Destination: Downtown Wauconda

Explore the hidden gems of our region. Interactive map included.


With a multitude of restaurants, recreational activities, quaint shops and community festivals, it’s no surprise that Wauconda’s almost 14,000 residents boast about how much they love their village. Located in western Lake County, at Illinois Routes 59 and 176, the community has plenty to offer visitors as well. With famous burger joints, a natural lake and a scenic nature trail, the village of Wauconda provides families with hours of entertainment.

The Burgers

➲ Docks Bar & Grill
This 100-seat bar overlooks Bangs Lake, providing the perfect “getaway” experience. Enjoy tropical drinks, live music, and dining with your dog in a vacation-like ambiance on the heated deck, open through November. The dining room features an upscale American grill menu. 313 E. Liberty St., (847) 526-3625.

➲ Bulldogs Grill
The recipient of numerous awards, Bulldogs has a burger – actually, some 40 of them – to brag about. This ’50s-style retro diner also serves chicken wings, fresh wraps and salads, and hand-packed ice cream and shakes. 122 S. Main St., (847) 526-8234.

➲ Lindy’s Landing
Employees at this third-generation family-owned business are trained to treat customers just like family. Enjoy the autumn ambiance of the dining room, decorated seasonally, and live music year-round. As the name suggests, it’s also a full-service marina. 115 Park St., (847) 526-9789.

The Shopping

➲ Bliss Wine & Gifts
Explore more than 140 kinds of wine, and a wide selection of microbrew beers, with beer tastings every Thursday and wine specials on Wednesdays. Special promotions are available when customers donate to the local food pantry. 201 S. Main St., (847) 526-2408.

➲ Aspire Boutique
Opened by a pair of women passionate about pretty fashions and accessories, the shop offers a unique variety of clothing, jewelry, furniture and gifts, as well as a selection of dancewear, such as leotards and dance shoes. The pair plan to open Threads, a men’s store, in the coming months. 118 S. Main St., (847) 865-5142.

➲ Main Street Outfitter
Make this a first stop to prepare for an outdoor adventure. The store not only offers bicycle and kayak rentals, but gladly assists customers in finding suitable paths and nearby trails. 513 S. Main St., (847) 526-7433.

➲ Rustic Touch
The creative owners have repurposed every item in this home décor store themselves, giving vintage furniture and knick-knacks what the pair call, “The Rustic Touch.” 353 N. Main St., (847) 865-3101.

The Destinations

➲ Millenium Trail
Part of the Lake County Forest Preserve, this 21.5-mile trail is open to bikers, hikers, cross-country skiers and, on a 9-mile stretch, equestrians. Enter at the Lakewood Winter Sports Area, off Fairfield Road, just south of Route 176. 1899 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville, (847) 367-6640.
➲ Lake County Discovery Museum
This former farm’s interactive local history displays are super kid-friendly, including temporary displays, plus the nation’s largest permanent postcard exhibit. It hosts the state’s largest Civil War re-enactment every June. 27277 N. Forest Preserve Road, (847) 968-3400.

Fall Events

➲ Trick-or-Treat on Main
Celebrate Halloween on the Sunday before, with family-friendly trick-or-treating at Main Street businesses. Live music, food and beverages.

➲ Turkey Trot
Take part in a four-mile run around Bangs Lake on Thanksgiving morning. A shorter, two-mile run/walk up Main Street and through Cook Park is also available, where strollers and dogs are welcome. Proceeds benefit a local food pantry.