assistive technology: Braille typewriters, magnifying glasses, reading edge machines, image magnifiers, and desktop magnifiers with color monitors
  • Study rooms are good for small meetings of up to eight people. You can reserve a room for up to two hours. Located on the 3rd and 4th floors.
  • Meeting rooms, classes, and discussions. The contact person must be a Des Plaines resident with a valid adult DPPL library card.
  • Electronics space with video games, gadgets, magazines and games reading collections. Also, you can play board games or bring a Nintendo console home.
  • Use computers at the library on the 4th floor for internet access
  • The library offers printing, scanning, and faxing machines.
  • Black & white: 10 cents per page,
  • Color: 25 cents per page
  • Accessibility: Text-to-speech software, Screen magnification and a wheelchair.

Restaurants in Downtown Des Plaines

Discover the best restaurants in Des Plaines, where culinary diversity meets vibrant community spirit. From cozy cafes to high-end restaurants, these establishments offer a delightful array of flavors, ensuring an unforgettable experience in this Chicago suburb. This is a list of some of the top rated restaurants in Des Plaines:

  • Foxtail on the Lake offers American and Mediterranean food. It's located in a renovated former church with a cathedral ceiling and views of Lake Opeka. The restaurant has indoor dining and a large outdoor patio.
  • The Boston Fish Market offers the freshest fish, oysters on the half shell and other seafood in all of Illinois. The restaurant and market are located at 1225 Forest Ave.
  • Restaurant Mehanata is a family-owned Bulgarian restaurant located at Lee Street. The restaurant serves excellent food and cold beers.

Des Plaines River Trail

Des Plaines River Trail


Winding through much of the lake and part of Cook County in northeastern Illinois, the Des Plaines River Trail is a versatile multi-use recreational trail that follows the scenic route of the Des Plaines River. Offering connections to both the North Branch Trail and the Green Bay Trail, this trail welcomes a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, dog walkers, mountain bikers, and runners.

Ideal for families, it provides a fantastic setting for a brisk, pleasant walk. Many confirm that the trail is well maintained, making it suitable for running, light walking and cycling. Whether you're looking for a quiet family outing or an active day surrounded by nature, the Des Plaines River Trail promises a diverse and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Find out more:

Ridgewood Memorial Park Des Plaines

Ridgewood Memorial Park Des Plaines


Discover the allure of Ridgewood Memorial Park, a sprawling 168-acre cemetery nestled in the heart of Des Plaines, Illinois. Located at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Central Road, this peaceful retreat lies between the intersecting paths of Central and Golf Roads.

Since its founding in 1920, Ridgewood Memorial Park has been dedicated to providing exceptional cemetery services to families in the Chicago area. Surrounded by meticulously landscaped grounds, manicured gardens, green spaces and venerable trees, the park offers a peaceful final resting place. Adding to its appeal, the cemetery has two picturesque lakes, a large chapel and an imposing mausoleum.

Acclaimed for its impeccable maintenance, Ridgewood Memorial Park is known for its great facilities and team of top professionals. Wheelchair access is a priority, with a thoughtfully designed entrance and free parking.

Des Plaines River 


The winding Des Plaines River stretches for an impressive 133 miles, meandering through the scenic landscapes of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. As it joins the Kankakee River, a remarkable transformation takes place, leading to the mighty Illinois River—a significant tributary of the great Mississippi River.

Unlike conventional fishing spots, the Des Plaines River is a haven for anglers. This river contains a diverse array of fish species such as Carp, Channel Catfish, Bluegill, Northern Pike, White Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Yellow Bass and Yellow bullhead — a fishing paradise waiting to be explored. 
Find out more here:

Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center

Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center


Discover the wonders of Mystic Waters Family Water Oasis, the largest water park in the heart of Northwest Illinois. Immerse yourself in a myriad of activities suitable for all ages, ensuring a day filled with excitement and aquatic delight.

Mystic Waters fees and working hours:

McDonald's Store No. 1

where was the first mcdonald's restaurant built


If you are wondering where the first McDonald's restaurant was built after the original McDonald's brothers, the answer is of course in Des Plaines. This historic restaurant, opened by Ray Kroc on April 15, 1955, was the first McDonald's franchise and marked the beginning of a global phenomenon.

Unfortunately, the original McDonald's in Des Plaines no longer exists as it was torn down in 2018 and replaced by a Rand Red Hots restaurant.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines

hotels near rivers casino des plaines


And finally, one of the things to do in Des Plaines Illinois is visit the Rivers Bowl, Chicago's premier gaming destination.

Just minutes from O'Hare International Airport, indulge in over 1,500 premium slots, 70+ table games and the excitement of BetRivers bookmaker.

Enjoy recent additions such as a lively poker room, a trendy AquaBar and an Event Center that hosts top-notch performances.

With free on-site parking, a variety of restaurants and a commitment to safety, Rivers Casino offers non-stop thrills in a safe and welcoming atmosphere. 
Rivers Casino Des Plaines Official Page:

Working hours
Mon – Thu  11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Fri – Sat      11:00 am – 02:00 am
Sunday       11:00 am – 01:00 am

Telephone: +1 224-567-8730

Address: 1472 Market Street Des Plaines, IL 60016

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